I watch from the Arnold River swing bridge
This is not the yoga of rivers
The yoga of my grandfather
Of aunts, uncles, cousins
Wife, daughter & son
Each crosses these dark waters
It is the yoga
A hundred metre’s from this spot
The Tangata Whenua
The Maori tribes of Aotearoa
The great Maori war Canoe
War Chief & warriors & war chant
It is the yoga of my birth
Of my specific life
Angel Holy Spirit
Comes to me
Arises – Remains
Ever with me
In a vision out of hearts vast core
As cycle ends
On the swingbridge
On Queens Birthday weekend 2012, I travelled to the West Coast to spend time on my mountain (Te Kinga) & beside my river Kotuku Whakaoho (or The Arnold River). A huge change process was taking place in me. I knew I had to return to my roots; to Moana where I was born. In the poem, I attempt to draw together, into one unified whole, both my personal life & history & also my transpersonal Self. In the poem, the Self is ‘Kotuku’. It’s ‘my Angel Holy Spirit’. ‘Kotuku’ comes from a dream in which I encounter the Self as an incandescent Kotuku. The phrase ‘Angel Holy Spirit’ is drawn from the writing of Henri Corbin who draws on esoteric (inner) streams. Corbin writes: ‘At the moment a soul finds itself to be a stranger and alone in a world formally familiar, a personal figure appears on its horizon, a figure that announces itself to the soul personally because it symbolises with the soul’s most intimate depths. In other words, the soul discovers itself to be the earthly counterpart of another being with which it forms a totality that is duel in character. The two elements of this dualitude may be called the ego and the Self, or the transcendent celestial Self and the earthy Self, or by other names’. 1)
I chose to write lines of the poem in the present tense; to emphasise the poems visionary nature: i.e. ‘Each cross these dark waters’ rather than ‘each has crossed these dark waters’ which would have emphasised ‘literal linear time’ rather than ‘visionary time’ or ‘dream time’.
Kotuku Whakaoho is the original Maori name for the Arnold River. It is also the Maori name for Lake Brunner. It means ‘flapping of the white heron’s wings’.
‘Koura’ is the freshwater crayfish.
‘Waka Taua’, is war canoe. It comes from an early dream where I was standing on the banks of the Arnold River when a Maori War Canoe with chanting warriors passed me paddling upstream. The dream left me stunned.
The ‘Tangata Whenua’ are the people of the land: the Maori people who were here before the English colonised New Zealand. Maori spiritual presence remains strong along the Arnold River.
1) Henri Corbin, Avicenna, 20-22.