Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Burial--By Maureen Sudlow--New Zealand


They come to farewell us
before the lonely trek to Reinga 
carried by the wings of the little owl
calling us to tangi with them
before the long night
hides us one from another  
before we put on the mourning
leaves of the kawakawa
before the whanau gather
to share in our grief

Whanau is the Maori word for family, and the Maori believe that the spirits of the dead travel to Cape Reinga on their way to Hawaiki.  Tangi is the Maori grieving process.

Maureen Sudlow is a member of the New Zealand Poetry Society, and lives in the Kaipara, in the North of New Zealand.  She loves poetry, photography and writing for children.  She has published a children’s picture book Fearless Fred and the Dragon and has written for various on-line journals and magazines.


  1. Hi, Maureen. The traditions of bidding farewell to our loved ones is so intriguing and so very touching I love those you write of in your poem. They are beautiful and how could pain and sorrow be beautiful? But, the traditions are very touching, heartwarming, sweet and beautiful. Sheri /

  2. Hello Maureen,
    Thank you for the footnote. I reread the poem after seeing what some of the words mean and it is quite beautifully penned.
    Best wishes,

  3. Dear Maureen,

    Welcome to Whispers! It's good to see you already have two lovely comments on your poem. I hope you enjoy your time spent here. Let me know if you have any questions.

    Best wishes,

  4. So nice to see you here, Maureen :) Congratulations on getting your poem published :) Beautifully written :)

  5. Lovely poem Maureen. Aroha. Kia kaha.

  6. What a very well-written poem! So gentle, so intriguing. Loved it! Welcome!

  7. Maureen, I certainly enjoyed reading your poem. I especially appreciated your note at the end explaining the meanings of the words. Rereading it again touched my heart with the beauty of the whole of it. Thank you for sharing your talent with us here on Whispers and welcome!

  8. Beautiful poem, Maureen. Thank you for sharing. Continued blessings!

    -MJ (

  9. Thank you so much for all your kind comments. This is the first time I have been back and I am overwhelmed... Love to you all. Maureen

  10. Your poem embraces me, the stranger, in your intriguing world! Thank you for sharing this beautifully penned piece. Ralph.

    1. Thank you Ralph for your comment