Friday, February 22, 2008

Wedding creations

With S & H's wedding on Sunday, poetry has been forgotten, and I've been busy creating various other things. My granddaughter, Steve's niece, is to be a flower girl which, of course involves, apparently, having "a basket of petals to throw at people." So , as well as making her dress, I bought a basket, threaded bridesmaid dress scraps through it, and made a bag for the petals which is attached to the basket.

H & I have made flags with the surnames of all the grandparents, and I cut bamboo and attached the flags which will fly in the redwood circle at the arboretum during the ceremony - or in the hall I guess, if the weather continues with its high winds and rain.

Tonight I made a gluten free, vegan heart-shaped cake so the bride can have some wedding cake at her own wedding!

And today I also finished the wedding album I made for their photos:

I stamped the black cover paper with bronze and gold ink using the beautiful Indian stamp that S & H bought me last year from Trade Aid. Inset into the front cover is one of the invitations to their wedding.

There are beads sewn into the binding, and also on the front cover.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sam, new granddaughter, b 15 February

Well, done, Greg and Claire - Sam was born at home before the midwife could get there!


Sam and me

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Frayed Feather

The keruru has discarded
a green-blue feather.

It is tattered and frayed
and she will grow
fine new plumage
with which to fly.

The feather on my desk
shines like polished paua.
It no longer flies above the trees
instead helps my heart to soar.

Our love has past it's use by date.
It has become burdensome
for both of us, I think.

I have grown new feathers
and need to find places
you haven't even dreamed.

I will hold our memories
in my heart: spirit feathers
that will help me fly.

*keruru = NZ native wood pigeon
*paua = NZ abalone

PS - for those who wondered - this poem is about my relationship with my mother, not my husband!

Catherine Jane b 14 February 1949

My sister would have been 59 today.
Every Valentine's Day my mother grieved.

I don't know when she died.
My mother never mentioned that,
but it was before I was born.

My mother's little brother
died in the war
somewhere in France, I think,
but she didn't speak of it.

My mother's twin sister
died when they were 10.
Polio took one,
left the other
without physical trace.

So much grieving
can drain love away.
Instead of a cradle
she wrapped me tight in muslin
and put me in the
too hard basket.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Rain Came Yesterday

The bush smells differently today
since the rain came.
The crickets rasp their continuous song
almost drowning out the birds.
The earth stays beneath my feet
instead of rising as dust.

The epiphytic kowharawhara
which fell in last winter's winds
from the rimu by the stream
and took root at its base
smiles its pale custard-coloured
damp flowers at the world.

An indefinable, almost edible breeze
tempts me to stay.

Kowharawhara = astelia solandri
rimu = dacrydium cupressinum

Day 10

Missed another day! But still writing more than I have in ages, so worth it!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Marking The Line

I remember standing
on the wobbly chair,
suddenly an itch
a loose hair
ticking my nose.

I remember her
pinched mouth
full of pins,
needling, stabbing
cutting words:

Stand still
you stupid girl!
What will people think
of me, if your
hem is crooked?

My granddaughter
stands on the table,
twirls, rises to her toes
and down, raises her arms
like a ballerina.

The pins fall
from my mouth
as I smile at her joy;
I mark the line
in her pauses.

The hem will be crooked
but I don't give a damn.
This flower-girl's Self
is more important
than a perfect dress.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Day 8

Another day of A Month of Poetry where I missed writing a poem. Still - I have got the Flower-girl's dress made, all but the hem!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I remember the fifties
staring at the black sailor
in his bell-bottom trousers
and his fuck you saunter
down the wharf end of Queen Street.

Don't stare! said mother,
bending her head so
she could peep unseen
from under the brim
of her going-to-town hat.

And by the way,
don't call him black
it's not nice to comment
on a person's skin colour.

Those were the days
when curry was mince,
veggies and sultanas in
a yellow sauce made
from a tin labeled
hot or mild
though it never tasted
like the strange cooking smells
from the back of the
Indian greengrocer's shop.

These days there's
a rich mix of cultures
and ethnicities;
there's a restaurant
for every one
except the English.

But sometimes,
just sometimes,
I miss the surprise,
the excitement,
the strange otherness
of the foreign and exotic.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Falling again

Following a fluorescent pink vapour trail
until it turned soft and grey,
wondering if life hadn't become
same old, same old, same old....
A silvery, slivery moon appeared
in the fading lemon sky
above silhouetted Mt Karioi.
You turned, just so,
smiled, as you do,
and I was falling,
as I do.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Old wise woman?
No - just old and foolish

Trying to please everyone
not doing very well
at that

Please myself?
Never found the trick
of that

Old and foolish
Displeased and displeasing
Sad and lost


I missed day four of the month of poetry. Instead, I had an exhausting day of wedding preparatory 'stuff' in town, in the midsummer heat - I would rather have been at home writing, that's for sure!

Sunday, February 3, 2008


the moon's gone
after shining white
almost as bright as day

through the small mean hours

and though it's darker
than it was
at four a.m.
birds which were quiet then
have woken

magpies debate
in the tall trees of the bush
while smaller birds

and the clunk of the feeder
tells me the chooks
are hoping I replenished
their supplies whilst they slept

night has been declared done

(Chooks = chickens, hens)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Beach debris

starfish and bluebottles
newly dead will never join
a shell collection

Friday, February 1, 2008


trial by ordeal
ordeal by fire
by water
by cross
by ingestion

running the gauntlet
gauntlet of bridesmaids
of mothers
of fathers
of friends

test of intention
test of sincerity
broken on the wheel

marriage by survival