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  • Regina De Wolf-Ngarimu

Nose Knows - A Poem to Laugh to

I have loathed the smell of pukuhipi (sheep stomach/tripe)

Ever since I can remember

My parents would cook it

October to September


Obnoxious stench

Cloying and bad

Snuck into my nostrils

Made me want to gag


Mum was so sure

I would change my mind

If only I’d try it

And find it was divine


She bribed me so well

Did my dear Mummy

With a chocolate macaroon

Tempting tastebuds and tummy


But when that pukuhipi

Entered my mouth

My body objected

And tried to throw it out


The macaroon lay waiting

She said “Just swallow it, quick”

My eyes watered, I cried

It went down, I felt sick


I stuffed in the biscuit

To take away the taste

Chewed and I swallowed, hasty

What a waste!


I was so distressed

She gave another macaroon

She realised pukuhipi

Wasn’t for me that afternoon


When we moved from the farm

I discovered, in English it’s tripe

But no matter what language

Still a smell I dislike


I hoped and prayed

When we moved into town

There’d be no pukuhipi

Anywhere to be found


But then one day

I came home from school

My nostrils assaulted

Before I entered the room


I ran to the phone

And rang my best mate

Shoved clothes in my bag

Quickly ran out the gate


I didn’t come home

Just stayed with my friend

Hoped the pot would be emptied

Before weekend’s end


When I was seven

We went to live with my Nan

Cod liver oil, saltwater,

Sticky porridge, sweet jam


But the infernal stink

Of her rotten corn

Permeated the house

I wished, I’d never been born!


My Dad, he loved it

With sugar and cream

“Don’t knock it till you try it

Close your eyes, it’s a dream”


I was wary of Dad, he ate onions

But would tell me, its an apple

I’d bite it and squeal

While he hooted and cackled


Still, I closed my eyes

Determined to give it a try

The taste wasn’t too bad

But nosey wouldn’t swallow the lie


The odour of rotting

Is for things that are dead

Lifting lid of campoven

I sniff Nan’s rewana bread


Off to visit my cousins I went

Fresh air outside the house so sweet

My nose grovelled thanks

To my fast moving feet


But when I got home

I whiffed cabbage boiling

Another putrid smell

To get my stomach roiling


Give me watercess

Over cabbage any day

Even prickly puha

Then at home I might stay


Hitched a ride with a cousin

From the Bay to Jeru

Not long in the car

And thought I wanted to spew


Nasty fragrance wafting

From boot of the car

Pot of festering terotero

Made me squeamish and blah


Mountain oysters

Sounds so posh and so yum

But when on the turn

A nightmare for nosey and tum


People dived in that pot

Soon as we arrived

I tried to warn them

Sure, someone would die


You might think I’m fussy

But actually I’m not

I’ll give most things a go

If they don’t smell of rot


I’ve tried every cut of offal

Snake, emu, huhu grubs

Green ants, fried locusts

And who knows what in the pub

But me and pukuhipi

Will never be friends

Because my nose knows

Where tolerance ends!


By R. de Wolf ©2021


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