By Michele Bannister
28 May 2012
In this way come the names. The kete of knowledge, grasp them, word-woven.
The stars were not spilled from them to scatter—
they are taonga, treasured
a sorrowed son's gift to his father the Sky.
In the spaces between the great river of the goddess of the north,
cloud-shadow, counter-clear, in the south strides the Emu.
the same place holds the great waka, star-spanned
and the leaping maw of hammer-headed mangō-pare
earnest enemies of fishes.
Some names are found from the quickness of birds
(all the kindness of Tāne; leaf-shadow and branch-shiver, fern-frond unfolded),
even in the tired patience of the frigatebird's long arc, soaring the Pacific,
once seen from a small bark off the isles called Galapagos;
and some from the long slow vastnesses
the patience of ice, the presence of the All-Frozen, seal-teared
children of unknowing oceans.