A Fence Around The Cuckoo


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A Fence Around The Cuckoo, the first volume of Ruth Park’s autobiography, gripped me from the opening paragraphs as the adult writer shadows the child she was, scared and confused eavesdropping on her aunt and grandmother.

Ruth Park was a prolific writer and the ability to bring people and places to life in her novel is used to equally good effect in the story of her own life.

She takes us from her early days in the bush camp where she and her mother followed her father who was a bridge builder and road maker; through school in Te Kuiti, then following her father’s bankruptcy during the Great Depression, to life in Auckland.

She was forced to leave school but she was driven to write – so much so that when the only paper available was the newspaper she wrote in the white spaces round the edges of the print.

This volume ends as she arrives in Australia, after an eight hour journey by flying boat, to be met by the man who became her husband, D’Arcy Niland.

He was a writer too and the second volume of her autobiography, Fishing In The Styx, which shows their dogged determination to succeed in spite of events which conspire to make this difficult, is an inspiration for anyone finding life difficult and would-be writers in particular.

A friend said she was torn between reading these books quickly because she was enjoying them so much and slowly because she didn’t want them to end. I felt the same way.

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A Fence Around The Cuckoo, and Fishing In The Styx, by Ruth Park were published by Penguin, in 1992 and 1993 respectively.

I Love You


 Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day so this Friday’s poem had to be a love one.

I Love You, by Roy Croft comes from Poems and Readings for Weddings edited by Julie Watson, published by Penguin.

I Love You


I love you,                                           

Not only for what you are,                  

But for what I am                                 

When I am with you.                            


I love you,                                            

Not only for what                                

You have made of yourself,                 

But for what                                         

You are making of me.


I love you                                              

For the part of me                                 

That you bring out;                              

I love you                                             

For putting your hand                           

Into my heaped-up heart                       

And passing over                                   

All the foolish, weak things

That you can’t help                                

Dimly seeing there,                                

And for drawing out                              

Into the light                                           

All the beautiful belongings                   

That no one else had looked                  

Quite hard enough to find.                      



I love you because you

Are helping me to make

Of the lumber of my life

Not a tavern

But a temple,

Our of the works

Or my every day

Not a reproach

But a song.


I love you

Because you have done

More than any creed

Could have done

To make me good,

And more than any fate

Could have done

To make me happy.


You have done it

Without a touch,

Without a word,

Without a sign.

You have done it

By being yourself.

Perhaps that is what

Being a friend means

After all.


 – Roy Croft –

Fleur chats to Kim


The book Fleurs Place by Graham Warman and Paul Sorrell, published by Penguin is being launched at Fleurs Place tomorrow.

Fleur chatted to Kim Hill this morning, you can listen to it here.

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