Thursday, January 17, 2008


just a few days after ed hillary died, another important nzer has passed away. hone tuwhare wasn't as famous as ed, but he played an important part in nz literary history. he was a well-loved nz poet - accessible, witty and insightful. in 1964 he published 'no ordinary sun' - the first published full book of poetry by a maori written in english. it remains in print and is in it's 10th impression. he was also known for his collaborations with visual artist ralph hotere.

one of his best known poems is this one:

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

[image from]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes, he was definitely one of our literary giants, in an unassuming sort of way... some of his lesser known poems are a delight - like the one about keeping a penguin in the fridge. can't remember what it's called, but will try and remember to get back to you if i can find it...