Poetry

Humour is important to me, and I try to incorporate it in my poetry as well as my painting. I love playing with words, not just their meanings, but also their sounds.  Poems come to life when they’re read aloud, that’s when rhyme and meter work best, and to me both are an integral part of poetry. I feel that it pays to work hard at finding an effortless rhyme, and rhyming without distorting the grammar creates a natural flow to the lines. If a line scans well, it is easy to recite and remember.

I enjoy writing what I call ‘real poems for real people’, often with a twist in the tail, (the poems that is – not the people) – poems about simple things, in a language that anyone can understand.

Commissioned Poems

I have written a number of poems on private commissions for people celebrating or commemorating an occasion. This can be the most challenging work, particularly for bereavements, because of the personal nature of the poem and the constraints of a time line. The concept of a personally composed poem is not common place, but it is something more and more people are becoming aware of, and are keen to do. Commissioning a poem is a novel idea and makes a really special, individualised gift.

PUBLISHED BOOKS IN PRINT
THE ELEMENTAL SERIES

‘Waterworks’ and ‘Earthworks’ and ‘Airworks’ are the first three, themed, poetry books in the ‘Elemental’ series, a collection of four books each based on one of the four classical elements of water, earth, air and fire. Currently in progress and still to look forward to is Fireworks.

 

Waterworks

a collection of poems

Waterworks, first published in 2005, is both a stand alone collection of water-themed poems and the first volume in a four part series entitled the Elemental collection.

It consists of thirty poems covering water in its many forms from rain and rivers to lakes and sea. The Otago harbour and neighbouring coastline feature strongly in the beautiful and graphic depictions of sailing, kayaking, fishing and beachcombing.

The poems are accompanied by accomplished oil paintings that work particularly well with the poetry and give us a glimpse of the inspiration behind the works.

Rhyme and rhythm are very much to the fore with lines that scan well and are easily read.

 

ELEMENTAL Part two

Earthworks

a collection of poems

Earthworks is the second in the Elemental series and its earthy theme has poems ranging from dusty roads to native bush; from geology to gardening and from Central Otago vineyards to epic journeys of discovery. The wonderfully descriptive poems offer plenty of local colour as they take us on a journey through a very familiar Otago landscape and then to locations and lands beyond the horizon.

As with Waterworks there is a broad thread of humour cleverly woven through many of the poems, and once again well crafted rhythm and rhyme bring the works to life.

In Earthworks the images have changed from oil paintings to photographs but the artistic link is as strong as ever and there are some wonderful shots that help to make this book something special.

 

ELEMENTAL Part three

Airworks

a collection of poems

AIRWORKS is the third in the four part series THE ELEMENTAL COLLECTION. The poems in AIRWORKS are a mixture of long and short, rhyming and free verse, humour and observational; and people and place. They all have the common theme of air, with poems about sky, clouds, breath, wind, airports, flying etc.

As with previous books there are a number of photos accompanying the verse. The images are closely linked to the poems. Sometimes they have been the inspiration for the poem, sometimes the poem has come first and I’ve sought out something from my photo archive that compliments it; or gone out and captured the specific image or scene that I was after. There are a few photos from overseas, but, like the previous books, most are images from around Otago, with scenes and places that you may well recognise.

My particular style of poetry has not changed. The poems still have structure and form; make use of alliteration and have generous amounts of rhyme. For full effect, these poems work best when read aloud. These poems are not meant as a test for the intellect, their intention is merely to bring some pleasure to the reader, enjoy.

WATERWORKS

Waterworks cover

 

MOANA

 

She feasts upon the foreshore

Slaps her hungry lips

Spitting out the skin and bone

In salty tidal strips

She gives me tortured driftwood

Strings of seaweed treasures

Offers me her coloured shells

A thousand shining pleasures

The sea’s a seething mystery

Powerful and strange

I feed her stones and footprints

It seems a fair exchange

Restlessly she ripples

She knows no pride or shame

She is as she has always been

Moana is her name

 

Other poems in Waterworks are titled:

 

TAIERI MOUTH

WAVES OF PASSION

FOOTPRINTS

A GRAY DAY

BEACH COMBER

NO SENSE

FRIDAY NIGHT IS

PUT IN PERSPECTIVE

DRIFTING

DROWNING RAINBOW

NOWEGIAN BLUE

PROUD

WATERSHED WISDOM

FISH FILLET

ONCE THE RIVER BABBLED

SIMPLE PLEASURES

SKIMMING STONES

TOITOI AND RED TUSSOCK

RACE THE SUN

REFLECTIONS ON ROWING

PADDLE CRABS

CALL YOURSELF A MAN

FRESH CUP OF TEA

NO FREE LUNCHES

SEA-CHANGE

OVERDRIVE

SLEEPING ON THE TIDES

LANDFALL TOWER

ZEN OF SEA SICKNESS

EARTHWORKS

Earthworks

 

TRUE OTAGO SCENE

 

Where in lies the essence of

A true Otago scene

Is it flecks of woolly white

Upon a field of green

A skylark in a sky-blue sky

Singing so serene

Or is it just a ‘for sale’ sign

Where once a dream had been

 

Other poems in Earthworks are titled:

GOING OFF THE RAILS

THE ROAD

ROADSIDE ROCKS

DINOSAUR EGGS

WILD SEED

DUSTY ROADS

METAL MINDS

KARITANE

DUSTY COLOURED

CONSTITUTIONAL

FRONT ROW MACROCARPAS

WET BROWN HEIFERS

I LOVE YOU

PONGA OR TWO

TRACK AND STREAM

BLUEBELL WOOD

ONWARDS

RIMU ROCK

SIAM BAMBOO

ODE TO GORSE

LEAVES

FIREWOOD

ODE TO ANN’S NEW POTATOES

GARDEN BLUES

WHAT COLOUR

SECATEURS

BROKEN BONE

BLACKHEAD

MAU WAHO

PYLONS

SHADOWED RIPPLES

WINTER’S KISS

IN SEARCH OF UTOPIA

FINGERNAILS

NOT WHILE THERE’S AN ENGLAND

THE SOUTHERN MAN

SEEDS OF PROMISE

SLOW MORNING

BURY ME

AIRWORKS

SOMETHING IN THE AIR

There’s something in the air out here
That’s sticky, warm and sweet
At dawn it’s frangipani scent
At dusk it’s charcoaled meat

There’s something in the air out here
A colourful disease
A thousand flags with stars and stripes
All flapping in the breeze

There’s something in the water too
A gated floating town
A dream bought with a lifetime’s work
And half a million down

There’s effluence and affluence
Where swimming has been banned
And brave young things on paddle-boards
Their bodies lithe and tanned

There’s something in the very earth
Beneath the baking ground
That throws up palms and cactus plants
And flowers all year round

There’s something deep within the crust
That brings me to a halt
But I refuse to take the blame
It’s California’s fault

Other poems in Airworks are titled:

BOW TO THE WIND

SKYLARK

SOUTHERLY

MOLTEN SKY

GOLDEN DAWN

SHADOW CLOUDS

WHERE THE POSSUMS RUN

DREAM(dec)LINERS

PASSPORT CONTROL

ARRIVAL

KILKENNY RAIN

FLYING HIGH

M H SEVENTEEN

LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER

BROKEN WINDBEAKS

BURSTING BUBBLES

YACHT CLUB

NEVER SEEN A SHADOW

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

BUTTERFLY THOUGHTS

NIGHT ON THE ROCKS

FIGURE EIGHTS

ALBATROSS

HUNG, DRAWN AND QUARTERED

AFTERNOON BREEZE

THE BREWING

KIWI CHRISTMAS

PACIFIC DAYS

E-BOOKS AND COLLECTIONS IN DIGITAL FORMAT
HOT DOGS AND COOL CATS

HOT DOGS

‘Hot Dogs and Cool Cats’ is a collection of poems written around a trip to Mexico in 2015. Here are a couple of samples from the collection:

 

HERE IS THE NEWS

So here is the news
We’ve arrived at La Cruz
It’s a port on the Mexican coast
The food’s hot as Hades
And so are the ladies
I’m not sure which troubles me most

The lingo’s quite foreign
The streets are a warren
Of alleys where people get lost
The prices are great
But you need to translate
Into dollars to know what things cost

The water is ‘iffy’
The toilets are sniffy
The dogs wander wild in the street
There’s one nearby store
Without any door
That sells fizzy drinks and raw meat

My guts have the runnies
I’ve broken my sunnies
It’s brighter than Rio or Rome
Whenever I travel
Things start to unravel
I’m better off staying at home.

 

 

PELIDACTYLS

Above the broad Banderais Bay
Above its golden shores
Where myth and magic mingle
An ancient sea-bird soars

Scribing symbols on a page
Of cloudless Aztec sky
In waves of ‘V’ formations
The Pelidactyls fly

Through the margarita air
The legend glides with ease
As the blood red setting sun
Is snuffed out by a breeze

Transcending time and logic
With outspread feathered quills
Melting with the heat of day
Into the distant hills.

 

Other poems in the collection are titled:

ANOTHER WORLD

SILVER BIRD

MEXICO’S COMPLEXICO

THE LUSH LIFE

THE SOUNDS OF THE OCEAN

GUADALAJARA CLARA

TEQUILA TEQUILA

LA CRUZ

MEXICAN MORNING

LAST OF THE MOJITOS

MEXICAN FAN

PIGEON COOS

PURPLE PATCH

SKY BLUE

IN TUNE

AIRPORT TROLLEY

GOOD TO BE HOME

WINNING LINES

‘Winning Lines’ is a collection of sports based poems covering topics from cycling to horse racing and rugby to the Olympics. Here are a couple from the collection:

 

FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN

Fanfare for the common man
Praise Pierre De Coubertin
For his vision and his plan
Reviving games of old

Rings that circumscribe the world
Anthems sung and flags unfurled
Embryonic dreams lie curled
And wrapped around the gold

The passion of Olympic fire
Forging further, faster, higher
Records tumble and inspire
Mankind to be bold

 

SLICK RUBBER

Slick rubber tarmac licks
Fluid gearshift finger flicks
Blue skies pulse with dazzling light
Chromium gleam of wheels in flight
Light breeze tail wind full of heat
Warm air thick but moist and sweet
Sunlight strobed by stainless spokes
A swarm of lycra coloured blokes

 

Other poems in Winning Lines are titled:

LEAN TIMES

LANDFALL TOWER

OVERDRIVE

ROWING

COACHING

TEST MATCH

COVERDRIVE

CRICKET VALENTINE

MARTIN CROWE

WADDLE AND CONEY

TOUR DE FRANCE

SIMPLE PLEASURES

SOMETHING SPECIAL

ANY TEAM BUT ITALY

MAN OF THE MATCH

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME

FOUL PLAY

THE GOLFER’S PRAYER

ADDRESSING THE BALL

THE SPORT OF KINGS

DOLLAR EACH WAY

ENGAGE

WATCHING RUGBY

STATE OF ORIGIN

WE BELIEVE

NUMBER 11

FORWARD PASS

DIVE DEEP

BURT MUNRO

TRAFFIC LIGHTS

AFTER THE GAMES

OLYMPICING

ENGLAND LOSE AGAIN

RIO

TOP THAT

‘Top That’ is a collection of poems based on the theme of ‘tops’. Here are a couple of selected poems from the book:

 

ROOF TOP

Freshly baked pavlova with
Sliced kiwifruit on top
Pharlap and the Fins
Will the filching never stop

Trees are full of cherries and
Plump birds from near and far
The kereru keep crapping on
The rooftop of the car

Corrugated iron makes
A rare freshwater catch
Pitter-patter raindrops on
The rooftop of the batch

Acid rain and filthy fumes
Softly filter down
A pawl of dark pollution on
The rooftop of the town

Town and country, time and tide
Growth and conservation
A long white cloud subsumes the land
The rooftop of a nation

Knocking off the bastard
The union unfurled
Tensing and Sir Edmund on
The rooftop of the world

 

SPINNING TOP

Spin you little spinning top
Let the games begin
Unleashed with whip-like energy
Spin you good thing spin

Plunged into a frenzy
A low pitched perfect purr
Pirouetting on your toe
Your colours merge and blur

Your gyroscopic motion weaves
A centrifugal dance
Mesmerising all into
A hushed hypnotic trance

Turn you little dynamo
Spin for all you’re worth
Like a whirling dervish
Mimicking the Earth

Tracing out a spiral
As you cross the shiny floor
To find the epicentre where
You’ll spin for evermore

But wait, what’s this, a wobble
As you begin to slow
Your body seems uncertain
Swaying to and fro

Can it be you’re teetering?
Upon a fated plight
Or were you just unbalanced
Dizzy with delight

Dizzy maybe, dizzy yes
But now it seems you’re drunk
With no control or self respect
You rock and roll and clunk

You raged against inertia
Stood up and took a chance
But the revolution’s over
And so too is your dance

Now your random death throws cast
Dark shadows here and there
Till at last all is spent
And stillness fills the air

 

Other poems in TOP THAT are titled:

 

FIGHTING TOPS

TANK TOPS

THE TOPP TWINS

BOTTLE TOPS

THE BIG TOP

TIP TOP

TOP SECRET

TOP OF THE MORNING

A CURRENT AFFAIR

TOP SHOP

ROOM ON TOP

A MANTRA FOR ALL SEASONS

SILENT SEASONS

How swift the silent seasons change

From sun to swirling snow

From Springtime’s silver showers

To Autumn’s golden glow

 

Other poems in A MANTRA FOR ALL SEASONS are titled:

MULTIPLES

WELL SEASONED

SUMMER RAINS

SPRING ROLLS

SILENT SEASONS

DEW DROP DAYS

WHAT COLOUR

MY MEMORY

THE ROAD

SPRING

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

SLINK

THE RIGHTS OF SPRING

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

SPRING TIED

SPRING TIDE

SWEET INTRUSIONS

SUMMER

KIWI CHRISTMAS

LEAVES

SKYLARK

KARITANE

NOT WHILE THERE’S AN ENGLAND

BURNISHED GOLD

HEAVEN’S BEACH

WINDMILLS

NIL CARBORUNDUM

FRANKTON AFTERNOON

CHRISTMAS CRACKER

THE UNRELLENTING RAIN

GOLDEN CHRISTMAS

REMAKABLES

AUTUMN

NORTHEAST VALLEY

AUTUMN

AUTUMN GOLD

TWO HORSES

CAESAR NAUTUMN

FIRST LIGHT

FROSTY EYES

HAND OF FRIENDSHIP

REFLECTIVE PONDERING

WINTER

THE SOUND OF SNOW

SCARY WEATHER

ART OF ANGELS

WINTER’S KISS

WET BROWN HEITHERS

A REGULAR THREE RINK CIRCUS

A NICE HOUSE

FRONT ROEW MACROCARPAS

HURRY

THE DREADFUL SLAM

BRASS MONKEY WEATHER

HUNKER DOWN

AN EVENNING BY THE FIRE

LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER

POOLS OF GOLD