Tag Archives: Mana Forbes

Kahukura

by Thomas Davis from World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium Poems, Navajo Technical University Press

Two long days of writing a constitution
And making the structure of an accreditation authority,
Then the long drive from Porirua to Hamilton
Through the Ruahine range of mountains
And mountains and hills of the Wanganui River.
All day we passed from sunshine to storm,
Rain and even hail blowing out of clouds
That crept white and shifting down green mountains
Where rows of pines waited for cover
Before they marched in maneuvers
Designed to confuse eyes of hawks and human beings.

We traveled so long we forgot about white manes of seahorses
That galloped in heavy winds beneath ocean
Into unmoving rocks of shore.

For hours rainbows walked ahead of us,
Sometimes one, bright in its arching,
And at other times two, dark one larger than the bright one
And always trailing behind,
A mother watching out for her adventuresome child
That once darted so close to us it made the wet branches of a pine tree shine.

We did not stop at the proceedings at Moutoa Gardens
Where Maori camped in bright colored tents,
Occupying ground in order to assert sovereignty
As old as the naming of the shaky isles by Aborigine,
But passed gorges plunging to river waters
Before greenness that covered hills and mountains
And fell into valleys blessed by singing birds
That kept trying to tell of the rainbow’s walking glory.

At the Lady of the Waterfall, in rain,
Mana Forbes blessed stones we had taken to ourselves
After we had climbed down steps to the waterfall
In the country of kings.

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The Journey to Advancing the Foundations of WINHEC Meeting in Todd Park, New Zealand 11-9-02

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.

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Mana Forbes

I sing the song of Mana Forbes,
His laughter deep with sun-drenched days;
Inside his spirit swirling orbs
Of rainbows dance in bright display.

He drives through fields of endless green
And tries to mock his mocking songs,
But eagles swoop into his dreams
And metamorphose right and wrong

Into a joyous paen to the earth
From where he rises every morn
And feels the cycling birth/rebirth
Of time forever being found, reborn.

So, here’s to Mana voyager!
Canoeing over rivers, hills, and shores,
The clown whose prophecy can stir
Heart prayer, joy, and hawk-winged lore.

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