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,
©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.