A Wartime Farewell

The young sailor with
his comrades in arms
lined the ship’s railing
on the commander’s orders.
Young soldiers and sailors
of white colonial stock
no crossed two oceans
to support their parents’ homeland
in their fight for freedom.
They left behind the islands
that had become their own home.

On the deck stood a taua,
a company of warriors of the
seafaring race who had settled
these islands centuries earlier.
They too were crossing two oceans
to fight alongside the colonial soldiers.
In ritual chant and dance
they farewelled their homeland.
They called on Tangaroa the sea
to protect and guide them
as he had their tupuna,
their ancestors,
sailing the vast Pacific
seeking new homes.

Many of these warriors
of both races died and
were buried on foreign soil.

This young sailor survived the war,
married in his parents’ homeland.
He would only see his home islands
again at the end of his life.


Previously posted February 2016.

A Wartime Farewell

3 thoughts on “A Wartime Farewell

      1. Lesley says:

        Our local cemetery has many military graves. I go there often because the old part of the cemetery has lots of mature trees, and the river runs through it so it’s a great place to spot wildlife. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place, but I do feel sad when I read the inscriptions on the military graves and also ones whose occupants were killed in mining and railway disasters.

        Liked by 1 person

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