the imagery of trees

(after Jenny Bol Jun Lee Morgan) 


we slip under many branches 
beneath their weight 

falling away means the (nga) ties or binds (here) 
are broken. the base of the tree is usually unseen 
the base (pū) of the tree (rākau) is too large to hold 

yesterday was mores and lores 
tomorrow we could reimagine, may not emerge immediately, 
is this belonging? 
negotiating a methodological landscape beneath a kākahu  
of saturated sky, stand firm. Stories will take root  
and spread—our tūpuna knew this, i tuku iho, i tuku iho 

we know it bone deep, no invented imaginings or mere talk but
bloodmemoryandsong (aspects of which are difficult to ‘measure’, held in
layers not lines) 

are the base
          (pū) of the tree

if we should cause offence hold it close, ehara nāu, e hara nāu  
we are but children after all and we slip 

never mind, roots draw the water. ko wai koe, ko wai au? 
should we add another branch to the rākau? 
write culture into the text, italicise and strikethrough the myth  
of it, rewrite it, carry it, hold it close 
fall into it? a rendition of the imagery of trees

trust with your skin

(after Lehua M. Taitano)  



Arielle Walker (Taranaki, Ngāruahine, Ngāpuhi, Pākehā) is a Tāmaki Makaurau-based contemporary artist, writer and maker. Her practice seeks pathways towards reciprocal belonging through the intersections and connections between land, language, and craft, focusing on tactile storytelling and ancestral narratives.