Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Kia kaha Canterbury, October 2011


The city wounded at its heart
The steeple shattered in the street
The founder and his plinth apart
Ruamoko not yet replete.

Each tremor the lament repeats –
A severance of peace from place
A déjà vu of loss and grief
A pillaging of time and space.

In sufferance but not defeat
Cantabrians roll sleeves, make fast
then hold each other’s hands and seek
new beginnings, built on their past.


As you may be aware, I am working for EQC and have been since the 4 Sep 2010 earthquake. EQC asked me to write a poem for Canterbury for the front of their Annual Report. This is the poem I wrote (with one or two changes since) but I am not sure it made it to the final version of the report. So, here it is as Tuesday Poem this week. Along with 'Name-calling' (see my 8 Nov Tuesday Poem) I see it forming part of a sequence of poems involving Ruamoko, the Earthquake God. Keep an eye out for future Ruamoko poems on this blog and visit Tuesday Poem for more poems this week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Polonius: Old Poet by Harry Ricketts

This week I am the guest editor for the Tuesday Poem and have chosen a poem by Harry Ricketts, Polonius: Old Poet.  Head over to the Tuesday Poem hub where you will find a poem by a poet about a poet who likened himself to a Shakespearean character! Check out the other Tuesday Poets at the same time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Poem: In the nation’s bookshop chains


First, forced relocations
lower lodgings in some
draughty cul-de-sac
less room, less light.

All the while
unexplained disappearances
James K, Hone, Ruth, others
gone, gone and not replaced.

Those left behind, thin-spined
less popular, lean on each other
take bets on who will be
the last one standing.

Finally, denial of identity
removal of signs
pointing to pleasure troves
proclaiming different-ness.

Survivors now suffer
mass assimilation and burial
in short stories, non-fiction
literature, or classics.

Poetry? Nah mate
don’t stock it any more
waste of bloody space
nobody buys the stuff.

I wrote this poem some years ago after observing the gradual decrease in poetry titles carried by the major bookshops. If anything, it seems to be getting worse.

Visit Tuesday Poem for more.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Name-calling

Sam wrote it is wise to remember
the Gods by their names
that we dare not answer back
to one like you,
Ruamoko, Earthquake God
unborn son of Mother Earth.
But I do, oh how I do –
each time you writhe
in your Mother’s womb
each time you liquefact her waters
each time she throws rocks at me
I rail, rant, call your siblings bastards –
what’s-their-names, the Gods
of mayhem, destruction, and death.


Credit note; Sam Hunt wrote a poem titled 'Naming the Gods' some years ago in response to an earthquake he experienced in south Taranaki. My poem is a response to the numerous Canterbury aftershocks I have experienced over the last 14 months.

Visit Tuesday Poem for more.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday Poem: The Stations of the Bucket Man

1

One Monday, Mr Jones walked out
of his Tinakori Hill campsite
with his birth certificate
bank statement and will
knelt in the gutter
at the intersection
of Grant and Park Streets
and died.

2

He was an urban Man Alone
before he went bush in the city.
His mother said his downfall
was his (bleeding) sensitivity.

3

The artist who painted him
with a halo and cross
was asking us to reflect
on what we would say
if we met on the street.

4

He stopped daily
at the Golden Arches
buying coffee and a bite to eat
in lieu of loaves and fishes.

5

The stockbroker’s assistant
nearly threw him out
of the counting-house
seeing he was not a Pharisee.

6

From his portrait
he looks over the shoulder
of the businessman
who wanted to buy his burial.
Who does he think he is?

7

One Christmas
there was room for him at the table
but he declined
stopping instead on the porch
to chat about the garden.

8

When he gave Wellington’s poor
money and clothes given him
they were, for a while
rich beyond relief.

9

In church he placed in the plate
twenty dollars just given him
then said to his benefactor
two would do.

10

One cold night
not long before he left us
he rested in a bus shelter
and told a passing Samaritan
he was alright
and thank you for asking.

11

At his funeral it was said
how useful a bucket was
living on the street –
for washing at the public fountain
for carrying things in
for using as a hat
when God wept on you.

12

Blessed are Wellington’s homeless
for they shall inherit the earth
on Tinakori Hill.


Credit note: 'The Stations of the Bucket Man appears in my debut collection Tongues of Ash. It was first published in JAAM 26.

Visit Tuesday Poem for more.
  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tongues of Ash Book Launch Readings Photos

These photos were taken by David Reiter, IP's director. The ones on the left are at the Wellington City Library launch  on Thursday of last week and those on the right are at the launch at Rona Gallery, Eastbourne on the Friday evening.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Poem: The Snow-Sayer


The Snow-Sayer

Now and then
and as an aside
he would advise –
in the next day, or so
there will be snow.

When asked how he did it
he said he could read
between the lines
of a weather map
the code for snow.

To disbelievers he said
that TV forecasters
three hundred miles away
can’t hear pianissimo in
passages of snow.

Or, when news came
of his firstborn’s conception
it snowed, so now
he was fated to foretell
the birth of snow.

But at night, outside, alone
he sipped the wind
listened to the clouds
ran his fingers over the sky
for scent of snow.

Credit note: 'The Snow-Sayer' appears in my debut collection Tongues of Ash. It  received a ‘commended’ in the New Zealand Poetry Society’s 2006 International Poetry Competition and was first published in the competition anthology Tiny Gaps. 

Visit Tuesday Poem for more. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not long to kick-off!

No, not that one – the one that happens after NZ returns to the relative normality of a post-RWC election campaign AND Tim Jones and I begin our joint book launch tour of the country (see my post of 31 Aug).

In case you weren't aware, Tim's collection of poetry is called 'Men Briefly Explained'. The following Poem is from Tim's book:


Family Man

My double relishes his freedom to move
through narrative and time. You'll find him

in the trunks of burned-out cars,
in the cat seat of history, riding pillion

as the motorcade fails to take the bend.
On the red carpet, just behind the stars,

he whispers poison in each lovely ear.
He’s the sine qua non, the ne plus ultra,

the hand chained to the plague ship’s tiller,
the indispensable figure of the fifth act.

But now he’s taken to hanging round the house,
not picking up, showing the boy amusing tricks

and games to play with string. I’m bored,
my double tells me, and:- how can you stand

to live this way? I look into his empty face.
You’re the one who chose to fall in love, I say.

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