Pohutukawa - The Place of Leaping

The Rev. Dr. Hilary Oxford Smith

12 December 2016

Pohutukawa - The Place of Leaping


Pohutukawa’s crimson
in the twelfth month.
No more pain of being in the bud.

Beauty blossoms the landscape
of the bare heart
warming it like the breath of creatures
healing like nectar.

Veined leaves
rustle in the evening
with a felt underbelly of moisture

Dark red heart wood
roots resting in infinity
interweave wisdom and story
of our eternal Mother.

Seeds white as Ngauruhoe snow
carried through the air
with spirit of salt spray and wind
share the ancient commandment of life.

Leaves fall
in the wintry light
limbs becoming bare,

Circles of time sanctified
fragile hope.

Nothing more holy
in the ninth month.

©Hilary Oxford Smith

The Pohutukawa is known as New Zealand’s Christmas Tree and along with its cousin, the Rata, holds a prominent place in Māori tradition.

Mount Ngauruhoe is a near perfect volcanic cone in New Zealand, 2287m high.

Image: Kereru in Pohutukawa, Artist unknown.

Hilary is Curator and Editor of the Moments page on the Vaughan Park website. She has also recently been appointed as Priest – Spirituality at Vaughan Park.