For National Poetry Day:

Rain by Hone Tuwhare.




This Friday’s poem is Humming by Hone Tuwhare from his collection Oooooo…..!!!  published by Steele Roberts.


I’ll leave it to you to find – or not – a message for Waitangi Day in it.




It is a house to be constructed with care

      for it has no confining walls

     thus permitting expansion: vertical


    growth is not inhibited for there is no limit to the height of the ceiling

    stretching to heaven. This house

    can endure given a chance, that’s

    for sure  … H m m m m


But since it is of earth its foundations may be

     built of sand: and because there are

    no confining walls this fragile house

    of love may be seen as layers of light

   and colour – a feeling tone – warm, purple

   orange grey hot and cold with lots of blue

   and yellow to make it green – green

   was predicatble … H m m m m


Fleshed out though, this house of love isn’t

     ageless, but ages old. It has form; contour.

     It has presence; a brilliant arc uniting

    heaven and hell; love-thoughts in pursuit of

    a physical expression – a noisy, gloppy

    proclamation –


                 Aha   Aha – Aha – Aha   Aha


    … and horses, huffing and pounding into

     the straight, riders snarling, cruel whips

     flailing – the anguish of stretched leather

     reeking sweetly of sweat … And reason? Ahh.


    Reason is a hunchback of irrelevance backing

    quietly out the door.


But where are the flowers – the select flowers

      of endearment, soul-food to dazzle the heart?


    O, they’re here, all right: there, there

    and THERE … H m m m


             – Hone Tuwhare –

No Ordinary Sun


The ODT reminded me that today is the first anniversary of Hone Tuwhare’s death which makes his poem, No Ordinary Sun, an appropriate choice for this Friday’s poem.

I found it on Hone’s website.

No Ordinary Sun

Tree let your arms fall:
raise them not sharply in supplication
to the bright enhaloed cloud.
Let your arms lack toughness and
resilience for this is no mere axe
to blunt nor fire to smother.

Your sap shall not rise again
to the moon’s pull.
No more incline a deferential head
to the wind’s talk, or stir
to the tickle of coursing rain.

Your former shagginess shall not be
wreathed with the delightful flight
of birds nor shield
nor cool the ardour of unheeding
lovers from the monstrous sun.

Tree let your naked arms fall
nor extend vain entreaties to the radiant ball.
This is no gallant monsoon’s flash,
no dashing trade wind’s blast.
The fading green of your magic
emanations shall not make pure again
these polluted skies . . . for this
is no ordinary sun.

O tree
in the shadowless mountains
the white plains and
the drab sea floor
your end at last is written.

 – Hone Tuwhare –




This Friday’s poem is Rain by Hone Tuwhare, chosen because we’ve had some but need some more.


It’s from An Anthology of Twentieth Century New Zealand Poetry, published by Oxford, University Press, 1976.




I can hear you making

small holes in the silence



If I were deaf

the pores of my skin

would open to you

and shut


And I should know you

by the lick of you

if I were blind:


the steady drum-roll

sound you make

when the wind drops


the something

special smell of you

when the sun cakes

the ground


But if I should not


smell of feel or see you


you would still

define me

disperse me

wash over me



– Hone Tuwhare –  



This Friday’s poem chose itself while I was browsing in a bookshop yesterday. It’s by Hone Tuwhare and comes from Oooooo……!!!  published by Steele Roberts.

(In case you’re wondering I bought the book).

Meander, but trap the meaning

of your thoughts, on paper


For reasons

      I cannot say

      nor state

      nor overcome, a tendency

      vague, nor infer an abandoned modesty, to

      have them

      cast in stone? No.


No…no…no! And to you,

      Fate, a double, ‘no-no’ –

      which in Maori, means

         ‘arse-holes’ (nono)



         Fate! And to my

    hand, unfalteringly –


I say: Go! Go for it! Let

      your writing-wrist

       flex, curve lovingly, making easy-going words of magic

     – on the paper. Yea!


        – Hone Tuwhare –

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