Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not a Better Mousetrap

The world, not even Waitaki, is not beating a path to my door.
Last year I compiled my fourth collection of poetry. Rather, my clever publisher, Frank Sviatko did, I sent him a C.D. and he chose twenty three poems, designed a cover, wrote some outrageous flattery for the back cover, organised the printer, and couriered them down to me. I took them with me to Ireland and the World Poetry Night in Liverpool, where they sold well. When I came home I used my little books for Christmas cards. But I still have a couple of dozen left.
‘Over and out from Down Under’ (ISBN 978-0-473-5851-4) is an A6, saddle stitch book of 32 pages. It has been reviewed favourably in the on line poetry magazine, Poetry Kit. What should I do with the remainder? They are too tiny for libraries to consider, but Oamaru Public Library thought that local tourist shops might stock them, as the poems are mostly about the Waitaki region. I sent a sample copy to the local tourist board. It was returned in the following mail with not a word of ‘no thanks’ or explanation. Rude I thought, but that’s Waitaki.
So I am offering the remaining copies for sale at $10.00 post free. Send $10.00 and your return address to
329 Kaik Road
and I shall post a copy to you immediately.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


After all the excitement I am glad the tsunami alert turned into a damp squib, but grateful that civil defence was ready and able to advise us, just in case. I first heard the warnings at 6 a.m. I listened while I ate breakfast. At 8:30 I rang my sons, 2 in Dunedin, 2 in Christchurch and the others in Wellington. None of them had been listening to the radio. I called over to my neighbour across the way. He was sitting in the son reading Saturday’s paper. Yes he knew about the tsunami. He had been fishing at the river mouth when Glenavy Civil Defence wardens came down and warned everybody to get off the beach.
The radio advised us to be prepared to evacuate; to pack overnight bags and food and water. It was all very sensible and calm. I packed night clothes, and a change of daywear, shifted my treasures into my little loft and sat down to wait it out. I remember a friend who had been on the Wahine in that storm. ‘After the first excitement,’ she said ‘it was rather boring, just waiting around.’ Shirley Corlett has written a novel about it. So I opened my e mail and sent a message to friends overseas to tell them that it was not at all like a Mel Gibson action movie.
After it was all over I posted a messages on the P.K.Poetry site.

The first wave of a threatened tsunami has passed the Chatham Islands. The radio says, ;be ready to move' but all we can do is wait. My overnight bag is packed, passport, credit cards and medication stowed safely; four bottles of water and my other computer stowed in my boot. My neighbout is cutting her roses, in case the water rises, So all we can do is wait.
Maybe I will be abe to make a poem out of this.

My online friends were quick to send ‘take care’ e mails back. So I posted a ‘list’ poem:

Packing Treasures

Family photographs
spare knickers (silk)
glass necklance from Venice
T shirts from Turkey
4 bottles of water
medications and toothpaste
my laptop with all the PK postings.

This came back from Angela who lives in Wirral near Liverpool.

this morning
buy silk knickers
just in case
of tsunami
can’t afford
fare to Paris
not quite
the same
So I posted this:
What people see is not
always the entire package
an octogenarian
losing her hearing
her sight
her balance but
never her marbles
while young folk bray
she smiles because
under her geriatric gear
she wears silk.
Angela’s response?
Ton Up
by Angela Kearton (Wirral G.B.)
black leathers
go faster stripes
alloy wheels
titanium chassis
carbon forks
twin carbs
souped up engine
no brakes
on my wheelchair
old girl racer
but wait! There’s more!
After all danger was passed I wrote this Pantoum.

That ancient sea god Tangaroa
dreaming, stirred in his ocean bed
his stirring shook the whole earth’s core
and from his stirring ripples spread

dreaming stirred his ocean bed
pulsed relentless wide and wide
from his stirring ripples spread
implacable as they pushed the tide

pulsed relentless wide and wide
drowned atolls and islands as they passed
implacable they pushed the tide
across the ocean deep and fast

drowning atolls and islands as they passed
pushed higher and higher up distant shores
across the ocean deep and fast
the dreams of the sea god Tangaroa

So that was that. No big dramas, I don’t suppose people will ask each other, ‘Where were you when the tsunami struck?’ Just as well, really.