Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Te Whiti and Tohu - Elizabeth Smither

On the last morning of his life
Te Whiti fed corn to his pigeons.
Tohu was buried on top of his coffin
smashed in a dozen pieces.

Tohu had his left hand middle finger
shot away by a bullet. Te Whiti’s
right hand middle finger was torn off
by a millstone. They married sisters.

At Tohu’s death a canoe-shaped cloud
with a figure lingered for three days.
Te Whiti spoke of ko manawanui: forbearance
the canoe by which we are to be saved.

Sharpe, I. (Ed.). (2001, January 1). Best New Zealand Poems 2001. Retrieved from http://www.victoria.ac.nz/modernletters/bnzp/2001/home.html

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