Carimba and brilliance of nostrums
pealing from the altar, the dias of hate
in the old days, when wahine arrived
with their crimes written in the holy
doublespeak of the future we all fear
with the beloved glistening in our arms.
You do not need to hear this rant again
but you listen until more fails to arrive
and so arise in silence looking around
to see who’s looking before you stroll
nonchalantly back to the still-open door
awaiting the arrival of the wind and rain
and here they are, dressed in dark clouds
and trees bowing under the sky’s weight.
You were awaiting the arrival of snakes.
They curl and strike or spit and slither
away. There are no snakes on this island.
So they say, the brilliant ones, tongues
curled to fit their shining teeth and lips
pursed with lovingness. Or so they say.
These days that arrived with missionaries
will never leave. We must accommodate
the heathens. They have no shame. Love
is a word in their minds but unembodied.
I wish I could tell you all they came for,
but how would I know, I who welcomed
no one. The dark-souled one. The one
who was already two, then three, whose
woman was with child once more
and trees bending now with weight
of bounty, soft and lush as her body
and fields always waiting for harvest.
Then the snakes appeared on schedule.
The prophecy was fulfilled and hatred
invaded the sea-crowded earth we had
adored as though we were its children.
(2 October 2010)