Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Poem: Wahine Smoking, by Ruth Arnison

Wahine Smoking

My favouritest thing at that Olveston place was
that old guy's painting of the wahine.

Some of the kids didn't think much of it but I
reckon she looked real cool.

The teacher said, look what happens to you girls
if you smoke - that wahine is only 18.


We all laughed, cos he's a right clown our teacher.
Katie May don't always pick up things real quick
and she said,

What school did that kid go to sir? Must've been
a cool one letting her have tats AND jewellery.


We all laughed our socks off and Katie May went,
what, what are you lot laughing at?

The guide just smiled and asked us to follow her.
They must hear a right load of old bosh,
those guides.

In 2014 Ruth Arnison invited artists to create works responding to poems written during her term as poet in residence at Olveston, Dunedin’s historic home. She marked the end of her residency by publishing the artworks and poems in a book, organising an exhibition, a poetry performance and a Questions and Artists session at Olveston. See the blog here.

Other poems in the book respond to works on display at Olveston House. I enjoyed the above poem based on a painting by C F Goldie, with its air of eavesdropping on a tour group of school children, and their reactions to the historic house.

Ruth works part time as the admin person for a research project at Otago University. She is the editor of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ).

For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

1 comment:

Michelle Elvy said...

Really like the voice in this poem. So natural, and real.