Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sky-Shaping (A Poem by Michele Bannister)

28 May 2012

In this way come the names. The kete of knowledge, grasp them, word-woven.
The stars were not spilled from them to scatter—
they are taonga, treasured
a sorrowed son's gift to his father the Sky.
In the spaces between the great river of the goddess of the north,
cloud-shadow, counter-clear, in the south strides the Emu.
Rifted, reflected—
the same place holds the great waka, star-spanned
and the leaping maw of hammer-headed mangō-pare
earnest enemies of fishes.
Some names are found from the quickness of birds
(all the kindness of Tāne; leaf-shadow and branch-shiver, fern-frond unfolded),
even in the tired patience of the frigatebird's long arc, soaring the Pacific,
once seen from a small bark off the isles called Galapagos;
and some from the long slow vastnesses
the patience of ice, the presence of the All-Frozen, seal-teared
children of unknowing oceans.

Michele Bannister was born in the year of Halley's Comet, and retains an uncommon fondness for distant worlds both small and icy. She lives in Australia, where she is working towards her doctorate in astronomy. Her poetry has appeared in Strange HorizonsStone Telling, the Cascadia Subduction Zone and Jabberwocky, and is forthcoming in Ideomancer and Inkscrawl.

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