by Sheila Hailstone

The drum of the realization of the promise is beating.
We are sweeping the road to the sky.
Your joy is here today. What remains for tomorrow?
                            Rumi, translated by R.A. Nicolson

The Earth’s tectonic plates collided,
thrusting upwards
and crinkled this land like a potato chip.
Born from the ring of fire,
volcanoes vomited lava.
Molten magma overheated,
oozing over the landscape.
Pustulant boils remained.
The drum of the realization
of the promise is beating.

The ground rose up from the sea.
Mountains formed, capped in ice.
Rain forests covered the earth
and drew sweet, clear, water
from the depths.
Birds flew and lost their wings
and foraged on land for *kai.
The children born in the safe cocoon
of sky and earth prised open
Papa and Rangi—breaking the tie,
sweeping the road to the sky.

Now I live upon this land as if it is forever,
while the sea rises, as the glaciers melt.
I denude the trees, scrape the ocean beds,
I exploit the wild lizard rivers.
I feed out palm kernels
I pour chemicals on the land
to help grasses grow,
to make milk to sell,
to buy cars and aeroplanes.
I poison the bees with Neonicotinoids
without sorrow.
This, my Joy is here today, but
what remains for tomorrow?

*Kai – food in Te Reo Maori.
*Papatūānuku ( Earth Mother) Ranginui ( Sky father).

PHOTO: Milford Sound, New Zealand. Photo by Jasper van der Meij on Unsplash.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: From Aotearoa (New Zealand), Sheila Hailstone sends poetry out into the world. In 2020, her work Waiting for an avalanche when you live by the sea, was awarded first prize in NZ Micro Flash Lockdown competition. She is the author of children’s stories and a memoir, Dancing Around Cancer. Visit her at cancer-cancan.com.