Rob Hack

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James Cook couldn’t land and Elvis never sang on Niue

They never played Elvis on Niue in 1959
but there were coconut trees we couldn’t climb
birthday parties with green cordial,
lolly scrambles and our shirts all ironed.


From the mango tree jungle over the road
we shot pow pow at the workmen pedalling home
kicking up dust from their tyres.


We played cricket with an apple box wicket
in front of the wide blue sea.
Our backyard deep in sawdust
covering the sharpness of coral.


Coconut crabs in the torchlight
the fattening pig squealed in its pen
our fast flat feet raised the dust
chasing headless chooks round and round the house.


Dad said, Elvis would’ve come to Niue
if he saw your mother dance
but he’d have to leave his hips at the door.


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