‘So,’ asked the young man
‘you know about Gallipoli?’
‘Well yes of course it’s always in the papers.’
‘But what about New Zealand?’ he added.
‘What of when we killed one another?
GatePa, Kaiapoi, Kawhia, Kororareka?’
‘Kaikoura,’ I rejoined. ‘I walked a hillside there
and felt the cold air rushing through the grasses.
And I have seen the Hawthorn flower in blood red spatters
on the cliffs at Rangihaeata
where in the tick of night
ancient war cries drift.’
‘And heard the sounds as waves meet rock
where restless bones still lie.’
© Helen McKinlay
Without detracting from the importance of Anzac Day I have to say it has always struck me as odd that we talk so much about our part in war overseas and not much about the many battles which happened here and not too long ago.
This poem is part of a longer poem cycle in which I explore my relationship, (as a pakeha woman) to New Zealand culture past and present.
Please return to Tuesday Poetry Blog to devour multiple delicious poetic treats!