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August 2, 2015

by Hone Tuwhare

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I should not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

Ref: pp.138-139 Ed. Paula Green (2014) A Treasury of NZ poems for children. Illustrated by Jenny Cooper. Random House: Auckland

blackbookofcoloursPerhaps a random thought, but this poem brings a particular children’s book to my mind: Menena Cottin’s Black Book of Colours. Both are ‘textual’ methods of exploring the different senses.

Tuwhare’s poem shifts from one sense to the next to create a feeling for the rain; at the end, he switches those senses back on themselves to show how the rain, without senses, somehow feels us (and ‘defines’ us). Such a complete picture of something that goes beyond the usual sensory limits is kind of what poetry is meant to be, but Rain has such a lovely holistic feel to it; it’s so hopeful and promising. Is that from taking us so fully into the physicality of a moment? No past, no future; no separation of mind, from body, or spirit…

From → other NZ authors

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