Talofa lava Samoa

Not so long ago I received a text message at school (it’s ok, office staff are allowed cell phones on during class time, I haven’t had a detention yet!) from Emma Kruse Va’ai saying she was in Dunedin for a couple of days, could we get together. I was delighted; I very rarely get to meet contributors to Poems in the Waiting Room. Emma lives in Western Samoa where she is a lecturer in English and the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the National University of Samoa. Her poem Prescription appeared in the Spring 09 card.

So I nipped into town after school collected Emma and we headed to St Clair. We walked and talked our way along to Second Beach before coming up home to sit in the garden and chat some more. As well as a poet, Emma is also a writer of short stories. Her children’s book, The wedding, was published in Samoan and English to assist in promoting bilingual literacy in schools. With assistance from the British High Commission 2000 copies of the book were donated to all primary schools in Samoa. Emma gave me a copy of this colourful book as a memento of our meeting. And today a photo arrived – and yes it’s tricky taking photos at arms length!


Gather some sunshine
and warm rain,
one cicada
and a pocket of air from your kitchen.
A potpourri of frangipani, sandalwood, moso’oi
and gardenia.
Into a parcel
with a long letter,
to me
from you
home in Samoa

Emma Kruse Va’ai


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