Sir Pinetree


Colin Meads has decided to accept a knighthood, but he doesn’t want to be called Sir.

I think of my great friends and guys who I have played under like Sir Wilson Whineray and Sir Brian Lochore.”
“But they were perfect gentlemen while I was a bit rougher,” he said.

That reminds me of this quote:  

Linesman to Referee: “You’d better count the players. I think Meads might have eaten one.”

From Good As Gold, Being A New Zealander, selected by John Daley, published by Godwit 2002.

The Peacock of Motherhood


It’s Mothers’ Day on Sunday which prompted this choice for Friday’s poem.

The Peacock of Motherhood by Anna Jackson comes from Swings + Roundabouts, poems on parenthodd edited by Emma Neale.

The Peacock of Motherhood

This is the gift my son gave me,

strutting through my life, tail dragging,

perching on everything I do and as soon

as my back is turned, jumping down

with a thud and a cry, following me.


The pea-hen of girlhood

makes n sound now, sleeps

undisturbed. I can hardly remember

so brown a bird; if I try to think

up flashes the tail


of motherhood to distract me.

I remember she was as brown as thought.

But the peacock has found other cocks

to flash his tail at; the peacocks

of motherhood are strutting


at the school gates, the gifts

our sons gave us. The birds strut

and preen, flash their tails,

while the mothers smile

till the bell goes.

   – Anna Jackson –

The Garden in Autumn


We were still enjoying summer yesterday but the temperature dropped over night reminding us the season has changed and prompting this choice for today’s tribute to poetry month.

The Garden in Autumn  by Elizabeth Smither comes from The Earth’s Deep Breathing, garden poems by New Zealand poets  edited by Harvey McQueen and published by Godwit.

The Garden in Autumn


Summer comes to abandonment.

Winter to total abandonment.

Spring to total lack of control.


But autumn shows the way to go

like an old-fashioned usherette

in an old-fashioned cinema


when a torch was required

and a gentle, ‘Follow me, ;lease’

and the light directed back


at your feet while hers remained

in the darkness as she stepped

unfalteringly down the slope


until it shone on the row

‘Two in the middle’ or ‘Two from the end’

and the torchlight turned and went


bobbing again up the slope

with more grace than many films.

So autumn shows us how


to go about gardening. It clears

a path for the virtuous

to follow and pull a weed.


– Elizabeth Smither –

Autumn Cornflowers


April is poetry month, so I’m aiming for at least one poem a day rather than just one on Friday (though I have to admit yesterday’s from Dr Seus was there by coincidence because I hadn’t realised it was poetry month at the time).

Autumn Cornflowers comes from Footfall  by Brian Turner, published by Godwit.

Autumn Cornflowers


A friend rings to tell me

he’s writing my name, Turner,

on all the old thermal underwear

he can find

and is going to hang the lot

on a fence on the West Coast.

I can’t think why

except that it’s his way

of broadcasting my alleged

rough, tough customer image

and bringing it to the attention

of the wider world. Something

like that. And then he says

‘You live in the coldest place

in New Zealand, don’t ya.’

‘One of,’ I say, ‘one of.’


When he hangs up

I go outside

and look at the bunches

of blue cornflowers

I planted in the shade

of my dry stone wall

five months or more ago.

They are still in bloom

in April, in our crisp

blue autumn, I love

these flowers, I have

no hesitation in saying:

they are the last I have.

There is no poverty in them,

pure brave imperative

without pity.


– Brian Turner –

Poetry in Parenting



This Friday’s poem, Poetry in Parenting  by Karen Gray comes from swings + roundabouts Poems on Parenthood  edited by Emma Neale, published by Godwit.


                       Poetry in Parenting


There is poetry in parenting if you listen for it.

A little face pressed against the window as the southerly hits:

‘Mummy, outside it has just burst into tears,

and the cabbage tree’s hair is in its eyes’

Poetry. And wisdom:

‘I know how the mice got in the roof, Dad – they jumped on the trampoline.’

Visions of mice, like miniature Masai, bouncing.


                       – Karen Gray –

Planting Spuds


The first new potatoes are appearing in the supermarket but I’m not tempted because they’re from the North Island and always a disappointment in comparison with the far tastier, but slightly later ripening, North Otago ones.


Until the local spuds are available I won’t be buying, but the thought of them prompted the choice of this Friday’s poem.


It’s Planting Spuds by Brian Turner from Footfall published by Godwit in 2005.


Planting Spuds


You were reading where a man planting spuds

in his garden saw it as his ‘sovereign prerogative’

a phrase both lofty and daft, possibly outrageous.


It’s hard to decide. As is, if what one does could ever

be worthy of such belief. And it’s difficult to know

if you’re a certain sort of person, what one has


a right to do, or whether one should even be troubled

by the question. I can easily imagine working in a bee-loud

corner of a glade, a lost domain, humming happily


or watching a rabbit unnoticed yet ever alert,

nibbling grass perked by rain. But what one

chooses to do next is governed by more than


one’s own prerogative. You should be ready to run

like a rabbit, no matter what. It’s got something

to do with who’s part of the food chain, and which


way the wind’s blowing. What do you reckon?

How deep in the ground would you put spuds

if you didn’t have the requisite advice printed


on the bag they came in? And would it help to

plant them before the sun goes down and the bees

return to the hive? Does anyone know that?


– Brian Turner –

Even In The Dark


This Friday’s poem, Even in the Dark, is by Ruth Gilbert.


I found it in My Heart Goes Swimming, New Zealand Love Poems, edited by Jenny Bornholdt  and Gregory O’Brien.


Even In the Dark


As a room you know,

Ad even at midnight

Walk through effortlessly,

By sense, not sight

Passing unscathed between

Table and chair

Avoiding the low foot-stool,

Faultlessly aware

Of ledge and bowl

Of flower and crystal vase;

Moving unerringly

Without fear or pause

To the desk with its open book,

Paper-knife, and book-mark;

As this room I would have you know me,

Even in the dark.


– Ruth Gilbert –

Buttercups at Mt Cook


This Friday’s poem is by Diane Brown from her collection learning to lie together, published by Godwit in 2004.

Buttercups at Mt Cook


all day I try to remember

the rhyme, then conclude


there wasn’t one

it was just a game


for idle moments

in paddocks, the placing


of a buttercup

under the chin


the question

do you like butter?


there wasn’t a choice

back then, we all


said yes knowing

if there was no


yellow reflection

we were deemed liars


today I leave

the buttercups alone


there are too few

these are white


and butter is bad

for you now


– Diane Brown

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