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K E R I   H U L M E

Poet, short story writer, novelist and fisher, Keri Hulme was born in Otautahi, New Zealand, in 1947. She has Scots, English and Maori ancestry; her tribal affiliation is to Kāi Tahu (Kāti Rakiamoa, Kāi Te Ruahikihiki). Writing fulltime since 1983, Hulme gained international recognition with the novel the bone people (which won the New Zealand Book Award for Fiction, the Mobil Pegasus prize for Maori writing, both in 1984, and the Booker-McConnell award in 1985). Keriís main interests are her whanau, friends, reading, painting, food and fishing, especially whitebaiting (the reason why she continues to live in an isolated area on the west coast of the South Island, New Zealand).


 
Silence
. . . on another marae

E ngā iwi o ngāi tahu
(for Rowley Habib, who asked the question)

Where are your bones?

       My bones lie in the sea

Where are your bones?

       They lie in forgotten lands
       stolen, ploughed, and sealed

Where are your bones?

       On southern islands
       sawed by discovering winds

Where are your bones?

       Whisper:
       Moeraki: Pūrakaunui: Arahura:
       Okārito: Murihiku: Rakiura . . .

Where are your bones?

       Lying heavy on my heart

Where are your bones?

       Dancing as songs and old words in my head
       deep in the timelessness of mind

Where are your bones?

       Here in my gut
       strong in my legs walking
       knotting my fists
       but

Where are your bones?

       Auē!
       My bones are flour,
       ground to make an alien bread . . .

Mihi. Greeting. Weeping hello.
And to me, standing out as though
Iím the cripple in a company of runners;
to me, pale and bluegrey-eyed,
skin like a ghost, eyes like stones;
to me, always the manuhiri when away from home Ė
the weeping rings louder than the greeting.

   

 


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Last updated 04 July, 2004