Monthly Archives: February 2022

Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Cadence Chung’s ‘arrow / town’

arrow / town

I was born out of love, or at least half-love
necessity-love, only-way-we’ll-get-out-alive
sort of love, only half better than wanton. I
asked my father if my great-grandmother loved
her husband that she didn’t get to choose, and he
told me well, they had ten children. Ten
children seems to me more like a curse. Ten
rips in the skin, ten lives, ten wet tears in
the petty space time gives us, your name on
their tongues as they cry. I lack a common tongue
with my ancestors, but even so I know they ask
me to smile. I owe my ancestors happiness. I owe
them proof that they did not suffer in vain. I view
the sunsets and dive into lakes wearing petticoats
just to look at the sky in the opposite of spite, to
show them I am doing something with the time
they gave me. When I went to an old Chinese
settlement, a mother with her kids presented the
mud houses, the scrappy shipping-container roofs.
People lived here, she said. Her tone was that
of a real estate agent, selling them the world, or
at least an easy-to-stomach history. I prefer to
say it like a prayer, in a soft, lonely rhythm:
people lived here. People lived here. People lived here.

Cadence Chung is a poet, student, and musician from Wellington. She draws inspiration from Tumblr posts, antique stores, and dead poets. Her debut poetry chapbook anomalia is coming out in March/April 2022.

Poetry Shelf 2022 Update

Over summer I have been mulling over what I want Poetry Shelf to do in 2022. I want it to be a connection hub for readers, performers and writers. A place to share poetry we create and poetry we love. A place of reviews, interviews, audio, videos, ideas, features. A regular noticeboard. Whatever takes my fancy.

With the world beyond my rural backdoor feeling crazier and more threatening, I am compelled to get both my blogs up and running as soon as possible. We need the media critiquing the madness and mayhem, but we also need balm, beauty and delight for ears and eyes, hearts and minds.

However, this year is slightly different for me as I have a serious health issue. Doing my blogs and writing books gives me energy and heart. I love doing Poetry Shelf and Poetry Box. I love the way it brings us together. I love the way it runs on a currency of kindness and good will. Delights in words and what they can do.

This year I may not answer your emails, I may or may not review your book, I may not answer the phone. At times there may be radio silence. I definitely won’t be venturing out-into the world because it is just too risky. But Poetry Shelf is a way of forging vital connections beyond the kitchen and garden.


May your days gleam with poetry.

Ngā mihi nui
Paula x