Thursday, August 5, 2010

GREAT News: My father is the great poet R.A.K. Mason (just discovered via DNA testing and using simple math).

August 2010 ...THE ENVELOPE PLEASE...
is R.A.K.MASON After a Long and Involved Search 

For those of you who aren't aware, I have been during these last two years been involved in a search of the sacred important kind. I've been having DNA tests and doing extensive research and using my excellent skills with simple math to reveal out the identity of my biological father.
 I am so thrilled to announce finally via this long and involved process 
that my father is the great New Zealand poet R.A.K. Mason, who is known in my country as " The Father of New Zealand Poetry"
What an uplifting, at times heartbreaking, difficult yet incredibly rewarding journey this has been, and I have been helped by so many kind and generous people
along the way, (thank y'all...) something which has been unexpected...It has boosted my faith in the human race as I made my way along at times some very rocky terrain. It has been a
rewarding path to walk at the same time as a difficult one; teaching me so much about my own identity and identity in general, and has also given me many new insights into our human condition and what we share as humans walking on this earth.
So many questions and miracles have occurred along the way, too many to list here. (I wrote a journal about it though...) I am very glad and grateful that my search is over and I can now proudly announce that my father is someone I really respect and love, although I have never met him in the flesh on this earth. (Sadly, he died when I was seven years old.)

-Suddenly so many things make sense about myself and my family, -finally falling into place! 

I have so many of my dad's ways to those that truly know me, and I also write poems, stories, and songs and am connected to my Celtic Heritage of Storytelling, as a natural way of Life.
It is a treasure to know that my dad was such a likable person, as well as a fresh brilliant original talent. He is known in my country as " The Father of New Zealand poetry" for he was the first to write poems with a distinctively New Zealand voice.
Aside from his writing he was also a wise, wry-witted, gentle, compassionate man with an off-beat dark sense-of-humour. Even though I never met him in my life- I feel, honestly, palpably that I have known him in ways of spirit and I have honestly always "felt" his presence watching over me... From the earliest days of my childhood when I would pray for my father to come to me before I went to sleep each and every night, it is a relief to know that at long last, my earnest prayers have been answered.

Here is an excerpt about my father from the brilliant book
written about his life, by Rachel Barrowman. This book won "The Montana" prize
for best biography in 2004.
Rachel has been enormously helpful, even pivotal to me in this search, because of information about me, via my mother's life, contained in her meticulously researched book. The whole journey over the last two years has been like a series of revelations which to me sometimes took the form of a roller-coaster! 
The book is well worth reading and won the "Montana Award" for "best biography" in New Zealand. Here is my favourite excerpt from the very beginning... (C)@Rachel Barrowman 2004

"from Rachel Barrowman's book "MASON- THE LIFE OF RAK MASON"

The beggar

One day, or perhaps it was one evening, during the second half of the 1920s, a young man stood at the end of Queen’s Wharf on Aucklands Waitemate harbour. He was slightly built with short coarse black hair and far-seeing green eyes. He wore a black raincoat and carried a walking stick in one hand. At his feet lay a bully rucksack. He was perhaps twenty years old or twenty two. He stood quite still for a while, looking out at the uncannily symmetrical volcanic profile or Rangiototo island while he finished a cigarette, drawing the smoke through nicotine-stained teeth.Then he bent down and took from his rucksack a bundle of papers: copies of a booklet of poems he had published, at his own expense, two or three years earlier and couldn’t sell. Perhaps he paused and opened one, and read a few lines, before he threw them, handful by handful, into the sea.

The story of how RAK Mason dumped 200 copies of his first book “The Beggar” into Auckland harbour, out of disappointment, disgust or despair because no one would buy it, is a legend in New Zealand literary history. It is a symbol of the time – the 1920’s and 1930’s – when a ture, vital, native literature struggled to be written or heard in a provincial and puritanical country. Mason on Queen’s Wharf is the archetype of a poet ignored by a society which he in turn despised. It was first told by his friend Rex Fairburn in an article he wrote about Mason for “The New Zealand Artists’ Annual in 1929. Their mutual friend and poet Geoffrey de Montalk, when he read this in Lonodn the following year, responded with a 114 line satirical poem lambasting, in his own inimitable style, a crass, materialistic, repressed and repressive society’s neglect of its creative sons (himself included).

In the last decade of his life Mason was treated for manic depressive illness. The diagnosos came late, but the signs were always there: in the puzzling patterns of behavior, the missed opportunities, failures of confidence. In the seeming contradictions: between the gentlenss of his character, the fierceness of his politics, and the control of his poems: between his sardonic toughness and his nervousness; his quick biting humour and his somber intensity; his openness and air of distraction. And in the poems themselves: the combination of compulsiveness and control, their structural ambiguity, in the way their literariness feels ‘ so strangel at odds with what is being said” as Charles Brash once observed."

This material is copyright@Rachel Barrowman 2003. All Rights Reserved. For any of you who knew my father I would love to hear your personal stories of him before its too late as people are dying,and in the absence of having met him we do have left these wonderful stories, and they are meant to share...I do love stories. Stories are the fragrance of life!
P.S. If there is anything this journey has taught me is that this life is all about forgiveness and understanding...We can all stand in judgment of each other,but as Mother Theresa says 'When you judge someone, you have no time to love them!" and so we must understand and forgive each other and move on if for no other reason than that it is good for ourselves, That, then, is wisdom. I know this is what my dad would want.
Really I am grateful and glad to my brave mum that she kept me at a time in the 1960s when most women were pressured to give up their kids if born out of wedlock! That makes her a gutsy woman and I do understand, forgive and love and appreciate her for that.... Thanks mum - oh and thanks dad! The search is ended. The circle is now closed.


At 46 years of age I
embrace my father /
On a rainy day without an overcoat I now
embrace my father
with healing once shattered wings,
I now embrace my father/

On a Saturday his book in my hand
we embrace each other on the sandy island that almost joins the continent,
With an inky shared embrace,
our pages rattling on the sea-floor
swimming like fish we go into the light

Beneath a painting of Miranda and Prospero,
their sinking
cargo of books and fish
I now 
                        my father



Rezden said...

Wow, that's great news. Congrats :)

Katharine Zolita Mason said...

Thanks Rezden...Its
been a long time in the waiting!

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