You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.


Tuesday Poem

Another one of mine this week.  It was first published in Poetry NZ 27.  You can get to the other Tuesday poems by clicking on the quill above.

Lipstick Kisses


the lipstick of a thousand windy women
blew off
on the cheek of a plain man

he lifted his fingers to his face
thought it was blood
‘I’ve been hit,’ he cried

crimson kisses
trickled down his body
pooled at his feet

crept into the nearest careless handbag


ah, Snow White
she tasted of red

hair black as a new moon night
the wildest of lovers
she was sweeter than dreams

burgundy kisses
she tasted of softness
tasted of red

oh, just to kiss her
to see her
just to kiss her again

Spring and Fall, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Ballroom Cafe

Tomorrow (Sunday 18th April), Rachel McAlpine will be reading poetry at the Ballroom Cafe in Newtown (9 Riddiford St) and Apollo will be drumming.!/event.php?eid=116209038390000&ref=nf

Open mic to start, so bring a poem to read.  4pm to 6pm.  Food, coffee, wine on sale. 

NZ Poetry Society

Monday 19 April, 7.30pm
The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St

Guest poet: Jennifer Compton (NZ/Australia), the current Writer-in-Residence at Massey University.

Entry: $5 (NZPS members $3).

Genii Cucullati (The Hooded Ones)
Housesteads, Northumberland

we three still beat
beneath the fort
(Hadrian – that
we well outlived
his Diana)
you’ll hear our names
in oak leaves
read them in the flick
of a squirrel’s tail
you’ll feel us
in your pulse
listen hard
it’s an age
since we danced

Janis Freegard

(first published in the Scottish-based webjournal surface online, sadly no longer in existence)

You can read all the other Tuesday poems at the new Tuesday Poem blog here.

Mary McCallum has started an exciting new Tuesday Poem event for bloggers (see her blog for details and links to other blogging poets taking part).

So, here’s one of my poems (better late than never.)  The poem is Lament of an Old Punk, which first appeared in The North and subsequently in AUP New Poets 3.

Lament of an Old Punk

do they think they invented it
these pierced youth?

no studios in my day, you just
picked up a safety pin off the floor of the bar

and shoved it through your cheek
five times I pierced myself that way

except one time I used the business end
of a ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ badge

it’s easier if you get drunk first
but sometimes you just need the pain


No-one can accuse me of not getting to my fair share of book launches, but the one Peter and I went to last weekend was really special.  The book was Jeffrey Paparoa Holman’s Best of Both Worlds – the story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau, and it was launched on the marae at Maungapōhatu in the Ureweras.

It was a stunning day for the pohiri and the mountain was in the mood for showing itself.  I think all of us manuhiri (visitors) knew how lucky we were.

‘Best of Both Worlds’ is published by Penguin and is the story of the interaction between Elsdon Best (a Pakeha scholar from the late 1800s who wanted to record Maori stories) and Tutakangahau, a Tuhoe chief.  We were lucky enough to meet some of the descendants of both men, as well as descendants of Rua Kenana, the Ringatu prophet.

It occurred to me that the wharenui is like a history book itself – with photos of ancestors around the walls and no doubt many stories written into the patterns painted on the walls and beams (for those with the ability to understand them). And of course histories are  kept and told by the people who live there, who keep the stories alive and pass them on.

The night before we went to Maungapōhatu, we stayed at Ōpūtao marae at Ruatāhuna, a family marae which offers noho marae (marae stay) accommodation.  If you’re looking for a friendly marae to stay at, with great home-cooked food and an opportunity to practise your reo, here’s where to book:

The day we left, we stopped in at Ruatahuna again where a local gala was under way, with horse riding competitions, food stalls and digger competitions.

We met some wonderful people during our vist and came away grateful to the tangata whenua who looked after us so well.

road through the Ureweras 

 Peter & Waikaremoana (on the way home)



Janis on Twitter

Tuesday Poem

Tuesday Poem


April 2010

Blog Stats

  • 69,651 hits

Facebook photos