Thursday, August 12, 2004

crosscultural communications (poem)

Look here, my good man,
I have no idea
What you think you
Are doing, but you can't
Just walk into the Lord's House
Half-naked; and furthermore,
Be so good as to explain
The meaning of that weapon
and that rope in your hands.
Have you no proper sense
Of what is fitting and seemly?
There are times, give me patience,
When I truly despair of you people,
Of your willful ignorance
And your dark savage ways.
What? Speak up, boy, what?
Your uncle says I must turn
Around, I must close my eyes?
Preposterous! What's that?
Your uncle has a surprise for me?
Young man, I can tell you
Most assuredly, after all I have seen
This day, there is absolutely nothing
Your wretched uncle can propose
That could possibly surprise me.

"The Reverend Carl S. Volkener came to New Zealand in the 1850s, but fell out of favour with the Opitiki Maoris by urging them to desist from bloodshed when war broke out with a rival clan in 1865. One of the Opitiki chiefs hanged him, shot him, decapitated him in his own church, drank his blood and swallowed both his eyes."
-- Niall Ferguson, "Empire": Penguin Books, 2003. Page 121