Tuesday, September 10, 2019

All This | Elizabeth Brooke-Carr

          All this

          Winter beach, desolate. Wind-whipped, exhilarated, salt
          air stings our faces. Sand, marshmallow-soft winkles
          out our toes. A gull swoops low, querulous, edgy,
          screaming at us, this is mine! We throw back our heads,
          laughing, tease, it’s ours! But we know all this
          is only ours to care for, our kaitiakitanga, as we pass,
          pressing footprints into the wild, southern afternoon.

          You see it first. A lumpish, static shape on the shoreline.
          Kelp? Driftwood? An old jacket, lost long ago, returned
          by the tide, hunched shoulders, bunched lining, seams
          split by a careless shrug of sea? Our footsteps track to
          the hump. Collars up, we huddle into curiosity. A pup
          shark, dark biscuitchip eyes glazed with ancient fog,
          leafbud ears. Kneeling, I whisper its beauty.

          Perfect parabola, black velvet shading to ashy grey,
          white belly curve stained with a blush of weeping pink.
          Did the waves carry you here to finish your struggle,
          lay you out on this cold sand slab, for us to marvel at,
          as if wonder was a last rite we might perform for you?
          Far out, at the edge of my spindrift mind you swim
          again, intrepid, in a school of gliding fins.

          Elizabeth Brooke-Carr [1940 - 2019]

"... Our harbour and peninsula held a special place in our friend Elizabeth’s heart. When we first met I was living in an old villa in Ravensbourne; the house stood - still stands - directly opposite the Lone Soldier. Many of you will be familiar with our harbour sentinel. I was intrigued by him – took to painting and photographing him in all-weathers and waving to him from my bathroom window. Then one morning in early 2009, a poem landed fully formed on the page, as if the soldier had somehow called it forth. It was a love poem. I took it along to our next writing meeting and read it to the group. 

Fast forward several months - possibly even a year or two - and out of the blue, Elizabeth sent me a letter. 'I'm not sure how to tell you this,' she said, 'but the soldier has written a response to his poet.' She'd attached a Word document. As was her way, she had meticulously followed the same stanza- shapes and line- lengths as in the original poem; the voice of the soldier echoed back at me from his hill across the harbour. His words brought me to tears. And to laughter. I wrote straight back to her saying, ‘MsLiz, we have to do something with these poems – this pair, their relationship’.  And so we wove the two poems together, stanza by stanza; I added visuals and a music track and turned their conversation into a small film. Our mutual friend Paul Sorrell agreed to read Elizabeth’s soldier’s lines. 

Elizabeth was a relationship-builder with a fierce sense of justice. An open-hearted warrior woman in a tiny physical frame, there was something utterly solid and reliable about her –

'If you call, I will answer'

— which is essentially the same reassurance - and invitation - the characters in these poems extend to one other and to each of us."*

Ms Liz

Writing Group: Maxine, Jane, Paddy, Kath, Elizabeth, Martha, Claire, Carolyn, Huberta 
(Penelope, Eva, Beatrice, Shirley and Jenny weren't present for this pic)

*excerpt from A Tribute to Elizabeth. Her memorial service was held in Dunedin on Saturday 7 September.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Love Liberates

"[A person] does not think with [her] hands, but the intellect of a painter certainly thinks in [her] hands, so much so that, in moments of manual inspiration, an artist can sometimes let the hand do its job without bothering too much about what it does." Etienne Gilson Painting and Reality (1955)

 Rest in peace, dear woman

29 January 1932 - 31 August 2019

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

For the Sleepwalkers

          Tonight I want to say something wonderful
          for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith
          in their legs, so much faith in the invisible

          arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path
          that leads to the stairs instead of the window,
          the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror.

          I love the way that sleepwalkers are willing
          to step out of their bodies into the night,
          to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,

          palming the blank spaces, touching everything.
          Always they return home safely, like blind men
          who know it is morning by feeling shadows.

          And always they wake up as themselves again.
          That's why I want to say something astonishing
          like: Our hearts are leaving our bodies.

          Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
          flying through the trees at night, soaking up
          the darkest beams of moonlight, the music

          of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.
          And now our hearts are thick black fists
          flying back to the glove of our chests.

          We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
          We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
          walkers who rise out of their calm beds

          and walk through the skin of another life.
          We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
          and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.

          Edward Hirsch

Image CB
OIl on paper (detail of larger work) 

Friday, August 23, 2019


Some years ago, I was Artist-in-Resident for a week in the Caselberg Trust's cottage on the Otago Peninsula. In the kitchen cupboard were two old, pale and slightly brittle egg cups. A pair of hens, as you will see. Before leaving the cottage at the end of my stay, I photographed the egg cups on the kitchen windowsill along with my two last mandarins. Something about those photographs always made me smile -- and so this truly odd little vid. came into being.


The world is - quite literally, in places - on fire. We're daily tasked to somehow gather the bitter and the sweet together and to hold all manner of uncertainties and extremes alongside in the same oddly-shaped basket.
I'm posting this quirky wee vid. as a gift (and with just the faintest flutter of trepidation). My hope is it will bring joy, a moment's reprieve, some welcome lightness. It's not attempting to say or reveal anything about anything - nope, it's as simple and innocent as can be; two mandarins in two egg cups dancing in sunshine on a kitchen window sill. That's it. It's also not intended to be in any way 'flip' or irreverent - especially given current world realities. I know for myself (with my inborn 'PFI '- Propensity For Intensity) that there's something immeasurably uplifting about laughter. 

It's often said, isn't it, that joy and sorrow stand back-to-back; each can spin/give way/allow us access to the other. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TUESDAY POEM | BIRD by Pablo Neduda

Artist Unknown


                     It was passed from one bird to another,
                     the whole gift of the day.
                     The day went from flute to flute,
                     went dressed in vegetation,
                     in flights which opened a tunnel
                     through the wind would pass
                     to where birds were breaking open
                     the dense blue air -
                     and there, night came in.

                     When I returned from so many journeys,
                     I stayed suspended and green
                     between sun and geography -
                     I saw how wings worked,
                     how perfumes are transmitted
                     by feathery telegraph,
                     and from above I saw the path,
                     the springs and the roof tiles,
                     the fishermen at their trades,
                     the trousers of the foam;
                     I saw it all from my green sky.
                     I had no more alphabet
                     than the swallows in their courses,
                     the tiny, shining water
                     of the small bird on fire
                     which dances out of the pollen. 

                     Pablo Neruda

This week on the Tuesday Poem hub, Helen Rickerby has chosen a prose poem I find riveting - 'New Margins' by Joan Fleming.

"On the way home from art school she stopped to shave off a piece of her hair. The skin was new

 under there, soft as soft bristle, a new field of thought. . . "

Please click on the quill. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

TUESDAY POEM | I Saw Her Dancing by Marge Piercy

                                     I SAW HER DANCING 

                                     Nothing moves in a straight line,
                                     But in arcs, epicycles, spirals and gyres.
                                     Nothing living grows in cubes, cones, or rhomboids,
                                     But we take a little here and we give a little there,
                                     And the wind blows right through us,
                                     And blows the apples off the tree, and hangs a red kite suddenly there,
                                     And a fox comes to bite the apples curiously,
                                     And we change.
                                     Or we die
                                     And then change.
                                     It is many as raindrops.
                                     It is one as rain.
                                     And we eat it, and it eats us.
                                     And fullness is never,
                                     And now.

                                     Marge Piercy

This week’s editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Wellington poet and publisher, Helen Rickerby. Sugar Magnolia Wilson, her chosen poet, is from a valley called Fern Flat in the Far North of New Zealand.

"Pen Pal, by Sugar Magnolia Wilson (or Magnolia, as she is generally known), is a rather twisty sequence of poems, in the voice of a young, not-so-sweet, not-so-innocent, and actually very real girl. . . "

Today's selection from 'Pen Pal' includes a car crash, mangroves, guinea pigs, a falling meteorite and a 'spell for apology'. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Earth by Derek Walcott


                                             Let the day grow on you upward
                                             through your feet,
                                             the vegetal knuckles,

                                             to your knees of stone,
                                             until by evening you are a black tree;
                                             feel, with evening,

                                             the swifts thicken your hair,
                                             the new moon rising out of your forehead,
                                             and the moonlit veins of silver

                                             running from your armpits
                                             like rivulets under white leaves.
                                             Sleep, as ants

                                             cross over your eyelids.
                                             You have never possessed anything 
                                             as deeply as this. 

                                             This is all you have owned
                                             from the first outcry
                                             through forever; 

                                             you can never be dispossed. 

                                             Derek Walcott 
                                                            (from the collection 'Staying Alive - real poems for real times', edited by Neil Astley)

 ". . . It's so hard to write the poem of grief or absence, to make it approachable and fresh, and not to push the reader too hard to feel the deep upwelling ugly thing. 'candle' is powerful for its restraint and its ranging unexpectedness. For its cavernous, versatile waha that does everything except cry. . .'  Stunning commentary by Mary McCallum, this week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub. Mary's chosen poem is 'candle' by mightily-multi-talented Hinemoana Baker.

                                      '. . . The boat was a mouth, the word was a whale,
                                      the moon was a flying fish, the swoop of a letter. . .'

Please click on the quill.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Happiness by Stephen Dunn



                                      A state you must dare not enter
                                            with hopes of staying,
                                      quicksand in the marshes, and all

                                      the roads leading to a castle
                                           that doesn't exist.
                                      But there it is, as promised,

                                      with its perfect bridge above
                                           the crocodiles,
                                      and its doors forever open.

                                      Stephen Dunn


This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Michelle Elvy with lost and found on the b train in winter by Walter Bjorkman - writer, photographer, book & web designer and editor from Brooklyn, NY - living now in the Adirondack foothills.

Please click on the quill.

* details from various paintings in progress - Oil on Paper  | CB 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014



Untitled | Pastel on Paper | CB | c. 1987


                                          The very best we can be is like water.
                                          Reflect on the value of water:
                                          It benefits all creatures, without competing,
                                          It settles in places people dislike;
                                          Yes, this is very close to the way.
                                          Goodness in a house is its foundations,
                                          Goodness in a mind is its depth,
                                          Goodness in companions is their kindness,
                                          Goodness in speaking is sincerity,
                                          Goodness in government is straightforwardness,
                                          Goodness in work is skill,
                                          Goodness in movement is timing.
                                          It is only by not competing
                                          that we can avoid going wrong.

                                          Lao Tzu

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Tim Jones with A Whimper After a Bang by Emily Manger. Tim writes

". . . What I like most about this poem is its swagger. Most post-apocalyptic poems are, believe it or not, something of a downer, but - at least on the surface - the protagonist of this poem is full of vim and vigour, tough as biltong, a kickass predator perfectly adapted to her environment. The toughness of the character is mirrored by the toughness of the poem, a landscape of spiky lines.

Look a little closer, though. . . " 

Please click on the quill.

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.