FURTHER LEGENDS OF THE PĀKEHĀ



1/
The governors declare
we are going back to paganism,
the better to blend in.

Aoraki-Olympus, Tangaroa borrows
Neptune’s toga, and Dunedin as Edinburgh
of the South is Athens South Squared.

My mother’s birth-Cromwell an Atlantis.
Oamaru, la Citta Ideale,
of the hokey pokey ice-cream temples.

Seneca declaims from Tyne street.
Cato complains on Harbour. On Hull
Caesar Forrester Augustus beams

as farmers in togas drive hecatombs
up to Patrick’s dome or Columba’s portico,
singing: Give me that old time religion.

Classic.
When we die
we crash on the snows of Erebus.



2/
The governors declare
we are going back to paganism,
the better to blend in.

The World Serpent coils around
Valhalla-Wellington, Mordor-Rotorua, Avalon,
Dannevirk, Camelot-Canterbury,

Asgård-Aoraki, Rohan, Norsewood–
all the way to the shores of Bohemia
(their existence vouched by Shakespeare).

Boats travel to the islands;
Tūmatauenga nods to Thor, and Woden to Tāne
rule of weregild and utu.

Jörmungandr’s tail
lies in its mouth, in Bluff,
near the smelter,

where woad-stained sons of Weyland
cast off a fallen brother, covering him in paua shells
in a burning longboat. Sing hey nonny

and swear on Mjolnir
I’m as blue as a new tattoo.
Yggdrasil is a mighty Kauri.

Nodens and Cernunnos awoken,
Hollywood lan nama, Jackson and Tolkien.

Don’t let me die in Middle Earth.

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