Thursday, August 13, 2009
When sorting out old poetry files yesterday I came across a poem I'd written way back to the time of the road blocks in Labasa which must have been about 87. I rejigged the poem a little and here it is. Wasavulu of course is a historical site a few k out of Labasa town.
Near our grandfather's garden
knee-deep in weaving grasses
we leapt barefoot over flat stones,
ducked around grey pillars,
targetted trees with coconuts,
made spinning windmills.
Mere called out for lunch
'Come and eat shellfish.'
Grandfather, after a Christian grace,
said, 'The gods are friends;
they organize, sustain us.
In return we host others,
bhaini and bhaiya, who
plough valleys and hillsides,
and lease money becomes
our new tradition.'
Tabu to women once, a secret place,
a priest's falsetto prepared for war.
Ritual blood smeared the grass
and mana leapt amidst stones.
Goddesses once hauled stones overland
after a skirmish in Cakaudrove.
The bure kalou now invisible,
The shark-god not spoken of.
Men no longer dance in moonlight
but look sidelong at neighbours
as school buses stall on bad roads.
Do you remember when sandals
slapped bitumen in political marches
and hymns were sung at a road-block?
Now men dream over yaqona bowls,
cannot speak of islands scorched by the sun.