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IHU RETURNS – poetry compt. entry 2016

Ihu Returns

Hemi, saw your old mate Ihu the other day

been out in the community, deinstitutionalised and normalised

living with the fisher folk out in the bay


He had just walked over from Petone

Grinning up a dawn, restored, reconciled, returned

said he’d come to show the way


Had a korero with the dreadlocked bare-footed bishop

blessings all round – no miracles yet

played the guitar though (ao)


Fifty years on and nobody remembered him

‘cept the cops who were quick to check him out – tracking associates

Stopped his wine thing from going on in Midland Park


Even if he’d come back from Bolton Street

I don’t think the straights would know

who he is, was, and forever shall be


Giving out Redemption vouchers outside the Station

the suits kept their heads low and eyes averted

while those in need of hope and succour were drawn in


The clerks and cleaners, lost wives and priests dreadlocked-man

least, last, lost and alone

gathered in his sunshine


They followed him to the valley, on the No 7 bus

no donkey was available – green was in the air though

Plenty of mussels and paraoa to share that night


Shouting “I AM” as loud as a Colin McCahon

till noise control came and took him away – Disturbed the peace they said

“Guilty” he replied, “of disrupting the void”


Leaders, civic and the rest, wanted him gone

none of this ‘share the fruits of my labour’ stuff

“Give us Barbers” they cried – to keep the city hip


And so the cops and the wardens, the screws and the medics

all took their turn to prescribe their solutions

from their world view


“I am who I am” he said “My Will be done”

but the poor of Spirit still sat in the House

and the riches of the Kingdom went begging


“It is done” he said

and commended his Spirit – and the darkness returned

and the sun rested


©  Frank McDade

MOVING FORWARD – poetry compt. entry 2016



The value of frank

and open discussion,

coupled with the value

of really listening

to each other

cannot be overemphasised

if we want to make progress.


So why then

do we ignore this?


© Ann Kidd

WE ARE ALL SITTING IN -poetry compt. entry 2016

We are all sitting in

these creaky church

pews waiting for you

but you never came

in the way we wished

so we cried because

ignorance had really

been beautiful bliss.

Instead you arrived

in a wooden casket

with flowers on top

in colours you loved

and the sweet smell

of them soaking into

our rain drenched skin.

You wouldn’t have

wanted sunshine to

pretend like this day

was fine so I’m glad

the sky cried for you

and the winds wept

into the shoulders of

stars because you were

now so unbelievably far.

The newspapers said it

was a car crash that had

claimed your life but it

didn’t mention the strife

you had faced in the days

before sirens screamed at

the sight of bloody gore.

You were the boy that I

was meant to marry but

instead now I must watch

your brothers carry you

down the aisle all because

your car hit a tree and you

simply ceased to ever be.

Unruly brown hair and

that cheeky little stare

was what I first saw in

you and I tried my best

to help you from feeling

blue but at the end of the

day the devil wanted his

chance to play this game

and watch your life start

to slowly fade away in the

first light of yesterday.


It was obvious from the

start that the alcohol had

stolen your heart but we

never thought it would

be the last thing to keep

our souls forever apart.

Broken shards of glass

were found at the scene

and it was only a sign

of flattery for Jim Bean.

Gin and tonic used to

make you vomit but

it was clear there was

more at stake the night

you left my house with

a kiss goodbye and the

tattoo on your thigh

fresh and as darkened

as the evening sky.

Those last few months

had dissolved you into

the stranger I loved and

your parents had talked

in hushed voices to me

about how much you

drank and that you’d

not been at work for

days at a time and it

was absolutely not fine.

So we sat you down,

your parents and I to

ask you why you were

drinking like this and

was there something

amiss to make you feel

so alone that you found

comfort in the contents

of beer in an attempt to

counteract the fear?

But our concern was

pushed aside and you

were adamant that there

was nothing to hide yet

it seemed like you were

always hitching a ride to

the pub and then some

sleazy club just for the

shots that made the blood

in your veins feel hot.


We had fought over it all

and you knew I would just

leave if you continued to

fall into the bottle of a

demonic beer glass.

You didn’t think I was

being too harsh but you

cried and lied saying you

would get clean now so

I could lean on you but

none of it was to be true

because it was the very

next day that I lost you.

So that is why I sit at

a creaky old pew in

amongst family who

loved you and resist

the sickening panicked

urge to spew on a pew.

The priest will talk but

I will not hear a word

he is to say because I

wish you hadn’t gone

away in that bloody way.

The images will replay

in my head of the night

you died and I let myalcoholic

hair cover my face as

I cried into the shoulder

of my mother and felt

a hundred years older.

So once the words have

been said it still will not

change the fact that you

are dead but we will go

out into that rain again

and be reminded of that

summer Tuesday night

when you flew into the

light and we felt such

hurtful unhealthy pain.

We will lay a wreath

of grief on top of the

casket and your father

will pass around a little

cane basket with mini

toy cars in it for us to

bury with you because

you were never far from

your beloved old car.


Your father will ask

to say a prayer and cry

wishing his eldest son

was here but instead

we’re just left with this

damp cold air and the

realization that this life

is never completely fair.

One last look at the wet

ground in an attempt for

your much missed soul to

be found but it is not to be

around in the shape or form

we once knew as the way

you would yawn and kiss

my cheek in a way that

made my knees a bit weak.

Dirt on top of the casket

and a choked up crying

fit sitting deep inside of

my throat as I shiver in

the depths of your old

coat and watch as you

are lowered into an early

grave all because of the

empty promises alcohol

made but in the end it was

to be your life that paid

as you became a slave to

the way it tasted in your

mouth but not how it

affected anything else.

There is a clear blue sky

now yet the winds shall

still howl because all

it took was a gin and

tonic to turn your pure

heart and soul into a

comet that is now apart

of a bigger plan that any

of us alive will understand.


©  Courtney Speedy

DISCOVERY – poetry compt. entry 2016



The stranger on the bus was bursting to enlighten me,

when she spied I was reading a book of modern poetry,

that her husband’s retirement was a burden, a weight

she hadn’t prepared for until far too late.


His presence under foot was preying on her mindwoman-reading-book-bus-young-smiling-67647484

till she googled the heck on her tablet to find

some projects to busy him, to counter her sadness.


Then she joined an online group, a virtual sisterhood

of women who write, marching fearlessly forward

into their third unshackled age, mining their own

lives onto the page, fashioning words to atone

for their guilt at moulding their husbands as guests

in their homes, for floating their own new interests.


Writing poems is fun, she said, showering me with gladness.


© Laurice Gilbert




2016 Adult Trivia Quiz Results

Our 8th annual Tararua District Library Adult Trivia Quiz was a big success, with a new District Champion, and everyone having lots of fun.  Thanks to everyone who came along, you made the evening such fun for us all. A big thank you also to our generous





Congratulations to the District Champions ‘The Four Horsemen of the Potato Chip”, who have been trying hard to take out the crown for the past eight years.  They were very happy, and were awarded medals, books, a $25 Warehouse voucher each, and hold the trophy for a year.

The 4 Horsemen of the Potato Chips

The 4 Horsemen of the Potato Chips : (left to right) Richard Beale, Tim Delaney, Keith Smith, Helen Carver.

‘Woodville Bookworms’ were the winners in Woodville and runner-up in District (often the bridesmaid, never the bride).

Woodville Bookworms

Woodville Bookworms

‘The Broad Way’ (Tararua Health Centre) were third in the District.  The ‘Zika Control Officers’ (Country Kids) of Pahiatua were Pahiatua winners, and what a fantastic fancy dress effort eh?

Much fun was had by all, including staff.  Thanks again to all.


The Broad Way

The Broad Way

Zika Control Officers

Zika Control Officers


Maths is Fun 2016 – registrations now open!

Maths is Fun is a free numerical literacy programme for primary-aged children, that we offer during the end of Term 3 school holidays. The programme is presented by professional teachers, who really know how to help children learn to enjoy maths in a very hands-on and fun way.   This programme has improved many children’s perception of maths. There are different school-age groups:

  • Level 1 is for Years 1 & 2
  • Level 2 is for Years 3 & 4
  • Level 3 is for Years 5 & 6
  • Level 4 is for Years 7 & 8

If your children are keen to enrol, please contact your local library as soon as possible to find out sessions times, to see if you can commit.   Places are very limited. 

  • Eketahuna Library and Woodville Library sessions will be held during the first week 26 to 30 September.    contact details for all libraries
  • Dannevirke Library and Pahiatua Library sessions will be held during the second week, 3 to 7 October.

MIF page 1

MIF page 2

COMING HOME FROM SCHOOL – poetry compt. entry 2016

Coming home from school

The ritual starts at 3pm

She bursts through the door, home from war

Of battles fought with ‘so called’ friends

How dare they bruise my young girl’s heart

With arrowed words, like poisoned darts

For simply trying to do her best

Win the race, pass the test

Don’t talk to Bex, they snigger and snort

She thinks she’s too good, at art and sport

Don’t let that flower grow too tall

Lets cut her down and watch her fall

Poppies must be kept at baytall-poppy

Except of course on Anzac day

From Turkish coves to playground swings

And thirteen-year-old suffering

On battle or the soccer field

The daggers hurt, the dread is real

At home she cries, I bathe her wounds

With a cameo cream and love to the moon

What shall I do Mum? she asks me straight

If I don’t make the team, will they stop, go away?

I pause for a bit, to avoid disgrace

I’d like her to punch them in the face

Poppies are meant to grow strong and tall

Not hunker down, behind school walls

They should reach for the glorious warmth of the sun

Through battles fought, to battles won

It’s up to you I reply to Bex

Knowing I should be, politically correct

You could be less, than you want to be

And give those girls their victory

Or you can win everything, be proud, have a ball

Succeed with grace, and fuck them all.


©Lisa Nimmo


JANE’S EYES – poetry compt. entry 2016

Jane’s Eyes


God’s creatures eclipse him –

So say we all,

Our eyes on those of whom we make idols


Soft spoken words come to us,

Muffled as Gods creature sleeps

As he grows


Moments of light through drowsiness

White cotton angels wings held together by clenched fists

Halos of half closed curtains and red sunrises

Edens of colour and warmth


Forgive me lord for I have tried

And You expect me to follow

I knowlight-beams

But your image must be wondrous indeed if these are the ones I am led by


© Kate McDonald


FORGIVE ME – poetry compt. entry 2016

sad-womanForgive me


Forgive me.

For I have

not sinned.


I have thought


about jealous



who lie.

Spitting venom at me.

Until I


thirsty for revenge.


I have sobbed

mad tears


romantic witchcraft.


Forgive me.

For I have

not sinned.



I did not

entrap the minds

of my sorcerers.

As they have

done to



I can


murder sleazy men.


So I feel

like a





I wonder

will other girls



with me.


Because I let

these people





So they continue to

betray womankind.


©  E. Laurie

Home schooling help for reading and maths!

Literacy and Maths Online NZ provides NZ families with access to reading and maths web programs that are proven to be of great benefit to struggling learners – or those at any level of learning who want to improve.  Although not free, these are school quality internet programs that are used by many NZ schools and can also be used at home by families who may not have access to them at school.  As these programs are not available for individual purchase, Literacy and Maths Online provides the only way that students whose schools (or learning centres) don’t purchase the program will have to use them.

Students using this service are monitored and emailed helpful progress information and help by a qualified teacher – making this a very cost effective option for those who may find one to one tutoring to be beyond their budget – or those who want to have unlimited practice time at home. 

 Those who enrol can use the programs from anywhere with reliable internet.  The programs run from web browsers and don’t require installation.  Or they can be installed on library computers for the public to access the program even more easily from computers there if they don’t have internet at home – which reduces the demand on internet traffic and gives desktop icons to open the programs from.

 You can learn more about the service and prices on the website


reading, writing and arithmeticThere are other free resources available online such as on the for parents page which has ideas to help with reading and writing for all age levels.

Remember that all our libraries run ‘Maths is Fun’ programmes during the October school holidays. Facilitated by Tararua and Wairarapa REAP, our libraries provide the venue for this free numerical literacy programme for school Year 1 to Year 8.  The children learn to enjoy maths by applying it to create and have fun.  Age groups are separated into two age-appropriate separate sessions each.  Places strictly limited so keep an eye on our Facebook page or Bush Telegraph for advertising around that.



Our competition has finished for this year, but there are still poems we haven’t published so we begin again…!


such flambe from their ego trumpet

demanding classier victims

a sick banquet with icing

canned applause trickling sides

audience carried with them like takeaway coffee

a truckload of dense heat


boiling toffee eyes

as if sugar could kill vampires

their murderous dishes

cooked like methamphetamine for stupidity

slugs of lazy hatred their lap dogs


how do they appear attractive at first like a prize?

do I relive a drastic childhood and try to improve it?

re-doing floral arrangements with nothing to add

then walking into walls of each other and apologising


what motivates anyone to dress up that bait?

me lost in workmanship then stepping back to realise

nobody who loves me sets out to ruin for fun

some people empty like drum kits without a musician


horrible toys set up inside the fridge – a flatmate’s joke

or a lost child hiding under any bed from a beating

but remember the song you loved and how it took you

knowing every word even when your head clanged

lucky someone out there did say to ring any time

the call and feeling too small for such a huge message


© Raewyn Alexander


A SUNSET AT THE BEACH – Winner poetry compt. 2016

A sunset at the beach

Wave battalions mass beneath

a sky gun-metal grey.

Evidential driftwood lines the sand

and weathered shacks perch shag-like

in the dunes. On the slopes above


One of our two winners!

an ever-growing brood of carrion,

the bunkered glass of careless city wealth,

overlooks the jumble near the shore.

As winter closes in, these empty shells

bear blind witness to the last days of an age

of make-do cladding, wonky window frames,

corrugated tanks to catch the rain —

sand-castle aspirations native to a simpler past,

wind-torn relics now, near the end

of many bracing days


To the west, beyond the breakers,

harlot streaks of red count down to night

indifferent, frayed and gaudy,

fleeting in their charm.


© Tony Chapelle

WINNERS: Poetry Competition 2016

winnerThe task of judging was really difficult because the poems (of which we received over 200) were so varied and the words chosen with such skill. The poems also conveyed the poets passion for their subjects such as suffering, death, loss and of course, love. Love unrequited,  love unattainable, love rejected, love eternal – and then there were the poems celebrating the beauty of this land and how it makes us feel. And there were really insightful thoughts expressed. For example, ‘he is my cat and I am his human’.

AND THE WINNERS are ‘Who is that woman in the mirror?’ by Ann Chapman (Otaki), and ‘A sunset at the beach’ by Tony Chapelle (Palmerston North).     Congratulations to you both!

On Wednesday 24 August, a very pleasant evening for poetry lovers was held in Woodville Library. Poems were shared, both old and new, to the very appreciative participants. We were celebrating National Poetry Day which is held annually on the last Friday in August. Nationwide there are thousands of participants, which proves that poetry is surviving. Poetry rocks!

Muriel Cowan


PS – Tararua District Library will be publishing further poems for several weeks yet – there are so many entries – so please keep enjoying them.  We will be in touch with our winners. Thank you to everyone who participated.

TALL POPPY SYNDROME – poetry compt. entry 2016

Tall Poppy Syndrome


You think he is Icarus

so your gaze is burning


the wax from his wings.


Eyes, half blind,icarus_falling_by_rockgem-d3eil8m

watch him falling,


Feathered outwards,


towards the ocean

of spit

From your forked tongue.


You have grounded the sky.

Tears from his eyes are dropping,


with the sunset as it melts on his palms.


He looks on water as it runs

down life lines and wonders,


How beauty and misery intertwine on his skin.


You have taught him that’s all that he is.

Beauty and misery and melted sunsets

And wings.


But his dreams are mythic

And in those dreams he is learning,


to be deaf where you learnt to be blind.


You think he is Icarus.

Icarus was brave, fearless.


You told him he couldn’t fly

So he’s climbing,


His own stairway to dawn.


While you are below, only watching,


Burning the wax from wings

He’s rebuilding with steel.


© Susanna Elliffe

A WOMAN – poetry compt. entry 2016

A woman

She hurts.

In fullness, unexpectedly, deeply.

Heart crashing violently, painfully beating.

Aches flood her soul.

Spilling out, soaking the air garnished with guilt.

Thorns, rainclouds

Tired, withered and shaking.

A frown.


She falls.

Slowly, quietly, almost invisibly, to a trembling earth.

Breathing cold air.

Tears precede her.

Warm, salty droplets of hurt unexplainable.woman

Silent pain, she hides being her curled lips.

A mask.


She tries.

Strength, hope, promise

in daisy chains, the sliver of moon.

The uncertainty in her trail.

A steep winding pathway.

Canvas for tomorrow.

Laughter throughout seasons.

Exhausted sighs.

A smile.


She loves.

Energy, trust, light

Cool spring subsets, glistening waves.

Passion in her arms

holding  tight to conviction.

For leaf cover

Blending palettes.

Souls on fire.

A kiss.


She lives.

Loudly, happily, vigorously

Endless shores, cleansing impressions.

Excitement of dreams

creating tides like wishes.

Unfurling blossoms.

Beautifully awakened.

A woman.


© Fay Nicholls