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No. 65 (December 1968)
– 52 –

HIKA AKE AU I TAKU AHI

I Now Generate My Fire

Lake fingers
tumble the pumice
in a long lament.

Tonight I lie
with the old women
and my supple rimu
scales the lean flanks
of Pirongia.

The lost canoe
deep in the sands
of Kawhia,
is not more lonely
than Rangiaho.

I fear
the fairy woman
of Pirongia;
the frosty clematis
with tendrils that ensnare.

I will gather
dry wood
for the failing fire,
fan the embers
into tongues of flame,

that he may see
the hearth flush
and, remembering
gentle valleys
and trout speckled streams,

break from
the fairy fetters,
and swiftly
as a mountain torrent
find the long lake shore.

Kathleen Grattan

The Challenge

Papa te whatitiri i runga i te rangi!
Hikuhiku te uira!

Gone are those hot days
when the battle-field
Jogged with the shouts
of the haka,
and the click and thrust
of the taiaha.

Gone are the kuia,
And the koroheke with his tokotoko
His ancestry he recites.
My ancestry …

Whano! Whano!
Haere mai te toki!
Haumi EEE!
Hui EEE!
Taiki EEE!

Now—
only I am left
To wonder what was theirs.
I too can recite ancestry
I too can haka
I too can sit and wonder.

Sit and wonder
Loud crashes the thunder in the sky!
The lightning flashes!

John Barrett