Poetry about forests, rivers, life, the universe and everything.

I have used my phone for this blog post, I will try to fix up the formatting tonight. In the meantime, hopefully the forests speak to you.

Three rivers and their forests

Daintree World Heritage Site

On that summers’ day it was dark and hot

Where the river ran wild

Crystal clear water tumbling

Powerfully over granite boulders.

Tropical rainforest cloaking the mountain

Of an ancient land, always remembering.

Westland Tai Poutini National Park

On that winters’ day it was bright and clear

Where the frozen river lived

Descending impatiently over

Hidden pounamu.

The forest leaning back 

Into the embrace of new alps, still becoming.

Poets Park, Upper Hutt

On this spring day it is grey and quiet

Where the river carries mountain water softly,

Through flood mitigations and artificial forests 

Planted in neat rows on rationed land 

Not yet reclaimed under a canopy of colourbond steel

Facing an unknown future, intent on living.

Experiments with words

The poem below was performed live a few months ago when I was going through a particularly ‘experimental’ phase. I decided to give myself the challenge of writing a convincing narrative where I add to use three word phrases in a repeating pattern.

I did not insist on matching syllable counts, thankfully. Let me know what you think, leave a comment!

Just three words 
People say they love you, right.
Love you right, they want you
They want you smiling and perfect
Smiling and perfect –hide your imperfections
Hide your imperfections so they cannot
So they cannot be thrown back
Be thrown back to hurt, reduce
To hurt, reduce. Is that love?
Is that love? They cannot understand
They cannot understand who you are
Who you are in the quietness
In the quietness, your inner thoughts
Your inner thoughts, worth much more
Worth much more, I should know
I show know how to escape
How to escape the gilded cage
The gilded cage cannot contain you
Cannot contain you, if you choose
If you choose to walk away
To walk away, come with me
Come with me.

Photo by Rashika Singhal on Pexels.com

Poetry about love, sort of.

A short and simple ‘observation on life’ poem:

Unrequited love 

To feed an unrequited love 

Is to be a moon orbiting a planet 

You are held at a safe distance 

Suspended by the unseen force of gravity 

It is economical but you don’t really go anywhere 

Literally and figuratively. 
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

Dreamscapes

The following poem is one from the archive, I wrote it one morning on my commute to work. The night before I’d had a dream, and the only fragments I could remember where sensations like running, having mist swirl about me and a liberating feeling of soaring/falling.

Falling 

The soft edges of my vision slowly find more focus 
There is a thick mist rolling across the floor 
I am standing on an old sound stage - the floor,  
walls, ceiling are all the same washed out grey. 
Diffused light is shining from underneath the mist. 

There is no sound. 
The mist is swirling about me 
At times, washing over me in massive waves. 
It gives the air a cold damp texture. 

And now I am running 
There is a presence looming behind me, 
I know to run. 
I can't see much in front of me, the mist is thick now 
My feet continue to hit the flat smooth surface 
As I draw in a breath I hope to outrun whatever it is. 

Even though I can hear my heartbeat ringing in my ears 
my fear is a paradox of calmness 
My muscles should be starting to protest 
but they aren't. 
It is as if I could continue to run like this forever. 

The mist begins to dissipate, 
I try to look back. 
There is the salty taste of sweat in my mouth 
My feet feel a change in the surface - it is beginning uneven, unpredictable. 
I slow down a little 
I look down to try to find a smoother path but the mist is withholding that mystery. 

Where am I? 
What is happening? 
What should I do now? 
And at that moment the ground disappears from beneath me 
I am falling through the air 
I flail my arms in a desperate attempt to slow my dissent 
But there it is - the end. 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Sunday evening

Well hello! This weekend has flown by, and my to list whilst not completed is a little shorter than it was yesterday morning. This poem is just a short little ditty that has some fun with rhymes.

What is poetry even for?
Standing on a soap box
Cunning like a fox.
Trying to make you understand a
Point, stanza by stanza.

Making observations that
Inspire, make you forget.
The ugly and perverse
Pure verse after pure verse.

But we all know what is true -
There are more moments to rue
Than I can negate with
Words: nouns, adjectives.

The world is a hard place to live
Trying to balance take and give,
To find that rose in the thorny vine,
Be on time, make it rhyme.
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Reading between the lines

In the last decade or so, Western society has developed a very weird intolerance for ageing women. Of course historically, women have always been judged on their perceived youthful beauty, purity and potential to produce male heirs. Older women were painted as crones, evil step-mothers, bitter spinsters. But there seems to be a concerted effort for women to stop ageing by the time they reach their early 30s.

I saw Madonna on TV this week, a 63 year old performer with a massive back catalogue of work. If Madonna were a man she’d be entitled to sit back and wallow in her decades of success. Yet, most comments I saw were about her weight gain (how dare she eat), how her face has changed (how dare she age…or do something obvious that removed the signs of her 63 years on this planet), or how desperate she looked in her back corset and short skirt (how dare she express her sexuality, at her age).

If you don’t like Madonna or her style of music, that is cool. I ask that you look at other women her age that you admire for their achievements and assess how they are judged on their appearance and their age before they even begin to speak. Women do not owe the world pretty, we don’t owe the world an eternal (and artificial) youth.

Modernity turns 63
Fine lines of smoke rise
And the facts of my life evaporate
As if they never existed.
The times when I lay too long on the beach
In the early days of our romance
No longer visible in the pigmented spots
that used to live
on the cheek my grand children kiss.

At home I will have after care
To fade the scar from the time I rescued
My toddler and took the bite for them.
And the stress lines of a career I fought for
Will melt away, flowing out to the sea
In an act of forgetting.
Next week I will have the grey hair replaced
With a gentler hue, augmented by
The tresses of a young widow in a country faraway.
I will reclaim my crowning glory
I pay for the promise of eternal youth
Because I am worth it (for profit margins)
And I want to look my artificial best 
as the world around me decays.

Reshaped, resurfaced, masked.
I don't want to look old before my time
When I stand beside my daughters.
I want to walk through the world
Being visibly invisible.
Soon if you want to know who I am and where I've been
There will no lines left for you to read between.
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Possessive nouns

Possessive: adjective, demanding someone’s total attention and love

Noun: a word (other than a pronoun) used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things; or to name a particular one of these.

I have often thought about the notions of jealousy and possessiveness in relationships, and the way some people will use a relationship status as an excuse to control another person. For example, I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been having a casual lunch with friends and their phones haven’t stopped pinging. Their partners just checking to make sure they’ve arrived; just checking to see who is there; just checking to see how much longer lunch will be….

It might sound romantic to have someone that into you…and to imagine them pining when you’re not around, but seriously it’s probably an early warning sign of the coercive control they intend to have. For an explanation of what means this is a good resource: https://www.healthline.com/health/coercive-control#restricting-autonomy

The possessive noun 
Tell me what I want to hear 
Your dreams and secret fears 
I want to crawl inside your mind 
To prod and probe whatever I find. 
No answer will ever be right enough 
When I don’t feel it in your touch.

Tell me what I want to hear 
My hand at the tiller to steer 
I want to take us on a journey 
I will set the scene, tell the story 
Tell me what I want to hear 
That you are only whole when I am near
Tell me what I need to hear. 
Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

Favourite hobbies: People watching

I love people watching. When I was child I would imagine that everyone I saw was making invisible filament like spiders web as they walked through the world. Each person’s filaments interconnected with everyone else’s – meaning the whole world was connected somehow. Then I would make up stories about who these people were, how they were connected, what they were thinking. An easy way to be accused on staring (although I was never really look at an individual, by then I was deep into my imagination land).

And, hand on heart, I still love to sit quietly and observe!

People watching 
Click clack,
briefcase in black
A quick beat of heels against tiles
was there a mention of forgotten files?
Plenty of time to stop
To people watch
those arriving, those departing
Work days finishing or starting
A building dressed in the grandeur
of a bygone era
Her iron gates
Impede the late
Red bricks
Pigeon shit
Tone deaf buskers ply their trade
Manic man launches another tirade
At an invisible foe
Looks like he has to go
"Soy double shot latte"
"I can't pick up the kids today".

Photo by Shawn on Pexels.com

Idle thoughts

There is something about the Wellington Harbour that is singing to my soul at the moment. This poem was inspired by my evening train journey home after a day working in the office. I saw an Inter-Islander ferry coming through the mouth of the Harbour, it was if she had called to the fog to follow her into a safe haven for the night. And then, logically, I thought of a lighthouse.

Alone, at sea
I am the lighthouse
Standing on borrowed time
Waiting for inspiration
to emerge from the fog.
A feeble light trying
to cut through the darkness
in search of truth and beauty.

I am the lighthouse
Slowly succumbing to 
the sea.
Feeling the bite of storms
that form well beyond my reach,
a reminder 
for you 
of what could have been.

I am the lighthouse
Becoming as forgotten
as an illuminated destiny.
Obstinately obsolete
Now only seen by the 
Albatross in the fleeting seconds
they pass by.
I am the lighthouse
Waiting for time to end
And for my body to become
one with the sea.



Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Harbour commute

This morning was foggy and grey. My train journey to work inspired the poem below.

Harbour in shades of grey
The fog had rolled in as the night rolled on
When we emerged from our sleep we found
Hills shrouded in mystery
And a Harbour daring not to breathe
Everything felt suspended in time
that moment
Between the turning of the tide.

The surface of the water a deep silver
soft, barely rippling.
The sky so close to us
I could imagine that we lived amongst the gods
Worlds merging
As we traveled deeper into the grey.

Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com