Tag Archives: a week of poems

A week of poems: Bernadette Hall’s ‘This for the end of a year’




This for the end of a year

        from a chorus of short-tongued alpine bees


Let us give thanks for the flushes and zones of colour

in the herb-field, for the alpine genera,

the wire rush and the tangle fern, the sheep sorrel

and the cats-ear, the gentians and the astelias and everything

that grows under the edge of a melting snow-bank.


Let us give thanks for the cranesbill geranium and

the mouse ear  myositis, for the ranunculus (little frog mouth,

little friend), for the feathered myrrh of the nival zone,

for the bog moss in the tarn,

for all that is and all that has been and all that is to come.


It is for us to keep our courage firm,

to nurse our appointed pain,

to await ‘that which springs ablaze of itself. ’



©Bernadette Hall

(first published under a different title in Life & Customs VUP 2013)






A week of poems: Gregory O’Brien’s ‘Poplar Tree, Tukituki River I and II’



Poplar tree, Tukituki River I


quarters of this



early summer–

tui brush

the sky’s blue

a quivering branch

signals another departure

endless comings and

goings–the blueness

of each black bird.




Poplar tree, Tukituki River II

Greenery, blue-

tail, tui



©Gregory O’Brien






A week of poems: Chris Price’s ‘Hasta la vista’




Hasta la vista

Things were fatal but not urgent.
We used more make-up and less speed.
We saw the hectic colour on one side
and the blank space on the other.
What went up came down then drilled its way
metres deep into the earth. Under
the turned table we learned to live
on our own chewing gum
while unfamiliar implements played
dinner music above our heads.
We adapted — it was what we knew
how to do — but the sugar cubes kept
getting smaller. Whereas before
we had been known by name,
now we only crept to the watering holes
under cover of darkness, then sat
with chins on our knees and waited while
the new customers declined our terms
in favour of their own impenetrable
argot. Sign met size and came off
second best, bedding down with lice
and livestock in the basement of
the air we used to own.  While
they were busy ransacking
the drawers there was still time to rue
our civilised discontents, but now
the sudden silence impends overthrow.
We stare at one another, suspended
in the pause before the shouting
and splintering Hollywood has, as it
turns out, so well prepared us for,
the breathless interval before our new
lives, hat and coatless in the snow.

©Chris Price    First published in Sport 38

A week of poems: Anne Kennedy’s ‘Island Bay has a new sea wall’



Island Bay has a new sea wall



The old sea wall was so grey

The new sea wall is so grey


The old sea wall was heavy as plutonium

The new sea wall is warm under my hand


Boats in the bay were from a painting

Boats in the bay wiggle their hips,

no-rhythm, they’re

white and nerdy


Old sea wall

New sea wall


Old sea wall met the sea like a fist bump.

Hello! Why, hello.

New sea wall fits with the sea

like lovers spooning

on and off


The old sea wall was a statue of a wall

The air trembles with sand and salt and light


There was the storm, the ravage, the pieces


Old sea wall was so Marguerite Duras

New sea wall is so Marguerite Duras


Old sea wall

New sea wall


Was curved like a public bar and Italian

fishermen leaned on it smoking

looking out to sea

New sea wall is so straight

glittering in the sun


Old sea wall was so wall

New sea wall is so new


After the storm the city council wanted

no wall at all!

Because all things


Old sea wall was so sea levels

New sea wall is so sea levels


The pieces, the people, the fight


Old sea wall was so gonesville

New sea wall is so concrete

so warm and gritty

island and sea


Old sea

New sea



©Anne Kennedy






A week of poems: Airini Beautrais’s ‘North Mole’



North Mole


We see Kupe climb out of his car

at the North Mole, pull his wetsuit

hood over his head, place foot after foot

on the sharp rocks towards where we are.

Hey man, he says, as he reaches the sand.

He’s given up on the gym –

it doesn’t motivate him.

He has more of a surfer’s mind. And the band?

Yeah, yeah, his music is going well.

He times his movements to the swell;

so many things could lie beyond the roll

of water, out past the end of the mole.

And each wave curling in to the shore

is like the sea saying what are you waiting for?


©Airini Beautrais

A week of poems: Joan Fleming’s ‘The mattress’





The mattress


The mattress


several hot

winters ago

on the dune

is a fantastical



art students


in the coastal


with their backs

to the reddirt


the thing

is being

eaten by


of making

such an object

with its look

of casual


its tessellate


its industrial


its coil

and cushion




its once-



its purpose


its sense of history







is possible

in the white


of the gallery

(not so much

in Nyirripi





the sorry


and the



Art Mattress


and convolutes



back at camp

the wire



as a butcher’s table

then later

we sleep

on it


©Joan Fleming




A week of poems: Joan Fleming’s ‘The kids’


Thousand apologies but I had to take this poem down as I couldn’t get the format right on the blog (crazy to have tried!) and my screen shots didn’t work in all browsers.

I am posting another fabulous Joan-Fleming poem instead.















A week of poems: Helen Rickerby’s ‘Thoughts while waiting next to the Katherine Mansfield statue, Midland Park, Wellington ‘



Thoughts while waiting next to the Katherine Mansfield statue, Midland Park, Wellington

Robot Katherine Mansfield
I am tired, and I want to slide
my hand into your elongated hand
clutch your smooth, chilled fingers
like a drowning girl
I am sure you would take me somewhere:
we’ll fly to Paris, perhaps, before the war, or
some raggy party in London, circa 1908
Or we could just wheel around the harbour like gulls
You could show me the house by the bay
and I won’t tell you it was damaged in one of those storms
(you already know)
Or are you tired too, from standing there
in all this weather?
Shall we just head to Fontainebleau
and we can lie down on those Persian carpets
rest our heads and close our eyes
just for a moment

©Helen Rickerby



A week of poems: Chris Tse’s ‘Notes for Taylor Swift, should she ever write a song about me’




Notes for Taylor Swift, should she ever write a song about me


I look for men like I look for nouns, though

I have very little use for them once I find them.

I write out their names like blank cheques

and put my trust in their honesty. I revise

my lists until I have no time to action them.

Yes, they’re meant to be an efficient exercise

in compartmentalisation, but there’s always

something I’ve overlooked so I rip them up

and start again. Like they say—once more

with feeling! I lack the mechanics to say no,

but I do have the common sense to run away

from falling pianos. Some men I’ve loved

have lacked that initiative. I’m destined

to be a poster boy without a cause,

without a slogan. But you can at least

give me a chance, right? Make me a hit song

for the ages—the last great crossover ballad.


©Chris Tse




A week of poems: Nick Ascroft’s ‘Cheap Present’




Cheap Present
A young mum with a trolley tries to barter
with the Warehouse staff, says yeah her pinus
radiata breadbox took a jolt
and scratched the upper half a bit. They take
her with a pinch of salt, and call the guard.

A skimping hard case writes a cheque, and now
the Black & Decker he can get himself.

The teen who works the checkout beeper watches
all the crud that’s destined for the tip
flood past: a jersey with a little rip,
a spatula, a fishy aftershave
to keep a bachelor a bachelor,

a plastic sword, a power board, some bran.
The checkout chick nicks something for her man.


© Nick Ascroft