Monday, 17 September 2018

Love those limericks

Limericks are an old and great tradition. They're fun and they stick in your head - surely that's what they're designed to do. The recipe is that they are five lines long with lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyming with each other. Lines 3 and 4 also rhyme with each other. They have a distinct rhythm with lines 1, 2 and 5 having 3 beats and lines 3-4 having two. If the rhythm is wrong it can throw the whole thing out as you read it in your head. The last line usually has a twist or element of humour. Sound easy? Well we did struggle a bit but we had a lot of fun and some came out a treat. The following limericks were written in less than an hour. Not bad going team!

An old man from the North Pole called Dick
Whose beard grew incredibly thick
Announced with a sigh
'I do not reply
To letters addressed to Saint Nick'.

There was a grey donkey from Fyffe
Who had led a very hard life
Working each day
He ne'er ran away
And yet he still went under the knife

There was an old man called Trump.
Who shook the world with a bump.
His approach was so bad,
that he became just a fad
In the end he went down with a thump

In life we all need a hand
All I wanted was to be in a band
With the biggest hit, just a little bit hip
Promptly went off with a bang. 

There was a sly dog from Rassia
Who became known as the flasher.
With a name like Putin, he should be Put-in the bin.
Not romp around as the smasher. 

While he was living in Dunedin
A man ate food from a bin
He said, 'This food is yuck'
'But it saved me a buck'
So he could afford a bottle of gin.

He was known as Uncle Sam
He ate chops made of lamb
Though he like the taste
With chilli paste
He said it tasted like Spam.

An old woman named Jelly
Wore large necklaces around her belly
She'd pull faces to make folks laugh
And she slept some nights in the bath
Wellington's on, she danced well, yea!

There was a young farmer from Portobello
Who painted his flock bright yellow
He took them to town
Which made the police frown
He certainly was a strange fellow.

There was a young man from St Kilda
Who hired a very poor builder
He fell off the roof
On top of the youth
Who was lucky he had not killed her.

Monday, 20 August 2018

I believe in ABCs

Today we challenged ourselves with two writing exercises. The first involved writing a narrative poem using the alphabet, with each line starting with the next letter from A-Z. Sounds tricky but people came up with some great results. The second exercise was to write a poem of 10 lines each starting with the words 'I believe...'. This generated some heartfelt and humorous results. 


Briiiiiiiiing!!!!! Its morning
Every morning
Fling off the covers
Here we go
I know its for the best
Just its soooooooooo warm and snuggly in bed
Kick out my feet
Leap - ha!ha!
Move sloooooowly
Niggle in my back - ouch
Open my eyes - yes they were still closed
Peer out at the day
Quickly stand before I change my mind
Run to the shower - OK plod
Undies whipped off the heated towel rail - broken - no heat
Very annoying
Walk to the door and
'Xit it
You would think by now I would remember to not let my niece play on my phone
Zzzzzzzzzzz back to sleep. It was a false alarm - she'd set the alarm for 3am!!!! Kidzzzzzzzzzz!!!

- Lucy


As I walked, breath came heavy, and the road sloped uphill
Bus sounds drifted down the road, I took a deeper steadying breath
Can I make it on time?  I thought anxiously
Doesn't really matter, I can take the car if I miss it
Eventually I reached the bus stop, and sat panting slightly
For a while the sun shone on me, weakly through cloud
Going up into the bus I greeted the driver
How much to Princes Street? I asked him
It seemed cheap, the same as going to the Octagon
Just a short time later we passed the Gardens, green and starting to flower
Keeping in lane we sailed down George Street
Long looks at my old workplace as we passed
Maybe one day I will work again
Not just yet though
Of those things I would like to do
Part-time work would suffice
Queer how things turn around
Reaching between memory and reality
Some doubts about the past dog my thoughts
Trust myself, my beliefs, or
Undermine confidence with disbelief
Very fragile the place I hold,  my
World can be beautiful, steady, but
X-ray sight opens it up to internal scrutiny
Yet, left alone it stays calm, as my bus
Zig zags thru the Octagon traffic

- Karen


A long time ago
By a castle deep in the forest
Cute Cats lived with a pretty Girl
Daring to find a fun thing to do, she
Eat fish
Got to have some laughs
Joyfully sang
Kicked a soccer ball
Learned to read
Made friends
Needs hugs
Open the window to a nice view
Plant flowers in pots
Quickly paint the walls
Rinse the flowers
Sang to herself
Tickle the cats
Unlocked the doors
Very pretty hair
Works in the castle
Yoddle all day
Zone to a dream

- Julia


All the neighbourhood dogs
Barked loudly
Cos the kids
Down the street
Egged the cars
From the house
Giant it was!
House? More like a mansion
I saw them
Just take off
Kicking the cat
Legging it down the street
Mangling letterboxes
Nuisances all of them
Obstreperous little shits
Police, that's what we need
Quaint that idea
Since they only work 9-5 out here
That's right
Unless it's a murder
Very little help
Will be available
Xerox police - that's what we need
Young handsome ones
Zipping around on skateboards

- Christine


I believe the moon will come up tonight, even if I can only see clouds
I believe spring will lighten my day, with morning flowers and late afternoon sun
I believe a friend on the other side of the world is still my friend
I believe doing nothing isn't a waste of time
I believe creating something is strength,even if someone else draws the pattern
I believe family is security, especially in old age
I believe hearing concordant sounds can soothe
I believe we must nurture ourselves to nurture the world
I believe a joke can be better than silence
I believe nine is as good as ten

- Karen


I believe in things I can't see
I believe in mystery
I believe something's in Loch Ness
I believe we should leave it alone
I believe there's life on other planets
I believe we're wasting money trying to find it
I believe there's lots more to know about our planet
I believe we have to do it quickly
I believe we have to look after each other, cos
I believe we are killing ourselves and our planet.

- Christine

Monday, 13 August 2018

Hope is in the air

Today we focussed on hope. We started with a brainstorm of what hope means to us. We then took one idea and developed a poem based on that. For our second poem we tried to incorporate as many ideas of hope into it as we could. Can you guess which is which?


Spring has sprung again
Showing her colours
Surprising the long cold
With new life.

- Pauline


Hope springs eternal
Laughter blossoms
Trills musically
Announcing a new day
Create sunshine from within
Fires the immagination
Turning the tide
Toward love
Proffering healing
An invitation
To friendship with

- Pauline


When you hear a baby laugh
it is just like hearing and seeing hope
for the first time for the baby
and yourself because it makes you feel
safe and believe that the baby will live
a sweet, peaceful and happy life
full of laughter.

- Julia


A strong friendship can
eventually blossom into love
when you hang and get to know
your friend more than you ever
know you can gather feelings
for that someone and that
makes you hope that soon
your friendship will soon blossom
into love and spend more time together
and begin a life of friendship, love
and happiness.

- Julia


New ideas for Spring form like babies, a work of God.
In the woodstack small animals play
as I exercise my creativity, not in art or film as others do,
but with pen, trying something new.
I achieve my own art, as imagination,
grasping blossoms and flowers, sunshine and birdsong
links these images with healing and love.
Later, at the beach, the music of waves and laughter of
 friendship brings a new day.



Sunshine is hotter now
no clouds thin the rays of heat and light
                       landing and resting on my face.
Trees have buds, some bursting into flowers of
                       white, deep red, pink, and yellow,
                       small, tiny even, and large;
no rules, just what worked in their original place.

Pigeon balances on a tiny branch, the thinnest twig,
pecking at kowhai buds with an eager beak.
The Winter is passing into hopeful Spring.

- Karen


Duck quacks (don't echo), calling louder, colours brighter
pairing up in the long grass by the gutter, blindly following
across roads and grass, not noticing fences or boundaries,
     oblivious of traffic,      seeking something;
                    dreams of eggs
                                 of chicks
                  the hope of ducks.



A new born baby brings hope,
As they loving touch your hand,
They look into their mum's eyes.
Before they can see,
They look towards their mum's voice,
They recognise their mum and dad's voices.
Nine months journey, this bonding
has been happening.

Babies are so intricately made.
Their tiny wee hands and feet,
Their hair, some with none.

That hew born cry, that could
only come from a newborn.
As those wee chubby tiny hands
learn to hold your fingers.

What a delight they are.
Their dimples, their smiles,
Their cooing and gahing,
That eventually become words.

Precious gifts from God above,
Babies and their joy bring hope!

- Nola


Spring is here!
Blossom on the trees
Sunshine glistening on the water,

Baby animals,
Calves and lambs skipping in the fields

Bring hope of a new day birthed!

- Nola


Never fails
Always prevails
Never defeated
Always the same
Never changes
Always available
Never in a hurry
Always loves
Never hates
Ever present.

Made the sun shine
Teaches the birds to sing
Makes the flowers blossom in Spring
Exercising authority with love
Fires up the imagination
Gives visions in the night
Gives health to new born babies
Encourages creativity
Heals the sick
Creates friendships
God today, yesterday and forever.

- Haki Davis


I have an idea!
It sounds like birdsong.
Music to my ears
As I run along the beach.
Sunshine filling me with love and laughter.
A new day.
A new way.
My goal within reach.
An educated life, from the natural world, informing my every step
As my feet pound down with health and dreams of wealth.
A meal and friendship awaiting my return.
Imagining the warmth of the fire.
Full of life in my heart.
Today I am reborn.

- Lucy

Monday, 30 July 2018

Artsenta Jingles

This week we wrote some advertising copy for Artsenta and also for our radio show Artwaves. Naturally there are some basic details to get across but we also wanted to make it memorable and give the listener a flavour of Artsenta. Some are a little theatrical and some quite musical. 

Artsenta needs you!
Wanted! All those seeking
to express their creativity
Artsenta is beckoning!
Come to the reckoning!
Print-making, poetry
Jewellery and singing
All this 'tis bringing
Monday to Friday
462 Princess Street
It's hard to beat
Creative Community
It's a certainty
Improve mental health
That's our wealth!

- Pauline

First person: Creative aren't they!
Second person: Whose creative?
First person: The artists!
Second person: Who are the artists?
First person: The artists from the Artsenta!
Second person:The artists are from the Artsenta and are creative!
First person: Yes they are!
The Artsenta is an art studio situated at 424 Princess Street for anyone using mental health services who are exploring their own creative abilities. It's a place where musicians, poets, painters, weavers, or anyone with a creative flare can make their own uniquely empowered artwork. If you aren't doing anything and think this is for me, then our doors are open Monday-Friday 10am-4.30pm. Just turn up.

- Haki

For the mental health community
For those who think outside the square
For those who hear voices
Don't worry it's only the radio!
And the radio is telling you,
Forget your worries and come to Artsenta
It will make you feel better
With creative art that's good for your heart
Making stories and pictures
And music for listeners
Artsenta, 462 Princes Street
Week days, 9:00am-4:30pm

Artwaves, where everyone behaves
And shares what's in their caves
Art, words and pictures
And music for listeners
Brought to you by Artsenta
Artwaves is every second Wednesday
At 2pm on Otago Access Radio
Say hello to Art-waves
With Art-sent-a
Smell of heaven

Phillip Porteous

Sunday, 29 July 2018

All the best cliches

While considering what makes a good poem, we discussed how cliches should be avoided. A website had helpfully listed a 100 or so of the most common. So we decided it would  be fun to try and use as many as we can in a poem. Here is one or two of the results!


According to my local garden centre
           'violets are blue'
I shake my head in doubt as I stare at
           white violets,
peering from under leaves in the tub by my door.

This garden 'will be the death of me!'
It draws me out and demands
           my day, my spring, my life.
My 'Archilles heel' aches from too much bending, as
     tasked to 'work around the clock', I remove
           soil, crocks, water and weeds.
I pause and stand upright in the 'golden silence'
    the number of tasks overwhelming.
'All in good time' allows for a pot of coffee
           and a new thought.
'Everything's coming up roses' except for mine!
These are indeed the 'thorn in my side',
    with clusters of aphids and silvering bark
          'as far as the eye can see'.
'The tip of the iceberg' I mutter
    and wait for 'my ship to come in'!

- Karen


She waited
With baited breath
Her body still
Paw raised
Staring fixedly
More than meets the eye
A mouse
All in a days work
All's well that ends well
Mouse excluded

- Pauline

Tuesday, 3 July 2018


What is art?
Is it all perfectly drawn
                without mistakes?
Or can it be beautiful things
from the heart that are created?
That become a masterpiece.
A picture, mosaic, pottery, music,
singing, painting, jewellery making
and many other things.

Amazing to see beautiful pictures
created by words.
Mosaic masterpieces coming together
from broken plates.
Their different colours blended together.
Glass pictures the sun shines through.
Light flickers around the room.
Broken China pieces, glued onto a picture
Or free hand colours, coming together
The colours blend, whether they are
bright or bland, sharp or flat.
Each bit glued on forms or pictures.
From old bits of China, something new
is birthed - its beauty for all to see
and enjoy.

Every person has artistic genes
running through their blood
               still to be discovered.
The Artsenta has been a place of discovering
fresh artistic talents and the opportunity
for those threads to be developed.

- Nola

Monday, 7 May 2018

The senses have been our inspiration in writing group lately. We started with sound then moved on to taste and touch. The diversity of work generated is fantastic. Here is a small portion.


He could hear her in the bedroom
Crashing and thrashing around
Slamming drawers and doors
Stamping and cursing as she threw things
around the room
Snapping the suitcase shut
Stomping down the stairs
Slamming the door as she left
And then the silence...
The silence that seemed to echo around him
Highlighting his aloneness.


Mouth on fire
Never again

- Christine Phelp


Is the pressure alright?

An elbow has a dull point.
It sews its way through
    the layered depths of pain,
intensity surrendering to
                a sharp ache.

Heat spreads smooth
the crocodile skin bag
of muscles long rigid
with unasked overuse.
Dull lumps soften little
to the teasing stroke
     of hands and arms
Such pressure to yield!

- Karen


In the mail sorting centre
    three hundred people worked
             backdrop of humming machines
                             that sorted mail

But there was still room
For manual sorting
Boxes in front of them
Room enough for them
To talk and sort
Talk about their lives
Sweet talking
Above the humming machines

- Robert


If you wait for it
You could be waiting for a thousand years
You can't go to the divine
But the divine can get to you
Knowing the divine is not enough
He has to come to you
Waiting for a touch may never come to you
in this life
The few touched by the divine
Never got over it
To be touched by the divine
Is never easy to understand
It's a mystery that no-one will understand

- Haki Davis

Love those limericks

Limericks are an old and great tradition. They're fun and they stick in your head - surely that's what they're designed to do. T...