The word Kowhai is the Maori name for yellow. The Kowhai flowers in spring on bare branches, and James Cowan told of the Maori explanation of this in an article in the New Zealand Railways Magazine 1928. I have written a condensed version below:
On the shore of a lake in the long ago times sat a young Maori man and maiden. The man loved the maiden and asked to marry her, but she laughed and required him to carry out some great deed before she would become his wife. The lover was an Ariki (chieftain) and tohunga. Above them was a tree bare of both of flowers and leaf in the cold of early spring. The young man recited a chant which caused the tree to burst forth into a blaze of golden blossom. Ever since then the Kowhai has flowered on leafless branches as a sign and a reminder of his love.
up the path
angels still linger
among the trees
St George’s is a small country church, built in 1882/83 in the village of Turakina. It has a beautiful setting, but is unfortunately only used on one Sunday in the month.
when terror stalks the streets
and evil seems overwhelming
look for the small things
that shine in dark corners
praying for those who are mourning today.
as the first day, so the final one
and the first shall be last, and the last first
when the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken
and the dust returns to the earth as it was…
where the river curves
sweetly to the sea
and the old piles dream
of men and ships long gone
only flax and seabirds
listening to the whale-song
waiting for that morning
to come again
The beautiful flowers of spring
against the dark
made me think of this lament. I pray for peace.