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.
From my friend in poetry Laura Mucha
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.
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
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!
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
may be just about to happen
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.
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,
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.
the sun falls
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.
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?
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!
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’)
© 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
Time to announce the winners of the
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 Zelas – Christchurch
Mercy Hospital, Dunedin Third Prize
“Groundswell” by Alison Denham – Dunedin
“Girls and Boys” by Greg Judkins – Auckland
“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
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.
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.
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.
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 Collection – Some 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
AND we are celebrating.
Every patient at Mercy Hospital will receive one of 9 poARTry postcards and a Poems in the Waiting Room leaflet with their lunchtime meal.
Every Southern DHB patient will receive a sheet of poetry on their lunch time meal tray. Sincere thanks to the all the poets who loaned us their poems/haiku.