Vivienne Plumb

From Darkness to Light 

About the third time I go there
I realise the Kerikeri New World Supermarket
has a faux missionary ‘Stone Store’ style frontage.

1819 was the New World
although now it’s the old world
made new again by New World.

Mr Davis: one red blanket
six shillings and threepence.

A sickle, some snaffle bits, harness rings,
a whetstone, a rope jack and a case of school slates.

They ate the rancid flour
but dreamt of something else.

Pork was called salt junk,
the tea the whalers brought
was nicknamed post and rails,
a rag wick in a bowl was a slush light.

When the language is learnt and the Gospel
preached in their own tongue
they will be turned from darkness to light.

Author’s Note


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