Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Poem - Did you know?

Wellington-based writer Mary McCallum has started posting poems on her blog each Tuesday. A fortnight ago, she posted This Cup and last Tuesday, Missed; this morning's Mulling it over is by fellow poet Maggie Rainey-Smith.

Mary's keen to make this a communal happening and invites bloggers (who might - or might not - be poets) to join in by posting poetry on Tuesdays. They can be your own, or others'. I'm not sure how reliable I'll be at keeping abreast of Tuesdays (I sometimes don't know what day I'm on!) but I think it's a great idea (thanks, Mary) and... today being a Tuesday, here I am, poem in hand...

I began today by posting a rather melancholy Easter poem but when I found myself having second thoughts about it, decided to set it aside for another time. Here, instead, are a few purely playful lines written in my car on a dusty side road one late Autumn afternoon, out in the wop-wops* somewhere between Dunedin and Christchurch...


Did you know
spiders do their housework
on Tuesdays in Canterbury?
They hang their silk on particles
of dust, a low-slung cloud,
any available hook
of air or charged electron.
Threads are pinned to telephone wires,
shredded vestments shaken out
and strewn to lie across the tops
of orange poplars. By five, the sun
is loosely tacked behind
a thousand spiders'
webs. It's quite a sight
when they turn the night-light
on inside the mountains.

* wop-wops: NZ or Aussie term for 'an out of the way place.'
News of Tuesday's Poem appears to be spreading - so far, poems are up on the following blogs -
& you will always find poetry to read on Cilla McQueen's blog (NZ Poet Laureate)
Graham Beattie has just posted a short entry in support of Tuesday's Poem; you can find that here.

Links will be added as more poems appear...
For readers out there who are poets (of the not-yet blogging variety!), please consider sending in your poems for inclusion on forthcoming Tuesdays? It would be excellent if you'd do that - and everyone will thank you for sharing your work...
My email address is clarab@earthlight.co.nz


  1. Claire, your poem is lovely, just beautiful. Thank you for posting it. And for mentioning the Tuesday night poem project.

  2. Thanks for your poem, Claire, and for encouraging other contributors. Did you, could you have possibly written it today especially for the Tuesday Poem? The 'tuesdays' in the poem are the clue! I'm blown away by that. I love the way the spiders hang and drape on everything and nothing and end up (Maui-like) tacking over the sun. The movement of the poem from small to immense is marvellous.

  3. This really lovely, Claire. The delicacy of the language parallels the delicacy of imagery!

    I've been meaning to post a weekly poem myself, so thanks for the prompt!

  4. maggie@at-the-bay.comMarch 31, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    'The sun loosely tacked' is the most beautiful image. And, I like the actual true-blue (as in soft red, green and blue)wop-wops.

  5. Dear Sparrow, Mary, T. Clear - thank you for your comments re; this quirky little poem. I have a soft spot for spiders. They are oft misunderstood, I think, and deserving of appreciation - at least for their industry and artistry?!

    For some as-yet unknown reason, I've found myself thinking about poetry and 'peggy squares' since Tuesday, Mary...! I wonder whether the term 'peggy squares' is familiar to you, Sparrow & T. Clear? (I hadn't heard it till I came to live in NZ.) In case you haven't heard of them, they're small woolen squares - knitted or crocheted - that are generally (but not necessarily) created independently by a community of people who then get together to stitch the squares into blankets. Contributors have complete carte-blanche when it comes to the colour, pattern, wool thickness, etc... of their individual squares, just so long as they end up being the same size.

    I'm not suggesting for a moment that we write same-size poems (no-no), but what I am saying - I think - is that this Tuesday Poem idea could be welcomed as a wonderful communal activity. I love the loose weave of it, the fact it can stretch across lines of latitude and longitude, the idea we can write in our own spaces and in our own time and then on Tuesdays, come together with our various squares that are then loosely stitched together.

    It'll be like stepping into a common room for a time, where tea is poured, welcomes extended, words and stories shared.

    This may come across as rather prosaic, but I don't know how else to put it. A wise man once said something along these lines... 'much that is profound can be found in the ordinary and every day.'

    L, C

  6. Hi Maggie May

    Thanks for popping by. I visit your blog regularly and was esp. touched by your recent poem about your relationship with your daughter. You articulated so clearly the fears and yearnings mothers experience with female offspring. We are called to be both fierce and tender, close and at a distance... It's a complex dance, isn't it? When love is present - and patience and compassion - we can only trust that those are the things that will carry us through.

    Will you think about posting a poem on Flux Capacitor next Tuesday? L, C

  7. Hi Maggie@thebay --- welcome! I've noticed you leaving thoughtful comments (like shining pebbles) on bloggers' doorsteps... thank you! Do you have place we can visit? Take care - Claire

  8. Oh yes, Claire, I love peggy squares. My Greek grandmother made a peggy square blanket for my first child when she was visiting - it kept her occupied - she laboured over each one ... It wasn't a communal thing, but each peggy square seemed to me to have its own heart and together they made something that transcended them all. I am looking forward to this coming Tuesday - got my poem lined up - would love to see one from you, Maggie May. And I think it's time you started a blog Maggie RS... Claire's right/

  9. Hi Mary - I love the reasoning 'within unity is diversity' and 'the whole is more than the sum of its parts'... There's much truth in both, I think. Poetry and Peggy squares are two of many variations on the theme?

    Looking forward to this coming Tuesday, too.

    And yes, Maggie May - do jump on board and post a poem?