Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Where and when was Anchor butter launched.

2. What is a piwakawaka?

3.  Who said: “If you find it hard to laugh at yourself I would be happy to do it for you.”?

4. Who wrote the poem, Milking Before Dawn?

5. What does  sinistrorse mean?

Paul Tremewan and Gravedodger share the honours today.

Paul’s stab in the dark for Anchor butter missed but he got the other four right with a bonus for amusing me with the extra info on Groucho. (But why equus in relation to sinistorse? I know it’s the name of a play and that it relates to matters equine but don’t get the link to left).

Gravedodger got four right and a bonus for close-enough for his Anchor butter answer.

The full answer on Anchor is at NZ Histroy Online.

Samo got three right and PDM can have a bonus for honesty.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

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Autumn Garden


The sun isn’t rising until after 6.30 so there’s a definite autumnal feel to the air in the mornings and the first leaves are changing colour which prompted this choice for Friday’s poem.

Autumn Garden  by Ruth Dallas comes from her Collected Poems,  published by University of Otago Press.

Autumn Garden


The trees she loved are loosening their leaves,

But not for sorrow will they let them fall;

Younger leaves are stirring in the bough,


Now, when the world should pause, the bees behave

As if these were the earliest flowers, beans

Swell and wing on the trellis, apples ripen.


Nothing in the garden looks for her,

The summer flowers are scattering their seed,

The heavy apples dream of other trees.


            – Ruth Dallas –

New Year


Most of the literature I was brought up on was from the northern hemisphere so poetry which celebrated seasons never fitted my experience. Because of that I still get a thrill from the sense of connection with poems which come from a southern hemisphere perspective as this Friday’s choice does.

 It’s New Year by Ruth Dallas from Collected Poems, published by University of Otago Press, 2000.

New Year


The brimming year spills over in midsummer heat;

A deft wind combs the willow-branches

And coaxes small-talk from the poplar grove.

Tat dissolves in the deserted street.


My neighbours are gone to the sea or inland,

But I like this time of the year at home,

In the space left by motorbikes and a silenced guitar.

I watch a blackbird grow tipsy on gooseberries.


Doors and windows stay open. Three or four

Sheepswool clouds lie distant from the sun.

In the evening I carry water to the beans.

The sky darkens and the clouds grow a halo.


The moon looks up from the poplars

Like the bright eye of the pert blackbird,

Then expands into a luminous marrow-flower

This postcard is a view from earth.


                      – Ruth Dallas –

A Blue Flower


We woke to a light touch of white on the lawns and paddocks this morning and over in Central Otago up to 500 helicoptors may be called on tonight to help orchardists and viticulturists protect young fruit from the forecast frost.

That unseasonal weather prompted the choice of this Friday’s poem – A Blue Flower by Ruth Dallas from her Collected Poems, published by University of Otago Press.

           A Blue Flower


In the early morning we noticed

Jack Frost had whitewashed the golf-course.


We know who is always out there,

Waiting on the dark side of planets,

The mossed side of trees,

And the green side of apples-

Does he think we were born yesterday?


We lay low, like Brer Rabbit

When Mr Fox is around, laughing, because

We could see, over his white fields,

The flank of a hill, like a lion’s haunch,

Lit be his enemy, the sun.


                                         Another day,

This day, snatched from the hoard of the old miser,

To unfold and stretch itself like a blue flower.


Let us think no more of tomorrow,

Or what is gone, but live to outwit J. Fox,

Plucking each day singly, like ripe fruit.


                 – Ruth Dallas –



Our British and European cultural heritage means a lot of the literature we read has the seasons back to front.


But this Friday’s poem is about a southern hemisphere spring  and I found an strong connection to it because of that. 


September is from Ruth Dallas’s Collected Poems, published by University of Otago Press.




Under thin

Boughs in


Paler than


  Soft as

  The grass,


The Daffodils,

Eager as love,

     As ice-




– Ruth Dalls –

Milking before Dawn



Our heifers are calving and the cows are due to start any day now.

 The tanker began collecting milk a couple of weeks ago, though it’s only coming every couple of days.

 Apropos of that and in the wake of Montana Poetry Day which was celebrated last week, I offer this view of milking which is generally considered a fairly prosaic business.


Milking Before Dawn



In the drifting rain the cows in the yard are as black

And wet and shiny as rocks in an ebbing tide:

But they smell of the soil, as leaves lying under trees

Smell of the soil, damp and steaming, warm,

The shed is an island of light and warmth, the night

Was water-cold and starless out in the paddock.


Crouched on the stool, hearing only the beat

The monotonous beat and hiss of the smooth machines,

The choking gasp of the cups and rattle of hooves,

How easy to fall asleep again, to think

Of the man in the city asleep; he does not feel

The night encircles him. The grasp of mud.


But now the hills in the east return, are soft

And grey with mist, the night recedes, and the rain.

The earth as it turns towards the sun is young

Again, renewed, its history wiped away

Like the tears of a  child. Can the earth be young again

And not the heart? Let the man in the city sleep.


– Ruth Dallas –  

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