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From Polynesian Legends by A. Stanley Sherratt

Tāwhirimatea, The Storm God (No. 2)

Out in the west see the clouds swiftly massing;
Feel the chill sting of the wind that is passing;
Hear the wild gulls as they wheel in the sky,
Warning us mortals with dolorous cry.
God of the tumults, Tāwhirimatea,
Father of storms, with destruction, is near
Seeking anew his great vengeance of old,
Smiting his brothers with tempest and cold.

Dark is his face in the sky with his wrath
Flashing, his eye, as the lightning springs forth-
Threat'ning and deep comes the thunder, his voice-
Shrieking, the winds, in their mad flight rejoice.
Great is the pow'r of the God of the storm;
Awful, his wrath, in its terrible form,
Wreak'd on his brothers for tearing apart
Rangi and Papa, those dear to his heart.

Māui Falls Before Hine-nui-te-pō, Goddess of Death (No. 15)

Up 'mid the tow'ring mountains
   White with snow,
Up where the swirling white mists
   Softly flow,
Up 'mid the dark cold peaks and
   Caverns deep-
Goddess of Death was lying,
   Fast asleep.

None had her cold dominions
   Ever sought,
None to her gloom steeped boundaries
   Had been brought,
Never was need for her at
   Watch to keep-
Nothing disturb'd her long and
   Peaceful sleep.

Up from the world below
   To this white realm of snow,
Māui came stealthily
   To conquer Death;
Sturdy and bold was he,
   And from all fear was free-
He would fight fearlessly
   To his last breath.

Goddess of Death awoke,
   Ere Māui made the stroke
That would have freed mankind
   From Death's great pow'r.
Māui was slain instead,
   First of the sacred dead;
Honoured and great was he
   To his last hour.

Up 'mid the tow'ring mountains
   White with snow,
Up where the swirling white mists
   Softly flow,
Up where the dark cold peaks are
   Headstones all-
Goddess of Death sleeps not, but
   Waits for all.

Poems © A. Stanley Sherratt























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