Beth Spencer / Poetry

Singing us home

In a kitchen in Brisbane
three of us sit sharing tea
and talking about
dislocation
how hard we find it
to feel really here,
to feel we belong.

Each of us an
unplanned baby.
(An accident, or a surprise if you’re being nice.)
 
Never felt that sense of
unequivocal right-to-be,
to take up space.
 
Margaret (from Aotearoa)
says that in Maori culture
a child is sung in,
called into being by her family.
 
We sit in silence
pondering this.
 
She pours more tea and
tells us about her grandmother
saying one day in exasperation
‘You will never feel at home
until you understand this —
Tūrangawaewae.
 
‘My home is where I stand.’
 
A soft breeze enters and lifts the
hairs on my arms.
 
Suddenly the room
is filled with the most beautiful singing
like whale sounds
 
as Margaret sings us in.
 
We sit there
tears streaming down our faces
and come home.
 
[From Vagabondage, UWA Publishing, 2014;
also published in Overland, Dec 2014.]

©Beth Spencer

Unidentified Maori girl, Wanganui region - Photograph taken by Frank J Denton, Jun 1903 http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=32316&l=en

Unidentified Maori girl, Wanganui region – Photograph taken by Frank J Denton, Jun 1903
http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=32316&l=en

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