Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stranded in the capital

Apologies to my fellow Tuesday poets and readers of Tuesday Poem, but I've missed two Tuesday postings because we came to Wellington for a school holiday visit and have been stranded by bleak weather from returning home.

I'm sorry I didn't know about the Helen Lowe get together in Wellington last night.

On a more positive note, I've just finished reading our own dear Mary McCallum's debut novel, The Blue, and I highly recommend it to one and all. A wonderful, engrossing, engaging read! Well done, Mary!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Naked and Blameless"



Stepping through a threshold
into a harsher light
illuminating pain                                     held onto tight
inside hands
made old with nurture and youthful
from grasping change                            held onto until
the palms bleed crimson with love,
love betrayed, love altered,
love bought, love sold
and love
flung green and hopeful on stony barren ground.

She goes forward,
a satyr dancing along the wild goat ruts
to the sparkle of the Aegean's music,
she goes forward,
joy singing its susurrating ocean
in her ears, deep in her heart
a whispering liberation snared by ghosts
until she feels her wings pinned
by the stones of her loins, jewels
weighed heavy with love and hope.

She goes forward,
cloaked in the wonder
of the person she has discovered within
her heartache
but where her bared feet press fresh and precious
against the stones
the hard green thorns outstretch
to snag a strand
of her hard-won mantle,
she goes forward,
little realising that her garment
is unravelling
until she stands on a promontory
gazing into the future where
the wind
whispers of her nakedness.

I wrote this poem some years ago for a friend who did not envision finding herself in her late thirties divorced, poorer and the principal caregiver of her two children who were still at primary school. But I suppose no-one would ever enter into marriage or any kind of committed relationship if they could foresee that it would end badly. To her credit, she picked herself up from the wreckage and began to refashion a new and different future for herself and her children.

The poet wishes to acknowledge Valley Micropress in whose pages this poem first appeared.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Playing with Thomas in Hagley Park"



We are immigrants in our own country,
lifestyle refugees
frolicking in this crisp, alpine weather.
Although you’re dressed like a miniature Inuit,
no amount of padding
can hide your delight
at play in the fields of the CCC.

Thomas, you connect me to the moment,
to the real,
with your joy so palpable
that it surrounds us like an aura.
Through your eyes I discover the world anew:
how the oak bark feels with its pattern
of vertical runnels, God’s reticulation;
how leaf mounds half-dried by a pale sun
unglue and fly
when prompted by tiny basketball shoes;
how daffodils spring like magic
from the thawed turf
to be sniffed in mimicry of the kitten
in your boardbook.

As twilight approaches,
I scoop you up in mid-adventure.
You protest loudly as I wheel you slowly away from
this place of life and breath and freedom
to merge into the slipstream of choking commuters.

When you live in a city that has been bent and broken and battered and bruised by a series of earthquakes, I guess it is inevitable that nostalgia creeps in and we remember wistfully how our city was in a kinder, gentler time. My wife and I moved down to Christchurch from Wellington in July 2000 when our oldest son, Thomas, was 15 months old. We were able to fulfill two dreams we could not afford in Wellington: to buy an affordable house with some land and to live near the sea. As it says in the poem, I considered us "lifestyle refugees", but that seemed a positive thing. Now, sadly, many people are fleeing Christchurch and that doesn't seem so positive. I truly hope that Christchurch can arise as a stronger, more cohesive, more socially equitable and, if possible, more beautiful city.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Don't Turn Around"


(for Nelson Mandela and my wife, Christine)


“Don’t turn around,”
they said,
“or you’ll miss it.”
And now I go,
always facing forward,
thanks to you.
Sometimes heaven opens a portal
when you’re rolling low
towards darkness
and you were its angel,
bearing glad tidings.

And now
I’m home
when my children wake me up;
I’m home
to collect my two sons from their
different educational institutions of excellence;
I’m home
to prepare the evening meal
for my wife
and no stone-age sniggers
can make me feel
emasculated,
since they have no concept
of emancipation.