poetryrepairs 16.01:001

MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : wakakehua
MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN : The last Tarawera tohunga

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MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN
wakakehua

cold silver water sliced open by wakakehua mends behind it like mercury in moonlight yet somehow the canoe doesnít move its fluid misty shape resists focus ancestors donít cause disasters but may come to warn when they know the Gods grow angry the mountain must explode

poetryrepairs #220 16.01:001





MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN
The last Tarawera tohunga

We felt bad about it later, after the dead were dug out, counted, and buried again, when we were used to living somewhere else, used to the volcano with that great hole blown out of it. Heíd warned us not to neglect our gods. We ignored him but still the women fed him, eyes down. He would have starved without them; he couldnít ever touch food and no one could touch him. We laughed at the old ways. When the spirit waka came he said our ancestors were warning us, we must leave now. We laughed at him again. After the eruption we found him alive; had to touch him to help him from the ash but he never spoke again, refused to eat or drink and died in hospital. When we think of Tuhoto Ariki we know he died because he couldnít make us listen and this makes us uneasy; even when we donít think of him we feel guilty.

poetryrepairs #220 16.01:001



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MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN notes: 'Before the Mt Tarawera eruption 1886 a ghost canoe or wakakehua appeared on the lake.'

Mercedes Webb-Pullman: IIML Victoria University Wellington MA in Creative Writing 2011. Books on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00AJWI5CE and her website www.benchpress.co.nz

MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN notes:
Tarawera - volcano in New Zealand, erupted in 1886
tohunga - close to being a Maori priest, though there's no exact translation
spirit waka - ghost canoe
Tuhoto Ariki - the last Tarawera tohunga

Look for the feature of WEBB-PULLMAN"S Maori poems in the June 2016 issue of poetryrepairs (#226)"

I have a haiku in Cent Haiku Pour La Paix - in English, French, German and Spanish


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