Maori Oven. W. Hart-Smith

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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)

From On the Level, Mostly Canterbury Poems W. Hart-Smith Printed Timaru Herald 1950.

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.

External Sources

Australian Dictionary of Biography

Oxford Companion to Australian Literature

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