'Friend' - Hone Tuwhare
Do you remember that wild stretch of land
with the lone tree guarding the point from the sharp-tongued sea?
The boat we built out of branches wrenched from the tree, is dead wood now.
The air that was thick with the whir of toetoe spears succumbs at last to the grey gull’s wheel.
Oyster-studded roots of the mangrove yield
no finer feast of silver-bellied eels, and sea-snails steaming in a rusty can.
Friend, allow me to mend the broken ends
of shared days:
but I wanted to say
that the tree we climbed
that gave food and drink
to youthful dreams, is no more.
Pursed to the lips her fine-edged
leaves made whistle—now stamp
no silken tracery on the cracked
in this grim time
of dark unrest I press your hand
if only for reassurance that all
our jewelled fantasies were real
and wore splendid garb.
Perhaps the tree
will strike fresh roots again:
give soothing shade to a hurt
and troubled world.