Sarah Penwarden

Sarah Penwarden works in Auckland as a therapist and educator. She has had poems published in Poetry New Zealand, Turbine, Meniscus, Southerly, and takahē.  She has had short stories published in tākāhe, brief, and a story broadcast on Radio New Zealand. She also writes for children and has had short stories and poems published in The School Journal.

 

 


Conversion

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
glowing,
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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note: Due to a processing error, Sarah’s poem didn’t appear in t95 print issue. We apologise to Sarah and instead have published online here.