Grandfather Bosini

About him I know next to nothing.

I would like to think

that he was fierce and proud,

with the fierce proud blood

of his ancestors beating

in his veins — his ancestors and mine

who ate human flesh.

All that I know is that he was small

and never left the Islands.

He was probably gentle.

If he had violent thoughts

he kept them to himself.

But when he came to die

he wept fiercely for my brother

killed many years before in Italy.

He called out many times

for his Maireriki —

his ‘Little Flower’,

and then he died.

He was ninety-nine.


By Alistair Te Ariki Campbell