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Copies of ‘16’ are free of charge at these 16+ locations across the Wairarapa on 16 August, some of which will also have poetry displays — Almo’s Books / Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History / Brackenridge / Cabbage Tree Cottage Café Strada / Carterton Library / Craft Country Double Dollar Plus / Entice Café / Featherston Library / Gladstone School / Gladstone Vineyard Greytown Library / Kitcheners St Dairy /Lake Ferry Hotel / Masterton Library / Matarawa Station Mitre 10 Martinborough / Pahiatua Community Library / Pirinoa Country Store / Printcraft Pukaha Mount Bruce / Super Minx Greytown Take Note / The Village Art Shop / Wairarapa REAP

This booklet will also be freely provided to the region’s 8 libraries and 48 schools. Cover design: Anne Taylor Copyright of the poems belongs to the poets. Copyright of the cartoon belongs to Di Batchelor. 500 copies 16 August 2013

The Home Front When people think of flowers of war, the poppy comes to mind, Its crimson petals red as soldiers’ blood, And they salute the deeds and courage of ordinary men, As they battled in the trenches and the mud. But when I pick up a marigold, its pungent, earthy smell Triggers memories of childhood in my head, Of ration cards, of blackouts and danger from the skies, Of fateful telegrams and fear and dread. Christmas with no presents, the docks and shops on fire, The vicious barbed wire stacked along the shore, So as the years roll onward, I find out more and more That marigolds, not poppies, are my flower of war.

Agnes Jones Carterton


kimono hangs on shadowed wall, holds close the silence, stillness

Anne Taylor Greytown

First Fruit After you leave I discover them slumped behind the compost heap two mounds like creatures sleeping I dig a hole, use the pitchfork roll them in one, then the other dead weight the fleece white with skin tender at the parting Nearby the raspberry canes we planted last spring a bunch of three red berries I eat them one by one

Catherine Day Gladstone May 2010


I see The almost full moon and wonder Whether you can see it too.

Clare McLennan-Kissel Masterton

Rain Big drops Small drops Fast fall Slow fall Hard fall Syncopated percussion on my roof Blurry stream down the windows We prayed for you through Drought-ridden days Waited Yearned Beseeched But this incessant deluge Silted sodden carpets Broken riverbanks Toppled trees and houses Make you tears from heaven

Gaye Sutton Carterton

Spring the path to my piano teacher is lined with freesias daffodils lie on my mother’s coffin she may not know they are there wrinkles on my grandmother’s hands have held dark violets the cherry tree weeps pink tears on the sodden lawn a tui chortles endlessly – there is no doh in his repertoire

Janette Gerritsen Masterton

This Lovely Hand of Yours The fine warmth and pulse of it – beauty gets a sounding in the oldest skin, it takes the flutterings of veins and chimes them through. The mind slows and alters – as in the grove of midnight you place a hand on top of mine then sleep, full-upright in your blue-winged chair, TV on, the weekend’s busy-ness – a granddaughter’s wedding – now over. Dark clocks round, intimate and mute. Inside the space that two hands make, I have you travelling with the stars, your palm – enclosure of will and dream – lit with the scripts of all your being and becoming, the long, long story of your time. In this gift of moment, I find myself humming and whole, stopped at the centre of whatever your hand has held, between the moon’s abundance and the sun’s.

Jo Thorpe Cape Palliser Published in ‘NZ Books’, Autumn 2013

My Pacific Garden For Edith Hillinger and Kay Flavell An experiment each day is both a massive and tiny life of bird, soil, climate, pigment, water, paper, an orange-black tiger lily sprung beneath the dining room window – By hand, long glow of petal rides deep the Tararua blue, and green on orange on white light for sky and germ of earth in nature now, and then by touch. My studio is in this garden and is this time and place to move; the Pacific in the colours and questions I choose.

Jodie Dalgleish Kaipororo / Mount Bruce

The Power Cut One dinner time in Lower Hutt We had a massive power cut; I couldn’t see my veges On my spoon. “No matter,” said my Dadda, And he got his big long ladder And went and changed the lightbulb In the Moon.

John Ansell Martinborough Published in ‘I Think the Clouds are Cotton Wool’, 2003

Bone tree A tree of dry bones grew beside the crying sea and all the birds of the world could find no rest upon its branches. The man knew the tree had sprung from the bones of war he went to strike at its roots with an axe. But the wind blew the axe to glass then sand it gathered voice and whistled through the bone tree. E tu it called and the mouth of the river stood up. E tu twelve dead fish rose and flashed their way into the waiting tide. E tu in the distance two tall mountains finally shed their cloaks of shadow.

Justine Eldred Greytown

Konini School, 1912 In memory of Rie Kelly, my mother She sang, we sang – perched upon forms hands folded white pinafores pressed – there we are with our mouths wide open. With sun in our eyes we could scarcely see the grey weatherboard houses jersey cows stumps like black stalagmites and, far off, the ranges still smouldering – smoke haze hiding the horizon.

Kerry Popplewell Pahiatua Published in ‘Leaving the Tableland’ (Steele Roberts, 2010)

Twoness Before Oneness He wears leather wings on his legs called chaps. Boots, jeans, belt, hat. Steps in the dirt corral as if his first circle. He has lived with horse for fifty years, says the time it takes is the time it takes, as little, as much. He leads, waits, feels, and the horse can feel the smallest change in body, thought. So be certain. Smooth, soothe him after you mount him, love and direct with respect. Worship one another. There must be twoness before oneness. There must be softness.

Madeleine Slavick Carterton ‘Tuesday Poem’ 22 February 2011

Cicadas Itch the Air Cicadas itch the air Scratch a hum from the heat Tear a pause Silence the day I wait without breath They will begin Again

Mary Buckner Masterton

Silent. A line in this poem should not need to clamour for attention the genetics of each word has a right to be heard or remain unspoken not as the poet thinks but as the poem requires beneath the pen’s ink each word owns a history older than any poet’s claim at least as old as the bird’s flight flick of fin through water story this stone would tell if someone were to listen

Pat White Gladstone

Daffodillions of Aberdeenshire I could tell but would you see the public blitz of daffodils Billions trillions of trumpets planted by a Councilman tittup on the sidewalks under trees through parks into cities The pillion sun riding a million springs away from winter.

Rhondda Greig Matarawa


I have wandered in the wilderness Sought knowledge from the tree Asked the Sun and Shadows But alas, none could see. I have sailed upon the foaming sea Sought reason in the swell Asked the Moon and Evening tide But alas, none could tell. I have soared through blue horizons Sought freedom on the wing Asked the Stars and Meteors But alas, none felt a thing.

Simon Fleck Featherston 12 January 2011


celebrates National Poetry Day, 16 August 2013 and is brought to you by Wairarapa Word in association with Almo’s Books Gladstone Vineyard Masterton Intermediate School NZ Post Book Awards Printcraft Wairarapa REAP Wairarapa Word presents a featured writer and an open mike on the 1st Sunday of every month at 3pm. All invited. Hosted by Almo’s Books at 42 High St, Carterton, and supported by the Creative Communities Scheme of Carterton District, the event is free, in the best sense of the word.

We invite everyone to a free performance at Gladstone Vineyard Cafe, 16 August at 6pm and we perform at 1:30 (for students) at Masterton Intermediate School.


16 writers publish this e-book to mark 16 August 2013, National Poetry Day in New Zealand.

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