Monday 25 September 2023

Zen & the Art of Lawn Mowing

'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' was a hallowed book in the 1970's counter-culture scene. Perhaps not the easiest book to read but it did inspire this week's writing session. Well we couldn't resist once we heard an account from one of our writers about their experience mowing the lawns at their croquet club and the challenges of their ancient ride on mower which sounded more like a cross between a chainsaw and a bucking bronco than a mindful Zen-like experience! So we started with lawns and quickly moved to blossoms which was much more... ahh... Zen. 


Up and down

            round about

Thrust here

            push there

Over and about

            Oh the smell

Of sweet cut grass

Mum did it

Dad did it


At Cherry Farm

            they did it too

And at Shetland Street 

            round and under the trees

Oh how I love listening

            to the loud mower 

            in bed

And it will be back


- by June


Cherry blossom

Like clouds passing

In the sky

Fluffy too

And pink 


Lightly moving


How I like to be

Under the dappled shade

Always welcoming me

Heartily Spring

- by June

Wednesday 19 July 2023

Writing with handcuffs

This week we imposed restrictions (the handcuffs) on our writing. Known in writing circles as a lipogram, this is where a letter is ruled out of use and to make things challenging ours was the letter 'e'. The last two sentences had 17 e's so you can imagine some trepidation within our group. It's incredible to think that in 1939 Ernest Wright wrote a 50,000 word novel without a single e! How hard can it be? Our second lipogram-like challenge was to 'flatten the dictionary', in other words write a poem with no tall letters - that's b, d, f, h, k, l, t. None of this was easy but we did it and some great work ensued. The first poem below is the no-e number and the next two are the flattened poems.

Hang with human
In a room

You saw a human

That is a girl

You walk up towards

To talk to this girl

It's amazing how the girl and you click so fast

You both got a lot in common

All day you hang out

At night

In your room

You think

What a fun day you had

Starting in that room

Spotting that human

- Julia Godfrey


privacy, none

open, exposure

anger    rage   pain

worse case scenario

so many nosey eyes

see me


privacy gone

- Jenn

a new way

a new way

viewing no anger

owning peace in you

a mirror in me

seeing a new overview

unseen in our now

a vigor as never

was in our scene

- S B P Davis

Thursday 18 May 2023

Dancing in the moonlight


Moths are the poor cousin of butterflies but they have their own beauty and a mysterious quality linked to their nocturnal natures. The challenge this week was to write an epic tale or poem about moths full of drama. Here's two quite different responses - a narrative poem and a poetic piece of prose! Thanks for reading.


Batting wings briskly under a back porch light

Seemingly, a million moths appear out of nowhere each night

While some fly slow and others dart quicker

But watch your wings little moths near the door mat

For you're being eagerly eyeballed by a caramel coloured cat

He's stealth and quick, quicker than the spray of a sneeze

And he'll stalk and hunt you, with untold ease

He's mastered the art of catching many things, including you guys

As his senses heighten and he widens his eyes

Many moths dance teasingly around his head

But he's quick to swipe, leap, prance and swat them dead

With his claws out, sharp at the ready

He watches one intently, keeping his body stiff and steady

Then with one leap he bounds in the air

Sending the moths into a chaotic frenzy up there

He hops and bounces around the porch like a wild bunny

To witness all this commotion is actually rather funny

And just like that he's caught one, a magnificent prize

As it wriggles under his paw, he watches with deep black eyes

Then all of a sudden, the movement stops

He lifts his paw slowly and to his paw his nose drops

It's not it deceased?

As he stands up from the floor and his inhaling is increased

Just like that, the game is over, it's no fun anymore

As he walks away, the moth lays still on the floor

Then out of nowhere, the moth flickers and flutters away

Smart little bugger, who gets to live another day!

By Jacinda Hurring


The lights were everywhere. Dazzling, they glittered in the low-drifting mist, split into sintered glass fragments, dropped onto the lawn and glowed on blades of damp grass.

A wet macrocarpa leant slowly towards the dull full moon, which glared down, its light dispersed across the mist, stolen from its beaming face and scattered, to be lost on the haze. Flickering colours ran up and down the tree as carnival decorations switched on, and the soothing mist waited expectantly.

As the people walked in, quietly, hopeful, two moths awoke from their caterpillar-sleep and crawled from secret places burrowed in the macrocarpa, to sit watching, waking, stretching. Wings unfolded and lengthened and, as night drew darker their patterns and spots were revealed; to any who could see in the dark.

First flight was exhilarating, weaving around the tree, moving quickly from one light to another. They wove around each other, and away, and back.

“Ugh moths” roared a woman, as her swinging handbag sliced through the air, knocking one to the ground. Gathering wings in quickly it sat stunned on the planet as the Handbag moved on.

Reoriented, it lifted and fluttered quickly to a tree branch, blending its browns and greys. A rest, reinvigoration. More light now, the mist was blowing, slowly. The moth fluttered, again chasing the lights, checking for the right wavelengths. Above the moon shone through clearly, full-spectrum reflection. 

The two fluttered around each other eyeing the greys and browns, purples and yellows, iridescent in the moonlight, then split away, still searching.

- KJ

Thursday 9 March 2023


Bibliomancy is to use a book to make a prediction just by holding a question in your mind and opening the book at random and seeing what turns up. In our case we used a dictionary, opening it three times to find three words. We then used these as prompts for a poem or a short story. Writers were challenged to add an element of prediction to what they wrote. Here's a couple of pieces from what turned out to be a very enjoyable session!


Nestled within our hearts, lays the style of the mind; embedded within darkness of self beliefs that make us blind.

There is a light that shines, a diffract, cutting away the dark. Revealing ourselves from within, of who we were; to reveal to us who we can become.

The diffract embedded with the style of the soul and all the possibilities that lay before, in a glittering blaze of hope. 

Shattering the darkness of past days revealing in the hour of our need, what we ourselves require to see.

To reach beyond all that we held in belief that made us blind. Opening our eyes to the truth we hold and always did, setting us free.

S. B. P. Davis


Flood Slip

Inexperience was Master

the dull, distant rumble beneath

             the constant dropping of rain

Vibration, house-shaking, earth-sliding

            evoking queasy-danger

not quaking, not rolling, unlifted-unlowered

unlike a rolling earthquake through banked grass

Acres of retrospection don’t do justice to memory

A story told and retold doesn’t live the fear, the doubt

the anxiety driving thought to weird action

Events infrequent, rarefy and scatter emotions tied to aloneness

Again with the rain, the flood, the slip

not rare now are fear, doubt, experience


- Kate Jenkins

Monday 13 February 2023

Next level acronyms

Acrostic poems are indeed like long acronyms with each letter standing for a word or sentence. They're a great starting point for poetry where the poem often encapsulates the meaning of the word. Here's a few poems from a recent creative writing session. In case you wondered, the title is the combined first letter of each line!

Circulating feelings, emotions, thoughts





Innermost deep

Voids of my soul



Yearnings to escape and be free

- Rachel







Attractions of hope, passion, and dreams



On the cold, empty road that will only take you down the path of


- Rachel









- Anon

Music plays bedside

It flows in like soft scent as

Natural as a breath, a

Deep well of density

Filling my bones

Uplifting my spirit

Leaving me lightly, wafting

Nowhere but here

Eyes closed, but



- Anon

Thursday 1 September 2022

Radio NZ ran a cool little comp for National Poetry Day recently. They give you six random words and you have to write a poem no longer than six lines using all the words. Easy except some of the words don't quite fit together, but it's a great challenge. We ended up doing the words from the last three years of competitions and the good news is - it get's easier as you practice! We were too late to submit these but we had fun! 

2021 Word List - Cloud, Sound, Orange, Clear, Shark, Break

Cloud break shows orange
Rays of sunshine
I can hear the sound of a shark 
Thrashing through the clear waters below
The shark breaks water
And reaches up to the sunlight.

- Gail Palmer

Skittering sounds, like orange pips skating on shark skin,
break clearly onto a cloud-free beach

- Kate Jenkins

2020 Word List - High, Still, Stick, Train, Can, If

If the train can stick to its schedule
We can be there by high noon.
If the train is slow we will still
Get there some time.
If the train stops altogether
We will be left high and dry.

- Gail Palmer

We stick to the same train
but I care not for the high price
If I can I will be still, and stay

- Kate Jenkins

2022 Word List - Melody, String, Wave, Rumble, Tennis, Decision

His sentences bounce like a wanton tennis ball
rumble through, as if on a bass string plucked
            or a long slow wave crawling ashore
They trip on a rock of floundering indecision
Less a melody then an orchestral diffusion

- Kate Jenkins

The rumble of the crowd
The ball hitting the string
A game of tennis
With a wave going around
A final decision has been made
A melody of cheers going at the same time

- Julia Godfrey

Thursday 25 August 2022

Through the Mist

This week we were invited by the Kohukohu Library in the far North of the North Island to enter their poetry competition. What a surprise! So we did. Here are some of the poems created in response to their theme of 'mist' which is something special anywhere - the atmosphere, the mystery, the sense of isolation, perhaps even a spiritual experience? Mist is many things to many people. Enjoy these four poems from our creative writers!


Is it a friend?
Is it a Foe?

To me
Mist is a friend
Because it's very helpful

At night time, if you're up late
Mist will be there to save the day

Since night time is dark
Especially at midnight
It's the best time for mist to appear

Mist appears in different colours
But is very light
Also big

So if your travelling
Late at night
The mist can guide you home

That is why
I think mist is a friend
Because it always can appear 
In your time of need

- Julia Godfrey

m i s t

Descending stealthily

On valley ridge

Spreading damp white fingers into

Crags and crevasses of

Eroded landscape

Softening pointed caps of

Planted pine

Spreading quietly with

Loud effect

m i s t . . .

- Pauline


shapes forms

emerge dissolve


creatures trees

ridge lines


mist substance

liquid light


sunshine moonlight

cold water


- Kate Jenkins


Kapuka Taumahaka ki Otepoti

- Mt Cargill, Dunedin -

the cloud forest on the hill

soaks up moisture

sets itself for scratch growth

between volcanic boulders

unseen in the blanket of droplets

frequenting the upper slopes

sun fractures and reflections

shine grey or white

chilling rare micro-plants

moulded by this solitary climate

leaflet, moss and lichen

incredible wee shapes peek from

this mist pendent beneath the summit

wilting damp onto farms below

a halo light bright

emerging fading dissolving

- Kate Jenkins

Zen & the Art of Lawn Mowing

'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' was a hallowed book in the 1970's counter-culture scene.  Perhaps not the easiest bo...