Not a moment goes by
that I see you proper :

befit in tropical fern cloak ; a royal sunset
from purple streak’d Ranganui ;

peaks alight with unfathomable age
drifts and shades of wisdom ; a thousand mirror

words that instinct rise but I do not understand
my mind too full, my heart too far.

When I see you, Tititea,
I see a challenge.

Ngauruhoe ; Tongariro ; a mission, a claim, as if
I could inherit your majesty

by simple exertion ; as if
I could witness the extent of your glory

from this serpentine shelf. How silly
it all must seem to you, how trivial!

how fleeting! A fern branch falls :
a generation passes. Another falls

and the continents trade places!
Motupohue, your knotted roots surpass my feet,

I step aside for rocks and felled heroes. The erotic scent
of surface decay encircles, reminding me

of my own holy doom. A vine
ensnares my ankle ; I trip

and catch myself against your everlasting rock face.
The slippery moss intertwines with my fingers

and I shake and feel small :
and I do not feel scorn.

No, not from you, O Mountain
O Maunga

From you I feel neither distaste
nor impatience. I feel no pity–

you stand tall above the human errors.
So clearly can you speak.

Not a moment passes that I see you proper–
human folly at its highest.

Mehemea ka tuohu ahau me maunga teitei. 
If I should bow my head, let it be to a high mountain.
(Maori Proverb)

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