Brother Number Two – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 20 – keening poem


Brother Number Two

face – puller
sister – teaser
chalk – thief  ( a deskfull)
clayball – biffer (goodies & baddies)
kitten – drowner
parson – impersonator (mute layer of kittens to rest)

whare – builder (to give the boys a room of their own)
wood – turner
donothingmachine – designer
finger – slicer
trick two – finger stapler (industrial)
canoe – canoer
super yacht – builder                                                                                                                                         ski bunny – chaser
shawl – knitter
But for me brother number one.

Benita H. Kape © 20.4.2016

*whare – said f o (as in orange) ree. A Maori word for house dwelling  as apposed to Marae which is a meeting house. This was a small sleep-out as a room for the boys (large family). I changed it to that from the word bach (much used in NZ for similar dwelling, usually though a bach is seen as a holiday dwelling. Unusual to have used such a word before the Maori renaissance of recent years.

And finally, our prompt (optional, as always)! Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who suggests a prompt very much in keeping with our poet in translation, a “kenning” poem. Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. If you’re looking for examples, you can find one that Vince wrote here and a different example here. Happy writing!


Mataraki (Pleiades) NaMoWriPo -2015 – Day Two

Early Easter morn, not a cloud in the sky.

Bright moon with your gathering of stars.

This is Paenga-whawha, eleventh lunar month

of the Maori year. After the sun gets up

people will bend in the fields, bend following

the night when Whanui (Vega), in our sky appears.

Kumara (sweet potato) crops will be piled to the side of the rows.

The Mata paheru (Priest) then, who will give the rites over

the first kumara lifted. The digging will begin when the sun

is well up. But when, as the sun reaches its zenith, the mornings’

diggings will be taken to the store-pit.

In the store-pit two people will stack the kumara. They

must have good eyes and examine each kumara carefully

for flaws. Nothing must contaminate the years’ store.

I have stood in awe at the edges of ancient rua (store-pits)

dug to take crops for several hundreds and some say three

thousand people of this tribe and more. And I look up for

Whanui knowing I will not see such a star in daylight hours.

With the puka (soft decayed suitable wood) dried, crumbled,

and spread for the safe keeping of our kumara we await the

twelfth month when Matariki (Pleiades) appears come June.

The once hidden histories will be explored and celebrated.

Again it will be a joyous time. Our Maori New Year moving

as it does on the ancient knowledge of stars.

Benita H. Kape © 3.4.2015


Acknowledgement:  I wish to acknowledge Astronomy NZ

for much of the information in this poem.