Words for Christchurch: Keri Hulme


The green tunnels of my dreams
are still invaded by the sea-
the wreck waves hurtle over the cribs
and cetaceans I have never seen
rollick & clamour & band together to fossick where homes have been

-the home at Leaver Terrace
where I grew up
may still stand

was headed home there when we were warned of a tsunami & sent off early from Aranui High

we sped to New Brighton beach
to watch for it,
off the old pier-

Tautahi knew vibrant swamps,
rich with lively food
-change is not new here

our islands have dived like dolphins below the sea time & time before: our hills are sea-carved our mountains jagged from upthrust -no steadfast footing anywhere nearby- just a sure blue light of certainty that I, as a dreamer, trust- we will continue living in these unsteady lands hoping & dying & helping & building -because we are human, because we must-

Words for Christchurch: Madeleine Slavick


Madeleine Marie Slavick is the author of several books of poetry and non-fiction, and has exhibited her photography internationally. She lives between New Zealand and Hong Kong and maintains a daily blog: http://touchingwhatilove.blogspot.com.

One Week after the earthquake

Yesterday, at 12:51, silence. Today, a coffin painted in New Zealand seascape for a man named Joseph stays in the ground. I am sitting between two Maori women, who are facebooking friends in Christchurch, asking what they might need. Hand sanitiser, they are told. Also gas canisters, guitar strings, coffee beans. A woman living in a cordoned-off zone says that people in the city are changing, staring into ‘middle distance’, not spontaneously greeting each other anymore. A student in a hospital holds the hands of the people who rescued her. She says, ‘I trust you’ and smiles. She laughs her first laughs in a week.
Photo: Covered vineyards, Martinborough, New Zealand