For Meg: 1937–2007


I wrote this poem for you
Out of tidal wrack.
I spoke my lines to the wind,
And the wind blew them back.

This is my last poem.
It’s out there on the beach
For the first high tide to turn,
And float it out of reach.

 1 June 2007

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell is a Penrhyn Islander who has spent most of his life in New Zealand, which makes him bi–cultural, existing somewhat uneasily in both the Polynesian and Pakeha worlds. He has published drama, four novels, and seventeen collections of verse, including Just Poetry, (HeadworX2007) in which ‘Tidal’ appears. He has won major poetry awards, including the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Poetry, 2005.

Campbell comments: ‘ “Tidal” was written on 1 June 2007 in the sad knowledge that my beloved wife Meg hadn’t long to live. It was my last poem for her, and it is still the last poem I have written. “Alistair and I”, she once wrote, “are both water signs, and come and go with the tide.” Meg died on 17 November 2007.’

Poem source details >



New Zealand Book Council writer file
HeadworX: Just Poetry
New Zealand Electronic Text Centre: online work
Best New Zealand Poems 2001 and 2006