HOFFMAN’S DAM, NASEBY
strong enough for a mouse to trot on
a vat of tea
for parched cyclists who pass by
hot in the head, bruises on the backside
damsel flies darting
refracted legs luminescent
blow frantically on the surface
of this pekoe blend as if it were scalding
although it is altogether for the opposite reason
that we blow hard
across the middle to the deeper end
where the stillness is
where tannins are stewed, less stirred
and the layered colds thrill.
We manoeuvre our feet back to the surface
to check they are not fishtails
because we are drawn to go there
and to say afterwards that we have been
TE ANA KOROKORAKA, THE FAIRY CAVE
Driving in dimpsy down Highcliff from Hereweka a hare runs out in the headlights, reignites forgotten stirrings, lights ancient algorithms that fan the flames of lost magic to burn bright, exposing korako in their shadow-hidden thousands waiting for the storm to bite, intent on swapping your child for a spiteful one whilst you keep your eyes on the road. The hare runs fast and far down the hill, away from the astral milk she spilt, away from the tiny clothes she stole, protecting children like mine until first light by running in headlights. Later she’ll put down a good furze fire so korako have some comfort and won’t wander the world lost, looking for home.
Note: ‘Te Ana Korokoraka’ is the Māori name for the fairy cave on Hereweka (or Harbour Cone) on the Otago Peninsula, which is important in the story of Tarewai, the great Kāi Tahu warrior. ‘Korako’ is one of the Māori names for fairies.