Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Poem

State Highway One, South of Oamaru

Horse heads of smoke rear into the sky
from late autumn burn offs. A hawk hovers
over road kill, wheels away as I approach.
Possum spilling its guts on the centre line.
In the autumn blond fields, a crease
backed by a line of dark trees -
a country creek like any other
except for its name
Baghdad Creek
In the distance, I hear gunshots.

© Catherine Fitchett

I am taking part in the Big Poetry Giveaway. This poem appears in Flap: The Chook Book 2 which is one of the books that I am giving away. For more details of my giveaway, see this post.

Note: possums in New Zealand are not the same as the North American opossum, they are the Australian species - protected native animals in Australia, an introduced pest species here. No one that I know gets too upset over possum road kill! There really is a Baghdad Creek, named after a nineteenth century sailing ship that brought early settlers to New Zealand.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Emerging


One of the things I have been working on lately. Now that we have our new home and know the wall colours, I have started a quilt for our bed. The colours are based on a fabric which depicts paua shells, beautiful shells with a lining of purples, blues and greens. These pieces are pinned to a flannel backing, so some of the light areas are gaps, not light pieces of the quilt.

Since I last posted about NaPoWriMo, the writing has slipped back.I wrote nothing for about a week. It doesn't look as if I will manage thirty poems this month, but I have written three more in the last couple of days and, in total, way more than I wrote all last year. So I am happy with the results so far. Especially as nearly all the poems I have written are ones I want to work on and keep, rather than being contrived around a prompt for the day, just for the sake of writing something.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Temptation

Temptation

The rind falls on the benchtop
in the shape of her initial.
He slices the fruit in thin segments
with hands pleated by age
and stippled like the skin of the pear.

He arranges its slices on a plate
translucent as the delicate skin
around her eyes. Carries it
in shaking hands to where she sits
deep in a chair, shrunken in its arms,
propped on pillows.

Once he courted her with apples.
This pear now, softer and kinder
to aged gums. He feeds her
slice by slice. She sucks the sweetness.
A trickle of juice runs down her chin.
Winter will come soon enough.
He is feeding her the sun.

© Catherine Fitchett 2011

After I posted the autumn photos in the previous post, I recalled this poem. I have always thought that if I were Eve, I would want Adam to tempt me with pears rather than with apples.

This poem was placed third in the inaugural Poems in the Waiting Room poetry competition and was published in their poetry cards for Winter 2012.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site and see what others have posted.

Remember, I am participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway. To win free poetry books, see this post.


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Autumn


Because not everywhere on the internet is in the northern hemisphere :)

We have two apple trees and three pear trees in our new house. The apples are very good for cooking, too tart for eating. The other apple tree didn't produce anything this year. The three pear trees produced really well, each is a different variety although I have no idea what they are. The ones in the photo have quite blemished skin but they taste delicious.

A reminder, I am participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway this month. If you want to win free poetry books, go to this post.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Problem with NaPoWriMo

NaNoWriMo was first - a movement to write a novel in a month, or at least, write fifty thousand words of a first draft of a novel. If the novelists could have a month, then why not the poets? And so someone started NaPoWriMo. Which is like NaNoWriMo, but different. It's the differences that are causing me problems.

Firstly, in NaNoWriMo, there has never been any suggestion as far as I can tell, that you should post your fifty thousand words on your blog for the world to see. There are all sorts of ways to connect with other people doing the same thing, there is merchandise to buy, there are ways to be accountable for your goals, but posting your work on the net isn't one of them. There are currently two places I know of posting daily prompts to assist the poets, (here and here) but to really join in the fun, you have to post your work. Which is a problem because firstly, it is bound to be a very rough draft (unless you are extraordinarily talented) and secondly, if you want to have your work published in a print (or online) journal, there are fewer and fewer editors who will consider work that has appeared on the internet, even in rough draft form.

The second problem for me is the idea of a "poem a day". For some, that might work. Others, like me, may have days when there is little time to write. Days when I work all day, get in my daily walk on the way home, throw some dinner on the table and go out again to meet an evening commitment. In NaNoWriMo, you can write consistently about 1700 words a day - or you can write 12,500 words every weekend - quite doable - or have a binge over the last few days and do it all then, or whatever you like. The "rules" of NaPoWriMo seem much more rigid.

None of which really matters - after all, I'm a grown-up, I can make my own choices. However, I do like the accountability, the idea that lots of other people are all aiming to write lots of poems this month, the sense of companions on the journey. So, for what it's worth, I am attempting to write thirty very rough drafts this month. There won't be any haiku, because I don't feel as if they really count. Not that good haiku aren't poems, but it is so easy to write a bad haiku that it's too tempting to dash one off and call that my poem for the day. Each poem will have a title, and be of reasonable length, and you won't see it here because it will need lots of revision some time after the end of the month.

And just for an added challenge I'm toying with the idea of having at least one title for each letter of the alphabet. (Kelli Russell Agodon's book Letters from the Emily Dickinson room was my inspiration for this idea). I'm not sure if I'll manage it, we'll see.

So far, I have four very rough drafts, one title with a chunk of brainstorming - too early to call this even a rough draft - and a sixth title with a sort of an inkling of the structure of the poem that will go with it. So I am up to date at the moment, no doubt I will slip back during the week and need a catch up next weekend.

Monday, March 31, 2014



The Jumblies


I

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, ‘You’ll all be drowned!’
They called aloud, ‘Our Sieve ain’t big,
But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig!
In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


II

They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
‘O won’t they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it’s extremely wrong
In a Sieve to sail so fast!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


III

The water it soon came in, it did,
The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, ‘How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


IV

And all night long they sailed away;
And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
In the shade of the mountains brown.
‘O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
In the shade of the mountains brown!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


V

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of Stilton Cheese.
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.


VI

And in twenty years they all came back,
In twenty years or more,
And every one said, ‘How tall they’ve grown!’
For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
And the hills of the Chankly Bore;
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And everyone said, ‘If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,—
To the hills of the Chankly Bore!’
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

-Edward Lear (1812 - 1888)

Since it is April 1st, a little nonsense seemed in order for my Tuesday Poem this week. My first ever poetry book was The Golden Treasury of Poetry, edited by Louis Untermeyer. I'm pretty sure that I recall that "The Jumblies" was one of the poems in this collection, alongside other favourites such as Ogden Nash's "Tale of Custard the Dragon".

Edward Lear was both an artist and writer, now known primarily for his nonsense verse. He popularised the limerick form.

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site. Around thirty bloggers each post a poem on Tuesdays (once a week or sometimes less often depending on other commitments). Every week one of the group edits and posts a poem to the main site, and participants are listed in the side bar. They are all well worth a visit.

Do you want to win poetry books? I am participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway this month. For details, scroll down to my previous post.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Big Poetry Giveaway


The big poetry giveaway is on again! Kelli at Book of Kells started this five years ago, and I tried to join in last year. Somehow it didn't quite work out, as I e-mailed the winners of the books I planned to give away, and didn't receive any return e-mails advising postal addresses. So I am trying again with "double or nothing".

Here is how it works:
Participants give away two books of poetry, one must be by another poet. To win, all you have to do is leave a comment saying you would like to be in the draw, with an e-mail address, otherwise I can't contact you if you win. At the end of April I will draw the winners, e-mail you and ask for a postal address.

So, from last year I have on offer one copy of The Nature of Things: Poems from the New Zealand Landscape which is a very beautiful book - besides poems, there is the added bonus of beautiful landscape photography to admire.

Then, this year I have added one copy of Sue Wootton's third book of poetry, By Birdlight. Sue is my current favourite New Zealand poet, and this collection more than matches the quality of her two earlier books.

Then, a double dose of the book that my small poetry group published - so, not quite my own book, but a quarter of it is my own:
Flap:The Chook Book 2. I have two copies to give away.

I hope that this year I can actually make this work and get all four books in the mail. The draw will be at the end of April, since April is National Poetry Month in the USA. (Lucky Americans get a whole month, in New Zealand we have National Poetry Day in July).

To find more bloggers participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway, hop on over to Kelli Agodon's blog and this post.