Our Father Bent the Winds

Our Father Bent the Winds Only yesterday The Sands of Sopu brightened the shores of Nuku’alofa, Horse-drawn carts crawled half-awake the green roads, And we sent men and money to Missions abroad. Our fathers bent the winds and strode the waves To bring the Kula and Mothers of Kings from Upolu, Fine mats from Manu’a and the royal studs of Lakemba for the Forbidden Daughters And did not Maui Kisikisi pierce the horizon with his javelin? Or the Suppressor-of-Waves speed slabs from Uvea For the terraced tombs of the God-Kings? But the Sands of Sopu are gone. Broken beer bottles strew the Sacred Shore, The tennis court from Salt Lake City marks the grave Of Salote’s lawn, And the one-time nation of givers. Dreaded jaws of the ocean, Begs for crumbs from the Eagle and the Lion. Yesterday Tangaloa made men, But the God of Love breeds children. “…to me the most unfortunate things that colonialism, Christianity, and international capitalism have given to the Pacific Islands have been, first, the transformation of hitherto self-sufficient, proudly independent people into wards of rich and powerful countries; and, second, as a consequence of forced dependence, the compulsion on people to compromise their integrity and use all manner of trickery in order to survive in an economic and political world over which they have no meaningful control…” – Epeli Hau’ofa, 1984 from We are the Ocean ]]>

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