From the vast oriental land they sailed
from coastal regions packed with villages
starving from the ravages of warring
greedy warlords and their armies.
Thin hungry men fanned out to
distant gold rushes around the Pacific
desperate for gold for their families.
They came to this island country in its
gold rush 150 yeatrs ago, panning gold,
sending it home. After the gold ended
they stayed on, for they still earned a
living, sent money home, though the
white foreigners persecuted them often.
Some orientals died in this distant land
far from their families who should tend
their graves, bring offerings each year on
the day of the ancestors, the hungry ghosts.
Coffins of embalmed dead were stored
over many years for the day living
kinsmen could ship them back home
for their families to bury and tend.
At last the day came, the coffins set
sail. A few days later a violent storm
buried ship, crew. and coffins at sea.
Breaking up on the seabed the ship’s
timbers released many coffins to float
to a shore sparsely peopled by its
original settlers’ descendants who
buried these seaborne strangers.
A hundred years later oriental descendants
remembering childhood rumours
searched and enquired up to the far
north, found the descendants of those
who had buried their ancestors,
found their ancestors’ graves. In full
Polynesian ceremony two worlds met.
At last the ancestors, the hungry ghosts
are tended each year by descendants
in the home far from home
at the end of the world.