“Te Kahu o te Karauna – This is why I won’t stand for the national anthem”
– a metal chain korowai (cloak) sculpture by Ngahina Hohaia,
from the exhibition “Tools of Oppression and Liberation”.
This piece refers to the oppression of the peaceful settlement at Parihaka.
This was written a month ago, late at night, just before sleep. I’d been feeling low – and at first I thought the “darkness” referred to that. But as I wrote, I realised I was thinking of the environment, and imagining/sensing a mythic awakening of primal forces standing just out of sight.
I think there’s a connection to “winter wind – green gods” written a month earlier. Perhaps that imagining had naively called something forth, and they did not step back but were still standing with me in my subconscious.
That low, dark feeling stayed with me until the last couple of weeks. I’ve been reading about archetypes, hero journeys and the “shadow” (Jung) – and I’m wondering if the darkness I felt can be explained by some of this. I’ll keep reading. And while I’ve called this poem “darkness” – and I was sensing a warning while I wrote it, as if we were all being put on notice – somehow now I feel hopeful. (It was just after writing all this that I discovered a movement called “TreeSisters” and their initiative to plant a million trees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcDKjS5gIbM – I think this helped.)
Anyway, this dark mood has lifted now – that might be due to spring’s arrival, blossoms and light and birds circling the house. 6 October 2016)
And with this, in those last three line, I finally formed a metaphor to describe and explain the behaviour of someone once near to me. Moving past my own hurt and anger, I found something like understanding, almost compassion. But the fourth line holds true – I cannot hold someone else’s pain. I am not responsible for it, and I do not have the answers.
This is the shortest edit I can make of a piece written in September. I find I am still processing the events and subsequent realisations from the end of last year. A massive emotional blow that led to the reassessment of a key person in my life and everything I thought I knew about my childhood.
I’ve been writing about these experiences over the last few months, and I hoped I had “dealt” with it all, but these thoughts keep surfacing.
So I hesitated to post this, yet another expression of my personal turmoil. When I shared this hesitation with a friend – she encouraged me to post saying “but you can put into words the things that others can’t – it helps others that you share your feelings” and then I remembered that I’ve always believed the deeply personal can be the most universal – so I trust that there will be something here to connect with.
And I’ll stop feeling I need to make excuses for them. These words are who I am, and who I am becoming.
Still, while I’m tired of the darkness these pieces contain, writing my way through these feelings has released me, and I feel as though I am an adult at last, although I wish it hadn’t taken so long.