Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sad joke on a marae - Apirana Taylor

Sad joke on a marae - Apirana Taylor

Tehei Mauriora I called
Kupe Paikea Te Kooti
Rewi and Te Rauparaha
I saw them
grim death and wooden ghosts
carved on the meeting house wall

In the only Maori I knew
I called
Tihei Mauriora
Above me the tekoteko raged
He ripped his tongue from his mouth
and threw it at my feet

Then I spoke
My name is Tu the freezing worker
Ngati D.B. is my tribe
The pub is my marae
My fist is my taiaha
Jail is my home

Tihei Mauriora I cried
They understood
the tekoteko and the ghosts
though I said nothing but
Tihei Mauriora
for that's all I knew


  1. I read this in fifth form and just went looking for it again. Cheers. :)

  2. You have made three mistakes in retyping this poem, which blur the meaning of it. These are the errors
    1. Line 2: should read "Te Kooti"
    2. Line 7: Should read "In the only Maori I Knew"
    3. Line 22 should read "though I said nothing but"

    1. Actually, make that four. In line 3 the name is "Te Rauparaha".

      Thank you for posting the poem. I'm not being picky, I just thought readers need to have as accurate a version of the poem as possible.

  3. Awesome! Thank you so much, Harold. I type these from poetry books I own and often make typos and am unaware of it - really appreciate your helping me have an accurate record. Many thanks!