Sunday, December 30, 2007

Catherine Mair: LOW TIDE

from the marae they wade waist-deep across the cold grey channel which veins the sand. for generations they’ve known the hiding place of kai moana beneath muddy sand and sea grass

wet cloth stretched –
clunk of shellfish
into a bucket

a woman tells a child – “leave the little ones”. youths play around with an old ‘bomb’ – chuckle like mud pools. we haven’t forgotten the sea elephant who flopped his girth onto the boat ramp. boaties and fishermen scratched their heads beneath towelling hats; didn’t venture too close

high in banksia
bellbirds show off
their range of notes



marae - a meeting place
kai moana - food from the sea
banksia - is not a Maori word; there's no 'b' in the Maori alphabet. It is an Australian tree, named after Sir Joseph Banks

Catherine Mair,
Katikati, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
first published in shadow-patches, 1998

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