A story begins with a seed,
An idea that swells under the light
Of confluence of truth and fiction
Deep thought and wondering,
Swirled together like a cake mix.
Fictional forms walk my mind,
The long dead insert themselves on the page,
I can’t stop them,
For they live in me,
Playing hide and seek,
While I wait, pen in hand,
Fingers a-twitch at the keyboard
Until they step out,
To make themselves known.
The world of the story grows
Beneath my fingers,
Words sharpen until they sing.
Where does a story come from?
All of this and none,
The ancient mystery of story.
Te Awa Kaitunu has forged its way
from Rotoiti to Maketu
where tides whirl to the horizon.
A small boat is caught
on a sand bar.
A young man on shore,
cell phone in hand, calls
‘Get in quick bro.’
The sea is playful, deceptive,
My feet kick silver sand
but just there, it’s golden,
Where seabirds pick for kai.
I huddle in my jacket,
Shelter from that biting wind.
Stones, round like dinosaur eggs
Crowd under bossy cliffs,
Were they here when the first waka arrived
Plunging the waves,
No cell phone to guide them in.
Hard-case houses gaze to sea
Simple, and functional.
Their brown-legged inhabitants
wander sand flats, kete in hand,
rugby shorts the uniform
pipi fritters, best kaimoana for tea.
The world has changed
since that first waka came,
Te Awa Kaitunu still wanders to sea,
the tide still whirls to the horizon,
these cliffs boss the same stony beach
and sea birds screech in search of scraps.
Happiness is a butterfly
Alighting just beyond my grasp,
So quietly, a gentle sigh
She knows this moment cannot last.
Alighting just beyond my grasp
I thought I had it, too soon gone,
Happiness could not hold fast
A trick, a breeze, a fleeting song.
So quietly, a gentle sigh
Content to warm her flimsy wings
Quivering readiness to fly
In ecstasy or trembling
She knows this moment cannot last
Wasps and frogs so cruelly near
Must take this moment now to bask
For ecstasy soon turns to fear
I like a poem when I’m too tired
For articles and books complex and deep
Or my brain is simply over-wired.
When with furrowed brow thought is required
To consider, reflect, connections leap
Across the page; neurons must fire.
A poem is a form somewhat higher,
Beyond consciousness where meaning seeps
Like rock filtered waters, minds inspired.
No more conjugations, worries, lies
A poem can cause a person to weep
Or smile, for it defies
Logic. A poet needs imagery, pace, relies
On rhythm, not wordiness but somehow meets
The heart and all its needy cries.
A poem asks the question why
In patterned phrases and senses greets
I like a poem when I am tired
Words seduced, distilled to treasure and keep.
Life has slowed to a gentler beat
a measured waltz, no more frantic tango
in this lockdown world,
lake ripples still fold and chase to shore
while autumn sunlight glints on oak leaves
and flax: a bushel of green swords reaching skyward.
The dogs are happy, more walks and splashing,
parents watch their children and dip toes
plenty of time, no appointments made,
small native ducks, their black heads tucked,
paddle, fossick for food or drift
our world reduced to a bubble.
But if we can be like the ducks
paddle away these slower days and
enjoy the autumn sun on our backs,
we’ll be okay.
Six girls squashed inside my mother’s Standard 10,
Boosted my status.
We rocked it like rough mothers
With a recalcitrant child,
To jolt a faulty starter-motor,
And piled back in.
My Humber 80 had more style
That two-tone beauty.
Perfect for a 60s girl,
Eighteen, in a coloured pic,
Crimplene dress, short, in lolly pink,
Christchurch to Hanmer Springs,
A big slow adventure.
The Anglia with cut-back window,
Sage green; a sensible car for marriage.
I’d had a boyfriend with a yellow one.
The sweet lad paid my flight
Christchurch to Wellington,
True love extracting money from his pocket.
We sang Beatles songs – Yellow Submarine,
As we drove round Oriental Parade.
Grey Cortina, 1964,
Functional for a happy family
We and three children,
Bounced around with rugby gear
Squashed biscuits and matchbox cars.
Unaware a family could break,
A car for divorce.
Held growing kids and me,
The Maz loved to trick us.
They, forced to duck to avoid possible sightings by friends
When dodgy fuses led to unscheduled stops,
On hills, at the lights, on country roads,
While I fiddled the fuses.
The orange Hillman, 70s style,
A car for courage against impossible odds,
Took five of us from Whangarei to Tarawera,
Her roof rack bowed with luggage.
Hilly never recovered.
I should have had more sense.
Sold for $500 cash,
Notes that felt like drug money,
Fenced on the way home,
At the supermarket.
Our choice; walk or my boyfriend’s Lada,
A solid brick of a car.
Communist, no style
Or power steering,
The kids wouldn’t be seen in that
Even I had a little pride.
The white Holden was
A car for more sense and independence,
Fit for teenagers to be seen in.
They somehow learned to drive.
Traumatized, they don’t trust me now,
Behind the wheel.
All have better cars than I ever did.
My rattly red Nissan gets me around town.
Elegance in age?
Electric, new, shiny blue,
In my dreams,
But I’m not old yet.