Writing Inspiration – Karlo Mila

One of my personal goals for this year is to get this story I’ve had in my heart out onto paper, or at least onto the computer. Whether it’s ever anything bigger than that doesn’t really matter, but it’s a story that wants to be told. It’s a romance set largely in Samoa and as part of my inspiration I’ve been reading poetry by Pasifika authors. This beautiful poem below is by Karlo Mila, a New Zealand author of Tongan, Samoan and Palagi descent.

This is love (for David) 
– Karlo Mila

you’ve taken / the roots of / my thoughts on / what love is /
this understanding I’ve created over the years /
so ripe / so red / in your big hands / brown / custodial

you put them in a pot / large bucket / on your front
doorstep / a place in the Papatoetoe sun / this is love you
say / watering / tending / a careful eye at the end of the day

it is seeds sown in the hopeful spring / hiccups of hope /
scattered sheets / seed spread bed / it is shedding dead leaves
in autumn / and you prune / me / cutting fingertips
tenderly / bleeding softly into soil / blistering gently / the
test is you say / whether we will survive winter / there
will be many winters / soaked with rain / frost on car
window mornings

this is love you say / endurance through / every / every day /

this is what I have learned.

love is not a bunch of red roses / blossomed into the peak
of their beauty / cut at the height of their passion / long
stemmed /bikini lined / full lipped / red perfect

love is / the watering / the watching / the pruning / the
tending / the providing of new buckets / the finding of
new doorsteps /

love is not something one simply wears
behind their ears
in full bloom

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