When I was 9, I wrote a poem. Our teacher demanded "who wrote this?" and read it to the class.
He was loud. I thought I was in trouble. I said nothing. But it turned out he liked it.
I think back now, and I am pretty sure it included the phrase "shadows loomed". Not an uncommon, nor particularly original phrase.
I wrote another poem, and could not fight my desire to make it rhyme.
It went something like this:
The kauri tree is so high
It is so high it scrapes the sky
It's hard to climb and hard to fell
The inside's are as hard as hell.
It's one line short of a limerick. And I still have it, although it reads a little differently.
You see, I was advised to revisit the last line, and so had duly swiped at my ruled A4 with an eraser, and replaced "hell" with "5000 layers of shell". It didn't quite zing like the first version. But hey, I was 9.
Over the years I have occasionally revisited my compulsion to write poetry. So when Ariki Ngawati's poem arrived in our editor@ inbox, I had no hesitation in opening the attachment and reading his poem. I am so glad I did.
I also gave it to our newsroom's harshest critic to read. She was genuinely moved.
Ariki's poem displays a unique maturity, and an ability to see things with a different perspective, through a poet's eyes. He has captured a moment in time forever with his words.
A Rainy Day at School,
By Ariki Ngawati, Aged 9, Room 10, Totara Grove School
I look outside and see tears from the sky.
The field is drinking the immortal river.
I see the playground drowned by the flood.
I see the trees shudder in the wind.
The rain is a bullet shower.
The classroom is a pack of lions in a cage.
I am a cub waiting to play.
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