A Call From An Editor

Designated poets, esteemed writers
at a national poetry magazine
scrutinised my submitted poems
among a vast heap of others.

From his faraway megacity office
the editor telephoned to mentor me.
Excited that an eminent literary figure
should call me I jotted down his words.

My mood flattened as he spoke of
writing sounds and words in patterns
and juxtapositions, auditory and visual,
of deftness with obscure metaphors.

What about the people ? the story ?
I wondered. What about everyday lives
of everyday people in and everyday world ?
Awed by his stature i said nothing.

He told of his writing’s rejection here
seventy years ago, his joy as his style
then his poems were accepted, published
overseas then in our own country.

Now he was highly regarded by the
highly regarded literati of the west.
Today his style is esteemed, but not mine.

Yet the internet releases me from
the need to find publication in
local and overseas print runs.

The world wide web
brings world wide forums
in a world wide range.

Previously posted in February 2017.

A Call From An Editor


Throughout her three year contract
the young teacher in 1950’s Fiji
prepared young Fijians at high school
for university and skilled employment
as Fiji grew into the post war world.

Born to young English immigrants
struggling to start married life
far from Mother England’s poverty
she put herself through university
in New Zealand as her parents
supported their children in education
to higher employment.

A young Englishman taught beside her,
having put himself through university,
supported by low income parents through
education to higher employment.

The young couple’s three years together to
blossomed richly. Yet each craved the
return home to family and homeland
to support their generous parents.

In great anger they separated to
their far distant homelands never
to meet or communicate again.

In her hospital bed twenty years later
she had met no one else who fulfilled
her. As cancer devoured her last days
…… she wondered …… what if ……
…… she had gone home with him.

Previously posted February 2017.


A Birthday

A bold black email subject line
” …… is turning 70 ……” !?!

A shock greeting in my inbox.

I had become accustomed, privately
within myself to yet another decade.
But this sudden blaring forth quite
dismantled my equilibrium.
Yet I could not object to such happy
good intentions by energetic younger
relatives planning this celebration.

Turning 20 was exciting
then each successive decade was
an uneasy milestone … 30, 40, 50, 60.

Father passed in his nineties.
Mother’s unhealthy family genes
lasted into her eighties. I may have
two more decade milestones yet.

Public opinion deems us old by 50.
A clear demarcation sets us apart
half my life will be old age.
Employers ignore us after 50.
Unknown young people object if we
join their conversations. How dare we !

But a bright light has arisen
above the horizon.

After years of paying taxes
I am paid a retirement pension.

I am enjoying my old age
with family and friends.

Previously posted February 2017.

A Birthday

When Mum Went Out

On a wet school holiday afternoon
Mum went out with baby brother
leaving Auntie Jo in charge of his
sisters’ bathing and hair washing.

After the sloshy business of bath
play with many toys in a well
filled tub they added more suds
as they washed themselves. Now
joyousness became tetchiness as
Auntie Jo washed hair and wriggling
feet poked ribs and tummy.

Auntie Jo’s firm response to the
seven year old’s impatience with
adults and younger sister was not
what the seven year old wanted.

The five year old with thick tangled
hair cried loudly as Auntie Jo
tried to brush her hair to dry it.
So Auntie Jo left her to brush it
herself, dried the seven year old’s
hair instead. Loud howls poured
forth from the five year old who
wanted her hair dried right now !

The black and white cat now tried
his luck for and early dinner while
the parents were out, meowing
desperately to say he was fading
away to a skeleton ! He was not.

Auntie Jo knew children
pushed boundaries, but cats ??
A very strange afternoon !

Previously posted November 2016.

When Mum Went Out

Praying Mantis

Praying mantises climb through
the shrubs in the narrow garden
under the front windows
of my little ground level flat.
Their green shapes with leaf like wings
vanish among rose bush leaves:
long thin males, bulge bellied females
about to disgorge dozens of eggs
all hatching their tiny replicas
with narrow flattened faces
and eyes pinned to the sides
of those long thin heads.

The females seeking seclusion
come through my open windows
climbing the walls to the ceiling
swaying in the light with
no leaves to shelter them.
we need all their young mantises.
I catch them and drop them out
the window on to the bushes below
where they sway again with
their front legs in praying stance
before climbing down inside
those leafy green lairs.

Previously posted July 2016.

Praying Mantis

Weta On The Foot

Wetas are similar in size and shape to crickets, though unrelated.
They give a sharp nip when scared.
The barbs on their back legs draw blood when they kick.

The tabby hunter brings trophies
inside: flapping butterflies,
crunched beetles, desperate birds,
disembowelled worms, struggling wetas.
She stops the bells on her collar ringing
no matter what Mummy does.

Mummy said don’t play with wetas,
they bite, their back legs make your
hand bleed when they kick.

The four year old, so fascinated by bugs,
stood staring at a weta on the floor.
It hopped on to her foot, her parents came
running at her piercing screams.
They tried to calm her, remove the weta,
but she ignored them.

Daddy wrapped one long arm
around her arms and shoulders,
the other long arm around her legs.

Mummy gripped the leg with one hand
and slowly peeled off the sock,
keeping the sock around the weta,
took it out, tipped it on to a bush.

Clever Mummy !
At last the house was quiet again.
Mummy and Daddy leaned back,
exhausted, on the couch.

Grandad says someone should
tell the tabby hunter
that wetas are indigenous,
protected, by law.

But Tabby doesn’t care.

Previously posted July 2016.

Weta On The Foot

Weta On The Carpet

A New Zealand weta is similar in size and shape to a cricket,
though the two are unrelated.

It’s not the weta’s determination
to keep moving over the carpet,
though the tabby hunter has left it
a little out of shape.

Nor is it the weta’s struggling hops
to the ranch slider through which
it senses the bushes of its home
where it lived till a moment ago.

It is not even the three year old’s
excited exclamations while watching
the weta’s struggles to get away
from the tabby hunter.

This courageous creature
must inspire us as it
battles its handicaps
to escape its giant prison
to return to its own world
where its kind have survived
for thousands of years.

Previously posted July 2016.

Weta On The Carpet

The Mouse

Little brown mouse
on the driveway
very still
mouth open
feet curled close
pink tail out behind.

School bag by the steps.
Sad little figure in
young Chloe’s hand
crossing the lawn.
Buried in lush greenery
of wandering jew
under the corner trees.

“Come on !” called Mummy,
“it’s nearly time for the bell !”
“I’m keeping the mouse
safe from the cat !”
answered Chloe
Too late to save the mouse
but no time to argue.

With Chloe buckled up
in the car beside her bag
they reach school before the bell,
wash hands after the bell.

Now on to kindergarten
with Claire.

Previously posted December 2015.

The Mouse