Friday, 16 December 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Eclipse"

For Lucy (aged 5)

For that moment
my heart froze
my breath stopped
and in that merest sliver of time,
a drop in the ocean of pleasure
I find in your company,
the sunshine fell under shadow,
clouded by a vision of a world without you.

At five
we all believe that nothing can touch us
as we run headlong at the world
wanting to stretch ourselves in every direction,
wanting to soak up everything like a giant sponge,
wanting to run up rainbows,
wanting to dance on clouds,
wanting to sing mountains into being,
wanting to cross rivers on our laughter
and taste and smell and touch our dreams. 

I see you,
little golden girl,
running so hard along these seaside pavements
until you wish you could fly

but for one terrifying moment
as you stood in the middle of that road
I saw you flying away forever,
taking away our sunshine.

I must apologise for the lateness of my posting this week, but the headlong rush to Christmas is, perhaps, a madness I could do without.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Five Clerihews"

Marilyn Monroe
had fame not fun though.
She took some pills, they couldn’t wake her.
Perhaps she should have stayed Norma Jean Baker.

James Dean
was suave and cut clean,
but when they pulled him from the car
I bet his looks weren’t movie star.

Saint Joan of Arc
lit the spark
which fired a nationalist feud.
The French canonised her, the English barbequed.

Marlon Brando
stayed his hand though
Cheyenne was badly beaten.
It took the gun of his son, Christian but Tahitian.

Madonna Louise Ciccone
has proved herself quite a show pony.
She mixed Marilyn’s image with coney tits
and made a squillion from her hits.

Something a bit light-hearted this week. According to that fount of all online knowledge, Wikipedia, "a clerihew is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley."

Also, according to Wikipedia, "a clerihew has the following properties:

  • It is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; it pokes fun at mostly famous people
  • It has four lines of irregular length and metre (for comic effect)
  • The rhyme structure is AABB; the subject matter and wording are often humorously contrived in order to achieve a rhyme, including the use of phrases in Latin, French and other non-English Languages[2]
  • The first line contains, and may consist solely of, the subject's name."

If you wish to delve further into this poetic form, here is the link:

The poet wishes to acknowledge Valley Micropress in whose pages some of these clerihews originally appeared.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Sometimes a Dream Takes Its Time

It waits

like a kingfisher perched above a pool

piercing the dusk for a flash of silver

while the one you wait for

swims upstream against the current.

It waits

like a whale sounding in the depths

searching the southern oceans with sonar song

while the one you wait for

is stranded on some lonely beach.

It waits

like a rabbit on a sunset hillock

sniffing the sweet evening air for friendly scents

while the one you wait for

struggles, entangled on the tines of gorse.

Sometimes a dream takes its time

and some nights the moon never broaches the clouds

and we forget why and for whom we are waiting

But the dream never forgets.

These are the posts I was going to do over the last few days, but my blog page refuses to fully load on my home computer for some strange reason:

I've never made a secret that my political viewpoint is left-wing so I'm disappointed but not surprised that we have three more years of a National government. A cocky National government who thinks its election success gives it an unfettered mandate to push more right into their agenda. Sell off State assets, mine and drill with no thought for the environment and demonise those on welfare. Soon when folk go down to the WINZ office, they'll be issued with different coloured stars according to what benefit they receive. Everyone must know you are a Solo Mother on the DPB or you're unemployed (or in Nat-speak, "lazy and shiftless and probably criminal too").

I don't understand why people are so enamoured of John Key. He's a terribly lazy speaker who mangles his words, he's a multi-millionaire yet can't seem to afford a decent haircut and he smiles like a buffoon while he has his Cabinet Ministers do his dirty work for him so that he always appears to be the "good guy".

Wake up, people. He'll sell us out to whomever has the fattest purse. He pursues Free Trade deals like they were a lolly scramble, but doesn't mention that powerful countries like the USA only have their own self-interest at heart. American drug companies will force us to dismantle Pharmac. He seems determined to sell off our sovereignty.

The joke is on us. Our parents and grandparents and ourselves have paid for all these State assets with our taxes over the last hundred or so years, but first Roger Douglas and then National keep flogging them off so we have to buy them back when the purchasers have extracted massive profits from them and run them into the ground.

The Little Blog That Could

Do you remember that children's story about the little engine that could. Was the little engine red? I can't remember exactly. But he/she hauled those heavy wagons and he/she never gave up.

I have until tomorrow, Wednesday 30 November, to win the Media, Arts and Culture section of the Concrete Playground Blogger of 2011 competition.

I may not be flash and have all the bells and whistles that some of my competitors have, but I'm honest and I'm creative and I have two school-age children so sometimes my blogging is random and haphazard, but then so is life.

Vote for me! Vote for the little Blog that could!

Tuesday Poem Apologies

I apologise to my fellow poets and Tuesday Poem readers, but I had computer issues at home and I'm posting this from the public library. I'll try to post my Tuesday Poem later in the day.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Skin Connection"

When we lie together
our bodies cannot lie,
between the silence of our skins
our bodies speak softly, volubly,
what quiet pleasure flows
from this epidermal electricity,
mute with satisfaction
my nerve tendrils sing
a choir of sensation blossoming
in the choral chambers
of your delicious curves.
Do you sing too
in joyous fibre of muscle and bone
stretched taut to touch
beneath the satin smoothness
of our skin connection?

The mind plays tricks
but the skin's truth
is the topography of our togetherness.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Talking to Grandfather"

For Helen and Matthew

New life stirring
in this place of the dead,
tears welling as you feel your baby
dancing with the spirits
of its grandfather and uncle,
the rivulets on your cheeks
fed by the twin tributaries of joy and regret.

Arthur walks among us.
I feel his presence every day.
His blood courses through the veins of our children
and though he cannot hold his grandchildren
his spirit holds them up
and will guide them from crib to grave.

Arthur walks among us.
Every day he feels your joy
and his heart is filled with love and pride.
He will be there at your shoulder, smiling,
when your child is born.
A curtain may flutter; a breeze will brush your cheek
and you will sense,
as you did at his graveside,
that there will always be a time for
talking to grandfather.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Toa Iti (Little Warrior)"

(For Thomas in celebration of his birth)

I will never forget the moment
the obstetrician hauled you from
your mother’s womb:
one arm in defiant gesture
held stiff and strong
across your stomach
as though slotted through the strap
of an invisible shield.
The surgeon held you up for my photo,
his arms straining under 10lb 11oz
of warrior pose.
Bloodied from head to foot,
you never uttered a sound
but remained in concentrated stillness,
staring away
to some other world you had left behind
like a little warrior
who has passed through the tumult
to a place of peace.

Please forgive me a little nostalgia this week as my oldest son, celebrated in this poem, is on the verge of high school and teenage-hood and all the signs are emerging that he is transitioning from childhood to adulthood. It is hard to believe that the cute little fellow who loved tractors and diggers and who danced joyously to The Wiggles now blasts out heavy metal riffs on his guitar and says " 'sup bro".

Friday, 4 November 2011

Tuesday Poem: "The Gentle Grocer" (Sorry very late)

(In Memoriam Paul Henry Irwin)

History will not record the passing
of my cousin Paul,
but his star will always shine
in our whakapapa.

Millions of us will never blaze
a trail of fame or infamy
or carve our names irrevocably
in the tree of civilisation,
but the surprise of the small stone
is how far the ripples can reach
and the life of a good man
touches and enriches more lives than he knows.

In these soulless times,
“good” and “decent” have almost become
terms of derision
and kindness and caring carry no kudos.
No one makes the front page
for being a loving father or a loyal husband
and those whose daily deeds deserve respect
are those we all too easily neglect.

But this man who always had a twinkle in his eye,
this quiet achiever who gave more to his community
than he ever took,
who daily fed his faith into his life
was that wisest of men
who come to know that
it is within the little acts of love
that we find the big picture.

Say what you will
of your killers and kings,
your movie stars and moguls
who leave this world
on a comet of newsprint.
I would rather mourn for this man
whose example embraced my life
and whose passing leaves my spirit poorer.

Dim the streetlights.
Go home and kiss your loved ones goodnight.
The gentle grocer has shut up shop
and gone to sing in heaven’s choir.

POET'S NOTE: I hope it is obvious from this poem that I loved Paul, who was married to my first cousin, Robin, very much. He was the kindest, loveliest man you could ever hope to meet and cancer took him from us far, far too soon. I wish he could have lived to see his grandchildren grow up. That would have given him immense pleasure. He was a "family man" in the truest sense of that phrase.

This Tuesday poem is actually posted Friday which is extremely tardy, but I have a good excuse. I have been Stage-Managing the Christchurch Repertory's production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Season runs Wednesday November 2 to Tuesday November 8. If you are in Christchurch, please come and see it. It rocks!!!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tuesday Poem: "Calling in the Markers"

like the aftermath of a motor accident,
I replay my actions.
“If I hadn’t...”
“Perhaps I should have...”
“Why did I do...”
“What could I have...”
Trying to heal,
the child inside, fumbling the emotional Lego,
acting in haste?
The lessons are salutary
when conducting open-heart surgery.

Do you value what and who you are so little
that you suspect my powers of discernment?

I promised no harvest
but was hopeful of the seed.
You reclaim the farm
now that my intuition is drought-broken,
foreclose on my feelings
so fast
it steals my breath away.

Not so stupid I can’t feel the Judas kiss
at the foot of my stairs.
Red wine served on Death Row,
the condemned allowed one last breathtaking vista
before you throw that switch.
I don’t feel “awesome” when the flick comes.

Perhaps you are right about the spark.
Perhaps it springs fully-formed into life
and cannot grow like fire
coaxed and blown by a caring tender.
Instant gratification
not patient application
more becomes the 90s.

Logic is on your side
when you call in your markers
so I try to leave with dignity intact,
adopting an aloof masque
to hide the shabby, threadbare heart
of a gambler
bankrupt of hope.

Haven't we all had one of these? If you haven't consider yourself lucky. Enough said.