There was metal in his leg and his back
So it was an effort to make boats he could not sail.
He used his little strong hands to cut and shape toi toi.
He pulled out the fibre and made outriggers and masts,
And from a spiky mast flew a red spotted sail.
And the boat bounced on the creek’s little rapids,
Flicking reeds and sailing over shadows and ‘bullies.
It never tipped. Not this man’s boat.
We did not know he had seen too much death and been shot,
And that his pillow was full of tears.
We only knew that as he whittled, his smile pushed up his face