The winds of spring are starting
Even in June to blow
From a wild sky, and round this house
Where a cat sleeps on a bed
And my friends bring me in some kai,
Goat chops roasted a bit too much

In our family oven. But that’s not much
To gripe about. When we were starting
Here we often had no kai
Except onions, and the rain would blow
Through broken windows. Now I lie on a bed
In what the cops would call my house

Though it is in fact a Maori house
Under the wing of the marae too much
For many to like it. The church would give us a bed
Of nails to lie on, the State would like to see me starting
An army borstal. Let the wind blow
From the Maori hill and we will get our kai,

Our houses, our freedom. Tank our friend brings kai
Up from the pa. Father Te Awhitu patched this house
Chopping timber blow by blow
When the pakeha farmers would not have given as much
As a cup of tea. Now the tree is starting
To sprout from its ramshackle seedbed,

The love of the many. I can lie in bed
Under blankets and eat for a kai
The goats my friends have shot, while slips are starting
To block the river road. This old Maori house
Is the mother’s lap where the child learns as much
As he is able, and the June rains blow

Harmlessly. I wait for God’s breath to blow
Life into the body of a culture on its deathbed
Or else, Frank, for those who have had to bear too much
To make a new start, share their clothes and kai,
Put down mattresses in every meeting house
And build their own canoe. It’s difficult starting

Anything new, yet the wind starting to blow
From the house of the sun will tumble the saints out of bed.
It’s wise to eat one’s kai and not say too much.


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