A National Poetry Day patchwork of poems

We asked for some poems for National Poetry Day and boy, you delivered. Thanks to the poets Stephen Trinder, Jeremy Lefebre, Kathy Watson, Karen Wilson and Philip Morrison for their poems, published here for your pleasure.

We’ll let you know who won our competition next week. First up, a library related piece by Stephen who enjoys the new library carpet in Central Library for its “smiley pink Canterbury Plains on acid expanse”:

by Stephen Trinder

Gone the days
Of typewritten title cards
In overstuffed wooden drawers

Gone too
The cassettes and vinyl LPs
Albums slid into red cardboard sleeves

Gone the dust
And musty corners
Due by date stamps and overdue warnings

Gone the manila
Folders of cuttings
Carefully collated by reference librarians

Gone the brown carpet
Admonishing stares
Silently sitting on uncomfortable chairs 

by Jeremy Lefebre


Barefoot and hunched, they clamber across,
crumbling porcelain tombs
The child mutters and flinches
His companion drags her paws
Through the boneless night they trudge,
weightless and depleted
Wrapped in a patchwork of slaughtered memories,
Groaning and teething,
starving and forward

Beneath the hollow godless sky,
his wide celestial eyes,
both lunar and illuminated
absorb all. unfiltered. unrestrained.
His eyes,
all blue and shimmering,
where all innocence has expired
Reaching and searching
starving and forward.

On they move,
into the stale endless dawn,
Within each,
something smothered smolders,
unextinguished and unextinguishable.
She will never question him
He will never abandon her

and without momentum,
their silhouettes clamber on
Through the thick heavy sheets of obscurity
along the horizons frail crumbled shoulders,
closer, nearer, unwatched for they could not be,
Save for a heathen moon
and its caravan of stars.

The Trees Between
by Kathy Watson

By Rita Angus
Reminds me of all my life in images:
Mountains, wooden sheds, telephone poles
and dry golden tussock.

The red shed, the weary man
Bouncy clouds, railway lines
And behind it all
Those scarred and brutal slopes.

But in between
If you look a little closer
There are trees all green
Behind the shed
Before the rise.

It is the trees which link
The life in front
To the ancient hills behind.

So I visited
To check that all was well.

The man has gone
The shed is still red
The ancient mountains remain
But  what of the trees?

These are the trees of life
No stunted trunks
And Christmas tree perfection
They have grown tall and untidy.

We forget
the trees between
Are the really important parts of life.


The Lament of an Oenophile
by Philip Morrison

“More than Bordeaux saves the heart.”

Advice I got from this French tart

I met one day in that part

Of gay Paris they call Montmartre.

Some years later back in Godzone

I thought again of that old crone

and how incessantly she’d drone

on cardiac kicks of Cotes du Rhone.

To reminisce gives me a shiver

and sends the heart into a quiver.

Although I stick to Kumeu River

Sad fact is I’ve got no liver.

If I could have again my day

I guess I’d go for Cloudy Bay.


The Kindness of Strangers
by Philip Morrison

At Middlemarch we prepared for the ride
On the Otago bike rail trail to Clyde.

The cottage café supplied afternoon tea
And proprietor Kate told of sites we should see

“Take the walk round Lake Sutton, you’ve come from afar
It’s a wee ride there, just take my car.”

Next morning we’re back for our breakfast meals
Then it’s off to the depot to pick up our wheels.

Two days later we can’t conceal our pride
We’ve biked all the way on the rail trail to Clyde.

Our memories will last of ‘The Kissing Gate’
And the wonderful kindness of maitre d’ Kate.


Out of season
by Stephen Trinder

Baches closed up for the winter
Curtains drawn on splintered woodpiles
One lone chimney spirals smoke
Forgotten cans of coke
And broken cars
Another mouldy garden chair
Left out in the yard

The playground’s still a playground
Strange without the sound of children playing
The drinking fountain’s spraying water
Straight into the ground

The skeletons of fish
And chips
The stuff of home made movie scripts
Auntie’s Christmas party tricks
Old cassettes and bits of books
Discarded in the rain
The signpost points back out of town
Back the way you came


The Art Room
by Stephen Trinder

Grey plastic trays of
broken wax crayons
Phials of dye
for wax and resist
Boxes of charcoal
steel reels of wire
A history of Art
with POP
at the top of the list

Half finished sculptures
in Plaster of Paris
Paintbrushes hard
with old PVA
Piles of life drawings
Pencilled on cartridge
Paper-mâché’d balloons
for the masks
in the library display

School grade acrylic
in primary colours
A few special tubes
for extra effect
The printing press blankets
stained black from the edges
of etching plates


Fast food
by Philip Morrison

( Both hands on the wheel, yeah right )

The kebab bought in Ashburton,

hunger at that time being dire,

would last till Dunsandel for certain,

but was gone before reaching Rakaia.


One Seven Six
by Stephen Trinder

We never attached the handles
On to the vanity drawers
We never got round to replacing
The kicked-in bathroom door
We never fixed the extractor fan
It was more than we could afford
And we never discovered what was making the fungi
Grow in the cellar walls

We never actually managed
To own a lemon tree
The gorse had started to multiply
Lupins were running free
We left the daffodil and tulip bulbs
Hyacinths under the leaves
The succulents had to be stripped from their pots
Sold on my TradeMe

There’s still a dent in the kitchen sink
Where we might have had a fight
Markings on the pillars
Made for children’s heights
The switch in the bedroom didn’t always work
To switch on the bedroom light
You could creep and sneak as much as you liked
But the stairs would creak in the night

There’s a makeshift grave in the garden
Where we buried a pet
A lot of lost balls in the hedgerow
In places we couldn’t get
The aerial didn’t work very well
Neither did the TV set
When it rained the frames of the windows
Were always getting wet

The dragons on the gateposts
Lost their eyes a long time ago
The sockets never stopped staring out
But the cracks were beginning to show
The fish with the silver ball has gone
Mannequin and leaking hose
The lion and the twitch in the compost bin
Half a broken hoe


Sarcasm rules ok?
by Philip Morrison

I know I’m old

fashioned, but I just

can’t quite fathom

this modern

poetry…………..the stuff with no

rhyme ( or reason )

or meter.

But I thought I should


However, I think

William Mc


wrote better poems than



So Captured by Snow
(in memory of Wilson Bentley)
Vermont (1890)
by Karen Wilson

Low leaden sky
Slow sifting
Gusting, extravagant flurry
A door bangs
and there you are
in your dark overcoat
hat slammed on
black board held flat
to catch unwary
airy flakes
before they light
and meld
Then into your icy shed
with a lover’s
the outrageous
of your blood
the hot gale
of your breath
to transfer
with a small wing
chosen specimens
onto glass
briefly caught
for the eyes
of your microscope
and camera
In the house
the log fire slumbers
to slow embers, a forgotten
meal still warm
on the coal range,
in the hall just
inside that deaf
front door
a dog with his chin
on his paws
While in the shed
(cold as a winter-night’s field)
a man bends
in pale light
over lenses
snapping shut
capturing the secrets
of snow.
Chistchurch (2006)
On a sun flushed wall
snow flowers
delicate traceries
of ice lace
bloom behind glass
in black and white
There’s a book too
page after page
no two the same
each particular to itself –
like finger prints
or voices –
Here, in our summer
a glimpse into an
endless gallery
of indomitable
these tiny caresses
these mute universal messages
scattered, heaped
upon us in
silent largesse

Wilson Bentley (1865 – 1931) known as “The Snowflake Man” (and rather
odd) to the people around the small farming town of Jericho in Northern
Vermont, New England, pioneered the microphotography of snowflakes. He
was surprised to discover that every crystal he photographed was unique.
His book “Snow Crystals” was published when he was sixty-six, after a
lifetime of passionate observation and recording of weather conditions.

5 thoughts on “A National Poetry Day patchwork of poems

  1. Pingback: National Poetry Day in New Zealand « Stephen Trinder's Blog
  2. Helen Lowe 30 July 2010 / 9:44 am

    Great to see such a great selection of poetry on the blog for National Poetry Day. 🙂

    The Tuesday Poem Blog hub is featuring a poem from each of the 3 finalists in the Poetry Category of the NZ Post Book Awards for its celebration.

    Here’s the link: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/

    The Tuesday Poem Blog poets (you’ll see their sites in the Tuesday Poem blog sidebar) are joining the celebration by posting a poem with “New Zealand” as a theme—or for poets not from New Zealand—on the joys of poetry and making poems.

    So have a look, have fun, and enjoy the ride!

    (Note: All 3 finalist are SI poets and Bernadette Hall is–of course–our very own Christchurch poet. Several other of the Tuesday Poem bloggers are also Christchruch poets.)

  3. rachaelccl 30 July 2010 / 1:28 pm

    What talented people! Philip Morrison’s Fast Food is great – I love pithy poems.

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