King of the hill

Mauao soaks his fat bum in the sea.
The water is cool, the weather warm
this millennium. Shame about that
rash he’s developed just now: tiny
mites messing up his extremities,
a hundred thousand itchy critters
living and dying faster than he
can think. But this is my turf! he yells
across the harbour. I was here first!
Know that I am Mauao, the Ancient!
That settled, he folds his arms and glares
defiantly over his domain.
Silent, the earth and ocean chuckle.


First published in The Kiwi Diary 2007

Mauao is the Maori name for the Mount: the mountain that sits at the entrance to Tauranga Harbour. I wrote this poem in 2003 or 2004, around the time Tauranga City celebrated reaching 100,000 citizens and becoming a ‘real city’.

Not that anyone else would notice, but I was also rather proud of the structure of this poem; there are 9 syllables in each line.