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Resolving the shadows of home
night so deep the river stones wept
night and shadows made one
objects confused with spirits
and day a jug yet to be poured from the sky
The news off the Net:
- abolish Maori representation
- Te Heuheu sacked by the Opposition
- foreshores confiscated forever
I swept the pen erratically across black paper –
words couldn’t fill the night
With the leaping spirits we threw
our voices past Three Kings to sea -
eyes wide open with ancestors.
We flew air and water, lifted
by rainbows, whales, dolphins thrashing
sharks into birthways of the sea’s
labour: Rapanui born graven
faced above the waves – umbilical
stone; Tahiti born from waka:
temple centre of the world;
Hawai’i cauled from liquid
fire: the goddess Pele churning
land from sea: born as mountains;
Aotearoa on a grandmother’s
bone - Maui’s blood to birth leviathan;
Samoa, Tonga, born before
the names of the sea of islands,
before Lapita clay turned to gourd,
before we slept with Pacific
tongues. Chant these births Oceania
with your infinite waves, outrigged
waka, bird feasts, and sea feasts,
Peruvian gold potatoes.
Sing your births Oceania.
Hold your children to the sky
and sing them to the skyfather
in the languages of your people.
Sing your songs Oceania.
Pacific Islanders sing! till
your throats are stones heaped as temples
on the shores for our ancestors’
pleasure. PI’s sing! to remind
wave sand tree cliff cave of the songs
we left for the Moana Nui
a Kiwa. We left our voices
here in every singing bird –
trunks like drums – stones like babies –
forests fed by our placentas.
Every wave carries us here –
every song to remind us –
we are skin of the ocean.
from Voice carried my family, forthcoming Auckland UP 2005
© Robert Sullivan 2004