Mary Williams
United Kingdom

Karakia Precari - Penny Howard 2016
Blackmail has published some of my work before. In the UK I have been published in many poetry journals, including Dogma, Lexicon, Acumen.
From a background in teaching and working in mental health. One husband, four sons, no cat.

Website is Fiction, commissioned non fiction and poetry.

THE GUARDIAN OF THE WAKA, Waitangi, New Zealand

We came here from the Islands,
so many moon-has-gones,
hoping to find this land.
This is our story:

Setting out from Roratonga on a clear day,
we heaved the waka
into the seething water,
following the whales.

Forty of us, men and women,
rowed out to a place
unseen from any shore,
guided by seven stars,
our dugout making good speed
over the dawn dim sea.

We thought we knew
where we were going.
Birds flew in front of us
whistling on into the distance
How could they be wrong?
Water was scarce. The gourds
were empty. Fish plentiful.
Somehow we managed.
Days and nights passed.

Our steering paddles
kept our course southward.
Nearly two thousand miles
flowed with the ocean under our bows.
Getting towards Cape Reinga
we saw the clouds rise where two oceans meet
and knew that we were nearly there.
A few died on the voyage, most did not.

Our dugout with its outriggers,
is beached now; its carved prow
raised and glowing in the sun. And I,
I am an old woman,
sitting by Waitangi Harbour
dreaming of the sea,
dreaming of setting forth again
to unknown islands
wherever home may be.
These moko tell my story on my face.                               

I shall head North again,
from here; towards Cape Reinga,
along the forest tracks
of totara, kauri, and taiwapu.

I shall go back to the Cape
travelling lightly as a ghost,
and stand on the earth?s edge,
where the two oceans meet.
There I will launch into the air,
pohutukawa blossoms
in my silver hair.

Going home.