Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Boys, Please Dont Rock the Boat

  The boys are restless, 
And his brothers
Treading lightly
Enough for atua but
Creating the tiniest crack --
A devastating splinter
For mere mortals.
And we watch in fear,
Those who infest the fish.
We watch and listen from afar -
"Kauaka tikoki e te waka"
Knowing your music is
 You                  Not ours.
             All are shaken,
                overwhelmed, relieved,
                 for, in this place we hold life is sacred.
         Families, friends, the cleanup crew,
           no one forgets the North waits
                                                             for Maui to
                               the fish

Alicia Ponder

I felt the earthquake was the province of people who had lived through it. That raw emotion belongs to you who lived through it and are still living through the aftershocks. Still something like this doesn't pass anyone in New Zealand by, we all know people who are affected, so this was my take, a little late. Hopefully there's some kind of balance with North and South -- apart but together. Also if anyone speaks Maori feel free to tell me if I've stepped wrong. I was using online dictionaries for hours to try to get the phrase "don't rock the boat". Which was a bit of an eye-opener, because I thought it would be dead easy. And it wasn't - a bit like the shape itself. :)

PS if you want to know about quakes in your corner of New Zealand - why not check out GeoNet? It can give you updates, either choose your region or check out the overview.

A..J. Ponder - author page


  1. Alicia,

    I think Jeffrey is probably your most immediate poetic feedback person for Maori phrasing because I believe he has studied Te Reo extensively ... I spent 10 years growing up in a remote, predominantly Maori community but my mastery of te reo would only count as a 'smattering' nonetheless.

    I supect that for me, there is a lot of processing yet to do before I have an earthquake poem of my own, but poems always come in their own time, I find ...

    Your poem reminded me a little of Karen Healey's book "Guardian of the Dead" which I read and enjoyed recently.

  2. Thankyou Helen and Maggie (below) I was really worried about finding the right tone for this one. :)

    Maggie R-S (Nice shape to your poem Alicia, I like that, and the title and Maui and the ideas within - sorry, no knowledge of Te Reo, but really enjoyed the ideas within.) I've adjusted my comments settings, so we'll see how that goes!

  3. Very clever shape! I like the oblique way you've approached the earthquake too.

  4. I'm not in a position to comment on the accuracy/appropriateness of this poem's use of Te Reo, but what I can say is that I think it's a tremendous poem, and I think the shape works brilliantly: I know how much effort it must have cost you to get it formatted correctly in Blogspot, but it was worth it!

  5. I know - I'm a week late - but I really love this one (alas, can't help with the Te Reo).

  6. Cheers, guys, I do appreciate you all dropping by :)

  7. I also really enjoyed the shape of the poem. I'm working on a series of poems to do with geography at the moment and it was nice to see the geography of a place literally appear in a poem. Were you influenced by any other poems when writing this?

  8. Hi Sarah, cheers for your comment. Unfortunately I can't say that I was influenced by other poems, unless perhaps some of the other earthquake poems on the Tuesday poem blogroll. The shape of the poem just seemed intrinsic to what I was trying to convey.

    Good luck with your series of poems on geography it sounds like a cool idea.