Thank you and farewell.

I’ve just finished enveloping the 50th and final edition of Poems in the Waiting Room(NZ).

It’s been 13 years of gathering poems, contacting poets/publishers, editing, proofing, printing, packaging and posting the poetry cards.

Times change, cellphones replace reading in waiting rooms, reading materials are removed with the presence of COVID………….

Thank you for all the support and amazing friendships I’ve made through poetry. Poetry will still play a large part in my life, just in varying formats.

Look out for Poetryinmotion – a facebook page which incorporates all my poetry interests and projects – Poems on Steps, Poems on Seats, Pocket Poetry, Pocket Pages and various other poetry happenings.


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National Poetry Day August 21

We’re celebrating National Poetry Day this year by, providing all patients at Dunedin’s Mercy Hospital, with a Pocket Poetry card on their lunch time meal tray. Here’s a small selection of cards on offer.

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August Art at Mercy – Pauline Bellamy

Pauline Bellamy’s artwork features on the Wall opposite Mercy reception this month. You’re very welcome to call in and view Pauline’s work.

All artworks are for sale with a small commission going towards Poems in the Waiting Room.


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Poems in the Waiting Room Art wall at Mercy Hospital

Mercy Hospital, in Dunedin, has set aside a wall opposite their reception desk for Poems in the Waiting Room to display Art Work.

Each month a new artist is invited to fill the wall with their work. Poems in the Waiting Room takes a small percentage of sales as a fundraiser.

Janie Porter is our June artist.

Janie is a New Zealander and lives on Banks Peninsula/Horomaka. She trained in England, New Zealand, and at the University of Fine Arts in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Janie has lived almost her entire life near the sea and has loved and observed birds since she was a child

She is known for her work in portraiture, landscape and birds. While working in various mediums, usually with a palette knife, she is constantly experimenting with transparency and form.

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Dear Key Workers

From my friend in poetry Laura Mucha

Here’s a film of a thank you poem for key workers and the result of a series of digital workshops with kids around the world, followed by them sending over 1k videos in to turn it into a montage of the poem

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Autumn 2020



Our autumn Poems in the Waiting Room cards were distributed just days before the world became unwell. I imagine they have all been destroyed as waiting rooms, hospitals, hospices and rest homes stepped up their cleaning processes.

I was going to offer to post out cards in response to requests but they’re not considered an essential service so I believe NZ Post wouldn’t deliver them. What I can do, is reprint the poems here, so you can still enjoy an autumn poetry picnic.


 Here’s to everything undone today:

laundry left damp in the machine,

the relatives unrung, the kitchen

drawer not sorted; here’s to jeans

unpatched and buttons missing,

the dirty dishes, the novel

not yet started. To Christmas

cards unsent in March, to emails

marked unread. To friends unmet

and deadlines unaddressed;

to every item not crossed off the list;

to everything still left, ignored, put off:

it is enough.

Zoe Higgins




I am waiting, Cicadas,

for you to come cutting

and stitching the warm air

like eager street tailors

treadling old Singers

along the hot pavements

of throbbing Calcutta


I am waiting, Cicadas,

till the high twisty willow

resounds with your stitchsong,

till its leaves weave and flicker

with cellophane wings


So hurry, Cicadas!

Emerge from the dry earth

Long years you have waited

to set up your bandstand

to signal the season

of indolent summer

while air holds its breath

Judy Day


Instead Of


Instead of an apple or turkey on rye,

I’d rather eat crickets or swallow a fly.

A fly is nutritious. It makes me feel great.

I love eating flies when I’m out on a date.

I don’t like spaghetti. I don’t care for fish.

Just serve me a handful of flies on a dish.

I’ll eat them in weather that’s muggy or foggy—

it’s great to be me – I’m a fly loving froggy!

Darren Sardelli  

One of our Pocket Poetry cards – little give away poems to pocket. These will continue to be available once the world is well.


Click your heels

high heeled shoes are problematic

there’s no reason they should make you happy

but sometimes, wearing them at home,

for no particular reason

raises the likelihood that something glamorous

or magical

may be just about to happen

Emilie Collyer




the dying rumble and


of wave after wave

sometimes you hear


the silence of the sea.


A huge hush

that flickers on and off

as if we were faultily

wired to eternity.

John Torrance



 Maybe night is about to come
calling, but right now
the sun is still high in the sky.
It’s half-past October, the woods
are on fire, blue skies stretch
all the way to heaven. Of course,
we know that winter is coming, its thin
winding sheets and its hard narrow bed.
But right now, the season’s fermented
to fullness, so slip into something
light, like your skeleton; while these old
bones are still working, my darling,
let’s dance.

Barbara Crooker


 Love’s Camel

Whatever way love’s camel takes

let it take me too

stowed up on the saddle, swaying.

Let that be home.


The past nor future is our own

only this trapeze moment.

Catch it now as it swings.

Who cares where we are headed


it is enough to be with

this light filled present;

feel the sway, the night air on your face

stars bright in your hair.

Rose Cook



conversion –

the sun falls

between goalposts

André Surridge


Day Trippers

 I can hear them now

The day trippers who thronged

To the shore with picnic baskets

And enough food for an expedition.


They came in search

Of peace and quiet with radios,

Cars and other city trimmings.


They sat and soaked up the sun,

Easing away the cares of the week behind

Making plans for the week ahead,

Knowing nothing would change

But still they planned.


And when the mist began to fall

They packed their cars

And headed home

Each with their own piece of countryside.


Today their laughter still echoes

Through the mist, calling

Future generations to sit by the shore.

Sue Gerrard 



What’s the point of eyebrows?

They lie there, lazy piles of fluff

that, frankly, do not do enough

to warrant taking up that space

on (almost) every human face.


Your eyeballs see, the forehead frowns,

earlobes happily hang around,

nostrils smell and molars chew,

but what, I ask, do eyebrows do?

Laura Mucha


The Tewing

A tutu fine and delicately hued

as Himalayan salt,

gleam of satin slippers,

your large, rough hand, security-

Just the two of us.

The first ballet lesson-

Madame Borriot looms over me,

presses my cross-legged knees to polished floor,

Tu le fais comme ça!

Brutal squish,

then its balancing crowns,

pirouetting on toes-

I’m a willowy princess, at last

a real ballerina, luminous with grace.


I run to you when it’s over, too thrilled to

do anything but grin.

You draw me in, guffaw, and ask,

How was that my galumphing little elephant?


(To tew: obolete word meaning ‘to work (leather) by beating or kneading’, or ‘to prepare for some purpose’)

Sophia Wilson

© Copyright title & compilation Autumn 2020

Copyright of recent poems retained by authors


 PitWR (NZ) supplies 8400 free poetry cards to  medical waiting rooms, hospices, prisons, and rest homes throughout NZ every season.  Braille booklets of this card are available from the Blind Foundation.

Heartfelt thanks to our Sponsor



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2020 Poetry Competition Results

Time to announce the winners of the

2020 Poems in the Waiting Room Poetry Competition


The 2020 competition winners have all been notified, and I’ve emailed everyone, who provided me with an email address, to let them know the results are out. Many thanks to: Otago University Press,  Otago University Bookshop and Mercy Hospital, Dunedin for providing monetary prizes for our 2020 competition.

The winning poems will appear in the winter edition of the Poems in the Waiting Room poetry card. I intend spending some time over the next few weeks going through all the submissions and selecting any which might be suitable for a future PitWR edition. I’ll be in touch with those poets in due course.

Many thanks to everyone who entered the competition. Your support will help Poems in the Waiting Room continue to provide free seasonal poetry cards to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, prisons and hospices throughout New Zealand.

Regards,  Ruth Arnison

The results with Jenny Powell’s comments are below:

Otago University Press First Prize

“Bananas at Broad Bay” by Anna Hoek-Sims Dunedin

Otago University Book Shop Second Prize

“Korimako at Dawn” by Karen ZelasChristchurch

Mercy Hospital, Dunedin Third Prize

“Groundswell” by Alison DenhamDunedin

Highly recommended

“Girls and Boys” by Greg JudkinsAuckland

“A Collection” by Jasmine Thompson Kapiti Village

“A Gift” by Lincoln Jaques – Auckland

“Road Works” by Peter Johnson – Dunedin


Judge’s Report – Poems in the Waiting Room Competition, 2020


First Place

Bananas at Broad Bay

After considering all the poems, Bananas at Broad Bay never wavered from its first-
place position. It begins with an easily pictured image of a banana skin caught
between rocks, too high for the tide to reach. The poem then leaps into a visual
metaphor, linking ripe bananas and hills. The final stanza adds a tactile aspect which
we can almost feel on our own skin.

The poem doesn’t require a great length to develop its ideas. Layout on the page
allows space, or pause, to sensitively contribute another element. The balance of
components doesn’t falter, allowing appreciation from a wide audience.

Second Place

Korimako at Dawn

This poem calls us in through the act of questioning. We are asked if we have heard
something like a finger round the rim of the world’s smallest glass. Without revealing
the exact sound, the poem leads us through a series of delicate options until a new
consideration enters our hearing. That of a reply. Back to questions and we are
drawn to locate the source of sound in particular trees; the sighing ngaio, the
kahikatea, the miro sapling.

The direct addressing of the reader and active requests to listen and look for
specifics, lures us into the language of poetry. The final lines can be interpreted as a
mindful cue to consider wider issues.

Third Place


Groundswell skilfully establishes the mystery of an outdoor gathering. Without any
event planning, numbers spontaneously increase. It is a groundswell of shared
conviction, important enough for the crowd to sleep on the ground.
The motivation behind the gathering is never revealed. We are given details of white
flags and webs of rope snaking in the sun. It is as if we should already know the
implication of these. But we don’t, and the power of the poem is generated through
ongoing restraint and an admirable control of underlying tension.

Highly Commended

Girls and Boys – Carried along by authentic appeal, a search for gender identity traces development to a childhood context with its confusions and constraints.

A CollectionSome of the more unusual collective nouns for animal groups do, as the poem says, change the picture. A direct experience ends with a relevant question about humans.

A Gift – Echoing William Carlos Williams’ This Is Just To Say, this more contemporary
version focuses on coconut filled chocolate and a flat white. I was left craving the
same taste sensation.

Road Works – Joyful and humorous, this poem builds on a splash of colour from daily life.
Jenny Powell – March 2020

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PitWR 2020 poetry competition

002 (2)Take a seat and read all the entry conditions below. Apologies for such a long scroll but hopefully the information will answer any questions you may have.

Conditions of Entry:

Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these Conditions of Entry. By entering the “Poems in the Waiting Room 2020 Poetry Competition” (“the Competition”), entrants agree to be bound by these Conditions of Entry.

  • The Competition is open to New Zealand residents only.
  • The Competition commences on November 1 2019 and closes at 5pm on 29 February 2020.
  • The maximum length for each poem submitted is 25 lines (excluding title).
  • Each entry must be the original work of the person submitting it, and may not have been previously published, broadcast, awarded any prize or payment or submitted elsewhere until after the announcement of the results of the Competition.
  • Poems may be on any subject or theme. The poems must be easily accessible, and not make great demands. Poems with political, religious, medical or morbid overtones will not be successful.
  •  Poems may be either neatly hand-written or typed on A4 paper.
  •  All entries will be judged anonymously. The entrant’s name must not appear on the poem itself.
  • Each entry must be accompanied by – a sheet of paper detailing the title/s of the poem/s, the entrant’s name, address, contact number and email address.
  • The entry fee is $5.00 for each poem. Payment may be made to any branch of the BNZ to the credit of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) a/c no. 02-0912-0102691-00, giving your name as the payer reference; or by cheque made out to ‘Poems in the Waiting Room NZ’, or in cash. Entry fees will be used to assist with ongoing funding so we can maintain our distribution area.
  • To enter the Competition, entrants should send one copy of each poem to Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ), 19 Hunt Street, Andersons Bay, Dunedin 9013.
  •  All entries must be received no later than 5pm on 29 February 2020 otherwise the entry will not be accepted. PitWR (NZ) takes no responsibility for lost, damaged, misdirected, late, illegible or incomplete entries. Entries submitted electronically will not be accepted.
  • Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.
  • The judge’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Entrants must ensure that they keep a copy of their poem as poems cannot be returned and for administrative reasons entries cannot be acknowledged.
  • The copyright of each poem remains with the author.
  • The prize winners will be announced in April 2020 on PitWR (NZ)’s blog (waitingroompoems.wordpress.com) . Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.
  • By accepting a prize, winners consent to PitWR (NZ) using his/her details and photographs for promotional and media publicity purposes.
  • Winning poems may not appear in any other publication or website until after their publication in the PitWR(NZ) winter edition.
  • All entries received will be considered for publication in PitWR (NZ)’s English and Braille seasonal editions.
  • PitWR (NZ) reserves the right to cancel or amend the Competition or these Conditions of Entry at any time without prior notice. Any changes will be posted on PitWR (NZ)’s blog (waitingroompoems.wordpress.com). In the event of the Competition being cancelled all entry fees will be refunded.
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Pocket Poetry NZ


Have you come across a Pocket Poem yet?

Pocket Poetry is the Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) 2019/20 boutique poetry project.

We pop snippets of poems with accompanying photos/artwork on business sized cards.  A selection of these cards are displayed in business card holders on counters in several cafes and businesses around Dunedin.

They’re free!

Old Friends

We can’t help ourselves – we love sharing great poems!

Look out for them at: Roslyn Pharmacy, Urgent Pharmacy, Musselburgh Pharmacy, Resene Colorshop, Tuppence Cafe, Blacks Rd Grocers, Bloomin Gorgeous, Your Pro Chef, Dog with Two Tails, Trade Aid, Scribes, Taste Nature, Watsons Eatery, Morning Magpie, Mercy Cafe and Reception, Adjo cafe, Side-on cafe, The Kind Grocer and Project Wellness.

The place to be

Robert K Johnson – poet. Anne Bannock – artist

You’re welcome to pick one up to read, enjoy and pocket. 

New poems will appear on a regular basis.


Kath Beattie – poet. Anne Bannock – artist


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Spring 2019

Welcome to our Spring 2019 poetry card.

This edition’s poets are; Laura Mucha, Lois Parker Edstrom, Elena de Roo, Janice Marriott, Sandra Simpson, Barbara Crooker, Gayle Brandeis, Glenn Colquhoun, Robert Creeley and Donald McDonald.

These cards can be found at medical centres, rest homes, prisons, and hospices. They are free, so never hesitate to pick one up to take home for keeps or pass on to a friend.



Spring Poetry Cards


Contracted Braille

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