Roadside Chats (25) 3/12/16
Kia ora koutou; I hope this roadside chat finds you in a peaceful space as the year draws towards its end. To those affected by the latest round of quakes; I hope you are recovering balance & energy.
The quakes were part of double-trouble here at Deep Song. The big shake had me out of bed & packing my car. The following night there was a major flood that closed the road above & below Deep Song. Fortunately; later that day, I was able to get the Camper out & head to Nelson. There was flooding, slips, loose rock & fallen branches on Wakamarina Road. I was very grateful for the camper’s 4WD ability & its low ratio gears.
After sharing poems at Nelson’s ‘poets live,’ I drove across to Golden Bay for their ‘poets live’ the following evening. I wanted a break away from the aftershocks. The traumatic stress I first experienced in Brooklands, following the Christchurch quakes, had resurfaced. I felt hyper-vigilant, anxious & fatigued.
In Golden Bay, I camped among freedom campers near the Takaka River. The campers called their community; the ‘river tribe.’ In the camp, I met a Maori man; Hemi. The name Hemi reminded me of the poet James K Baxter & ‘the tribe’ that gathered around him in the early 70s at Jerusalem on the Wanganui River.
A week or so later, after I returned to Deep Song, I heard the shocking news that Hemi had accidentally drowned in the Takaka River. The poem is dedicated to Hemi.
My heart is alive in the heart of the All
Dedicated to James Rano Dick (Hemi)
Today I think about a man
Who touched my aching heart
Who welcomed me with open arms
Yet, now we are apart
A tattooed man who hongied me
Down by the river shore
Of Takaka, in Golden Bay
& now I’ll tell you more
I’m Hemi, mate; he said to me
His smile an open door
& something moved within my soul
I’d heard that name before
Another man, another time
In Jerusalem, further north
The Maori Jesus grinned at me
& took me to the source
I’m of the tribe, the river tribe
I’ll meet you down the line
The Maori Jesus shook my hand
For now was closing time
The river took his life from me
I read it in the news
& stunned I stare out at the bush
& softly hum the blues
Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem
I’m bowing at your feet
The Maori Jesus reigns in you
Where tribe & poet meet
‘The Maori Jesus’ is one of James K Baxter’s poems. In Baxter’s poem, the Maori Jesus comes to earth, living in poverty & playing his guitar. He chooses 12 disciples from among the poorest members of society. I like the way ‘the Maori Jesus’ (or Spirit) is discovered as we choose to relate to the oppressed & disadvantaged.
I spent two evenings & mornings with Hemi & the community on the banks of the Takaka River. I found open-hearted hospitality & friendship. Hemi spoke Maori; had long dreadlocks & loved to play the guitar.
The camp was clean & there were lots of interesting people. As I shared I discovered some of these visitors were on personal quests & were connecting with people in the local alternative culture. The only problem I encountered was a few local rednecks, who drove through the camp after the pub closed, yelling abuse.
I feel so blessed to have the peace & solitude of Deep Song to write and reflect within. The sayings bring many treasures. They often speak of the nature of the sacred life within us & the Godspark’s desire for connection.
The final poem I’d like to share concerns the struggle between; ‘the originality of creation’ and ‘the destroyer.’ ‘The originality of creation’ is the unique & dynamic image of God present in each of us (the Self). ‘The destroyer’ is the untransformed & destructive ego existing in a state of disconnection from the Self. As I wrote the poem, I particularly felt for the wildlife of Africa who are; ‘falling to the killer’s guns.’ I had just read an article in the Guardian about how most large African mammals will be extinct by 2020. In the poem ‘Satan’ is the untransformed human ego.
The originality of creation versus the destroyer
The destroyer moves across the plains
Of Africa, where what remains
Of elephant & rhino too
& all that’s wild beyond the zoo
Are falling to the killer’s guns
Beneath a Killingaro sun
Where daughter shoots the giraffe dead
& father proudly nods his head
The destroyer spreads among us all
In country pubs & shopping malls
The virus deep, that’s of our kind
That sears the heart & blinds the mind
To Consciousness which links all life
Creations lamp which holds the light
& so in each, there’s bitter war
It’s all been said, in times before
The ego small is Satan’s mask
To overcome, it is our task
As I send out today’s ‘roadside chats,’ I notice my heart is wandering among those who will read these words. I appreciate most of you have pressures I no longer face as I live the writer’s life in the beauty of the Wakamarina Valley. I hope you each have a relaxed & blessed Christmas & Solstice season. I will be staying at Deep Song over Christmas & the New Year. Remember; I love visitors! So if you’re up this way please feel warmly invited to drop by. My landline is 03 574 2369. There is no cell coverage in the Wakamarina Valley. Sending you lots of aroha &
Roadside Blessings – Kevin (Kotuku)