The Recidivist

Queueing at the broad front desk
of Welfare’s downtown office
I brace myself for
the bureaucrat’s strip search.
I am unemployed – again !

These front desk people read my forms,
bring my name up on their screen.
They mutter “No, no, this one will
have to go to the supervisor.
She’s been to us before.”

Social Welfare still speak
sternly after twenty years.
Their elderly code number
follows me to show
a marked recidivist.

Over sixty
out of date
like mouldy cheese !

A disrespectable old age !

Originally posted 7 February 2017

The Recidivist


Jobs now vanish everywhere
as a widespread global surge
of ninepins spills out
on town and city streets.

This little academic city
was breeding a business heart
which  now is bleeding out its life,
its ninepins roll in the gutter.

No occupation takes beginners
except perhaps conglomerates
with their instant conveyered food
who take the low priced youth.

Enterprising unemployed
no longer knock on doors.
Websites have no street addresses,
no clearly numbered homes.

I fill in forms on the silver screen,
have them printed and signed,
then ride them along that silver cable
seeking a new paid workplace.

Originally posted 5 February 2016.


By The River

Under a thundercloud sky portending
a drenching deluge I walked along
the rushing river skirting the town.
At the water’s edge marled grey rocks
mingled with pale ochre rocks all smoothed
by millenia of flowing waters.
Dark currents swirled in deep midstream
reflecting darker clouds.

I walked through ragged grass
along the water’s edge
careless of the coming downpour.
Feeling caged in my house
I had to walk.

I had hoped to stay for life
in this country town,
but was cast aside, redundant,
like so many others
in this rural county.
Job applications
had brought nothing.

Dread of the future, of packing up
and moving, finding a city home
surged over me in waves
with grief for friends and workmates,
and my little country home.
I would have to leave them all.
Fears of new employment,
of interviews and agencies
paralysed my thoughts.
How would I do it all ?

Some years later I passed through
that little town but could not
walk along that river.
When I looked at it
dread, grief, fear welled up in me
as if it were only yesterday
that I walked along its banks.
I turned and walked away.

Originally posted 2 February 2016.

By The River

Holiday Period

For the next month I will be posting again the poems which I posted in February 2016.

I have had a number of family  matters all happening during the lead up to Christmas, and they will continue for a little while yet.  This has drastically reduced the time available to me for writing, so I need time to get started on writing again.

I will visit recent posts of the blogs I follow as and when I can.

Happy New Year to you all.

Holiday Period


On city ponds and lakes ducks
bring out their ducklings to
set the city services scrambling.

Firemen turn on a hydrant to
float the ducklings fallen in a deep
drain on their way to the park,
reaching down with their bird net to
scoop them up, place them in the bucket.

Two police officers control traffic
in the mornings along the street where
two ducks cross, each with a line of
ducklings all tottering across to the
lake in the park. Running over
ducklings makes folk squeamish.

Waiting for our bus to exit the park
I become impatient, look out the
window to see why we stopped.
A mother duck steps up to the kerb
followed by a line of ducklings, then
crosses the grass to the lake.

How many of these ducklings
will grow up to be shot in
the countryside during next
winter’s hunting season ?


Pukeko *

In the foreground of the seaside scene
the pukeko leans down to peck at
the bare ground. Further back stands
an old colonial house, etched in ink,
delicately tinted in water colours.

A calm pale sea shimmers in the
distance beyond hardy windblown
shrubs on a grassy bank. Gnarled
trees wearing crimson flowers protect
the two storey house inside the white
picket fence beside a tidal stream
seeping over the narrow beach.

Lush arum lilies with thick green
leaves sprawl around the unheeding
bird pecking for  tasty titbits. Red
legs, beak, comb blaze against
stark blue plumage and its tail,
upended, flashing a splash of white;
placid, contented, peaceful.

*New Zealand swamphen.

Posted a day early due to family Christmas lead up.

Pukeko *


The girls at our house
love pink clothes.
The lint in the clothes drier filter is pink.
We play with our babies,
our dolls and our bears,
dress them, put them to bed.
Chloe makes chicken farms from boxes,
or birthday cards, paints pictures.
She swings on the swing,
rides her tricycle. Claire wants to grow up
and do these things too.

Chloe is doing new things
at kindergarten which she
mostly enjoys…except…for …boys.
They put on Batman capes,
they run around after people
pointing two fingers at them
and yell loud banging noises !
Why would they do that ?
Daddy says that’s what boys do,
just as girls play babies and put them to bed.
That’s what girls do. Chloe says
it is not strange to do girl things.

Two boy cousins came with Auntie
to stay for three days last Christmas.
They ran around the house
pointing two fingers at people
and yelling loud banging noises
They jumped high on the trampoline
and shouted all the time.
Daddy laughed !

Chloe was shocked !   Stern faced
she walked along to the bedroom
to peace and quiet with dolls
and bears, pink clothes and
the box full of hair ribbons and clips.

After a time of tranquility
she crept back to the living room,
and curled up on Daddy’s knee
while he hugged her close.

Christmas and family events have caught up with me.
This is re posted from 31 January 2016.


Not By Land

Now the shrieking gale
force winds have eased
now the swirling peaks of
mountainous seas have
dropped, imprisoned travellers
gradually leave the seaside
town immured within
its vast rocky landslides.

Helicopters lift off from
sports fields with groups
from long straggling queues
flying to the city down south.

Naval ships anchor out at
sea beyond the perilously
raised rocky seabed.
Small shallow draft boats
ferry food water portaloos
to shore, ferry travellers
back to fill up ships’ cargo
holds for the journey
to the city down south.

Tears flow of exhaustion fear
sleeplessness anxiety, yet
thankful to leave the constant
aftershocks, the shortages,
relieved to travel to a city
where life flows on in its
accustomed routines.

Not By Land

Tourist Resort

At the busy resort
with its sandy beach they
dined on crayfish, abalone.
Drowsy after sea breezes
and seafood feast they
then slept dreamlessly.

Amidst loud roars, bangs,
jolts their motel rocked
to and fro, side to side
up and down, on and on.
They pulled on jackets, fell
blearily outside, away from
buildings, lay down on grassy
spaces throughout the ground
shaking night till down.

Grim news after dawn told
of shattered buildings, landslides
over roads, wrecked water
mains and sewers, no electricity,
phone connections all down.
Their holiday was frozen in time.

Now gale force winds for
two days lashed the sea
and mountains around them.

Tourist Resort

Birthday Dinner

We are going to dinner at Nana’s place
so that Mummy won’t have to
cook dinner or do dishes
on her birthday.
We are having dinner early
so that we will be home
for our usual bedtime for
school and kindergarten tomorrow.

We are not wearing party dresses !
How can we not wear party dresses
to a birthday dinner ?
We will put on our necklaces and bracelets.
Claire wears two necklaces.
Chloe wears five.
Mummy says it is time to go !
Daddy does up Claire’s bracelets.
Chloe’s necklace from great granny
breaks a string of its pink beads
and Chloe is so upset !
Mummy has  to cut the string off,
they pick up beads off the floor.
She does up Chloe’s bracelets
to cheer her up.

Nana rings up to see if we are alright
because Mummy was so sure
she wanted dinner early.
Mummy says we will be there soon  !

Now we are all in the car.
Mummy wanted to leave
fifteen minutes ago !
But we dressed up because
it was her birthday dinner !

Continuing the weekly re posting
of poems  
I posted earlier this year.

Birthday Dinner