Mike Subritzky

bird of a single flight

IWVPA Bronze Helmet Top Poet Award of Excellence for April 2002we met only once,
it was that morning
but i will never forget you,
your life is part of mine now
and i will always remember.

you wore a white blouse,
so very bright in the morning
whilst i was unshaven
and in my dressing gown.

you had become the kotuku,
that beautiful bird
of a single flight
whilst i was earth bound
and became your epitaph.

it was early,
and i had woken
from that same old
dream of africa
the machine guns,
the blood,
and the angry black faces.

i remember the way your hair,
billowed in the wind,
and as i watched you fall
i began to bless myself
in the old way
‘In nomine Patri, et Filio’.
and pray that when your journey
God would hold your soul
in the palm of his hand.

Author’s Note: In Memory of all who died that day: 11 September 2001. The Kotuku is a New Zealand native heron, which is pure white and very rare. Ancient Maori believed that if a Kotuku was ever sighted it heralded the death of a Great Chief. It is regarded as the magical ‘Bird of a Single Flight’.