Here we are a skinny country
in the largest ocean on earth
spell-bound, windswept, lashed.
to an icy continent or heading north to equatorial islands.
No one seems to know.
the ocean is rising, in Sydney the ocean is
rising, in Nagoya the ocean is rising
the Tasman Sea, moon-bound, rises and falls.
It breaks up on the sea wall and falls.
The land is like a sea-bird but where
are its wings? The land is like a fish.
The fish of Māui, hauled up from the sea floor, writhing.
It takes our bodies up to air and floats them.
The ocean is an open question.
it takes what it gets: toxins, dead zones,
blooms, blasts, oil, waste, radiation…
that circles the Pacific, and circles every island.
Our country has forgotten where it lies.
On Antarctica the Pacific is rising,
in Majuro the Pacific is rising:
people leave when they cannot stay.
on Nukunonu the Pacific is rising,
in Paekakariki the Pacific is rising.
human beings while we, its offspring – resourceful
and distracted – give back plastic and acid.
and pulled back into itself
in the overall global uprising.
The whole indivisible ocean,
that has no motive and no name,
fits over the earth like a blessing
the territories and nations we have made.
Currents, drifts and creatures come and go.
though spell-bound and moon-bound, is unbound
with a swell and momentum of its own.
we have a mind for its envelopment and treachery;
its weight, sheen, depth, saltiness and flow?
Our country is a park. We have the high
ground and the low ground. Our mountains
are peace flags and we’re free
or any dead-end ideology
onto a charged and open-ended coast.
of its sheath and glinting in the sun.
I’d like to hold that pointed knife.
I’d like to save a home, a tribe
and a heritage with that knife.
And all I can do is rise:
both before and after I fall.
All I can do is rally,
I can try to see, and mark,
both where, and how, we are.
all I can do is vote
for the fish, the canoe, the ocean
All I can do is plead,
all I can do is call…