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)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.