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No. 49 (November 1964)
– 14 –

TWO POEMS

The Burial Cave

They told me not to go.
It was wrong for a stranger
To walk such hallowed soil.
To mock such sacred rite:

They told me not to take their only god
To stifle him between black printed text.

I laughed.
Could land so warm
Could a hole of ancient myth
This my home
Harm so strong a love?

Being a gentleman, he said
‘You wait here, I'll go first.’
Green fern fronds
Waved for him
His last goodbye.

I dined alone that night.

Taku Kainga

When I was a child
we had to leave our home:

It was a great adventure to me,
but the others—
old enough to learn shame
and know the meaning
of probing eyes

went about with
heads down,
eyes squinting
against tears that would,
that must not show.

It was like opening
a story book and stepping in;
only the covers
would not quite fit,
people could see.

On that final morning,
after we had all slept
in a fowlshed,
spread out on mattresses,
pressed against the walls,

I left
without even saying goodbye.