Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Some people would say my neighbours have a messy garden - and this garden bed is certainly a lot less orderly than most of the clipped, green shrubs that fill the gardens around here - but the blaze of spring colour makes me smile when I turn into the street after work.

For more "messy" photos visit Thematic Photographic here.

I am running a "photo a day" project until the end of October.

Monday, September 29, 2014


A collection of objects in a favourite shade of cobalt blue. The two ducks were bought by my daughter in South Korea. I'm told that the one with the yarn tied around the beak is the female!

If I focus in narrowly enough on displays like this, I can pretend our house has been "interior decorated" instead of just cluttered.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


As of this weekend we are officially saving daylight. I'm not quite sure what we are saving it for. In fact there now appears to be more of it, rather than less as one might expect when saving it rather than spending it!

We have a bank in front of our house rather heavily planted with flax. However it is growing too thickly and encroaching on the driveway. So I have been pulling out dead leaves and cutting back the green growth. I have a very large pile of leaves to dispose of - they are too tough to go in the green waste collection - and there is still plenty needing to be cut back further.

The leaf on the right of this photo, with its wrinkled surface, fascinates me. I have no idea what caused it to grow in that manner.

I am contemplating the idea of posting a photo a day for the month of October. Now that there is more daylight after work in the evenings, that seems very doable.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Planet Earth, by P K Page

I was cleaning up the desk top on my computer, and came across a poem I had saved, and forgotten about, Planet Earth by Canadian poet P K Page. I hope you will find it worthwhile to click on the link, which I have included, lacking permission to post the poem here.

Page's poem is in a traditional form, the glosa, which takes a quatrain from another poet, and uses each of the four lines as the last line of each of four successive stanzas. The quatrain used is from Neruda's ode In Praise of Ironing

It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed, the sea in its whiteness;
and the hands keep on moving,
smoothing the holy surfaces.

I loved the way in which she expanded - or glossed on - this quatrain, with detailed descriptions of the earth as cloth, as embroidery, a sort of folk art with flowers and birds and two joined hearts upon it, along with slightly archaic language pertaining to laundry, such as pleated and goffered.

I also found an interesting online article on Page and the glosa form: How to Honour Dead Poets.

If those links are not sufficient to satisfy your poetry appetite, more Tuesday Poems can be found at the main hub site, and in the links on the sidebar there.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Yesterday it rained. Today was fine and sunny, though not without cloud. Since moving to the hill nearly a year ago, after more than thirty years on the flat, I haven't yet tired of the view from the window.

The kowhai tree is flowering. I had left the wheelbarrow underneath it. A host of blossoms had dropped off and were floating in the rainwater.

Sunlight reflecting off the neighbour's attic window onto their roof.

The poetry I am writing this year seems much more focussed on observations of the world around me, than poems I have written previously. Taking photographs is another way of observing my surroundings, details stored up for later.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tuesday Poem: To Waitemata Harbour, by Sarah Quigley

To Waitemata Harbour

You have such
clever hands.

You hold the islands
on the tips of your
fingers, lightly so

you never submerge
them. Firmly enough that
they don't float away.

If a person could hold
another person like that -
well, then

there would only be

- Sarah Quigley


Some of the best events at the Word Christchurch Writers Festival were the free ones. For instance, on Friday evening there was a launch of three poetry books: Hinemoana Baker's Waha (Mouth), Kerrin P Sharpe's There is a medical name for this, and Essential New Zealand Poems. (Not so much the launch, as a launch, as there have been launches of the latter book around the country).

The one drawback was trying to fit a celebration of all three books into the space of an hour.Nevertheless, I enjoyed the readings and was happy to purchase all three books.

Sarah Quigley's poem is included in Essential New Zealand Poems. It is one I have loved since I first came across it in AUP New Poets I published by Auckland University Press in 1999.

Sarah is a novelist, critic and columnist as well as having published two poetry collections. She was born and grew up in Christchurch, obtained a D Phil in Literature from Oxford University, and returned to Christchurch where,among other things, she taught for a time at the School for Young Writers - two of my daughters were among the young people who benefitted from her tuition. She was the inaugural winner of the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers' Residency in 2000, and has since lived and worked in Berlin. Her 2011 novel The Conductor was the number one bestselling fiction title in New Zealand for 21 weeks.

Thanks to Sarah for permission to post her poem here.
For more Tuesday Poems, visit the main hub site.

Te Puna Quarry Park

These are a selection of photos taken at Te Puna quarry park on our recent trip north. It is a park which climbs the very steep sides of an old quarry. I have focussed here mainly on the plants, there are also some interesting sculptures (and an amazing view).

For Carmi's Thematic Photographic: Vegetation.

Monday, September 01, 2014

From Above

I spent the weekend attending a number of sessions at the Word Christchurch Writers' Festival. The "fringe" events on the Sunday took place at the Physics Room, a gallery and exhibition space on the fourth floor of the old High Street Post Office building which now houses C1 Expresso and Alice in Videoland. So I clambered up the four flights of stairs, stepped inside the gallery and was mesmerised by this view. It occurred to me that I hadn't been this high up since the earthquakes. In fact there are not many functioning tall buildings left in the city.

The wooden trees that echo the forms of the cabbage palms in the foreground are a recent sculpture installation. On the left, the empty area where there is a mini golf course was once an area of narrow lanes with quirky shops. Just out of view, behind temporary fencing is the damaged building that housed the Twisted Hop, the scene of a poetry book launch I attended a few years back. So much of the city is now just a memory.

Elizabeth Knox apparently described Christchurch as "a city living in memory and expectation, with ghost streets and dream buildings". It seemed an apt description.