Doug Poole


Pouliuli 8

You are speaking
To me in Samoan. 
An’ I laugh, You laugh too,
an’ your body  becomes
a siva, as you talk in the
language of youth.

Before I came to Niu Sila.
Pouliuli dwelt only in the
Depth of midnight. Before
I came to Niu Sila the Sun
and moon cleared the path to
My Father's tethered horse.

You are speaking
To me in Samoan. 
An’ I cry. You cry too,
an’ your body  becomes
a twisted Aoa. You become
the stories filling my eyes
who come to me in terror.

He laid his hands on you,
Breathing Pouliuli
He told you he was leaving.
You awoke in tears, and
It was true.

Before I came to Niu Sila,
Poululi only existed within
creases of Va; the patterned
malu my thigh.
Before I came to Niu Sila
I watched the day break
With my sister on my knee.


* Niu Sila – New Zealand
* Va – concept of space time and relativity – the space between all things.
* Malu – Feminine Tattoo – Worn by high ranking woman.



Doug Poole is of Samoan and European descent. He resides in Waitakere City, Auckland with his partner Anja and three children. He is the current e-publisher and editor of poetry e-zine Blackmail Press ( Doug has been e-published in Trout, nzepc - OBAN 06, nzepc - Fugacity, Stalking Tongue Vol 2: Slamming the Sonnet, Soft Blow, Nexus Collection and many other electronic publications. Doug has been published in Niu Voices - Contemporary Pacific Fiction 2006 (Huia Publishers), and Papertiger 4 New World Poetry CD 2004, edited by Mark Pirie.

Poole writes: “Pouliuli 8 is dedicated to my Grandmother Edwina Ulberg, who immigrated to New Zealand from Apia, Upolo, Western Samoa in 1955. Within this poem I am recalling our close relationship; the story of her leaving Samoa for Nui Sila tainted with the sorrow of leaving her crippled baby sister Catherine behind, the death of her brother Fred, as he breathed upon her face; they were very close siblings and enjoyed getting into trouble together. Edwina was convinced Fred had woken her to let her know he had passed.”