Two poems from Briar Wood’s Rāwāhi



We walk the long sea shore to pick

scallop and cockle while she flicks

shells from her pocket

hinged like a locket

where poems appear, like tricks.


A child is quoting limericks

while I search the shore for lyrics.

We sort words—rocket,

pacific,  quick, stich.

Jamie loves tongue-twister music.



Paewai o Te Moana


The sea at night is blacklit,

kikorangi, kōura, topazerine, pango,

a haul of images pouring from nets,

darker than oil underground


at the edge of Parawhenuamea

rave streams, jostling yachts,

brown iris flags, meadowfoam, puka


Tai Timu, Tai Pari, arawhata ki


pocket beaches of pebble shell rock

meaning a joining of waka

across the slanted playing field


virtual beaches on imaginary roads

where poetry and geometry are almost

compatible, wai weld, creolerie,


ocean patter in ngā kupu,

tūātea, ngaru mata, rahopē


moana waiwai, karma moana,

beforeglow and sonar,


like finding




©Briar Wood, Rāwāhi   Anahera Press, 2017


Briar Wood’s poetry collection gathers, with a wide embrace, details of travel and living, and as the lived-in world grows on the page, the poems set up all manner of conversations. This book draws upon whakapapa, love, relations, ecology, the past and the present. Its warmth and its empathy are infectious. I love the way you can take two poems, such as these, and listen to the talk across and beyond their bridges.

Briar grew up in South Auckland and has returned to Northland places where her Te Hikutū ki Hokianga, Ngāpuhi Nui whakapapa resonates with ecological concerns.




2 thoughts on “Two poems from Briar Wood’s Rāwāhi

  1. Pingback: Congratulations to the Ockham Book Award Poetry Longlisters | NZ Poetry Shelf

  2. Pingback: Day 14 – NaPoWriMoNZ

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