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THE TALKING STICK

Where once men walked in honour
the carved lintels cry out for truth,
and the talking stick beats its haka
hard upon the threshold of justice
marked in the fine panels recording
the genealogy of a warrior nation,
and the wellspring of mana.

Inviolate, engraved upon the loins
of men long gone but not forgotten;
Casino, Tobruk, the Maori Battalion
predestined to fight and shed their blood
on the slopes of the monastery,
held hard by the servants of evil
and the enslavement of all men.

And you, falling bloody from that hill
to the great tree of Northland's point,
the meeting place of soldiers' angels
gathering in endless ranks and facing
as one, the pathway of pure light
pointing the way home to Hawaiki
from whence you came.

The great sea waves falling back
as a mark of respect for your sacrifice,
and seeing the forest of huia feathers
blowing in unison and taking up the cry
as the wairua fly throughout the land
seeking the generations of children
who shall mourn you in empty whares.

And knowing even as you take the last step
down to the healing waters, that all things
are part of the glorious whole and your mana
will throb and pulse within the talking sticks;
the beating of which cannot be denied,
passed on to generation after generation -
prodding awake the mother beneath your feet

Yes. The power and the glory of your haka
amongst the shattered sills of Casino
is timeless and without recompense
and will be remembered,
to the last
and final man.

John A. Moller
Whiskey Two Company RNZIR

 

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