On World Mental Health Day


Everyone has bad moments, bad days, bad times. Some people feel they are having a bad life.

We can’t easily see when someone’s heart is bleeding; we can’t bandage mental wounds and we can’t put broken spirits in splints.

But mental health problems can be as serious as physical ones and you can no more lift the black clouds of depression by bucking up, thinking positive or following any of the other well-intentioned exhortations than you can heal a physical injury or illness that way.

This is Mental Health Awareness week   and this year’s theme is:  Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing – Mā te taiao kia whakapakari tōu oranga!

If you or someone you know needs help The Mental Health Foundation has a list of helplines, websites and other resources here and  Farmstrong has a list of places to go for help here.

For less serious issues there’s always Leunig:


What are you doing? I’m using my device. What is your device? My device is the sky. Does your device have many applications? Yes. It has sun, moon, clouds and birds. ANd do you have to recharge your device very often? I don’t ever have to recharge my device, It recharges me.

And Twitter:



Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “There are no conditions of life to which a man cannot get accustomed if he sees them accepted by everyone about him”?

2. What’s a gillie (sometimes written as ghillie)?

3. Which is Italy’s biggest lake?

4. Which sheep breed resulted from crossing Cheviots and Romneys?

5. Who wrote The Curly Pyjama Letters?

Gravedodger got 4 out of 5 with a bonus for knowing Como is Italy’s deepest lake; Ray got 3 right and gets 1/2 a point for being on the  right track with the answer to number 3 and Kismet scored 3.

The answers follow the break.

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April is poetry month – I don’t know who decided that, but I read it somewhere  on the internet (exactly where I can’t remember). But I read it there so it must be so and because it’s so I’ve posted a poem a day as my contribution to the celebration of what my OED says is the elevated expression of elevated thought or feeling in metrical form.

I’m not sure if all the 29 poems I’ve selected so far have expressed elevated thoughts in an elevated manner and I’m not sure if today’s choice does that either. But both content and form appealed to me and since it’s called Literature it seemed an appropriate way to mark the final day of poetry month.

Literature by Michael Leunig is from Poems 1992 – 2002,  published by Viking.



The pen is mightier than the sword

And mightier than the literary award;

Without the pen we’d be unable

To leave those notes on the kitchen table:

Nothing lovelier ever penned

With three small crosses at the end,

Made for no one else to see,

The literature of you and me.


   – Michael Leunig –

The Awfulisers


Today’s contribution to poetry month is Michael Leunig’s The Awfulisers  from  Poems 1972 – 2002,  published by Viking.

     The Awfulisers


Every night and every day

The awfulisers work away,

Awfulising public places,

Favourite things and little graces;

Awfulising lovely treasures,

Common joys and simple pleasures;

Awfulising far and near

The parts of life we held so dear:

Democratic clean and awful,lawful,

Awful, awful, awful awful.


      – Michael Leunig –

Sitting on the Fence


The  story of how Michael Luenig stopped drawing political cartoons and doing the work for which he is now famous is an act of creative rebellion which appeals to me:

One Saturday morning in 1969, struggling towards a deadline and trying to draw a cartoon about the Vietname war, a strange thing happened to me. In an act of merry insolence; as a small rebellion against deadlines, punchlines and politics I sidestepped my obligations and the grave topic in hand and drew what I thought was an absurd, irresponsible triviality. Tempting fate, I presented it to the editor for publication.

It showed a man riding towards the sunset on a large duck. On his head he wore a teapot. Not a ‘proper’ cartoon by conventional standards, quite loopy in fact, but a joyous image nevertheless.

The editor told me he didn’t know what it meant but laughed, shook his head and published it. I suspect that deep down, to my good fortune, he understood.

I don’t know if deep down I always understand, but even if I don’t, I laugh and contemplate and enjoy Leunig’s words and pictures.

This Friday’s poem comes from his collection, Poems 1972 – 2002, published by Viking.

Sitting on the Fence


Come sit down beside me


I said to myself,


And although it doesn’t make sense,


I held my own hand


As a small sign of trust


And together I sat on the fence.

  – Michael Leunig –

Ode To A Jet-Ski Person



This Friday’s poem is dedicated to all those whose summer peace at the beach or lake has been spoiled by these motorised overgrown bumblebees.

Ode To A Jet-Ski Person was written by Michael Leunig and comes from Poems 1972-2002, published by Viking.

Ode To A Jet-Ski Person


Jet-ski person, selfish fink,

May your silly jet-ski sink,

May you hit a pile of rocks,

Oh Hoonish, summer, coastal pox.


Noisy, smoking, dickhead fool

On your loathsome leisure tool,

Give us all a jolly lark

And sink beside a hungry shark.


Scream as in its fangs you go,

Your last attention-seeking show,

While on the beach we all join in

With ‘Three cheers for the dorsal fin!’


     – Michael Leunig –




I see a twinkle in your eye, so this shall be my Christmas star and I will travel to your heart: the manager where the real things are.

And I will find a mother there who holds you gently to her breast, a father to protect your peace, and by these things you shall be blessed.

And you will always be reborn and I will always see the star and make the journey to your heart: the manager where the real things are.

– Michael Leunig –

Modern Stupid


There’s no particular reason for posting this poem tonight.

I just happened to come across it while work-avoiding and it both amused and concerned me.

Modern Stupid

It’s much easier to be stupid these days than in previous times.

Back in the old days they had to do it all by hand. It was sheer drudgery.

Now we can do it faster and with more comfort, thanks to modern methods.

You can fit it into a busy life, it’s available to everyone. It’s right there at your fingertips.

Michael Leunig

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