Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Miriama Gemmell’s ‘Converngaro #118’ and ‘Converngaro #898’

Converngaro #118

Wairua: What is mauri?
Mauri: Life force.
Wairua: What is life force?
Hinengaro: Is it like kinetic energy making the earth spin and the tides sway?
Wairua: Or more of a latent energy, hard wired like a solar powered chip in your neck that still has the little plastic tab in it?
Hinengaro: Or like a golden aura that floats around you, preventing your soul from bouncing into the ether?
Wairua: Or a kind of tattoo that identifies you, like a rainbow fingerprint, in case the gods need to catalogue everyone quickly?
Mauri: Mauri is an indigenous concept that connects all living creatures in a tapestry stretching through time.
Wairua: So, a lycra.
Mauri: But like, organic lycra.

Converngaro #898

Hinengaro: Good god please, won’t some empathetic politician prohibit factory farming finally making it illegal to squash animals into small awful spaces.
Mauri: Excepting any owner who lives in the same sized cage.
Wairua: Nice
Mauri: I take it you’re going to sign petitions but you’re not personally going to be shifting away from meat then?
Hinengaro: I could give the faux sausages a go?
Wairua What a champ.
Mauri: Yeah, that’s like barely on the board.
Hinengaro: What board?
Wairua: She means you can barely call yourself a Papatūānuku ally with that one.
Hinengaro: What if I trade red meat for white?
Mauri: And she’s off the board again.
Hinengaro: How can I live without ice cream and cheese!
Wairua: Yep, this one’s gonna need trickle down change.

Miriama Gemmell

Miriama Gemmell is a poet from Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Pāhauwera and Rakaipaaka. Her kupu can be found in Awa Wahine, Te Whē, Sweet Mammalian and Landfall. In another time, Miriama was an English teacher in Kuwait, Kazakhstan and China. She currently lives in Ahuriri with her hoa rangatira Richard, and tamariki James Rewi (9) and Hana Tirohia (6). Miriama washes yoghurt pots and feels closer to her tīpuna.

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