Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Last words

It's a year today since my old school teacher, Jim Okeroa, died. I still miss him.

This photo was taken when I went to Taranaki to launch my memoir, Touching Snow.

It's a favourite book, because it tells of my childhood and the years spent with this special teacher. As a result of writing the memoir, I tracked him down. He wept when he read about himself, and the influence he had on me as a child.

His death notice in the paper ends with these words:

Po atarau, E moea iho nei

They mean 'Now is the hour, when we must say goodbye', and are the first lines of a well known song that is sung in both Maori and English, to farewell travellers.

It's a fitting farewell song for my dear teacher. Here it is sung by St Joseph's Girl's choir.

and here by the Willow singers. I haven't shared a video link before and can't get it to embed, but if you click the link you should be able to hear it.



Hotly Spiced said...

Such a sad time for you. My great-uncle wrote a book called, 'Springtime in Taranaki' about growing up in the town. The town must inspire a lot of writers. xx

Penny O'Neill said...

I can't believe it is a year already since your beloved teacher passed away, Juliet. These anniversaries clutch at our hearts, don't they? This is such a fitting post for such a wonderful soul.
I was able to open both links and spend a few quiet moments listening to this sweet, sweet song and read a bit more about its origins - and remember it. I've heard it many-a-time in life, so, you've awakened that knowledge in me.

Juliet said...

* Charlie, I read that book with great pleasure. How wonderful to find out it was written by your great uncle!
Taranaki has inspired not only writers but also many artists.

* Penny, the year has passed so quickly, Yes, a 'clutch at the heart' is exactly how it is. I'm so glad you could open the links. My next learning curve is to post audio directly to the blog, as you do. Thank you for your visit and your understanding.

Ruth P said...

It is amazing to think a whole year has gone by since you wrote about your teacher and the time around his death. Your sound links are a beautiful moment for us to pause and remember people like this who have so enriched our lives. It is wonderful to have them in our heartscapes and to know their generosity lives on in the lives of those they have touched.
Thinking of you at this time Juliet.

Juliet said...

* Ruth, what a pleasure to see you here. I love your word 'heartscapes', and what you say about pausing to remember. Thank you for your thoughts.

Lynley said...

A piece of music can contain such strong memories. How fitting this piece is for your special, influential teacher.

Juliet said...

Lynley, that's so true about music. He taught me to sing and so music was a strong bond between us. Thank you.

Vicki Lane said...

Tears on my eyes at that beautiful song...how lucky you were to have such a teacher.

Juliet said...

Vicki, the song always brings tears to my eyes too. I was very blessed to have this special teacher. Thank you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - I remember you writing about your teacher ... and the love you had for him .. and the influence he was able to guide you through parts of your life ... and which continues to this day.

I just tried to buy the book - will you be reissuing it .. in some format?

Cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

* Hi Hilary, thanks for trying to buy the book. It's available from my website. A shopping cart has been set up and you can pay on your credit card.

Go to www.julietbatten.co.nz and click on the Books tab. Please let me know if you need help.