October 18, 2006
The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch. 1943, Classic NZ lit.
The skeleton of the moa on iron crutches
Broods over no great waste; a private swamp
Was where this tree grew feathers once, that hatches
Its dusty clutch, and guards them from the damp.
Interesting failure to adapt on islands,
Taller but not more fallen than I, who come
Bone to his bone, peculiarly New Zealand's.
The eyes of children flicker round his tomb
Under the skylights, wonder at the huge egg
Found in a thousand pieces, pieced together
But with less patience than the bones that dug
In time deep shelter against ocean weather:
Not I, some child, born in a marvellous year,
Will learn the trick of standing upright here. Allen Curnow, Poet.
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