Tuesday, July 15, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Two stanzas from A Fiordland Notebook by CB

                                   The mountains do not remember
                                    asking the forests
                                    to shelter birds
                                    with silent tongues
                                    and leaves of bark.

                                    CB  |  Camelot River, Dusky Sounds, Western Fiordland 

                             When dawn comes and the ruru return
                                    we will cast our bodies
                                    on your banks and
                                    with spines to the ground
                                    and eyes wide open, wonder
                                    at the tenacity of moss, 
                                    the complex miracle of breathing. 

                                    CB | Camelot River, Broadshaw Sounds, Western Fiordland

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is UK-based poet Kathleen Jones with Another Exile Paints a Spring Portrait of Katherine Mansfield by Riemke Ensing. Kathleen writes, "This poem takes me straight to Mansfield’s account of being in John Fergusson’s studio - her descriptions of the china, the way the light fell across the room, all the colours, but it is actually a dialogue with one of Frances Hodgkins’ still-life portraits. . . "

~ please click on the quill ~

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Man Eating by Jane Kenyon

(Okay, so this is not the poem's pearl-white plastic spoon; it is, however, a spoon I love!)

                  MAN EATING

                  The man at the table across from mine
                  is eating yogurt. His eyes, following
                  the progress of the spoon, cross briefly
                  each time it nears his face. Time,

                  and the world with all its principalities,
                  might come to an end as prophesied
                  by the Apostle John, but what about
                  this man, so completely present

                  to the little carton with its cool,
                  sweet food, which has caused no animal
                  to suffer, and which he is eating
                  with a pearl-white plastic spoon.

                  Jane Kenyon

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Sarah Jane Barnett
with The Noise
by Lee Posna

 x !! x

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Grapefruit (a birthday poem) by CB

Photo: Shutterstock


                   for Daniel

                    He has two wishes for his sixth
                    birthday; a pocket of ruby grapefruit
                    and a citrus knife with a bend in it.

          It is the Fast of Ramadan  - the twenty-eight day
          in - and the weather shows no consideration.
          Flies and an irreverent heat
          nudge Mr. Salie the fruit seller
          and his carthorse up the street.

          The children are waiting. They know
          he will come. He will spoil them
          with a fistful of pomegranate, a slice of ice
          green melon. Upside down they wait
          dangling limbs and rinds of chatter
          from the purple crown of a jacaranda
          tree. They swing from a sandpit sky
          scuffed toes bare, swishing through
          a thick mirage of air.

          Up at the gate, in the postbox shade
          beach buckets brim with the horse's drink.

          Ramadan. And today is my boy's
          sixth birthday. He drops to the ground
          with a ripe fruit sound, runs
          pelter, pelter down the street.
          There's a horse, a cart and an old man
          to meet.

          Of course he's remembered. He whistles
          and grins, heaves the grapefruit down.
          Next week - they agree - when the Fast
          is complete, they will sit on the pavement
          enjoy a pink feast.

         "Why, Mr Salie?" I hear my son speak.
         "Why do they smell so wet
          and so deep?"

          Claire Beynon 

Today we celebrate TUESDAY POEM's 4th Birthday! 

As a collective we celebrate poetry every week but birthdays are special as each year during March/April we come together to build a collaborative poem in one giant poetry celebration. This year, we asked contributing poets to send a line that included something about either food or birthdays or both, and to send the line 'blind' - that is, without seeing any other contributions. As our most excellent sub-hub editor Michelle Elvy asked, "How to fit blue cake with a clarinetist's curls, or fairy bread with the explosion of candles? Four vignettes fired together to form one whole that includes a birth and a light, a cake and a secret, a moment and a memory, anticipation and celebration.

                      I was born the day my mother stopped being pregnant
                              a full-baked warm wetness taking its first breath
                      flame flickering, a miniature torch; a moth fluttering
                      against the pane, the porch. She held: a curved moon-nail,
                      thistle-like lock, darkened milk; and the clarinetist curled
                      slow circles around the moon

Visit the TP hub to read Three plus one:  four poems for a birthday - guaranteed to surprise and delight you!

Extra cause for celebration: Tuesday Poem has had 335, 130 page views since its inception (on Mary McCallum's blog, O Audacious Book) in April 2010 with 16, 280 page views on the hub this past month. Contributing poets hail from New Zealand, the US, UK, Australia, Italy and Lesotho with visitors to the blog from places as far flung as the United States, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia and Russia. 

Happy Birthday Tuesday Poem! And a heartfelt 'yes' and 'thank you' to Mary, Michelle, TP poets and readers and writers of poetry everywhere.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Antarctica by Katherine Glenday


Sounding bells | 80 feet below the ice - Explorers Cove, New Harbor, Antarctica 2008
Katherine Glenday (with a little help from her friends!) Photograph by Shawn Harper


                                                  Our thoughts form us
                                                  And like the forams
                                                  And the caddis creatures
                                                  We live in our
                                                  Patterned habits

                                                  I can run with this
                                                  And do
                                                  Away from text and fact
                                                  And the common herded wayfare
                                                  Of thought and learned behaviour

                                                  It is too dense for me

                                                  I am overwhelmed already
                                                  And the truth of it
                                                  Scampers off somewhere
                                                  And snarls in the brambles
                                                  Beneath the woods
                                                  Of a forest of trees

                                                  I would rather drop my sounding bells
                                                  Below a frozen sea
                                                  And watch with my long distance heart
                                                  As my friends swim them down

                                                 To sing an angelus
                                                 On the ocean bed

                                                 Here all things are weighed
                                                 In the company of creatures
                                                 Who build their hearts on the sleeves
                                                 Of their houses.

                                                 Katherine Glenday

Katherine and I met at the age of eighteen as we embarked on a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. Our lives have been woven together in ways mundane, mysterious and magical ever since. During our 2008 season in Explorers Cove, Antarctica, scientist Sam Bowser and I traveled with a series of porcelain forms created by ceramic artists Christina Bryer and Katherine. (You can see some of these on my new, very-much-still-under-construction, website here - scroll down to the bottom of the Antarctica page).

Katherine lives in Kalk Bay, a quaint fishing village in Cape Town (SA). Last weekend she opened the doors of her home and studio to the public for an extensive retrospective - 30 years of her exquisite porcelain work. The words 'numinous' and 'luminous' come immediately to mind. She is an artist in light, her work at once grounded in the natural world and occupying a space that's 'beyond' form. Weightless. Metaphysical. It needs to be seen to be believed --- please visit Katherine's website, prepared to be moved, awed and - yes - altered.

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Janis Freegard
with Tuatara by Nola Borrell

Please click on the quill. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Who Learns My Lessons Complete? by Walt Whitman

CB | Light Calligraphy

                    Who learns my lesson complete?
                     Boss, journeyman, apprentice, churchman and atheist,
                     The stupid and the wise thinker, parents and offspring, merchant,
                     clerk, porter and customer,
                     Editor, author, artist, and schoolboy--draw nigh and commence;
                     It is no lesson--it lets down the bars to a good lesson,
                     And that to another, and every one to another still.
                     The great laws take and effuse without argument,
                     I am of the same style, for I am their friend,
                     I love them quits and quits, I do not halt and make salaams.
                     I lie abstracted and hear beautiful tales of things and the reasons
                     of things,
                     They are so beautiful I nudge myself to listen.
                     I cannot say to any person what I hear--I cannot say it to myself--
                     it is very wonderful.
                     It is no small matter, this round and delicious globe moving so
                     exactly in its orbit for ever and ever, without one jolt or
                     the untruth of a single second,
                     I do not think it was made in six days, nor in ten thousand years,
                     nor ten billions of years,
                     Nor plann'd and built one thing after another as an architect plans
                     and builds a house.
                     I do not think seventy years is the time of a man or woman,
                     Nor that seventy millions of years is the time of a man or woman,
                     Nor that years will ever stop the existence of me, or any one else.
                     Is it wonderful that I should be immortal? as every one is immortal;
                     I know it is wonderful, but my eyesight is equally wonderful, and
                     how I was conceived in my mother's womb is equally wonderful,
                     And pass'd from a babe in the creeping trance of a couple of
                     summers and winters to articulate and walk--all this is
                     equally wonderful.
                     And that my soul embraces you this hour, and we affect each other
                     without ever seeing each other, and never perhaps to see
                     each other, is every bit as wonderful.
                     And that I can think such thoughts as these is just as wonderful,
                     And that I can remind you, and you think them and know them to
                     be true, is just as wonderful.
                     And that the moon spins round the earth and on with the earth, is
                     equally wonderful,
                     And that they balance themselves with the sun and stars is equally

                     Walt Whitman

To read this week's Tuesday Poems, click on the quill then make your way down the list of poets on the Left-hand side of the TP page. Zireaux is this week's editor. Bonzai by Cecily Barnes begins -  

                     Who needs your stunted style, your tiny jewels
                     of thwarted art, to snatch a kite flown loose
                     or bad-thrown ball? Or your unsayable rules
                     of infinite pleasures unknown, delights abstruse,
                     to feel soft feathers, their talons' sponsal band? . . .

Zireaux's commentary is anything but stunted! He takes the reader on what I think you'll agree is a fair romp of personal disclosure.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Faithful Woman by Louise Marie Prochaska

Faithful Woman | CB | Charcoal and acrylic on paper & canvas 

                               FAITHFUL WOMAN
                                         (Proverbs 31: 10 - 31 for the Nineties)

                               When one meets a faithful woman,
                               the moment is an awakening. 

                               She has committed her heart
                               to goodness, and the world
                               has an unfailing friend. 

                               She develops her gifts with joy:
                               she empowers those around her. 

                               She will dance in response to song;
                               she will grieve in response to pain. 

                               She knows she is wounded
                               and needs healing;
                               She cannot do all things. 

                               Life, for her, has purpose and pattern,
                               yet she bows her head before its mystery.

                               She is sometimes feared
                               by men who meet her
                               until they discover and embrace
                               the woman within themselves. 

                               Louise Marie Prochaska SND

Christchurch-based Andrew M. Bell writes poetry, short fiction, plays, screenplays and short fiction.  Andrew is this week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub. He has chosen The Votive Angel by Moira Wairama. 

                               Thinking it’s the delivery pizza,
                               he opens the door
                               to The Votive Angel,
                               arrayed in slogan-splattered silks,
                               carrying her sword-sharp pen. . . 

News: TP curator Mary McCallum's new children's book, Dappled Annie and the Tigrish - beautifully illustrated by Annie Hayward - was launched by Jane Arthur (Ghecko Press) at the Wellington Writers Week. A pic of this must-have book followed by Jane's launch speech --- 

Launch speech for Dappled Annie and the Tigrish

"For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jane Arthur from Gecko Press.

For those of you who know me even a little bit, you’ll know I don’t do this. I don’t stand in front of crowds and talk. You’d usually find me at the back of the room in the corner quite happily invisible.

So the fact that I’m standing up here means that this book must be pretty special.

It’s a real honour that Mary asked me to launch Dappled Annie and the Tigrish, because I’m pretty sure she wrote it especially for me, even though she hadn’t met me yet.

This book is truly beautiful, and speaks to my inner child, who is eternally nine years old. I think Mary’s is too, which is why the character of Annie rings so true.

Nine is an important age. It’s the last year of being in single digits. Nine year olds still see things in fresh metaphors, like how when Annie spends time with her dad, “It felt like being wrapped up in a big blanket made of wind and grass and clicking cicadas.”

Nine’s the age when summers are still endless and full of adventure, and imaginations are free from timetables. It’s before you realise that summers merely mark the time between school years, and it’s before they become too short and too boring all at once.

But summer at nine felt exactly as it does for Annie, when time stretches on, and one event becomes “always”, like how her little brother Robbie “always seemed...to be chased by a bull”. Even with the characters of the hedges who are people – or should that be the people who are hedges – and the elusive tigrish (he’s like a tiger, but he’s not a tiger; he’s tigrish) – even with these elements, the book feels utterly true and authentic.

I recognise myself in Annie. Passages like “The quieter Annie was, the more she saw and heard – which suited her just fine.” I mean, that’s nine year old me! (It’s basically me, now.)

Dappled Annie interprets the world in a beautifully descriptive and evocative way. She makes connections between parts of her world with a child’s brilliant intuition. Fantails knit their nests, making the same sounds as Annie’s mother when she knits socks. Another connection I love, between Annie’s school life and her life in nature, is when the character of Mrs Hedge – an actual hedge – says “Ready”... “as if she were writing the word down with a very sharp pencil.”

The physical book is beautiful, too. Luke Kelly has done a perfect design job: we wanted something that looked and felt classic, but not old-fashioned. Annie Hayward’s illustrations are wonderful. There are four colour plates, like books in the olden days, which still excites us. And her line drawings at the start of each chapter turned out even better than we hoped. We used some of them on the endpapers of the hardback edition, and I can’t stop looking at them. (Unity has some of the hardbacks for sale here, as well as the paperback.)

Congratulations, Mary and Annie, for creating this magical world, for it now being forever part of my world, and for allowing it to be part of the world of some new, actual nine year olds. Thank you.*" 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Pond by T. Clear

Cup of Water, Cup of Sky  |  CB 2014


                          We roamed beyond subdivisions
                          to this rain-brimming vacancy in some
                          city planner’s scheme. Not lovely,
                          but a version of heaven wet enough
                          to lure amorous toads whose eggs
                          we scooped into Folger’s cans.
                          Sloshed home, the rank goo
                          dripping a slithery trail.
                          We set them hatching in a fishbowl,
                          floated bits of boiled romaine.

                                     This is a common story:
                                     a patch of forest slashed in an afternoon,
                                     a clearcut of nettles, salal, bracken.
                                     Tiger lilies in their forgotten glade wrenched, ripped.
                                     Lots flagged, foundations poured.

                          And then into the worm barrel
                          out back, growing less finny each day.
                          Finally springing high enough
                          they leapt beyond borders
                          into what remained of murmuring woods,
                          the decrescendo of frogsong
                          becoming the planet’s
                          inexorable hum.

                          T. Clear

Pond was first published in Cascadia Review in their June 2013 issue, the first of five of T. Clear's poems to appear in the journal over the course of a week - each one finely, tautly-wrought; each one differently atmospheric, graceful and gritty. These are poems in which noise is hushed and the earth's subtler music is allowed to come through.
In Holy Week, T writes

                      All was new or new to me

this one line a distillation or container for her ever-alert poet's eye, ear and heart. She writes into and out of our always-in-motion, oft chaotic, ever-renewing world.  

Friend and fellow poet, Melissa Green, posted a comment on the Cascadia site that reiterates these qualities of T's sensibility and voice  - "How wonderful to have a week’s worth of your poems available all at once. Congratulations! So many of your themes are familiar–apple picking, fishing with your father (so moving! the gifts of that day!), a Catholic Easter– but the details of your language color them as yours and no one else’s, and beautifully poignant."  

In her Statement of Place on the Cascadia site, T writes, "I was born in Seattle and have lived joyfully in the Pacific Northwest for fifty-six years. In my travels to other landscapes across the planet, there is always the ache to return to this topography of foothills and craggy peaks, of saltwater and freshwater always in easy reach." 

Please visit the Cascadia Review website to enjoy more of T's poems and click on the quill below for this week's Tuesday Poems

Michelle Elvy is this week's Tuesday Poem editor - and hub-sub editor for the coming three months. She has chosen this year's Takahe prize winning poem Uncoupling by Jac Jenkins -

                                 "Ice clasps its thorny cloak with filigreed
                                  brittle lace against my breast
                                  bone. The pin sticks my skin when I inhale. . . "