Into Exile

As nineteenth century Poland’s
borders and peoples swirled
in tumultuous upheavals with
fast shifting eddies landowners
sent bailiffs with stock whips
to drive their peasant tenants
to their three chartered
seagoing ships at the port.

Cracking whips herded this
human flock on board these
vessels separating kith from
kin, young from old, children
from parents. Crossing ten
thousand miles of ocean
for three months they were
offloaded at Taranaki’s
port in New Zealand with
only the clothes they wore.

Reunited at last they started
their new life in rough
immigrants’ barracks. Their
new land had assisted ship’s
fares for farming labourers.

There was no money for
homeward fares to their
faraway homeland where
their  homes no longer stood.

Into Exile

The Railway Station.

As World War II’s juggernaut
ploughed across Europe
tossing humans like skittles
up in the air around many
countries kind strangers
seeking refuge after their
displacement passed through
Poland’s tiny Matula station
taking with them the newborn
baby abandoned there.

Barely keeping themselves alive
they left her at an orphanage
who named her Anna Matula
for where she was found, she
would always know her place
of origin soon after her birth.

Deported from Poland the
orphans were sent from
country to country finally
to New Zealand where all
seven hundred of them were
allowed to stay when the
communist government
demanded their return.

So Anna Matula in a distant
land married a fellow Polish
orphan raising Polish
New Zealand children
putting down roots far away.



The Railway Station.

A Fine Morning

On this fine morning
she was excited to be standing
out by her fence where I
rarely saw her, only occasionally
seeing her in her conservatory
as I passed by on my way
to the local supermaket.

Her caregiver had arrived early
that morning to help her out
of bed, to shower, to dress.
Now ready for the day she
felt energised, walked out
of her conservatory, across
the grass, over to the fence.

She spoke happily, excitedly
enjoying outside air, sunshine.
Visitors go to her conservatory,
elderly friends, middle aged
children, teen aged grandchildren.
She wants more company still.

Visitors help her forget how
her body devours itself,
cancer tentacles through
her lungs, kidneys, turns
her spine to honeycomb.

Her voice is husky
she gasps for breath
in spite of the tube
taking air to her nose.

Her mind is sharp and clear.

A Fine Morning

In The Shower

Ultimate civilisation starts my
day with a hot shower raining
warmth down my back, arms,
shoulders, chest, stomach, legs,
finally thawing those blocks of
ice at the ends of my legs
into flesh and blood feet.

The daily battle with the
mixer millimetre by millimetre
changes hot to cold to cool
to warm pouring cosy heat
right through me.

Steam rises misting the
glass shower door filling
the shower box with moist
warmth as I soap myself
then spray it off  with the
shower head’s warm flow,
warm myself under a hot
flow one last time.

I am ready  for the day.

Reluctantly I turn off the
steady warmth, hear the
quiet thrumming as the
fan expels the steam.

On to a new day
in the real world.

In The Shower


Nearing retirement age
my hair’s tight frizzy wave
tightened further while
splotchy grey patches
edged round brown
splotches and refused
to change its style
when trimmed short.

In exasperation I bought
a hair dye box, started a
new path in life in front
of the bathroom mirror.

At first I carefully made
each parting straight,  dabbed
on its squirt of colour,
parted then squirted again.
My hair turned dark as did
unseen flicks of colour on
my clothes, all in half an hour.

Now my hair dyeing methods
part hair, squirt colour over
my head in ten minutes
while minimally clothed
for those flicked specks of
colour as the bathroom
window stands open to let
dye fumes out but allows
cold air to surge in  Brr  !!

How much longer do I
want to do this ?



The post bag services
from town to town
evolved into the penny
post a delightful
innocuous service to
send letters around the
country, later around
the world in great
quantities which led
to that amazing institution
– letterboxes for every house.

Originally intended for
letters, business used
them to deliver bills.
Now businesses go further
with delivery of blazingly
brilliant brochures into
letterboxes sometimes
pushing real mail out
on to puddles on the
muddy path below.

Much of my mail comes
now through cyberspace
arriving in my computer
where I block unwanted
garish advertising.

Yet still occcasional letters
and cards arrive by mail
as I defend them with
my “No Junk Mail” notice.



Our elderly suburb quietly
transforms as old unkempt
houses are trucked away one
by one from yesteryear’s
large sections leaving swathes
of empty ground to send up
rough clumps of herbiage
where vegetables once grew,
hens clucked, scratched for
juicy insects, tender shoots.
Bare soil with random concrete
blocks is all that remains
where family homes once stood.

Fruit trees covered with moss
leaves black with mildew
stand deserted near rickety
back fences, straggly hedges.

Many town dwellers no longer
grow their own food in
this helter skelter century.

Old houses lose their paint
are divided, rented out to
those who use them as a
base to sleep and eat until
at last they are jacked up on
to trucks, dispossessed from
their long time dwelling places.

Several little modern homes
are built on each section
with little earth of their own.


Gutter And Drain

When the man who cleared my
gutter went to empty the gunge
from his bucket I said not
on my precious garden put it
down the drain so he did
– more than I expected.
………………Oooops ! …………….

We both pumped my yard
broom handle up and down
in the drain put several
bucketfuls of water down
so the gunge and water
washed away down the drain
…………….most of it………………

Over several days I plied
broom handle and bucket
but a stubborn layer of gritty
stuff clung to the gully
trap and the drain’s water
level stayed well up.
……………. Hmmmm ! ………….

I rang the drains company.
Two men came with their
drains snake hose which
one pumped up and down
while the other turned on
taps in my little flat
then checked the other
flats’ drains. At last all the
gunge was gone and the
drain was empty of water.

Soon I  will receive a bill
for two drains people’s time.

Gutter And Drain

Celery Tree

A strange plant rises from
the bowl of water on my bench.
Tall green stems urge from
the thick tap root chopped
short back at its paddock.
A frothy head of greenery
sprouts from the top of these
tall broad green stems like
so many narrow trunks.

New trunks push their way
up inside the older trunks.
Why not put out branches
from on centre trunk ?

What  a confused plant !

Yet its stems add a
wonderful taste to my
food when chopped,
stirred in and cooked.

I forgive celery its oddities.

Celery Tree