Monday, August 25, 2014
Sir George Grey's ‘Polynesian Mythology’, first published in 1855.
Story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai
"Hinemoa was the daughter of a great chief who lived at Owhata, on the shore of Lake Rotorua. She was very beautiful, and because of her beauty and her high rank, many young men desired her as a wife. One of these was Tutanekai, but he knew that though he was of good birth, his rank was not high enough for Hinemoa's father to accept him as his daughter's suitor.
So for a long time Tutanekai hid his love. He saw Hinemoa only when there were great meetings of the tribe, for his home was far across the water, at Mokoia Island in the middle of the lake. When the people gathered together he would content himself with gazing at Hinemoa from a distance, and yet it seemed to him that sometimes she would return his looks. But he thought to himself, ‘There are many other young men more worthy than I of winning Hinemoa's heart. If I approach her to declare my love, perhaps she will be displeased.’
Now Hinemoa did love Tutanekai, but she too hid her love, thinking, ‘If I send a message to Tutanekai, perhaps he will not care for me’.
At last, after many meetings at which their eyes only had spoken, Tutanekai sent a messenger to Hinemoa, and when she had heard him, Hinemoa cried joyfully, ‘Have we each then loved alike?’ Then Tutanekai asked Hinemoa to leave her home and come to him, and to this she agreed.
‘At night’, he said, ‘when you hear the sound of a flute across the water, it is I; come in your canoe’.
Every night Tutanekai sat on a high hill and played his flute, and the wind bore his music far across the lake to Hinemoa's home. But Hinemoa did not come. Her people had suspected her intention, and they had pulled all the canoes high up on the shore. Every night Hinemoa heard the sound of her lover's flute, and wept because she could not go to him. Then she thought at last, ‘Would it be possible to swim?’ She looked at the wide water and her heart failed her; but then she heard the flute again and knew that she must go.
It is believed that their descendants are living at Rotorua to this day.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
by William Wordsworth
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Rotorua, a Maori word meaning literally "second lake", was originally settled by the Maori of the Te Arawa tribe. Rotorua is the heartland of New Zealand Maori culture. Lake Rotorua is the largest of the 16 lakes in the Rotorua district. Mokoia Island is on the lake and for centuries been occupied by various tribes. The lake is a treasure of wildlife, particularly black swans.
There are seven species of swans in the world, all pure white except for the Australian black swan and the South American black-necked swan. The black swan was introduced as a game bird from Australia to New Zealand in the 1860s but also probably reached New Zealand naturally and are considered a native bird.
Sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay
From Fatal Interview
"O ailing Love, compose your struggling wing!
Confess you mortal; be content to die.
How better dead, than be this awkward thing
Dragging in dust its feathers of the sky;
Hitching and rearing, plunging beak to loam,
Upturned, disheveled, uttering a weak sound
Less proud than of the gull that rakes the foam,
Less kind than of the hawk that scours the ground.
While yet your awful beauty, even at bay,
Beats off the impious eye, the outstretched hand,
And what your hue or fashion none can say,
Vanish, be fled, leave me a wingless land . . .
Save where one moment down the quiet tide
Fades a white swan, with a black swan beside."
— Edna St Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950) was an American lyrical poet and playwright. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, the third woman to win the award for poetry, and was also known for her feminist activism and her many love affairs.
Mamaroneck, NY, 1914, by Arnold Genthe.