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If you haven’t seen it already, it’s worth checking out Masterton’s cool little gallery space in containers, ConArt. It features exhibitions, performance space, working studios and a space for local artists to sell their artworks. Well worth a look if you’re over that way (but check opening times first – they’re open Weds to Sat 10am – 4:30pm). You can find them next to Aratoi.

There are also poems on the containers and I was delighted when I heard that my poem ‘Albatross’ (from The Glass Rooster’) has been included. You can listen to ‘Albatross’ here on RNZ. It’s based on a real-life female pair, not uncommon in the seabird world.

Thanks to Masterton woman, Chris Daniell, you can now enjoy outdoor poems all over Masterton. Go, Chris!

Just as a male Adelie penguin must select exactly the right pebble for his  beloved – the size, shape, colour and weight that will convince her of his worthiness, so must you select the poem that is exactly right for you.  It may take a lifetime of effort, but oh! think of the joy it will bring!

Photo credit: es0teric/Creative Commons

(OK, this pebble business is something of a myth, although pebbles are definitely prized at nesting time.  For the whole scandalous sex-for-pebbles exposé, read this.)


I always knew I was home because of the china ducks on the wall.  I bought them in the mid-eighties, from a second hand shop in Wellington, near the Manners St Post Office. The first thing I did in a new flat was to nail them up – in the lounge, if the flatmates were amenable, or in my own room if they weren’t. 

 The next thing I did was reassemble my bed.  The wire base had to be reconnected with its solid wooden headboard and footboard by means of a spanner.  This made me feel like an independent woman.  A woman who could do anything.  I could, for example, move heavy furniture around the room by bracing my feet against the wall and pushing things with my back.

 And I would set up my record player and play ‘Colossal Youth’, the Young Marble Giants’ only album (though there have been CD reissues and live versions since). 

 Eventually, I gave the ducks away, but found I missed them.  When I bought my house, the place Peter and I live in now, I bought the house a present – three china seagulls.  They fly up the living room wall, telling me I’m home.

I was chuffed to see another of my poems in the DomPost as the ‘Wednesday poem’ last week.  This time it was “Little Blue”, which is about the penguins that nest near Frank Kitts Park in Wellington.


The suburb I live in is called Vogeltown, after Julius Vogel a former New Zealand premier (in the 1870s).  But of course Vogel is also the German word for bird and it’s becoming increasingly apt.  With the opening of the Karori Sanctuary and the Wellington Regional Council’s possum poisoning programme, the birds have been – literally – flocking back.


When I first moved here (eight or nine years ago), I’d see the odd tui around, but it was mostly blackbirds, fantails, waxeyes and riroriro (grey warblers).  And there’s always been a kingfisher frequenting the power lines by the bus-stop. 


Now we’ll get several tui at once (in the lancewood trees outside the bedroom window) and lately, even kaka, which is pretty exciting.  Ruru (morepork) can be heard at night.  One day kereru?  Who knows?  Noisy little buggers, the lot of them.  Bring it on, I say. 



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Tuesday Poem

Tuesday Poem


November 2020

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