Sarah Penwarden

Sarah Penwarden lives in Auckland where she works as a counsellor educator. She has had poems published in Poetry New Zealand, Turbine, and Meniscus (Aus.), poems and short stories published in Takahē, and short stories and poetry for children published in The School Journal.

 As a writer, I look for the unusual, the poignant, and the magical behind the ordinary world.

Sarah Penwarden




            at Rangihoua 1821



Kendall fell into

the Māori world

caught in sin, in

lust with the flesh of

seventeen year old Tungaroa.


To preach the gospel of peace

he built a home at Rangihoua;

in the sheltering bay under the gaze of Oihi,

but he bickered with his missionary

brothers, his wife

took a lover, and he

crossed over.


a form of conversion,

            he fell

                                                and the earth

                                                            received him


The swelling in his breeches was for

the beauty of Māori cosmology,

he said, the gorgeousness of it,

in which he was

alight, a torch


in from the darkness

of Te Po, to the light

of Te Ao Marama,

ahead of the world to come.



He was not lost


(a flame of knowing

alight, alight

then out).