Monday, 7 January 2019

Random Word Poems

Our first session for 2019 involved some random words turned into poems. We each chose a book from our library, opened it at random and selected a word. We then passed the books along and selected another word until we had five words. The task was to use all the words in a poem. This process was suggested by an Artsenta writer who doesn't attend our writing group and resulted in some quite fun and inspiring works!


It was a sunny day
Outside in the garden
Walking along a rocky path
To a pool where the water is bright
Seeing an old lady looking exhausted
Heading towards you
You stop her in her tracks
And give her some water
She thanks you for being kind
And you carry on down the rocky path
To enjoy the bright and sunny day

- Julia Godfrey


Beautiful floating
                   while sleeping
                   on a bed.

The anaesthetic
                  for the surgeon.

- Phillip Porteous


The puffin rides on the carpet
of my childhood dreams.

It soars above Europe
and sings its little heart out.

The carpet is very colourful.
How do I know?

Well it's my dream, my puffin
and my carpet.

The example I have in my mind
is freedom of dreams.

- Gail Palmer


There was a huge risk
coming this way,
against the arrows,
travelling the opposite way
to everyone else.

But she had never followed rules,
never done things in the correct order.
Hell, she even put her shoes on
before her pants!

- Christine Philp

Monday, 19 November 2018

Playful Poems

Julia led our creative writing group today, focussing on her favourite poet - AA Milne - famous of course for his Winnie the Poo series, but we learnt a bit more about him and his writing. What Julia loves is his playful, fun take on poems. Poems like 'Binker' where he wrote about his imaginary friend as a child, and 'Sand Between the Toes' where he remembers being at the beach. These poems and his playful style were our inspiration for the day.


Where did you come from?
Where have you gone?
You were there for awhile
But not for long

You were there when I needed
Some comfort and warmth
Someone to be with me
When I was forlornth

Mum often busy
And preoccupied
But you always free
And came to my side

To brothers and sister
A nuisance I was
But you always present
And no reason, just coz!

Thank you for seeing
How much I needed you!
And now you have gone
Left me feeling blue!

It must be
That I don`t need you now
But you will remain with me
And not lose your power.

- Pauline


By the radio I sat
My own programme at nine
How important I felt
It was just sublime!

By the radio it seemed
It was just for me
All else faded away
As I listened with glee!

By the radio there was
My own little world
And I soaked it up
Like a frond unfurled

By the radio most days
I puffed up my chest
Proud of the fact
I was my own special guest!

- Pauline


Toaster was cool
He could do cool stuff
Like ride a motorbike
And race it super fast

He could jump the fence
The car or a truck and trailor
A house would be no trouble
There was no chance of failure

He could fly too of course
A fighter jet or old bi-planes
He'd do the loop-de-loop
Just for a laugh and some fun and games

Now that I'm older
I don't see Toaster so much
We'll always be friends
And I'll try to stay in touch

But he has other kids
Who need him more than me
Kids who need a super duper friend
To set their imagination free

- Paul


We were stuck on a branch, my friend Bandy and me
We couldn't get down from that fairly tall tree
"Let's slide down the leaves and roll onto the grass"
Called Bandy
We did and I landed quite hard on my bottom.

We wandered inside, to where Mum was baking
But I couldn't sit 'cos my bottom was aching
"lie down on the windowsill, look at the view"
so we did, as we ate a biscuit or two

With Bandy I trekked on down to the stream
We poked into corners, where fishes were seen
Bandy jumped rocks, and fell right in the pool
and came up spluttering; silly wet fool

The long meadow waved to us, Bandy & I
the summer was long, and the sun in the sky
We rolled down the bank, leaving tracks all the way
Now summer is ended, Bandy has less to say.

- Karen


"Caravaning" down the Coast
Mum, Dad, Aunty, Uncle, Joy
And me
Waves, Togs, barbeque
More family visiting still
Tree climbing
Riding the branch like it's a horse
Apple pie served
Singing and Ukulele strumming
"Caravaning" down the Coast
Sun shining relentlessly and strong
"Caravaning" down the Coast
Togs under my zip-up dress
Running back to the caravan awning
To have a break
Mum and Dad resting, now, there
In two matching deck chairs
Sun shining relentlessly and strong
Smiles greeting
"Why don't you take your dress off?"
Mum saying
I can't say I feel fat and awkward
"Caravaning" in holidays
"Caravaning" some holidays
"Caravaning" will be gone
Yet to know this
It's tea in a while

- Natasha

Thursday, 1 November 2018


What would it be like to be a statue? Today we find out! The challenge was to imagine you are a statue such as Robbie Burns or Queen Victoria and to write a poem from their point of view - what they see, feel or think. We then went one step further and imagined we were the harbour molars, the controversial teeth sculpture on Portsmouth Drive. An interesting session ensued!


Encased in stillness
Larger than life
Quill in hand
I know I'm in strife
There's so much to see
With my unseeing eyes
Overwhelmed by events
And the seagull's cries.
Surrounded by theatres
So much going on
A church, some cafes
I would die for a scone!

- Pauline


Sitting so regal and tall
I watch my subjects pass me by
Are they listening to me?
Are they watching me?
How I act, what I say?

I was a Queen for 63 years
I also was a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend
Where are all those people now?
I remember, they are up in heaven with me.

- Gail


Blustery today,
Sea spray all over me,
I am cold and wet.

At least the sea spray washes away the smoke
from the cars that roar past me.
I have a grand view, 360 degrees, although only
half of me can see at a time.

The sea is blue and choppy and I can see some
small boats bobbing up and down on the water.
Hills surround me at a distance, green with trees
and houses dotted on them.

Sometimes I feel cracked and blue, rough to touch.
Why am I here?

Do children look at me and vow to brush their teeth?
So they don't have teeth like mine - big, full of holes
and rough on their tongues!

I hope they take notice
It's too late for me.
I am here for eternity.

- Gail


They think they know me
standing here.

But do they really?
As they whiz by in their cars?

I've seen people walk by
and stop to look.

Those on horses and in cars
rarely do.

Why did they put me here?
I'm not even facing the Gardens
named after me.

I'm facing the toilets!
What an unsavoury position for a Queen!!

- Christine


Her majesty
uses the royal 'we'.
I am a statue
Attracting bird poo.
Ruler of the world
In a grassy field.

Who said there was a glass ceiling?
It is to a woman you're kneeling.
The sun never sets
on my empire.
Only by death will I retire.
By statue, immortalised
Forever, in stone attire.

- Phillip Porteous


Ivory bone
For all to see
By harbour and sea
Naturally decaying
Watching kids playing
Picnicers and birds
Avian turds
Green grass and cars
Teeth from Mars?
Now on Earth
Giving people mirth
The plaque
Leaves its mark.

- Phillip Porteous

Monday, 1 October 2018

Helen's lost clothing

Helen suggested we write about clothes - then didn't turn up for the writing - but we wrote about clothes anyway! Firstly 'lost' clothing, then a 'significant item' of clothing, something with special meaning, and finally an occasion when we 'dressed to impress'. It is interesting to hear the stories and the feelings that can be found in clothing unfold in these poems which are imbued with the lives of those around us. Here is a sampling of our writing on clothes.

"Fabulous!" I dryly think, after looking at myself in the bedroom's wall hung mirror. The gut's sticking out. "Jelly wobbles and the t-shirt only slightly hides it!" And my mind flies back to another time, when I was a student and it was "year two" of studying "Law" (which I changed out of the next year); and I bought a top, that mysteriously disappeared, after I'd tried it on, to see how it "fits". It had several buttons, strapless and black, stiff cotton. I didn't try it before I bought it. I bought it second hand. It just disappeared, and I don't know how - I now can't remember where I bought it from! It did fit. Who would think so now! I lived in "Thames Street" then. A "magical' place where ornaments and little art pieces (that I bought - second hand - again) often disappeared. But the place won't win - I believe. Still - those things are liked and I "try" on! "Do you remember to eat Jelly?" Someone says - as I linger over tea sipping. "Jelly witch will get you!" "We'll see."

- nbvg


I bought it in the Department Store
in Glasgow, passing through
a sturdy scarf of soft lambswool
woven in tartan blue.
It's heritage I did not care
it was the one I wanted
and so I wore it year by year
warm in our Southern Winter.

I washed it not, I did not want
to spoil the gentle fibres
and took good care to take it home
when out in Winter's gales.

It is no more within my house,
lost, I know not where;
on visit to another place
it fell from off a chair,
or in a car or on the road,
I sadly, did not note it
'til Winter's fingers
grab and chill
Tell me, Go on, wear it!

                           - Karen


Coloured in browned mustard it held to the rack at the Rock and Pillar shop.  I had thought to find something for myself but it shouted "Dad" at me when I spotted it.

      heavy canvas
      zip front
      raised collar
      internal and external pockets
      fleece lining
      domed cuffs
      ...   Huge price!
            ...   Lifetime Guarantee!

He wore it as he took the Walkie Talkies around Christchurch;
loving the preparation, searching books and internet for details of the buildings they passed.
The earthquakes took those buildings,  and he wore the jacket less as his steps faltered into much older age.
At his end I took the jacket - Lifetime Guarantee -
 the only fault now, two threads loose at the cuffs.

                              - Karen


In the land of lost socks
Was a cardboard box
Full of odd foot garments
With lots of fluff and lint
I have looked for this land
But only found garments for hands
Though its socks I love
The garments all be gloves

- Phillip Porteous


The grey suit made of wool
The tie too, please don't pull
Gold cuff-links
Sunglasses with tints
At a friend's band
A free ticket and
Clothes from an op-shop
A stylish tie with colour pop
Then a photo op
To post on Facebook
Everyone liked the look

- Phillip Porteous


Oh hell, where is it?
It's not on my wrist
I know it should be
The bracelet Dad bought me
The only jewellery he ever bought me
My link to him
Walking round the flat crying
I know I haven't gone outside, so it must be here
Through the bed
Through my clothes
Empty the rubbish bag out...
Oh thank God
Tears of joy now

- Christine Philp


You'll rarely see me without it
Hanging round my neck
Given to me by Nana.
Not valued for many years
Boring, when  there was such a range I could wear.
Now, essential
Worn every day.
My niece played with it so much
She stretched the catch
Oh the anxiety when I left it at the jeweller's
Questioning their security.
Disappointed at no photos inside
She drew her own
And they're still there
More than 10 years later
Two very important people
On a chain around my neck.

- Christine Philp

Monday, 24 September 2018


Well wordarama is something we just made up. It's a bit like scrabble and a bit like bananagrams. Essentially we had a whole pile of word magnets, some of which we shared out. Then, we all turned them over and started making a poem using the letters we had - not easy! Once we had used most of our letters we could get some more but in the end we found less is more. That is, doing a smaller poem was a bit more effective than trying to make it too long. Not all of it makes sense but there are some great one liners!

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

Random Word Poems

Our first session for 2019 involved some random words turned into poems. We each chose a book from our library, opened it at random and sele...