Migrant song


long ago or yesterday
we came on dragons
of water
of wind
golden scales rippling
as we fell

now we search
for wings in the
long white cloud

ribbons of earth
wound around
our wrists,

the taste of kumara
in our mouths.


hot oil and frozen chips
hiss of laundry steam
hum of industrial vacuums
blood trickling from carcasses.


hybrid roots
grow strong
in this rich soil.


our children
are godwit chicks
catching the eastern winds
strings stretched
across oceans.

Renee Liang, a second-generation Chinese Kiwi, is a poet, playwright, paediatrician, medical researcher and essayist.  Renee has collaborated on visual arts works, film, opera and music, produced and directed theatre works, worked as a dramaturge, taught creative writing and organized community-based arts initiatives such as 'New Kiwi Women Write', a writing workshop series for migrant women, and 'The Kitchen', a new program nurturing stories in local kitchens. Her work 'The Bone Feeder', originally a play, later adapted into an opera, was one of the first Asian mainstage works to be performed in NZ. Renee has written, produced and toured eight plays. In 2018 she was appointed a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to the arts, and won 'Next Woman of the Year for Arts and Culture'.