Tag Archives: a week of poems

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




A week of poems: Emma Neale’s “‘So Sang a Little Clod of Clay'”



So Sang a Little Clod of Clay’

William Blake


When it hurts, but she doesn’t say;

when it dulls, but he still gives praise.


When she bites, but he refuses rage

and he walks free, yet she stays.


When they wait through blunt dismay

although they ache as the children play


this is tread and bootgrind

this is hope’s hard labour

this is the heart’s ripe savour

this is the sting of healing

this is the rope of time —


and love is dust


in fleet, golden murmuration.


©Emma Neale




A week of poems: Albert Wendt’s ‘New Coat’



New Coat


This late summer morning is learning how to breathe

while Reina embroiders on the lanai shaded by our rainbow umbrella


Pete and Willie of Villa Magic have taken five weeks to burn

scrape and sand off our villa’s century-old skin  and replace it


In the kowhai a lone cicada’s love call sounds like the imperious

snapping of fingers ordering our villa to rise up

in its new coat of iceberg white


and plum trimmings: its radiance will wrap round Reina’s

fingers and needle

and the morning will breathe in admiration


© Albert Wendt April 2014






A week of Poems: Amy Leigh Wick’s ‘I, Melchoir’



I, Melchior


To be honest, I didn’t know Baz or Casper

before we took the trip.  We studied

in different cities and my focus was on the history of stars

while Casper predicted movement. Neither of us

know what Baz studied exactly, but it was good

having him around.


Many nights over the small flame of our fire

we guessed at why the dream chose us,

and most days I wondered if I was a fool

to leave my life’s work for a single light.


Traveling west we saw the far reaches

of an empire whose gold leafed crown

would wrap around the head of every

nation if it could.  I didn’t mind the welcome

given to us by its governors and princes,

the cold limoncello and soft cheeses, the grapes

brought to our mouths by slender bangled wrists;


But there was something about that king—rouged

and fat, chewing a leg of meat, feeding us like we

were to be eaten next, asking exactly who it was

we were off to see—that reminded me not to be a man

given to appetite. I closed my eyes to the women

and remembered there was somewhere

I was supposed to be going.


The last days of travel were quiet, thirsty days,

full of dust and flies.  Nights we slept close in the dark,

because Baz insisted we not light any fires.  We argued

about whether we were on course and what we were

looking for in the first place until we found ourselves


under the star, at the door of a house.

It was nothing really.  A poor place and the girl

who answered the door was about fourteen, with a naked baby

looking out at us from behind her skirts where he stood.


Casper shoved me and I almost spoke, but didn’t.

Baz knelt, and that decided it. I lowered myself to my knees

right in the doorway, and as I did I felt something

no book has ever been able to explain.  Some strange peace,

the sound of beating wings filled the air and the child laughed.


We unloaded our treasures and as we did his mother’s

face was wet with tears.  She didn’t look at the spices,

she wasn’t marveling at the cost. Her head was tilted,

her mouth slightly open as if dreams she’d had

were playing out before her.  It was enough,

her silent grace, the child’s laugh–to answer at least

the only question worth asking.  We left at dusk

into a different world than we had come from.


The first sleep in the desert brought us the same nightmare;

a slaughter of children and the rouged king’s laughter

heard above the moan of young mothers.  We parted ways

in the dark, with a vow to never look for each other again

for fear of killing the King we’d found.


Did we find what we were looking for, or were we meant

to find something that would take all of history to unravel?

I think about Baz, face to the ground in that doorway,

when a star falls suddenly from the sky and wind blows out the last embers of fire.


©Amy Leigh Wicks




A week of poems: Sugar Magnolia Wilson’s ‘Town’






In the small town with

the grey clouds like

quiet dogs


on the veranda with our

feet up watching ghosts

in the old corner garden

where the oleander dips deep


I am myself and not myself

again and again and again

until you find me through

the small water in my wrist


the channel where the darkest

fish run to the lake in my palm


It is raining.


You hold my arm there, on

the Formica-topped table

with more gravity than a

metal earth


softer than a soft sea.


I am yours driving down and



homing around and around

and back again.


©Sugar Magnolia Wilson