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NINE POEMS FOR DOWNTOWN Iwa ngÄ rotarota hoki Te Horotiu


To those who love Auckland.


1. HOROTIU He stood on shore Looking over Waitemata Time and people passed away his eyes hardly blinked As if there is no day or night He is expressionless Reminiscing his lover The gentle brook Who had been staunched and abandoned For the sake of the city For the sake for himself A few remembered Let the city seize himself On the crucifix The brook laid on He could close his eyes and rest Once and for all In his lover’s dearest embrace


2. WAI Monuments, gravestone Crystal boxes on the ground Blue tiles on the wall To commemorate the forgotten one Whose voice muted Body buried And dignity ravaged But it once was A life giving source Flowing from a high hill To join waters


3. INTRUDER The settlers came Tarnished the pristine flow Horotiu in his anger Plagued a curse on the water An abomination A grotesque creature The city grew and wanted To tame the disenchanted spirit To cage her in a brick prison Beneath, a servant Above, a queen


4. CITY O mighty city Your radiance glows in dark Your edifice penetrate the sky Your skin attracts the wealthy and poor A great invention of human A life sacrifice of a brook


6. I And when I look at that city Looking at its great buildings Monuments and roads Traffics and shops I see ridges and valley Pasture and cliffs And most of all I see a brook Clear and steadfast To the arms of the sea


6. MEADOW IN THE CITY People requested a meadow A pasture that tolerates and smoothens Harsh edges of skyscrapers Noise of the ranting engines A pasture that give life and hope once watered by Waihorotiu


7. HOUSE OF TE TANIWHA Pillars that hold up the sea Causeways open to the rivers A distorted marble throne in the middle The ancient Taniwha and His subterranean sanctuary People dance and sing Journey to their destinations Or simply come on a pilgrimage For protection Of the ancient divinity


8. LIKE MIRRORS ARTIFICIALLY ARE FRAMED A humble box of bricks A sprout grown from the seed Of Fort Britomart Or of the brook’s house perhaps Sits on crystal chair Like mirrors artificially are framed Bright and beautiful Lighting up the downtown sky A place to read, to relax, and to enjoy Connecting to the subterranean palace


9. HOROTIU’S FINALE So he stepped into And found his beloved His dream fulfilled His eyes closed


END



Dingle Yang