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No. 58 (March 1967)
– 17 –

NGONGOTAHA

Te Tuahu o te Atua—
the altar of the God is silent—
the fairy people gather no more
on the mighty mountain.
Ihenga has fled, smeared in ochre
and shark oil,
his feet singing fear down
Ngongotaha's slopes.

I shall sing little songs
for Tongakohu; for the fairy people
banished from the forest air;
songs as light as the flight.
of Piwakawaka,
a singing, sad
as the first bird-note of Koromako
in the mist-shaped dawn.

In the silence,
at Ngongotaha's feet,
I shall place a white stone,
a red stone, bright as the evening star,
a blue orchid from the forest floor.
On all sides of the mountain
there is silence–
for Tongakohu and the fairy people
are no more.

—Susi Robinson Collins