Happy birthday dear Janet Frame


Janet and Frank Go Rowing


Against all odds Janet Frame and Frank Sargeson

have ended up in a dinghy on Lake Pupuke

in the middle of the night under a milky moon.

Their eyes have become accustomed to the eerie light

the way shadows loom and fade

the way sounds hit an unfamiliar pitch

the way the boat drifts fancy free.


To be awake when everyone else is sleeping

puts the world in sharp focus

even in the dark on the lolloping waves.



Janet and Frank Catch a Ferry


Janet Frame and Frank Sargeson have caught the ferry

over to Rangitoto for the day in a fit of spontaneity

with a picnic basket full of vegetables from Frank’s garden

(tomatoes lettuce radishes red peppers cucumber)

to go with the home-baked bread a friend had dropped off

some gingercake and some date scones

a hip flask of Frank’s brew and a flask of tea.


Janet is entertaining Frank with wordplay.

The sea’s cape is green today, she says.

To score we are a drifting, she adds.


They take the path towards the baches

and find a shady tree for the picnic blanket.

The water is like a dog’s tongue at the shore.

The sky is like an empty tropical fish tank.

It ought to be the perfect setting to read a novel

that takes you some place else,

but Janet and Frank are content

looking up at the sky and waiting

for the tropical fish to appear.




Paula Green

from The Baker’s Thumbprint, Seraph Press, 2013




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