The Friday Poem: ‘Hawaiki’ by Bob Orr

New poetry by Thames writer Bob Orr.

 

Hawaiki

 

My first

university

 

the freezing works

at Horotiu –

 

my first professor

a tohunga

 

in white overalls and

gumboots

 

who worked

on the boning floor.

 

One evening drinking

beer

 

as the setting sun

was turning the Waikato River red

 

in the course

of our conversation

 

he told me

he could trace his

 

whakapapa

back to Hawaiki.

 

I enquired ‘where is

Hawaiki?’

 

His answer

I can’t recall.

 

On the other side

of the street

 

beneath the bloodlines

of an evening sky

 

a boy on a bike

chanted

 

                  Ake!

                  Ake!

                   Ake!


From the new collection One Hundred Poems and a Year by Bob Orr (Steele Roberts, $30), available at Unity Books.

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