Te Hā

Mother, by Hinemoana Baker

Tapu Te Ranga hui 2016, photos courtesy of Trina Heke.

(for Tapu Te Ranga)

Mother is a north wind and she stops the trembling.
Mother has hands of flax and butter.
Linseed and two-stroke, all the same
we hear the rain try and squall.
Mother is Ūkaipō and East Coast.
She is not north this early morning.
Feet of cause and effect, feet of bridges.
All of the mother around us, all of the mother
under and above us: with her we feel un-clumsy and on-shore.
The adzed and hand-smoothened
mother of play, of katakata, of laugh.
Mother of church and kindergarten, of live and die.
Mother of born. She calls me dreamer, knee-kicker, nail-biter
calls me in to eat. My feet are a plant, in real life too.
Whakataka te hau. Kia hii ake ana te atakura.
Mother oh Mother, now no-one can make
a non-human object out of me! Mother
oh Mother we have half a bright red hour
we have the whole bled out night through.
If you have to be diving, Mother, be deep under
with a good heavy roof of ocean on you, good engineering.
Mother of Language and Mother of Land.
Flaxfuls of seed and a hand in your hand.

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