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The Astronauts

earth’s one blue eye stared back at them
they were smaller than they’d ever been

& after the descent, giants for a day
or was it a month? everything looked paler

the space to their wives unbreachable (what was it like?)
vodka peyote Church of the Latter Day Saints

they couldn’t see a way back
one sells autographs at Star Trek conventions

another took to acrylics but did the moondust last?
or is he in his backyard at midnight

rubbing dirt particles into fabric
to cut and fix on beaten plywood; to sell a gritty dream

a speck of possibility
out beyond the reaches of possession

                                                                        Janis Freegard

Tuesday Poem

This was originally published in Turbine.  I’d just like to make it clear that it’s a purely fictional and speculative account and I am in no way suggesting any astronaut would ever really use garden dirt instead of moondust in a painting.  The idea of an astronaut artist is real though.  Alan Bean was the fourth man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 12 mission, and later became a full-time painter.  He paints astronauts and the moon and uses the hammer he took to the moon to provide texture, his moon boots for footprints, and the cut-up emblems from his suit as a source of moon dust (from the Ocean of Storms) to mix with his paint so that every painting has a little bit of moondust in it.  How cool is that?

This week’s poetic treat comes from Wellington poet and photographer, Mary Macpherson.  Mary’s poetry can be found in her first collection ‘The Inland Eye’, in the collaborative work ‘Millionaire’s Shortbread’ and in many literary journals (including Snorkel, where this poem first appeared).  Thank-you Mary, for letting me post Defiance as one of the ‘Tuesday Poems’. 



A couch was important,
it was covered in fabric
called ‘two-tone defiance’. Wet birds
shook themselves out of trees.

You held the cat in midair
and the saying was
‘one hand on his brain
the other on his potatoes.’

The potatoes turned over
in a flash of clods.  Daylight
shimmered over everything.
Nothing was solved
by the flow of time.

Mary Macpherson

My poem, Turtles, was originally published in blackmail press.  For other Tuesday poems, click here: Tuesday Poem



Some things aren’t meant to be understood:
Like electricity or war
You know they’re going on somewhere
But it’s best not to think about it
It could make your hair curl

Ann explains the turtle theory of light:
Behaving neither like a wave nor a particle
Light is more like a great string of turtles
Each holding the next one’s tail in its mouth
Like the pin in a grenade

What they do when they get to a light switch is
Anybody’s guess


Poetry at the Ballroom Cafe

 Jennifer Compton will be reading at the Ballroom Cafe in Newtown, Wellington, on 20 June 4pm – 6pm & Carlos Navae will be playing music.  Click on the link below for the poster with more details.

ballroom poster June

Poetry Society AGM & 5 by 5

Monday 21 June, 7.30pm
The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St, Thorndon, Wellington

The meeting will open with the 2010 AGM of the NZPS.

This will be followed by readings from 5 local poets (Jack Duggan, Anne Harre, Tim Jones, Sugu Pillay, and Mercedes Webb-Pullman) of 5 poems each. Free entry.

Stand Up Poetry at the Palmerston North Library

I will be the guest poet at the Palmerston North City Library on 7 July.  It starts with an open mic at 7pm.

Location: Sound & Vision Zone, Ground Floor, Central Library

Other Good Poetry Things

The NZ Poetry Society has a good list of nationwide poetry events – here’s the link

from ‘Alices Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson). These are the verses the White Rabbit reads at the trial.

‘They told me you had been to her,
And mentioned me to him:
She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.

He sent them word I had not gone
(We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?

I gave her one, they gave him two,
You gave us three or more;
They all returned from him to you,
Though they were mine before.

If I or she should chance to be
Involved in this affair,
He trusts to you to set them free,
Exactly as we were.

My notion was that you had been
(Before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him, and ourselves, and it.

Don’t let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me.’



Janis on Twitter

  • RT @amjutel: Here's a creative writing contest: In exactly 55 words, tell us what the Covid-19 pandemic is/was like for you by 23 Oct. Ema… 1 day ago
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Tuesday Poem

Tuesday Poem


June 2010

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