A poem by Bill Manhire.

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I was the first of birds to sing
I sang to signal rain
the one I loved was singing
and singing once again

My wings were made of sunlight
my tail was made of frost
my song was now a warning
and now a song of love

I sang upon a postage stamp
I sang upon your coins
but money courted beauty
you could not see the joins

Where are you when you vanish?
Where are you when you’re found?
I’m made of greed and anguish
a feather on the ground

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I lived among you once
and now I can’t be found
I’m made of things that vanish
a feather on the ground


Bill Manhire is a prizewinning poet and fiction writer and was Aotearoa New Zealand’s inaugural poet laureate. “Huia” is from his latest book, Wow.

Image: Huia head (Heteralocha acutirostris), John Buchanan, 1865–1885 (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa).

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