The view from here II


I’m takahe
I eat all day
don’t bother me
can’t you see

I’m feeding

my big red beak
my big strong legs
I call a lot
I plod a lot

I’m heavy

I’m takahe
I’m bad ballet                                   
I love the sky
I see birds fly

above me

I’m looking down
I love the ground
I’m here to stay
I’m A-okay

I’m standing

I am not loud
I eat pale cloud
I eat blue sky
I multiply

but slowly

oh I was lost
to deer and frost
the tussock sang
around the man

who found me

found and saved
and unafraid
found and saved
and unafraid

I eat all day
I eat all day
I’m takahe
I’m takahe

I’m feeding

Bill Manhire

This poem is part of a commission from baritone Julien van Mellaerts to Bill Manhire and Gareth Farr for a set of songs about New Zealand birds. The other birds are the dotterel, the tui, and the huia.

Watch this YouTube video of the 2019 performance of the full set.

More poems in ‘The view from here’ series

The view from here — Ian Wedde

Cilla, writing — Elizabeth Smither

h e l l o   a n d   g o o d b y e — Michele Leggott 

Breach — Cilla McQueen

Between Shingle Creek and Fruitlands — Brian Turner

In these troubled times — Vincent O'Sullivan

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