Brother William, Maori Singer

by Thomas Davis

Twelve hawks soar in a circle,
Each wheeling interlocking into the next.

They soar higher and higher,
Dark wings part of summer blue sky,
Growing smaller as they climb
Above valley grasses,
Pines, and fluttering aspen leaves
Covering sides of hills,
Rising into symphony
Of ever lighter blue distance,
Ever climbing mountains.

Then, in a splinter of light,
Bird wing flashes white.
The world changes
While sky, mountains, trees
Live inside their own sense of time.

On the stage, wooden, outside,
Before a crowd of brown faces,
Maori laughed and sang
A storm of life
And eyes dancing in faces.

In the midst of song and laughter,
A slim, aging man stood in front of the singers.
He spoke of birds wheeling high in the distance of sky.

Note: This happened on the Stoney Reserve in Canada on the day that the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium was formed.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

4 responses to “Brother William, Maori Singer

  1. What an arresting scene Thomas, and so well caught in these lines. An unusual form from you – though not unprecented – and beautifully written.

  2. Simply reading this the world slows and takes a deep breath.

  3. Julie Catherine

    Incredible poem, Thomas, beautifully written. I love Maori music, but the only singer I remember listening to is Kiri Te Kanawa, who has an exquisite voice. Love this. Sending love and hugs to you and Ethel and wishing you a wonderful Independence Day! ~ Julie xoxox

  4. Beautiful imagery you’ve painted of this place and time, this Maori Singer. I was especially taken with the lines:

    While sky, mountains, trees
    Live inside their own sense of time.

    Love that!!!!! (I’ve felt it….)

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