new zealand electronic poetry centre

John Puhiatau Pule

online works

Dolphins, nectarines and turtles,
and all at once, they jump out from your
mouth; tears miles long like the great River
of America, pours from the eyes of the albatross,
that flings its head from below your breast.
Fascinating parrots and doves too,
fly from the wheat of your palms
straight to heaven. A silent sea
pulls an island up by its roots and
you sleep there with horses from a dream.
A melancholy voice resounds from
your heart, a tui heard and muffled
its plumes like a dying swan. Ants
die by the thousands as they struggle
to you. And you weep like a captive Helena.
Luscious fruits grow near your feet,
you sleep with bananas, plums, grapes
and melons. When you awake the sky
casts huge shadows of birds that peck
the white bread, and peaches, and nuts.
You resemble a sun-flower lame with giant
petals that hang down like you from sorrow.
You come from palm-trees bearing shapes
of whale and salmon. Your eyes are closed
being shut in from the sword of my heart.
And when you are laughing, you seem
to lead the wind through silver caves
of islands, with wet pineapples and
frangipanis; breadfruit loose on your hair,
female crab, how lovely your shell!
Flesh of dead whale and eyeless dolphin
become buried in our misfortune, like flowers
upon ancient graves, slaughtered like sheep
and heifer, two hearts, two trees from
an image executed by this great sad love.
Sleep at night becomes a song of a
thousand moths being born from your hair,
each breath, each time your mouth opens,
butterflies, happy clowns, flutter out;
come your lips drowsed in sexy perfume.
The sting-ray has stung you. My voice
launched black geysers, hot mud pools,
katipos crawl from your feet; sinister,
morbid and sunless; the sky falls
like a stone, and a crucifixion bleeds.
Fields laugh with the sound of children;
mountains befriend the frenzied climber;
oceans are like clothes, and to dolphins,
fish and whale, they are
eternally surrounded by safe soft water.
You fall into reclusion of desolate bays,
you stand on the black sands of
peopleless shores; you see lion’s
head with dog’s body and butterfly’s
body with a bell-bird’s head dies before you.
Summer is life, life is summer,
you tip-toe through silent nights of
humming dew and soft rare stars that
shine day and night without wax.
You can be like a clown, without the mask.

From The Bond of Time
Fragrance on Earth Press, Auckland 1985/Pacific Writing Forum, 1998

John Pule

Last updated 25 September, 2005