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.



Anonymous said...

This is very thought-provoking with wonderful poems straight from the heart. Just loved this post!

Unknown said...

Dear Jim,

What a profound post this is - thank you for sharing and reminding us of the pain and suffering of victims of abuse. Your poetry is heart touching and so beautiful.
I agree with your feeling that this statue that is symbolic of so much more than just abuse, but also about rising from it, should have been made to be seen in this light.
It also saddens me deeply that so many fragile eco-systems and Nature itself is not seen as a precious gift given to us - not to abuse - but to respect and protect.

Thank you again for sharing this special piece of art and the information on the Tui bird.