My Taiwhenua

This is my poem to celebrate New Zealand’s National Poetry Day.


My Taiwhenua

I am secure in my ponga palace, allowing
the mud to wash my jandalled feet.
Wash away dirty Baltic beaches,
communist scars, garlic and salami.

Seven long years I have longed,
for Papatowai mud to breathe
from under my toenails,
for kererū, bell bird
and Gipsy Caravan coffee
to set my starving soul free.

A repatriation, a watering
Otago, Te Wai Pounamu,
An estuary, waves, rātā and
cricket. Glorious bloody cricket,
but I don’t catch the ball.
‘Cause I am returning to
snow and slush, European
potholes and dog poo.

Returning to shrivel in
soggy skies and mourn
the breathing place of my soul,
my taiwhenua.

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