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From World Words: An Anthology of International Writers in New Zealand edited by T M Schaefer. Assistant Editors: Kevin Cudby, Catherine Boyle

Out Of Dark by Riemke Ensing

[For Ahmed Zaoui, already detained without charge, for 16 months, ten of which were spent in solitary confinement. It must be noted that the Auckland remand prison is built in such a way as to deny those who are imprisoned there, all access to natural light or any sense of the outside world.]

Not in my name
has the moon not kissed you good night
these last 500 days.

Not in my name
have the stars been unable
to send you their message
of quiet
these last 500 days.

Not in my name
has the sun not touched your skin
and embraced you in warmth
these last 500 days.

You see neither sunset nor sunrise
and the sky may weep with grief.

Not in my name
has the persimmon fruit in my garden
not graced your table with fragrance
and the bright saffron colour of Sahara
that you love. Even the birds
have been modest, waiting for you
to share this bounty.

Not in my name
have you not seen the trees
tranform themselves
from Primavera to mourning
these last 500 days.

In their sadness now, they are gaunt.
Their outstretched arms
unable to reach you or feel your back
lean on their strength.

In Cornwall Park a huge Algerian
Oak stands solitary, silent and different.
It waits, spread in supplication
for your release
these last 500 days.

In Vermont Street we light 500 candles.

A wind, chill from the south, fiercely
snatches the small flames. They falter for a moment,
but in our captured breath of 'Oh'
a great fire flares.


April 2004


© Riemke Ensing

Parahaka by Rosalie Carey

Yesterday I saw it
as one small mountain;
this morning, dabs of candyfloss
divide Parahaka
into five symmetrical ridges
a Rangtitoto-super-special
garnished with whipped cream.

Low commercial buildings
like multi-coloured biscuits
all that is on show today
of the little northern town
that calls itself a city.

Houses on the hill
withdraw into the forest:
yesterday's trees fine cathedrals
York Minster and St Paul's.

Sea and lakes can mesmerize
but landscapes -
landscapes have their
changing moods
like people.


© Rosalie Carey























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