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
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
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
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 my
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
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 mind
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
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 sponsors.
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.
‘Woodville Bookworms’ were the winners in Woodville and runner-up in District (often the bridesmaid, never the bride).
‘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.
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.
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 bay
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.
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
But your image must be wondrous indeed if these are the ones I am led by
© Kate McDonald
For I have
I have thought
Spitting venom at me.
thirsty for revenge.
I have sobbed
For I have
I did not
entrap the minds
of my sorcerers.
As they have
murder sleazy men.
So I feel
will other girls
Because I let
So they continue to
© E. Laurie
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 www.literacyandmaths.co.nz.
There are other free resources available online such as on the Education.govt.nz 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
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
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
The 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!
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
You think he is Icarus
so your gaze is burning
the wax from his wings.
Eyes, half blind,
watch him falling,
towards the ocean
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
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
In fullness, unexpectedly, deeply.
Heart crashing violently, painfully beating.
Aches flood her soul.
Spilling out, soaking the air garnished with guilt.
Tired, withered and shaking.
Slowly, quietly, almost invisibly, to a trembling earth.
Breathing cold air.
Tears precede her.
Warm, salty droplets of hurt unexplainable.
Silent pain, she hides being her curled lips.
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.
Energy, trust, light
Cool spring subsets, glistening waves.
Passion in her arms
holding tight to conviction.
For leaf cover
Souls on fire.
Loudly, happily, vigorously
Endless shores, cleansing impressions.
Excitement of dreams
creating tides like wishes.
© Fay Nicholls