Pippi Duncan moves judges at National Schools Poetry Awards

Year 12 student Pippi Duncan was one of 10 finalists in the recent National Schools Poetry Award for her beautiful and moving poem entitled... 

'the bonds of love we meet'

my little brother understood kia kaha to mean aroha
what with the silence we say it lately
a consecrated quiet

and chalk vows
clinging to school grounds
like blue to clouded sky

kia kaha means asking Laiba from class how to tie a headdress
uncrumple careful hands, each slip of scarf
you push back into place

1:32 pm, close your mouth a moment.
kia kaha
is the bow of the rugby boys’ heads,
still of the prefect’s shoes. listening to your friends 

Light. Kia kaha is the look up,
the struggle of faith through the loopholes of our fists.

We will make this home again.

Pippi's poem was one of two finalists that addressed the Christchurch shootings and the judge, poet Chris Tse, commented: "In her poem ‘the bonds of love we meet’, Pippi Duncan captures that feeling of dizzying helplessness and tempered anger with clarity and empathy. Pippi’s poem is contemplative, incorporating small but powerful details like the ‘chalk vows/ clinging to school grounds/ like blue to clouded sky’ and the ‘still of the prefect’s shoes’." He also said, "They succinctly demonstrate the impact an event like the shootings can have on our day-to-day lives ... [and] address the complications of language in times of tragedy, particularly when it is intended to bring people together. The title of Pippi’s poem is of course a reference to our national anthem, which is contrasted with the use of ‘kia kaha’ throughout the poem and how it can be represented in different ways."

This is a fantastic achievement for this young poet who now has the opportunity to attend a poetry masterclass in Wellington with Chris Tse and the editor of 'Starling' literary review, Francis Cooke. 


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