new zealand electronic poetry centre

John Puhiatau Pule

online works

The craft of China, jade screen, of
women weaving silk. In you I see
the route of silk, in you come great
carvings of monasteries, you are an
article of aid, love and bondage.
You would not wait for me, sad things
cling to you because you are a magnet
of central sickness, a broken cup,
a body sculptured from a mixture of
grass, water, clouds and windows.
Waiting is so easy, waiting for hours.
I speak of the time of waiting outside
shop-doors, at bus-stops, at theatres,
at cafes, at libraries, at markets, waiting
for you anywhere merely to watch you.
Concept of words, style of dancing,
in you, oh woman of gesture, of hand
and arm, voluptuous and seductive,
geography of distinctive beauty, in you,
oh woman of gestures, in you.
Standing outside, mixing harmonious
air with scent, peppermint and coffee;
painting the house, little things that
translate peace, music in the colour,
music is a black child working in the mine.
Romance disappeared like a tragedy
from history. A helmet of dusty dreams,
a shirt of birds and design, a comb
to brush away heaps of metal, and in return
came nomadic tribes, hungry and tired.  
Position of love, law and art
when I lie close to you; and see
the border of pendants and gulls,
a vast history of kisses and oranges,
a portrait of health and bondage.
What are those falling in heavy drops
of rain from your shadow? a burning
volcano? a birth of an island?
a woodpecker strangled by insects?
Or is it me in your hatred of my nature?
You buy chocolate, mutton, flour,
mushrooms, pastry, eggs. And you bake
delicious food; roast chicken, salad of
carrot, lettuce, cucumber, tomato,
celery, greenpepper, nuts and cheese.
You sleep so still, watching you is
like watching pictures of the victims
of Pompeii. Asphyxiated everything,
decorated villas now dead, now
alive, now waking, you rise!
That is you crossing the Pont du Gard.
An architecture of stone and hand,
interpretation of destiny, that is
you now stopping, the sun down
behind you rides the purple sky home.
A mystery of evolution, a humiliation
of words and action, decline of will,
a pattern of stress, you carry these,
I’m pointing to that sack you rigidly
pull behind your back with confusion.

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

John Pule

Last updated 25 September, 2005