Earth Day 2020


We walk the dark beach at Raumati.
There’s Orion, belt-loose low-rider—
hanging nonchalance in the western sky.

Rather than raising a club 
(Betelgeuse in one bicep
and a faint string of suns in the other

that could be the skin of a lion
or a shield) he’s a glistening child
about to pop a manu off Tuteremoana

into Te-Rau-o-te-Rangi channel.
Imagine Gaia’s rage when Orion dared
to say he would kill every animal

on Earth. My child talks about 
the deep universe more than our planet— 
how his belt might’ve exploded already

‘cos light is so slow to arrive from the past
and we’re always running late into the future,
eh Mum. We were always going to be too late.


For some iwi, the three stars 
are Tautoro, bird perch with a berry star—
bird snare for a chiefly kai—

bright Rigel—Puanga leading in 
the new year with glimmering Matariki. 
In Samoa, the stars form Amonga:

a balance-pole, a carrying-pole.


The Monday in May last year
when the United Nations declared
unprecedented—accelerating—one million

plants and animals 
threatened with extinction, 
Morning Report played the imagined scream 

of Pouakai Haast’s Eagle—Aiiiii was here!
Tuesday to Friday, they aired Moa
Finsch’s duck, New Zealand Goose, Huia—

growling, booming, karking, wailing
I was here I was here I was here I was here
Where are you where are you huia uia uia!


Today, the independent economist 
before the canned bird call
before the trill of the 7am news 

is wondering if the money graphs 
will form a V, U or L.
I dream of O, our lifebelt, 

Kate’s Doughnut. The Earth is howling 
for safe, just circles, and how about
Teina’s Ohanga Iho Nui?


We walk home, pushing the air
aside like it’s the super organza
of the galaxy shushing us.

My glistening child.
How shall we make the world whole in time
when a vested few crave the whole Earth?

Kate Rowarth’s Doughnut Economics

Teina Boasa-Dean’s Ohanga Iho Nui

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