(brackets are Māori translations)
My head and body break the cloudy surface. A fear of drowning brings me up quickly. Blurred vision, and a salty gasp of air. I dive and I dive. Something erupts inside me and I roar triumphant! Flesh is goosebumped and muscle is defined in the cold.
Seaweed and tide want to take me with them. I have to jump for a breaking wave. An onshore gust whips the spray into my eyes. Blind, but still with sense. The wind bites again, so I submerge my body. “Fuck, this is even colder.” I sit and feel because I am tough. Kelp moves around my ankles. Pressures mount on my chest, breathing getting shorter. “AAAAAaaaahhh!” I scream! I am free from these humans. A time of solitude.
E whio atu ana ahau ki ngā manu, engari, kāhore rātau i whakahoki. Ka hekea te rākau e te ngokura, auē, he haerenga nui tērā.
Katahi ano au ka kite i tētahi ngeru ki rō rawa te ngāhere! Kei te aha ia i tēnei wāhi? Tērā pea, i pātai ōrite ia ki ahau. Ka whai ia i tōna taha taika pea. E mātakitaki ana ia i ahau. Auē, kei te patua ngā manu e te ngeru...
(I whistle forth to birds, they don’t return my call. The tree is descended by the caterpillar, oh my, that’s a big journey.
Oh wow, I just saw a cat right in the forest! What the heck is it doing in this place? Maybe he was asking me the same question. He’s probably trying to find his inner tiger. I can feel him watching me. I hope the cat isn’t killing birds...)
I pātai atu te tama ki te kaumatua. “E Koro, pēhea ngā whakaaro huna o tō tāua tūpuna?” E katakata ana te tangata, mau ana i tōna tokotoko. “Me haere koe ki ō whenua, hikoitia ngā tapuwae o ō tīpuna. Kei reira ngā whakaaro huna.”
(The boy asked his grandad. “Grandad, what is the sacred knowledge of our ancestors?” His grandfather chuckled and leaned upon his walking stick. “Go to your ancestral lands and walk in the footsteps of your ancestors. There lies the sacred knowledge.”)
A billy goat’s scruff is long, his horns are down-turned.
Elfin ears poke out sideways, they wobble in the wind.
A nuclear family of four scout the land, moving down-hill.
They must have caught my scent, “have a shower man.”
I settle into the couch, pen at the ready. “What to write?” The mouth of the piano is wide open, but no one is here to make it sing. Table chairs are pushed in, knees to knees. The dogs thirst must be quenched. I can no longer hear their lapping. In the kitchen, its a competition of the most incessant noise. Darn... it’s about all I can hear now. The weight of the old binoculars still drags on my neck. They’re resting on the table over there. Furry companions moan and whimper through glass doors. Their big eyes are hard to deny. “Sorry friend but you’re an outside dog.”
Whati ana ngā ngaru i ngā toka tohorā. Moemoea ngā kekeno i runga i ngā kōhatu. Kua hinga te aukati, e tū tahi ana ngā pou. Kua ngaro te hononga ki ō rātou hoa, auē. Kei te mārō te whenua nei. Koikoi te karaehe i ōku ringaringa. Kei runga rā e mau ana te taumata o Nukutaurua.
(Waves break upon whale backs. Dreaming seals sleep on rocks. The fence has fallen and the posts stand alone. They have lost the connection to their friends. The ground is hard and the grass pricks my hands. Up above the hill line of Nukutaurua holds fast.)