A Poem: Backbone

By our backbones, our fanning ribs,
we mirror the mountains.

The way they lie prone, arched,
with their offshoots of rock,
their gentle foothills.

By our backbones we stretch,
unfurl as a ribbon of mountains
running into the sea.

And sit
by our backbones connected,
to Papatūānuku, our grounding mother.

That with our eyes canvassing the land,
the sky,
we centre into the full circle.

More ancient than the cry of a hawk
across the valley,
this link that brings us back

into the folds of our mother’s arms,
our father’s gaze.

And closing our eyes,
absorb a view,
a history that is part of us—

a remembrance older than the earth.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
July 2021

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