Maori Oven. W. Hart-Smith
Maori Oven, W. Hart-Smith
You cut into the warm earth
and shatter the dead shells into bright fragments.
Why does a piece of obsidian, a bone pick
sharp as yesterday, give you so much
pleasure? Leave it alone, Pakeha,
leave it alone!
(Last six lines)
Maori Oven's opening line sets a context of excavating into turf with a shovel. The acknowledgements in the book credit its first publication to The Bulletin. Another poem in the book is entitled 'Cave Paintings'.
The book's cover featured a reproduction of a cave drawing by Theo Schoon.
Hart-Smith was a sometime adult education tutor in Timaru and gave assistance to Schoon. He was British born and resident at times in Australia and New Zealand. He produced many volumes of poetry and was anthologised in Curnow's The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse.