Saturday, March 19, 2016

the oases of islands

making Hawaii and New Zealand home

as if in parallel to history,
we visit Hawaii and then New Zealand,
the last large discoveries and settlements
of the great Polynesian diaspora,
those extraordinary seafarers
who brought their world to Hawaii ca 1300 years ago
and to New Zealand ca 800 years ago,
the Pacific like a desert
and the great islands oases—
places to make home,

we read of early European explorers
who found the southern half of the world
a place where monsters lie,
where provisions run out,
and where ignorance is a bottomless pit
so hard to fill with experience,

there’s a lushness to land and sea here in Hawaii,

my camera fills with images of flower and bird,
my stomach fills with delicacies from beneath the waves,
the sun rises and sets in glory,
and the wind is exuberant,
far to the south, New Zealand is colder,
its rain-forests temperate only in name—

a bounty of beauty and possibility in both
that somehow drew Polynesians 
across the great trackless Pacific.

by Henry H. Walker
March 12, ‘16

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