blackmail press 33
Doug Poole
New Zealand

Tui 3 - Penny Howard
The following poems are an extract from "Manu Aroha". The works were written in conjunction with eight artworks by visual artist Penny Howard (Mahurehure). Both the poetic works and paintings are an journey within the Va (space between all things). Thematically the paintings and poems are of Victorian notions of courtship and love, juxtaposed with Maori Ātahū. The Back drop is the ensuing colonisation of Aotearoa, in particular the New Zealand Land Wars and infamous Dog Tax War of the Hokianga. 

“Your Heart A Rubus Shelter”


Sheltering Rubus
Strands of Poa grass

Moss of stones &
Down of fern root

Spray of slender twigs
Purple Konini

Kahikatea berry
Miro plum

Your heart a Rubus shelter
& the colour of your Aroha

Konini, Kahikatea & Miro


She sings from the Kahikatea nested in many lifetimes
through the ancestors of Rehua. Shaken from his hair, tumbling
into the hands of Tāne and the people

She sings like the ages were moments just passed
My blood swam backward in my veins: Heart shape-shifts
eyes & mouth wet; toes become claws &

wings cleave free of bone and I soar within her song,
higher ever higher, never to reach Rehua’s heaven:
Te Putahi-nui-o-Rehua

I soar within her voice, as man-bird-soul.
My death & belonging. She is the gift of Rehua
I awaken to her song


Aerial worker
musical stalker
Phantom talker
buried water

Beyond his song

Rubus shelter,
rabble skelter
Hanging man
bloodied marauder

Beyond his chortle

Shaken hair
sacred feast
Nectar fool
Karo bloom

Beyond the Pa
the sky breaks


Reach out
Stretch out

Break off the ripe tirori

Stretch out
Reach out

To my waxing mouth


“Haere Mai e Ipo”


Twirl, twirl
Twist& dive
Dart & dip


Twirl, twirl
Curl & jive
Swirl & flip

Aitu, Atahu
Maui Potiki

Twirl, twirl
Twist & rise
Keen & quick


I touch your neck
with my Taiaha blade
run my fingers along the
fringe of your korowai
Imitating the chirrup of birds
I kill one, taking it hand
recite this charm

Haere mai e ipo
Sweetheart Come
Haere mai e ipo
Sweetheart Come

My Ātahu rest upon
Your sacred head
May it call to your heart
Influence your desire
to come, return to me
I shall rest in your heart

Haere mai e ipo
Sweetheart Come
Haere mai e ipo
Sweetheart Come


Haere tāku miromiro

Look beyond the black
Bring me home my lover
Bring my lover back

Haere tāku miromiro

scout the muddy track
Bring me home my lover
Bring my lover back


“A Journey Carried In Our Heart”


When we reunite we cry,
our eyes, drooping flax flower
our tears, falling honey shower
Hawaiki, the journey carried in our heart
Each single heart & blood lines migration
Generation to generation

Listening to the singing scales of Va
before Tagaloa-a-lagi split the stone
unimpeded by gravity, the thin ear

Life then is a journey,
from Hawaiki to Hawaiki:

The Great Hawaiki

Long Hawaiki

Hawaiki Far Away


A single white pebble sates thirst
over many long miles.
Hawaiki to Melanesia,
Viti to Samoa,
Southwest to, Tahiti,
Cook Islands, Aotearoa.

South to the abundance of insects & sun.
Falling into your arms, tears fall
like the drooping harakeke flower.
The sun refracts all sorrow to a rainbow.
colours shift in form, creating omens.

In death we return, Hawaiki to Hawaiki


Gogo’sina, my love, save us from the light
Our stories live, spiral ever forward, ever back

Gogo’sina, my love, high on an updraft
journey to the infinite pouliuli

Gogo’sina recite the story of my Aiga
the high chief Tuailemafua o Safune, Savaii

Gogo’sina, on my death, will I be shrouded
in the fine mat, laid to rest upon loto fanua

Blow low notes, forever within my heart
until we meet again in the children