all our directions home

the taonga are placed on the sand.

taiaha stand quivering in the wind

speaking to the rōpū of sand-diggers,

fire-lighters, early morning risers.

the people of this place mix easily

with us manuhiri, come to watch.

the greenstone mere smashes
the seashell in half: a clean break

between where we’ve come from
& where we are now, understood. 

we talk on the wind—impatience,

the ragged wave, sinks into the sand.

we listen to a story of sea birds, 

how in the evening, their bellies full

they’ll spiral upwards on the wind.

when high enough, the leading birds 

cry out & begin to fly straight

in the direction of their island home. 

the birds on the sea, watching this,
lift off & follow



you who first rise up on the wind

to see which way for us, we promise 

to follow. call out loud from above 

& we in our numbers will fly!

the tide turns, we gather the taonga,

put them in the boot of the car

& drive to the whare, where we eat 

together quietly—before one-by-one 

we rise to the heights & speak

of all our directions home.

Published in 'a fine line', magazine of the NZ Poetry Society, May 2014