by Thomas Davis
We stood beneath graves of kings,
And Mana, silver haired, large in life, words, and laughter,
Stood with a staff made in Sante Fe, New Mexico
And spoke as a New Zealand bird sang,
Voice liquid as wind.
Later we stood above Huka Falls and the Waikato River
And saw colors of flowing water change
From a blue dark, with movement toward stones,
To white and turquoise as water tumbled and raged
To escape closing-in stone,
And then into turquoise blending toward green
As white, with turquoise flecks,
Thundered/rushed/calmed into river again.
Then, later still, we passed Pihanga Mountain
As she quietly made trouble in morning air
Near to where she had caused a larger mountain to move,
Leaving a great gash in the earth.
Until, at last, around a bend,
Below mountains covered with green grass,
Breathing with ribs
Made by sheep grazing over time,
We came to the sea where waves sprayed
Over dark shore rocks,
Ending our journey,
Which began in Minnesota winter
And ended here, in the land of Maori,
Where music is breathing
And woodcarvings scrawl a people’s story
From a time of canoes and great forests
Into a time borning
A storm of pride and promise.
Note: Mana in the poem is Mana Forbes, a man who talks to the ancestors and was our guide when we went to New Zealand in order to help establish WINHEC. WINHEC just held their annual meeting at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, NM where the World Indigenous University (WINU) was formed. The story of an organization that was just a vision thrown around in Hawaii when the first poems of this series were written continues to grow.