Monday, November 22, 2010

Tuesday Poem: Piwakaka


Waka jumper, feather box of tricks on
springs, tree-hopper, handbrake-turn show-stopper,
fantastic tail-spreader, full-house tree-clown
two flits short of coming a bad cropper.
Pathetic fallacy! For one moment
my heart jumped out and into you: beyond
the window’s glass you snatch up joy. Insects
actually: heaven sent by the fat
season’s purblind hand smack
into your squeaky trap’s sweet reflex.

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

It seems to me appropriate to put up a Tuesday poem by a Tuesday poet. Holman’s collection of poems ‘Fly Boy’ was recently released. (I reviewed it in ‘Stoatspring’ on 2 November). There were many powerful poems about planes. There is also a delightful section about birds and their flight capability. One that particularly caught my attention was ‘Piwakaka’, the Maori word for the bird the colonists called fantail. It is an enchanting jaunty little insect-eater. The poem sums up very well my reaction also to this little jewel/clown of a bird.


  1. This poem is delightful. It captures the over-exaggerated buffoon-like movements and character of the fantail perfectly! Thanks for posting Jeffrey's poem, Harvey! I will check out his collection.

  2. I've tried for three years to capture the fantail/piwakaka in a poem - just couldn't pin the words down.

    I've ordered this book so I'm looking forward to reading Jeffrey's other poems.