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I’m all lost in the supermarket
I can no longer shop happily…

                                                    The Clash

After hours of listening to barcodes chirping
mental notes to themselves. All that time
smiling at an elderly aunty to somebody, anybody
who’d listen. After infinite I.D. checks and eftpos
transactions. Endless packing & stocking & presenting.
After the deli manager at the staff party.
After the spillages in aisle three. After the incident
in the produce department when finally
the managers were called in.
It was time.

Trolley Holiday - - 298467
Image by Colin Grice

I’m delighted to be able to post one of Trevor Hayes’ poems for this week’s Tuesday poem.  I’m intrigued by the staff party and “the incident in the produce department” but maybe it’s best not to know…

Trevor tells me his first job out of school was in a supermarket and he is still recovering!  He is currently working on the final stages of what he hopes will be the manuscript of his first book.  I’m looking forward to reading it.




Last weekend, we were in Auckland for the Wire concert (originally a  seventies UK punk band that has kept on playing and kept on making the albums – they were great).  After a trip to the Auckland Art Gallery and an excellent brunch there, we took a ferry trip and spent Saturday afternoon strolling around sunny Devonport, exploring the bookshops and eating fish burgers and nachos at the Masonic Hotel.  Perfect day.  I was quite taken with the plaque above (in case you can’t read it, it says ‘On this site in 1897 nothing happened’) and the knitted hearts that someone has been sewing around the seats.

You do not need many things


My house is buried in the deepest recess of the forest
Every year, ivy vines grow longer than the year before.
Undisturbed by the affairs of the world I live at ease,
Woodmen’s singing rarely reaching me through the trees.
While the sun stays in the sky, I mend my torn clothes
And facing the moon, I read holy texts aloud to myself.
Let me drop a word of advice for believers of my faith.
To enjoy life’s immensity, you do not need many things.

Tr. Nobuyuki Yuasa

A statue of Ryōkan.

Taigu Ryōkan (1758-1831) was a Japanese poet in a tradition of radical Zen poets or “great fools”.  He is remembered for poetry and calligraphy that present the essence of Zen life. Ryōkan spent his life as a hermit in the snow country of Mt. Kugami.  He refused to accept any position as a priest or as a poet.  In the tradition of Zen his poems show a good sense of humour as well as insights into the practice of Zen. 

Who says my poems are poems?
These poems are not poems.
When you can understand this,
then we can begin to speak of poetry.

Ryōkan never published a collection of verse while alive. He spent his days in zazen meditation, walking in the woods, playing with children, making his daily begging rounds, reading and writing poetry, doing calligraphy, and occasionally drinking wine with friends.

Year of the Metal Rabbit

Image by OnTask via Flickr

Year of the Metal Rabbit 


Your Year of Unlimited Success

You will not be offered a starring role in next year’s art-house award-winner, nor will your rainy weekend novel surpass the Bone People.  Your photograph will not appear in New Weekly, the Women’s Weekly or Time.

Your Year of Boundless Love

Your doorstep will not be littered with long-stemmed roses.  Dogs won’t follow you in the street.

Your Year of Supreme Wealth

Your garage will not house a Roller, a Beamer or a Jag.  No holiday home in Tuscany will materialise.  You will continue not to take up ostrich farming.

Your year of Spiritual Fulfilment

Life will not grow increasingly astral.  You will refrain from relocating to a small hut on top of a mountain.

Your Year of Invention and Discovery

You will neglect to entertain your friends with tales of combing the catacombs for relics of lost deities or your explorations of Amazonian rainforests to find the tiny liane that will cure leukaemia.  You will not build a perpetual motion machine in your garden shed.

Your Year of Looking in the Mirror

You will, however, have the endless compassion of the once teased, the eternal gratitude of every small creature you rescue from the dangers of the footpath, and a smile that reaches from here to the brilliance of hope.  Enjoy your year; you deserve it.



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Tuesday Poem

Tuesday Poem


January 2011

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