Archives for posts with tag: New Zealand

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Transformation
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?

FOOTNOTES:
*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.

Family at Sandy Bay 1959
Magical shore
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

The magic began each time
with the first sight of the ocean,
a blue pie wedge between green hills
northeast of Whangarei. Even now
when the ocean appears before me
my heart leaps, and some part of me
still chants “I can see the sea-ea.”

Magic the headlands, the yellow crescent
joining them, the rockpools’ miniature world
where sea anemones slowly flower and when
shells move, they can be snails, or crabs.

Magic the swimming in calm waves, the raft
and canoe, pipis dug from wet sand at low tide,
rock crabs and fish, even eels in the creek
behind the sand dunes, where we swam
when the surf was too rough.

A trimontagog lived in a cave in the cliff
near the end of the beach. We never went
past it. A giant troll lived under the bridge
by the pump, and some of the trees could talk.

We found a pirate’s horde, once, the time
we had a secret midnight feast by torch light,
under a full moon; old coins, a pocketful, deep
in the sand. That memory still defines my life for me;
the magic of discovering treasure.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is of myself and siblings at Sandy Bay [New Zealand],  with a couple of cousins in 1959. Yikes.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Each year until I was a teenager my family would holiday at Sandy Bay, on the East coast near Whangarei, New Zealand, where my father was born. His brother still ran the old dairy farm and we’d “help” with the morning milking, and bring back a billy of fresh milk to the bach where we camped. Then we had the days and the beach to ourselves, until Mum blew the bull horn summoning us for a meal.

mercedes-webb-pullmanABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at benchpress.co.nz.

Maureen Sudlow
The Return
by Maureen Sudlow

going south
in the Antipodes mid-winter
feeling the bite
of the frost on our skin

beauty of the mountains
and the salt tang of
southern seas
where the dolphins
surf the waves
and the albatross wanders
the sky-ways for eternity

woken by the song
of the bell-bird
in the pines

storing memories

© Maureen Sudlow

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: Just a selfie (I am the photographer in the family so photos of myself are few and far between — especially on holiday!). This one was taken when we were walking in Akaroa (New Zealand).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It is not summer down here in the Antipodes, but we took a break to visit my home town of Christchurch for the first time since the big earthquake. Some of that time was spent in Akaroa and we were lucky enough to get out on a catamaran to see the dolphins. Very cold but we loved it!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maureen Sudlow lives in Dargaville, New Zealand, and has published one book of poetry and a children’s picture book. Her picture book was short-listed for the NZ Storylines Joy Cowley Award. More information is available on her blog www.kiwis-soar.com.

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The red pearl
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

I understood about the mouse. I hadn’t
thought it through, just wanted a pet.

On the way home he escaped in a shop.
The grocer caught him, brought him back

then Mum was mad. When Dad came home
he was furious. You’d think

I’d single handedly reintroduced
the Plague. I answered back, got a slap.

It ended at the chopping block, tomahawk
in one hand, mouse in the other

and Dad standing over, making me do it
myself. I felt the warm brown shaking

then it was done. One body, one head
one perfect red pearl at the nostril.

SOURCE: Previously published in Turbine 10. Listen to the author read her poem at this link.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: This is the only photo I have of me as a child — I am on the left. It was taken outside my Grandmother’s bach, on summer holiday, around 1959.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Otoliths, Silver Birch Press, among others, and in her books Food 4 Thought, Numeralla Dreaming, After the Danse, Ono, Looking for Kerouac, Tasseography, Bravo Charlie Foxtrot and Collected poems 2008-2014. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at www.benchpress.co.nz.

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SANCTUARY
by Maureen Sudlow

my grandfather’s shed
where I hid, crouched
with the mildewed books
that were my escape
from a sometimes violent world

the beauty of words
not spoken in anger
surrounding me
with dreams

© Maureen Sudlow

PHOTOGRAPH: The author (with bandaged knee), ready for church, Christchurch, New Zealand (approximately 1949).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I grew up in a big family with very little money, so there were often tensions in my home. Books and reading were my way of dealing with this, and have made me, eventually, into a writer.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maureen Sudlow
and her husband Rod live in Dargaville in the Kaipara (New Zealand). Maureen writes mainly poetry and children’s picture books and has had poetry published both on-line and in magazines such as A Fine Line. She has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Whitireia, and was short-listed for the 2012 Joy Cowley Award. She has published one children’s picture book Fearless Fred and the Dragon and a collection of poetry entitled Antipodes.

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Te Rauparaha
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Waves lick at the rocks, you feel the wind bite.
Canoes full of ghosts stroke over the sea —
Te Rauparaha’s back on the island tonight.

The tohunga said the omens are right;
the full moon of autumn reddens the beach,
waves lick at the rocks. You feel the wind bite

like a taniwha. Tribes are meeting to fight
for control of the coastline at Kapiti —
Te Rauparaha’s back. On the island tonight

his woman is waiting, hidden from sight
in the cave on the headland. Just out of reach
waves lick at the rocks; you feel the wind bite

at the trees. Her face in dim fire light
flickers with shadows; the future she reads
Te Rauparaha’s. Back on the island tonight

he’ll feast on the fallen, wairua his right
ruling the tribes of Paekakariki.
Waves lick at the rocks, you feel the wind bite —
Te Rauparaha’s back on the island tonight.

AUTHOR’S FOOTNOTES:
Te Rauparaha: Maori chief (1760-1849), war leader of Ngati Toa tribe, known as the Napoleon of the Pacific
tohunga: spiritual advisor to tribes
taniwha: mythical protective guardian of place
Kapiti: an island off the west coast of New Zealand; controlled the sea lanes
Paekakariki: settlement on the coast opposite Kapiti
wairua: spirit, the practise of eating brave enemies killed in battle to gain their powers

SOURCE: “Te Rauparaha” first appeared in The River Journal (2011).

PHOTOGRAPH: “Kapiti Island” (New Zealand) by Mercedes Webb-Pullman.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online, in print and in her books Food 4 Thought, Numeralla Dreaming, After the Danse, Ono, Looking for Kerouac, Tasseography, Bravo Charlie Foxtrot, and Collected poems 2008-2014. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at benchpress.co.nz.