Thursday, 27 February 2014

Dum and Grunt go fishing (Dum tales 10)

                           Aborigine fish trap in Australia

With Yum and Dong now friends and helping each other with their children, Dum and Grunt also went out hunting together.

The women decided that they would collect fruit and shellfish and Dum and Grunt would catch animals and birds and even fish if they could work how to snare them.

As they wandered on the beach the men found the freshwater streams from the hills entering the sea would slow up as the sea pushed them back upstream again.

Dum suddenly had an idea to make a pond where the stream entered the sea and this might leave any fish in the shallows stranded in the pond when the tide went out.

They built a rock and pebble wall that would be under the sea at high tide but would retain the fresh water when the tide went out until it flowed over the wall.

They were amazed to find so many fish and other creatures trying to escape when the tide went out and they went home that night grinning at their women with a haul of fish knowing they would get more than a good feed that night.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The autumn of life

He slurped his coffee

“Where is my handsome husband

This autumn of life?”


Thirty years long gone

She remembered him then

Handsome and sexy


Where his words of love

And where those tender kisses

From this seated beast?


Aspirations gone

But fragments of hope remain

There is a chance left


He grunted when told

“The kids will be round later

They have some good news”

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Mahuika's Tales No. 26 Ahuahu tells of the Rat and the Octopus

                                 Octopus inking

Hekeheke was getting more advanced in her pregnancy and instead of going to visit Mahuika at Gannet Island, Mahuika now came to visit her. When she came she sometimes stayed with Hekeheke and Maui but more often Ahuahu would insist, as the widow of his former friend Ruaimoko and chief of Rocky Outcrop, she should stay with him and his family.
This worked out well for Hekeheke as she and Maui would then be invited to spend time with Ahuahu’s family as honored guests as well, which was great privilege for them.
In the evenings after their meal they would relax and one or other of them would tell stories. One evening Ahu, Ahuahu’s first wife said to him “You never tell us stories from the island where you were born. Do you not remember them?”
Ahuahu laughed and said “Would you want to hear the stories that I remember from the time I was but seven or eight years old? Surely I could only tell them as a child would?”
They all insisted, so Ahuahu said, "Young boys remember the silliest things and the first story I will tell will illustrate this. It is the tale of the rat and the octopus."

“Rats as you know are great seafarers. Somehow they have colonized all the islands in our mighty ocean that the white men call The Pacific. How contrary that description is as we all know that the sea is not to be trusted but should be respected and by doing so we might survive its terrors."
One day a rat boarded a canoe on his travels to find a new home in Rarotonga where I was born so many weeks journey to the north east of us here. However the canoe was caught in a storm. All the human occupants were drowned when it capsized but the rat undaunted as they are, swam around trying to find something to cling on to and quite by chance scrabbled on to the head of an octopus.
“Please Octopus, take me to dry land and I will reward you,” the rat said and the octopus being a bit soft agreed. So for several days the octopus swam toward land and finally approaching an island. When the rat saw land he knew he could swim the rest of the way and jumped off and started off for shore.
“What about my reward” cried the octopus.
“I left it on your head,” said the rat as he swam rapidly away.
The Octopus reached up with one of eight tentacles to see what the rat had left him and found only a black slimy mess of rat droppings. The octopus was most upset but learned his lesson. From that day on octopus all over the world when they are approached and feel threatened will exude a great blob of black ink inherited from their ancestors to confuse the interloper and swim away under cover lest it be another tricky rat that wants a lift.”

Everybody in the whare was laughing so much that they were almost crying. Hatiti slapped Ahu on the arm and said “Now all the children will be telling that story to each other.”
Ahuahu laughing too, then said “All right then, I will tell you a different story”.
“Will it be a love story?” asked Hekeheke, “One that I could tell”.
“Perhaps, Hekeheke.” He replied smiling at her, bending over and touching her gently on the shoulder.
Ahuahu’s second story will be published next week

Dum shines (Dum tales 9)

                                          Wah-Wah with Dong

Dum rose early the next day after Yum had eaten the poisoned berries. She had slept the night and did not hear Wah-Wah cry as she was so ill. Dum now moved away from her to be near the entrance. Dum looked at all the mothers in the cave and approached a woman whose child was still feeding from her but was also eating other things. Dum indicated that Yum was ill and pointed to Wah-Wah then to the woman’s breasts. She looked nervously around to see if her husband was there and seeing he wasn’t, nodded doubtfully.

Wah-Wah wasn’t sure either and he kept turning back to look at Dum for reassurance but he eventually suckled. As the woman whose name was Dong-Dong settled back to feed the baby, she looked up at Dum and indicated he should go by shooing him away. Dum was uncertain but he crawled a little way away and sat down near the entrance looking out for her husband.

After Wah-Wah had fed, Dong called to Dum and smiling handed him back. She then put her finger to her lips and to indicate they should keep quiet. Dum shook his head and drew in the sand a picture of him talking to another man, her husband, with their spears on the ground. Dong looked doubtful but finally agreed Dum should ask her husband for Dong’s approval and Dum would give him something.

All day Dum tried to think what to give him. Then just as the sun was setting and after Wah-Wah had had two more feeds with Dong he saw Grunt, Dong’s husband coming home with a rabbit slung over his shoulder. He decided give him a basket and indicate he wanted Dong to feed Wah-Wah.

He went back in the cave to Yum who was barely awake and let her hold Wah-Wah and grabbed a basket and went to talk to Grunt.. He beckoned for Grunt to follow him to where Yum was and showed him that she was ill and Wah-Wah needed food. He pointed back to where Dong was and indicated she could feed him in exchange for the basket.

Grunt looked closely at Yum and could see she was falling sleep again and wasn’t even holding Wah-Wah properly; he then looked back at Dong who was feeding their own child with water while starting to skin the rabbit he had given her before throwing it on the fire to cook. He knew Dong would chew the rabbit meat up then put it their baby's mouth as he already was putting everything else in.

Grunt looked down at the basket, tested its strength and then nodded. Suddenly he looked as though he would change his mind. He grabbed hold of Dum pointed to Dong, shook his head and put his fist in Dum’s face to show him he wasn’t to touch Dong.

Dum almost made the mistake of offering him another basket, but then realised that might mean he would give more to have her as well, so he just nodded and bent down over Yum and touched her face tenderly. That was enough for Grunt who laughed at the thought of Dong wanting Dum who only had one eye.

So Wah-Wah was fed by Dong and after a few days Yum was feeling much better and ravenous for food and looking well again. She went down in the bushes each day with Dum and the baby and expressed her milk until Dum was satisfied that the poison would have gone from her body.

Yum knew Dum had been a good father and she went to talk to Dong to thank her too. Dong loved having the basket that Dum had made. She asked Yum if Dum could teach her how to make one. Yum shook her head and said the two of them could make one together. Dong was quite happy with that and didn't look disappointed that Dum would not approach her again.

Sunday, 23 February 2014



                                       Distant breakers on coral atoll


So I was adrift

The ocean swell my only friend

Blown off course, of course.


I would trim my sails

It was but a sad torn shirt

And made in China


I peeped from under

My tarpaulin bed wrapping

Stuck here with the gulls


So I dreamed of eggs

And a mug of hot coffee

Trusting the current


I dreamed of maidens

Dancing round in hula skirts

Delirious me


My supplies are low

Hope tomorrow brings landfall

But without high seas


The sun is testing

I scan the far horizon

Is that land's form there?

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Lunatic beauty of love

When I first saw you

Did the earth move?

Did my heart skip a beat?

So beautiful

So aloof were you

I wasn’t there

As I passed you by

And when I stopped you

Walking in the street

Your eyes never left my face

Nor did mine of yours

We spoke but said little

We were different

But were of one mind

We agreed to meet

In a movie’s darkness

You lit up my world

I held your hand

You touched my heart

We both had secrets

We were both open

I breathed you in

You nestled in me

We both rejoiced

In that lunatic beauty of love

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dum to the rescue (Dum tales 8)


Dum’s family were gathering berries and reeds from the dunes by the beach when Wah-Wah’s sudden cry made Dum turn round and race back to where Yum and the baby were and he found her writhing on the ground with the baby still strapped to her back.

Dum pulled Wah-Wah off and turned Yum over to find she was frothing at the mouth and delirious with a few black berries still in her clenched hand.

He quickly strapped Wah-Wah to his own back, picked Yum up and struggled to carry them both to the sea shore where he placed her in a sitting position.

He scooped up some sea water and forced her to drink it until she vomited with a mighty explosion. He kept repeating the treatment until she shook her head and looked at him and pushed a hand in his face and shook her head again.

Satisfied she was on the mend he carried them both home to the cave with difficulty and gave her water from the stream to drink and then she lay down to sleep.

Dum now had a problem, would it be safe for her to feed Wah-Wah or should he get another mother in the cave to feed him?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

With no shred of guilt


Feral animals

Insatiable hunters

With no shred of guilt


Man conquers the earth

Destroying it utterly

With no shred of guilt

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Love is like a virus


Love is like a virus

Our minds never fail to fall

So it was with Anne


In some others minds

I was brave to court her

I was bound to fail


She was beautiful

I had a trick up my sleeve

I wrote her poems


It was a safe bet

My affection was unspoken

So she smiled at me


Later we were both

Invited to a party

“My famed poet” she said


“You’ve earned your wages

I think that I love you too

Can you support me?”

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sochi Winter Olympics

Too many late nights

You’d think I’d be wiser now

Sochi Olympics


Where are our medals?

Don’t they know of my effort

Watching the TV?


It’s very hot here

And now it is pouring rain

The bushfires are quelled


I put my feet up

Watching the speed skaters fly

Licking an ice cream


picture credit:

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Yum and Wah-Wah (Dum tales 7)

                               Fur pelt that Dum made

Yum was very happy to have Wah-Wah as her baby and at first growled at anyone else in the cave when they came too close.

Dum was given the job of finding an animal skin to make a pouch for the baby so he could be carried on her back.

He spent some time cleaning it in the sea and stretching it and by fastening it to a tree so that it would keep its fur and its shape so it could be tied around Yum with woven vine strands.

When he had finished it he showed her that the baby could be slung on her back or on her front should she need to feed him.

Yum was very pleased as she knew the baby would be able to feel her heart beat then and fall asleep easily whatever she was doing.

Wah-Wah was nearly a month old now as the moon now looked like it did when he was born so she would thank Dum for all he had done soon in the way he liked best.

Her new gardener

                                        The Gardener by Pissarro

Her new gardener

So unkempt and disheveled

He had green fingers


He loved his work there

Ghastly scars marking his face

Told of his cruel past


He spoke to the plants

And she spoke to him of love

Her man to cherish



Mahuika's Tales No 25 Hekeheke tells the story of Tawhaki and Hapai

                                    Deep in a Kauri forest

Hekeheke knew she was pregnant now and was very happy about it. She thought that she must go and tell Mahuika because she was one of the friends she wanted to tell first. She had told Maui her husband of course and as expected he wanted lay his head on her tummy and talk to baby because he was that sort of person. She was so glad that he was her husband that each morning she wanted to shout it out loud for everyone to hear. Although they probably guessed already and Horowai, Tangaroa’s wife would be told too as they they were such great friends.
The day after she told Maui her husband she went to the meeting house as usual to tell the children a story. She was glad she had finished all the stories she knew about Maui the wilful hero of long ago as she had a love story to tell the children today. So that morning as usual with a different youngster sitting with her, she began her story:

A long time ago the beautiful goddess in the heavens Hapai came floating down to earth one night to inspect that land they could see from on high. As she wandered about unseen she saw this handsome young man sleeping in his whare (house) who she immediately fell in love with as he had such a noble appearance.  So she went up to him as he slept and lifted his covers and lay down by his side just looking at him with admiration. Went he turned over he thought that a girl from his village had boldly come to him. So he wrapped his arms around her and told her she was beautiful. Hapai was very pleased that he was so bold and confident and he thinking that she was woman of his world stroked and fondled her and so from then on they lived together. 

Their union was very happy and soon a baby was born, a little girl. Hapai was happy living on earth with Tawhaki and their baby and so she revealed to him that she was from the heavens above. He loved her so much that he didn’t see there was a problem in that until one day as their little girl was growing up Tawhaki scolded their daughter for being naughty as children sometime are. Hapai was very cross that he did this as she was upset that both she and her daughter who heavenly beings should be reprimanded by this mere human. Her motherly love was wounded so deeply that she resolved to leave her earthly husband and return to her heavenly home.

Tawhaki realizing what he had done tried to apologize but Hapai with her child in her arms climbed to the roof of their house and standing on the carved tekoteko (figurehead on gable) above the front of the dwelling said farewell to Tawhaki saying if he wished to follow her to her far-away home he must seek a secure vine or forest rope by which to ascend to the higher regions where they would be. She said that it would however be difficult for him to follow her. Despite pleading with her not to go she sailed off into the sky and vanished from view.

For a longtime Tawhaki mourned for his lovely wife and child. Then he determined to see them again, he set out to find some way to ascend to the land of the gods. He entered the great forest where the tallest trees were and looked for a tree-vine by which he might climb to the sky. There in the deep and gloomy forest as he was searching he met the guardian of the forest the old and blind Mata-kere-po, who was in fact his grandmother. She somehow survived in the dark forest with other creatures of the night but did not recognize him when he greeted her. Tawhaki could see it was his father’s mother and greeted her as such and in doing so miraculously cured her blindness. 

When he told her he wanted to climb up to heaven to rejoin Hapai, Mata-kere-po in her gratitude showed him the aka (vine) he could trust. He grasped it and shook it, and began his great climb to the upper regions. As he climbed, the old woman chanted her incantation of encouragement, the chant for his pikitanga (ascent) up the sacred vine called the toi-huarewa (rise to the summit).

“Piki ake Tawhaki
Ki te rangi tuatahi,
Ki te rangi tuarua”


 “Ascend on high, Tawhaki,
To the first heaven,
To the second heaven.”


And so on the recital went, right up to the tenth heaven where Hapai’s home should be. The high winds of the heights buffeted Tawhaki, he was blown and tossed to and fro, but he clung tightly to the secure aka vine and steadily climbed to the uppermost heaven. Tawhaki finally came to where he hoped he would find his wife. It resembled the land of earth in some respects, for there was a forest, and as he explored it he saw a party of workmen making a canoe out of a great felled tree. He joined them and when they were about to go home he offered to carry their axes to their village. He waited until they were out of sight, and he set to work on the half-finished canoe, and chopped away until he had completed the hollowing out and shaping. Then he followed at a distance from the men as they walked home. The other villagers did not take much notice of Tawhaki until they saw his joyful meeting with the beautiful Hapai, for she too lived in that village. They were all amazed, for she was a tapu woman and a high Kahurangi (chieftainess) herself.

The loving reunion of Tawhaki, Hapai and their daughter was a meeting from which they would never part again, for he remained in the celestial home. The inhabitants of that place knew he had become a god too, for he was of radiant appearance and lightning flashed from his arms showing that he was one of them.

The little girl sitting on her then turned to her an asked "Will you always tell stories to us, Hekeheke?" Hekeheke nodded and said "I will try, little one. Why do you ask?" 

The little girl then said "My mother said you would probably have a baby of your own soon."

"One day perhaps." Hekeheke replied smiling shyly.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Yum-Yum has her baby (Dum tales 6)

Every night Dum and Yum curled up together. She was very big now and didn’t hit him like she used to. He was able to put his face close to hers and breathe in her scent and to nibble at her cheek and her lips, her ears and nose with his lips. She liked him fussing over her and drawing pictures on her bare flesh. When he did this she would sigh with happiness and fall asleep. Early one morning when it was still dark he woke up to hear her moaning and struggling to get up. He helped her to get to the entrance of the cave and in the dim light before sunrise she turned to him and pushed him in the face indicating he wasn’t to follow her. It was a gentle gesture and showed her love for him but he didn’t want to leave her when there was a chance of danger from wild animals. She sensed this and this time she reluctantly showed him her fist in the half light, turned and staggered away.

Dum watched her go and then followed behind quietly at a distance trying not to be seen. Then all of a sudden there were two women pushing him out the way. The first asked “Yum?” so he pointed to where she had gone. The other glared at him shook her head and pointed back to the cave. So Dum returned to the cave and sat outside waiting. 

The sun rose and the birds started singing and while he was waiting Dum started stripping leaves from the trees to make a bed for the baby. Then he thought about the baskets he had made to carry fruit and shellfish so he started making another basket. It had to be bigger than the ones he had made before so he made one longer than his forearm and by the time he had finished it the leaves he had gathered were going limp and soft so he gathered them up and placed them in the basket.

Yum was very pleased when she came home with the baby and saw what he had done but didn’t put baby in it. She cradled him in her arms shading its eyes from the light and then sat with her back to the rocks nursing it. She looked up saw Dum looking awkward so she patted the ground beside her for him to sit down too. She took his hand let him touch the baby then sat back and tried to get the baby to suckle. Yum smiled when she saw the look in Dum’s eye.

Dum then pointed to the baby and looked at Yum quizzically. He then pointed to Yum and said "Yum", he then pointed to himself and said "Dum" then pointed to the baby again and suggested "Bum?" Yum looked strangely at him then shook her head vigorously and was just going to say something when the baby opened its mouth and cried. Yum immediately smiled and then said "Wah-Wah" pointing to the baby.

Dum then repeated the name "Wah-Wah" and the baby half opened his eyes and stared at him. So Yum smiled and making baby talk said in baby talk "Duh-Duh" as she pointed to Dum showing Wah-Wah his daddy.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

In love with a deaf girl

Invisible love

He could not pluck up courage

To ring or tell her


Not gutsy enough

To gather her in his arms

That stunning body


Routine for others

But he was floored by shyness

And the list went on


He grasped at straws

For loving words to stream out

He wasn’t the type


Luckily for him

She saw the look in his eyes

So then smiled at him


Little did he know

That words meant nothing to her

Signing was enough

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Family bio

He saw her waiting

In splendid isolation

Would she be his wife?


She saw him fidget

In splendid isolation

Her groom was waiting


He looked in the crib

In splendid isolation

Their very own child


In the school’s playground

In splendid isolation

Her precious daughter


There down in the street

In splendid isolation

Her daughter's own car

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Dum and Yum are hungry (Dum tales 5)

Winter had arrived, Yum was pregnant, cross and very hungry which was bad because food was in such short supply.

Dum was hungry, Yum was very hungry and her tummy was quite round but her face was thinner and they were reduced to eating the dying leaves were still left of the trees that just gave them the impression they were filling their stomachs.

Each day Dum would take his baskets out with him to put any food he could find in them which was very little for even the sea was less productive.

He couldn’t catch the birds on the sea shore and sat despondent with his basket with a few shellfish in the shallows to keep them fresh as so many stank when he got them home.

He wandered along the shore collecting some seaweed that was edible when it was washed in the stream near their cave and then went back to the basket.

To his surprise there was a fish in it nibbling at the contents so Dum quickly grabbed the basket and lifted it up with fish still in it; now they could eat a fish tonight!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Dum the hunter gatherer (Dum tales 4)

                                 Dum's woven reed basket

Food was always in short supply for Dum and Yum and what they did get was always hard to find. Berries were few and far between so many were looking for them as well as the animals and birds that shared their world. Despite this Yum was getting a fat tummy, she knew why but Dum didn’t realize she was pregnant even when he put his head on tummy and heard the regular beat of her life within go faster there than when laid with his head on her breasts. It was only when she pointed to a little child and pointed to her tummy that Dum realised she was pregnant. So that night he thought a lot and in the morning when she was happy to stay close to the cave he went of to fetch food by himself. He had to try to remember not to eat everything he found but to save some for Yum. So he went down by the slowly moving river and ripped some reeds out of the water and cut his hands in the process. When he had got enough he sat on the bank and wove the pieces together to make a basket tucking the ends of the reeds back into themselves to make a rim. Looking at the finished basket he was delighted and squealed with pleasure saying “creeeeel”.

He picked as many berries as he could and put them in the basket then went down to the sea to see if there were any shell fish there and he put them in the basket as well. He saw there were fish in the water but couldn’t for the life in him work out how to catch them even though he tried. When the sun started to set he knew it was time to go back to the cave. Yum was sitting outside in the fading light and looked up when she saw him and nodded at him. He placed the basket in front of her and said “creel” to her pointing at it. She nodded then picked over the contents and prised open the shellfish with her thumbnails and ate some and others she tossed over to him to share. Dum was about to eat these himself when their smell made him stare at her with horror and when he threw them into the bushes she laughed. He really liked Yum, she was very funny.

Mahuika's Tales No 24 Hekeheke tells of Maui finding his family

                            Maui and his brothers

Hekeheke returned to the Meeting house at the same time the following week. She decided to tell the children the last two Maui stories she knew and hope that she could then go back to telling stories that were perhaps better for the children than that tricky ancestor from the earliest times when their history began that amused the boys so much but did not show how they could live their own lives with honour. Generally there were more girls than boys among her listeners as the boys often went fishing with their fathers and she wanted to tell more stories for them. Often the youngest children would want to sit with her and she loved that to happen.
Baby Maui grew-up with Tama-nui-ki-te-Rangi who taught him many things and over that time got to hear about the great whare (the great House of Assembly) where kanikani (dancing) and kapa-haka (music and singing) were performed.

One day he decided to go to visit this famous whare. When he got there he changed himself into a little bird, crept inside and hid behind one of the boys there to watch. Every night, before the kanikani the kapa-haka began.

Taranga the mother of four boys would then count her children so that they might be ready to join in. “Maui-taha, that is one; Maui-roto, that is two; Maui-pae, that is three; Maui-waho and that is the fourth.” But then she noticed there was another boy in the line, “Who are you?” She asked.

“I am your child too,” said Maui.

She shook her head, puzzled so she counted them again. “No, No! There should be only four of you; this is the first time I have ever seen you before.”

Taranga and the new boy argued for a long time, Maui saying the he was her youngest son and the mother saying that she had only had four sons. Finally she got angry and cried out, “Be off now with now, get out of this place for you are the child of someone else.”
Maui said, “Very well, I will go then for I must be the child of some other person. I was sure I was your child as I knew I was born by the side of the sea. I was wrapped in my mother’s hair because my mother thought me dead, and I was placed in the sea. But then I was found by Tama-nui-ki-te-Rangi, who chased away the flies and the birds, and who took the jelly-fish and the seaweed from me and who unwrapped me from my mother’s Tikitiki (topknot) and it was him who has raised me as his own child.”

Maui then continued, “Even before I was born as I was growing inside you I knew the names of my brothers; Maui-taha, Maui-roto, Maui-pae and Maui-waho and I am little Maui your last baby that you thought had died who is sitting before you now. However I will go because you tell me to for I must respect you.”

When the Taranga heard all this, she cried “No! Stop for you must indeed be my last born; the son of my old age; the son that I thought dead, for the story you tell is a story that only I would know - because of that your name shall be Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga (Maui topknot of Taranga); so from then on Maui lived with his own family.

Hekeheke looked down and saw that the little girl that was sitting in her lap had fallen asleep with her thumb in her mouth. Hekeheke had a sudden and overwhelming desire to have a baby of her own.

Hekeheke smiled to herself as she remembered Maui and her together last night and murmured to herself “Surely it will not be long.”

Image found on

Sunday, 2 February 2014

My Last Walk

How many miles left? I asked the bucolic yokel sat on the edge of the milestone of life.

He puffed his pipe and looked me up and down

“Ah, you’re here” he said, “but have the sense to wait, you have to go in pairs”

“No, no, I am just out on a walk,”  I say.

He shook his head, “Got to be judged in pairs, to balance things out.

“Ah, here come some others.” He gave me a wink

“You got to be judged in pairs, One up one down. That seems fair, don’t it?”

I was just about to say “That’s not fair at all” when I saw that a group of three were approaching a man and two women.”

The old yokel winked at me “There yer go, you got a two to one on chance of going up or down with a pretty girl; and one of them’s a former Miss World…from Argentina, you can dance can’t you?”

“The alternative is I’ll get the guy.” I muttered.

“I expect he’ll tell you of all the scams that are possible wherever you’re going…but I agree, I would’ve fancied the blonde myself, but I’ve already made my mind up about you.”

“How did you manage that?” I asked.

“You’re very open, I sense your potential. You have the synergy to get on with anyone, even me.  They haven’t seen you yet, so just sit quietly over there so as they don’t notice you.”

So I tiptoed to one side, sat beside a bush and breathed in the beautiful scented air of heaven that was drifting toward me, and hoped I would be dancing the tango in paradise.