Wednesday, November 24, 2010

history in a minor key

10 June 1886
Tarawera (eruption)

25 April 1915
Gallipoli (war)

2 February 1931
Napier (earthquake)

24 December 1953
Tangiwai (lahar)

10 April 1968
Wahine (cyclone)

28 November 1979
Erebus (plane crash)

19 November 2010
Pike River (mine explosion)

Every decade or two New Zealand is hit with a deep sadness that adds to our self-understanding as a people. Our story can be retold in a minor key - and another sad stanza has just been added. There are more - but this is more than enough just for now...

Paul

1 comment:

christplaysnz said...

Wahine! oh Tangiwai!
the skies that fall
the seas assault
the children cry
did you hear there’s been a fire down the mine?
Wahine e! oh Tangiwai!

we’ll land with our battalions at gallipoli
we’ll fly above the mountains in the storm
as the fire erupts on every side
we hold onto each other tight
for we will be the first to see the dawn

so here's to tragedies!
long live the casualties!
as we dry our eyes
and write our lives
in minor keys
tighten the tourniquets
oh god is it over yet
here’s to the ones we lost before
before our watching eyes
and here's to the beautiful
bruised and broken
left behind

over the mountains, seas
and weary trees they came
but Mahuika still had one more flame
can you hear the sound of old Mawhera cryin’?
oh rock of ages cleft for twenty-nine

may they ride with our battalions from gallipoli
may they fly above the mountains and the storm
high above this land that quakes
and trembles with each heart that breaks
for we will be the first to carry on

so here's to tragedies!
long live the casualties!
as we dry our eyes
and write our lives
in minor keys
tighten the tourniquets
oh god is it over yet?
here’s to the ones we lost before
before our watching eyes
and here’s to the beautiful
bruised and broken
left behind

did you here there’s been a fire down the mine?
oh rock of ages cleft for twenty-nine