My name is Leah. I live and write in Wellington, New Zealand. Welcome!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'Savai'i Sorceress', Karlo Mila

don't get your hands caught in my hair
were the last words I threw at you
in a flying goodbye
deliberate words
your eyes landing on curls
tangled / a web / a nest / a net
thrown into the wind
wrapping around you

don't go standing on any star-mounds
late at night in savai'i
or I might call your name
like a chanting eel from an underground cave
trying to catch you

stay away

don't let me be
the last thing that creeps into your mind
and spreads
before you go to sleep
like the vine that wraps itself
like a boa
around rainforest branches
dripping glossy leaves
smothering the forests
in upolu
with such style
and tropical panache

because I'll never tell the truth
that the laugh I throw between us like a handful of coins
is no longer

stay away

'Savai'i Sorceress' is from 'Dream Fish Floating', Karlo's first book of poetry published in 2006. Her poems are an exquisite exploration of Tongan, Samoan, Maori and Palangi culture. Many thanks to Karlo for allowing me to share her poem here!

Head on over to the Tuesday Poem hub for more amazing Tuesday poems.


  1. Oh my. I love this. Lots of things being thrown through the air this week in poetry... This has an amazing emotion to it, a wonderful rhythm and repetition -- all those don'ts -- and also I really love that image of the laugh thrown between them like a handful of coins. Marvellous!

  2. This is so fresh and lissome. I love the way this poem bends and dances through its way forward. And the seeming delight of the sorceress as she weaves through the lines.

  3. I agree with Michelle & Helen - the movement of this poem is so bewitching(!) I was quite taken by the informalness and fluidity of the lines, the lack of capitalisation, the invocation - 'don't' beginning the poem - all those elements that really accumulate to develop this sense of rushed momentum, of warning almost. Thanks so much for posting, Leah - really fabulous stuff!

  4. Lovely!!! I love the imperative and the way she plays with his head - saying 'don't' but meaning 'do' - the bewitching as he leaves... And oh I love that this poem comes from Savaii - one of the most magical islands in the world. Thanks Leah.

  5. I love the richness of this poem, the use of mythology, but also the sense of fun. Yahoo!