A Lament from Taoho
O Rae', crying so fretfully within the house,
Let us two nestle closer,
As if in the haven of Taputapuatea,
A shelter against the wind,
While we listen to the roar of the sea
We might then see clearly the land mist,
As we listen, we two,
To the rattling weapons of the many of Ati Puhi
As chiefs rally their forces, for battle.
Where is he, Te Huki,
The man who was destined for the blood-like kowhai waters
As multitudes gather within Puriri.
What to do about you, O son,
In the overturning of war canoes
Of Mahuhu itself, in the deep waters?
Hurry enter the doorway of the house of Nukutawhiti,
In the light of dawn.
Te Koikoi has now risen to vie with Rona
There is light all about,
There is a bright light o'er yonder horizon
that (you see) is but a lightsome cloud
Fastened there by the sun.
Your face is that of Tawhaki
Which shines forth and sets the heavens alight
As the call to war goes forth,
Let your gritting voice be heard and obeyed
In the glorious slaying (of men)
As your renowned footsteps resound in the North
What man will survive live in your land?
There will be Tuturiwhatu and Torea,
The sentinel birds of the Western inlet,
There you may be set adrift on the great ocean wave
That roars close by
There is nothing else, O son, in times of war,
It is indeed a slippery trail,
If we two only had
The warrior of the land, your uncle Tuoho
Alas, we are denied (his help)
If we were to grow the tukou for food,
The muharu will bide his time;
If we were to grow the tukou for Rongo,
The hotete will bide his time.
There is naught else but omens of death,
Let us in our plight seek refuge
Among the giant trees with Karawai yonder,
The hiding place of Reremura
When he is thereabouts
You will not otherwise survive
The swirling winds that blow
The puputara aground upon the shore
Nga Moteatea (The songs: scattered pieces from many canoe areas) collected by A T Ngata and translated by Pei Te Hurinui Jones (Auckland, 1985) part 2, #158, pp 194-197. See also I1(a):96-97.
Te Reo Māori