Sunday, July 31, 2016

Janette Hoppe #3 Hine-nui-te-po


perhaps it is the incest
in the DNA
the breath of life
in an earth-made maiden

mud sticks
the shame of it
thick and viscous

all death and darkness
a lifetime of loneliness
much preferred than knowing

Note:  This poem is one of a series of poems that features myths and legends of my people.

*Hine-nui-te-po is the Goddess of death and night, the ruler of the underworld, the spirit world.
The myth tells that Tane (God of forests and birds) the son of  Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatuanuku (Earth Mother) breathed life in to Hine-ahuone (Earth-made maiden) and procreated with her.  Their daughter was Hine-ata-uira (Maid of the Flashing Dawn a.k.a: Hine-tiitama) and took her to be his wife.  When Hine-atu-uira learnt that her husband was also her father she was ashamed and disgusted so she fled to the spirit world.  When Tane realised she was missing he went to search for her but Hine stopped him from entering and convinced him to return above ground to raise their children.  Maui tried to play a trick on Hine-nui-te-po in order to make mankind immortal by changing into a worm and entering her vagina and leaving through her mouth.  However, Hine became aware of his trickery and crushed him with her obsidian teeth in her vagina. 


  1. I have longed for those teeth so often. The poem is poignant even without the footnote.

  2. Thank you Kerri it's always 50/50 when writing my bilingual/bicultural poems. Some readers prefer more information about what inspired the poem.

  3. Terrific writing, Janette. Thanks for your note; I need it but your poem doesn't.. as Kerri says, the poem is poignant without it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.