Simon Williamson (1968-1999) was born in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand.
Frequently published in literary magazines like JAAM and Takahe, he sang in
the folk bands, The Flat Earthers and Between Earth and Sky. His posthumous
book, Storyteller: Poems 1988-1999, (HeadworX, 2002), was widely acclaimed.

Night Train

This train is like the womb
long passage in darkness

The rhythm is like good love
soft and gentle

I will be born in a Wellington morning
27 or is it 28
My mother waiting for her eldest
this painless labour
this strange machine

these half-awake dreams

Full Moon

Tonight the sea shifts
rhythmically from side to side
like a couple doing a slow dance
or the water in a miner's pan.

The moon, that nugget of silver
swims light like fish
thru the sea of darkness
trailing stars in its wake.

Maui tamed the sun
made it move more slowly across the sky
Rona in the moon
lonesome with her calabash

I feel it in my blood
pulling the tide of love

so it breaks the banks
of concrete and sand

spilling itself over the rim of sky scrapers
ancient and powerful, it will be there still
when we have bowed and disappeared into the twilight.

- Maori demi-god and hero
Rona - controller of the moon

The Passing
"Only thieves go thru the window."

So they walked him in
thru the front door
the weight of his years
light like a child.

That was a hundred years ago.
Now only the old
remember what they were told
about the dead
entering like burglars.

But they knew
life is thieved from you
and to grow old is to give away
until you have no more
than when you were fresh from the womb.
So they marched him in
thru the front door
and ever since that is the way
the dead come to the ribs of their tupuna

like a heart
the living must pass thru.

- ancestors

Mandela Day

Robben Island where Mandela
learned to meditate.
Twenty-seven years the Afrikaan Guards
jumped to his tune
running it like a well-oiled machine
forever the diplomat
able to love the unlovable
and never fluster
when the words "Kaffir Boy"
echoed in his ear.

Oh Mandela, your day
came and you marched unhurried
while the world rained
applause and accolades
in your beautiful Black ears.
You will assume the mantle
of retired President
while the ANC desperately
gets things functioning.
You are truly free now
free to be yourself
in your home
with your wife.

You have fought the Boar,
tusks as white as ivory,
to a stand-still.
Now you watch
as the blackbird sings
in your home province.

This is truly Mandela Day
as the lion roars
and you love your woman
with all the might
your eighty year old manhood
can muster

Peaceful to love all night
and awake at dawn
with the form of woman
chasing those dark years
all across the new South Africa.

Back to Front.