The poet is seen flying across the Manukau

(For Bernard Gadd)
Winner of the inaugural Bernard Gadd Memorial Poetry Prize, 2008

Now in this season of stars [Matariki]
and new beginnings, I’ve fashioned you
wings [manuka, flax, toetoe]
as if for some marvellous bird
soaring in glorious exultation of wind
above the wide waters of the Manukau.

Your great white plumes thrill in jubilation [toetoe]
as you swoop to the gold tipped dazzle of waves.

From your vantage points you see old lava flows
and quarried-out remains of ancient cones no longer
letting off steam or fireworks to thrill on a winter’s night.
Nothing here is a flat surface.
Even stones rise out of earth to make enclosures
and walls against whatever might disturb.

I see you soar upward and out towards the entrance of the harbour.
A latter-day Daedalus on your way to a fertile shore.
As your wings beat, flax-seed pods are loosened by the wind.
They tumble then right themselves on the water, small waka
sturdy with treasure. Shoals of shining fish push them up-stream
against the tide and beach them in the inner reaches of your local creek –
Waokauri. Here they will open and grow
and once again become
a forest of poems.