Monday, February 11, 2013

There Lies a Mortally Wounded Tui.

This post was written last year, but out of respect for abuse-survivors involved in a sad case in our community, it was not published then. 

Tui sculpture picture nz
This steel artwork once graced our Paraparaumu Beach gateway. 

There lies a mortally wounded tui
and we consigned it to dark obscurity.
Society laid the blame on its shimmering frame
now lying in the dark we can't see.

In the sunlight our tui would sing.
Did you appreciate the song it would bring?
A tui needs to fly, just like you and I
we all need sunshine on our wings.

There lies a mortally wounded tui
and its fallen from grace from that tree.
It doesn't deserve to be an abuse casualty
it just wanted to sing and be free.

Broken glass can cut deep and hard
and it can leave us so badly scarred.
A wound cannot heal if fragments we still feel,
we need to dig out all the shards.

There lies a mortally wounded tui
now it lies there where no-one can see.
Pierced by arrows of blame, burnt by our shame,
will it rise like a Phoenix from the flame?

Tui picture ex Wikipedia.
The above steel sculpture, commissioned by Kapiti Coast District Council at a $20,000 cost to ratepayers, now lies rusting away in our KCDC storage sheds, if not already despatched to the scrap metal dealers.
A renowned steel-art sculptor created the stylised Tui in flight, and it was installed on public display in our community. Subsequently, the shocking and tragic case, reported here- Second-sex-offender-sculpture-to-be-removed, resulted in the Council removing this magnificent public work of art.

Naturally we should be mindful of the victims' feelings in this situation, such a crime being of the worst, with consequences far-reaching and devastating for victim and family.

Council's decision to tear it down was based on it being seen as a constant reminder to the victims. Much argument was made for it to be temporarily removed out of respect, but apparently it has gone permanently.
Maybe it has been mortally wounded?

Should we tear down, destroy, or burn art when we find that the artist is guilty of great crime

The artistic quality of the artwork stands on its own merit.
The Tui bird it represents is beautiful, probably our favourite native bird, and certainly should not be tainted by this crime.

I was hoping for an outcome where the tui could be adopted as a symbol for all programs against child abuse, meaning all physical abuse, not just sexual. There's a need for all these crimes to be brought out into the open, and fly in the face of society, and not be concealed for whatever reason.
The victims should not carry the shame. They should be encouraged to speak out, and shame the perpetrators. Victim and family should feel safe in our community to speak out. The cloak of anonymity should be denied the offenders.

Our iconic Tui bird is itself a survivor of all the abuse thrown at it over the past 200 years of colonisation, with the degradation of its home environment and being preyed upon by introduced predators. And yet, it is making a comeback as a songbird in our forests. It is resurgent and triumphing over adversity, adapting to our suburbs as we realise the importance of planting nectar-producing trees and flaxes. Without those, there are no Tuis. The Tui represents our enlightenment these days about healthy eco-systems.

 Maybe, in an enlightened society, it could have been a more positive outcome for the tui sculpture to have been re-dedicated to all survivors, and placed on public display again, as a way of having a permanent reminder that survivors will sing, and predators will be exposed?

 Tui on flax, or harakeke, by Matt Binns

Sadly, the tui statue disappears into the darkness, and predators still stalk our children.

Dark Shadow.

There's a dark shadow walking
in the brightest light of day.
The blackest figure stalking
it's stealing innocence away. 
How do we expose this unseen beast
from its secret camouflage?
Perhaps on the day those silent screams
become brave cries of loud outrage.

There's a dark shadow preying
on the innocence of our young kin.
You can't block its entrance
it's already there within. 
For those it attempts to envelop
with its snuffing cloak of guilt and shame,
stand up and throw it off.
Reach out: re-ignite that brilliant flame.

As a footnote to this story of child abuse in our community-
Reports and many letters to the editors of our local newspapers discussed the case. I had this very short verse to one editor published.

 Perhaps the tui should have stayed in our midst
A constant reminder of all our children at risk
And as the sun strikes this tui and its plumage glows
Its beauty can forever remind and reveal
The loss of innocence an adult may steal.

I subsequently received an email from a person involved with one of the families concerned, and was very touched by this person's comments.
, that the small time you took (if it was you) to write such a heartfelt letter, really touched us, all of us."
 and "...but your few words spoke to me more than any other. Thank you so much, I didn't know where or how to start my new life, but now I do. From the ashes of the old comes a new flame. Thank you."

The last line of "Dark Shadow" poem above was written for that person.

Sometimes poetry speaks volumes more than is written.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Beyond the sum of all his fears: The Rhino War.

Poached rhino picture courtesy Facebook Rhino groups.

An ageing soldier crying softly, beside a body on the ground
Sheds a tear for his young slain friend
He never thought this would come down.
He'd thrown away all his bush gear, camo paint and forage cap
Spent his life forgetting firefights in dark shadows
Without a thought that he'd go back.

Life has dreams from hard foundations, memories with no shed tears
Struck with the heart ache of our creations
In the invulnerability of our young years
From the vat of our maturation brews a spirit of adventure
That spills towards our next generation
Whom we protect beyond our fears.

The young soldier survived the bush war, threw his life into his dreams
Played a part in the creation
Of an Eden ... or so it seems.
Raised a calf from its lost mum, fed it every day by hand

Grew to love his lost young orphan
Sanctuary for all became the plan.

It is such a sweet temptation for us to simply turn away

To ignore the wildlife decimation
That supplies the Asian trade.
The ineptitude of our nations, the impotence of governments
Sends a message to all caring people
To care a damn is a piece of shit.

Aching heart beside his slain friend, new resolve and a pledge is made

To seek the killers of his now lost brother
The one he'd raised in his sanctuary
But old soldiers know the danger, the blood and all the fears
Never rush to don the camo 
Never want to wear the gear.

Now there's a deeper call of duty, calling way beyond his fears.

He heads along the faint new pathway
Tracking two legged predators
Seeks his quarry in long shadows, where deadly ambushes are laid
Amongst flashing memories of firefights
A last patrol for his young compadre.

Life has dreams from hard foundations, memories of old despairs

Struck with the heart ache of our creations
Amidst the anger and the tears
A deadly shot strikes its target: he never wanted to kill again
But he'll protect his new generation
Beyond the sum of all his fears.

"Slaap sag, rustig ou grote. Slaap sag."
"Rest in peace, old friend. Rest in peace."

South African musician, David Easthouse, has adapted the above to his latest music masterpiece. Check it out here-
David Easthouse- Beyond the sum of all his fears.

Members of the Pilanesberg National Park Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) stand guard as conservationists and police investigate the scene of a rhino poaching incident April 19, 2012. — Reuters pic

The Rhino poaching war escalates. 668 rhino were slaughtered in 2012 in South Africa. This year is off to an equally depressing start: 393 as at end of April! At this rate, 2015 may see over 1500 killed, and that figure is just for South Africa.
This is extermination of a species.

Many reserve owners, who in their youth may have been involved in the wars for independence in Southern Africa, are now - in what should be today's peace - having to take up arms and fight a new battle, this time with the survival of rhino at stake.

Dreams to create wildlife sanctuaries on their land are being crushed. Lives are being lost. Rhino being driven to extinction to supply Asian demand for rhino horn.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Nature's Symphony.

Practising my yodelling at Lake Grassmere, Lakes District, UK. 

Nature's Symphony.

There's a song flows through the mountains
There's a rhythm in every stream
There's a tune that soars with the eagles
Over every prairie green.

In frozen wastes rhythms vibrate
When crystals ring in high frequency
And in desert sands wind's whispering hand
Creates soft notes of harmony.

While some ignore or will not listen

Or just hear cacophony
There are those who'll join in chorus
And sing Nature's Symphony.
There's a song flows through the mountains
There's a rhythm in every stream
Will you join in Nature's chorus
Or will you chant her requiem?

There's rhythm as seas crash and thunder
As waves break upon rocky shores
Falling leaves of Autumn rustle
There's a song in there and more.

When a robin sings with pleasure
His song as Spring bursts forth
Released from chill grasp of Winter
Daffodils will trumpet their worth.

For those who enjoy Earth's treasures
There's a song that you will hear
You'll do your part to share your heart
And spread her music everywhere.

Can you hear sweet Nature singing
Her symphony so clear and strong?
Some will never hear her singing
While others gently sing along.
There's a song flows through the mountains
There's a rhythm in every stream
Will you join in Nature's chorus
Or will you chant her requiem?

There's a song flows through the mountains
There's a rhythm in every stream
I will join you in the chorus
I'll not sing her requiem.

Wellington Harbour looking from track between Eastbourne and Pencarrow. By Jim McIntosh.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Cage: Carole's song.

How far are you prepared to go to achieve rights for all animals?

When you read your local paper to see what's going down
entertainment notice, a circus come to town
frustration gets you checking out
eyes calling to your soul
animals in their confining cage
you see their despair
you feel the rage!

As you're sitting in the restaurant, feeling all done in
long day of animal rights demonstration
you read it on the menu
up top of the page
shark fin soup chef special
feel the despair
feel the rage!

It's coming round again,
all the rage
you're going down again
the rampage
of your soul again
lost in despair
that there's no justice

And you're sweating through 6 miles, feeling almost beat
looking for respite from all your heart breaking
you see a fur coat walking on
the wrong two kind of feet
you hit her with that red spray can
use your despair
use your rage!

Then you get to score a seat at the latest fashion release
watching them all clapping the skeletons up on stage
you see her come out strutting
wearing all that exotic skin
so you jump up on the catwalk
she feels your despair
she feels your rage.

It's coming round again,
all the rage
The judge is looking down again
your rampage
for animal rights again
lost in despair
that there's no justice

You see it on your Facebook wall, another rhino down
the photos get to be too much, so many going round
but you'll rampage again
for their pain
there's no justice anywhere
so don't despair
but keep the rage!

When the bars are shadow patterning across your pasty face
you're feeling low and frightened at this restricted space
you knew the choice would bring some pain
it ain't so easy, this Vegan way,
but you'll do it all again
use your despair
to fuel your rage.