Long Bay Regional Park, Torbay


I come for the birds –
and see fantail — pīwakawaka,
also tui and pukeko,
though I love to call her swamphen
in secret – it seems neighborly,
and I long to see a kiwi,
to make me laugh and cry,
and think how many blessings
there are
that do not have wings.

Also the trees are new to me
the pohutukawa just turning red
and the kowhai
scattering its yellow
as if color would never end,
the kauri woods
“brush off your shoes” –
says the sign —
you’re standing on holy ground.

But I come to confess other birds
those who lived here when these islands
were natural sanctuary
and now are gone forever,
their songs never to be heard again,

and how carelessly
people who look like me
still go wherever we want to go
and for our convenience
break the world.

All the world is in terrible danger,
for Maori, Pakeha, stranger passing by —
all of us
are wingless birds.

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