new zealand electronic poetry centre

R I E M K E    E N S I N G



in tribute to Hone Tuwhare
Dear Hone,
I saw you in Wellington
that night you got richer.* Later
you came to a reading. We embraced. Had our pictures taken
as though I too were a celebrity. It was a long time
since those Grafton days, ‘The Globe’ and Davy Mitchell.
Rosemary made the Tapes, remember?
I told you then I’d met Te Rauparaha
up the coast, his butt to the wind
whistling in from Kapiti.
His eyes to the hills of the tupuna filling with houses.
His tongue hurling the words of his haka
‘Ka Mate, Ka Mate’
We felt the bones turning on those devastated slopes
and I saw you again
standing over Baxter’s grave in Jerusalem    [1972]
where the sun went down. Haere, haere, haere ra.
On my way North, I saw Te Whiti on Taranaki.
A wreath of cloud wrapped round his head like a halo.
Rua was there in your hat and Tony      [ Fomison]
among stars.
They waved.
Light parachutes in.
The view startling.
All your friends
and the whole mountain

* In 2003 Hone Tuwhare received the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry.


Last updated 23 April, 2006