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Kiri Piahana Wong
New Zealand

Enigmatic blue on a weekly basis Andy Leleisi'uao
Enigmatic blue on a weekly basis - Andy Leleisi'uao
Kiri Piahana-Wong is a New Zealander of Maori, English & Chinese
ancestry.  She is a freelance editor, poet, and graduate student
living on Auckland's North Shore. Kiri is currently hard at work on
her first poetry collection, an exploration of the colours blue and
yellow, entitled Sunlight on the Water.

It was a time of heartbreak
Ka pā mai te pouri i taua wā

It was a hard year.
My sister’s mental illness.  My
mother’s poor health.  New lines
on my father’s face.

I lost my ability to
write, and, for a while, to
talk.  I inhabited my head.  I
felt alone.

I read The Bible and Jenny
Bornholdt’s These Days.
I think Jenny helped me
more, although I liked
psalm 69.  In this psalm,
David is going through a
terrible time, and it made me
feel better, like how it feels
watching news about
famine in Africa, and realising
we have a cupboard full
of food, plenty of water,
and a house that doesn’t
leak (except in heavy rain).

I concentrated hard on small
things: like keeping myself
warm.  I wrapped
myself in poetry and
merino fingerless gloves.
Whenever the sun came out,
I ran outside and basked,
alongside my cat. We
would do this 4-5 times
a day, until the sun
went away.

It helped.
A little.

Hoki atu ki ō maunga kia purea ai e ngā hau a Tāwhirimātea.
Return to the mountain.  Let the winds of Tāwhirimātea refresh you.


“It was a time of heartbreak” and Māori translation from H.M. Ngata, English-Māori Dictionary, Learning Media Ltd, 1993, p.200, under “heart-break”.

Whakatauki /proverb “Hoki atu ki ō maunga...” is from Te Kura Takiwā o Te Ataarangi, Kōwae Ako 6, 2004, p.18.  English translation by poet.  Tāwhirimātea is the God of winds and storms.  Thank you to my kaiako: Tawehi and Putiputi Te Wake-Munro, thanks and aroha to my classmates at Taipari (2004), especially Ropata Selwyn.

From: unfinished notes to self

These days, there
are no walks on
distant beaches, no
late nights smoking
cigarettes and spinning
talk and dreaming—

drunk with life and
its possibilities

drunk on obsession and
relentless memories

the life together we
never lived

the words I wrote but
was afraid to say

the years that passed
while we searched,
and came back together,
again, and again, but
kept walking away

I am content. To catch
your gaze across a
crowded room. 
To cradle your son. 
To fall asleep at the
movies, my head
on your shoulder. 
To enjoy the absence
of longing.  To sit
in silence.  To laugh
at you.  To laugh
with you.

And finally, to
smile at myself.
At my younger
self.  Running
through the grass
to you, without
any shoes on.