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 McFelin


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

Monday, 2 April 2018

Using a chorus line

Today we used a chorus line to create a poem. The chorus line is a repeating line of poetry and is often used at the start or end of a set of lines or stanza. It helps create structure and, we hope, added significance or potency to our poem.


The day has begun
Early morning rise

The day has begun
4:30am, still a bit tired

The day has begun
Happy to be alive

The day has begun
Looking for the light

The day has begun

- Haki Davis


I hitch-hiked into a dusty town, cars passing by,
A young man uncertain of the future,
Lonely among the mountains and the hills,
Needing to get to the city and my friends.

I hitch-hiked into a dusty town, cars passing by,
Will I get to where I want at end of day,
Or will I sleep at side of road,
Snug as a bug in my sleeping bag?

I hitch-hiked into a dusty town, cars passing by,
Would they take pity on a weary traveller,
Who could not settle down,
But wandered country roads, cities and towns?

I hitch-hiked into a dusty town, cars passing by,
Younger then, but would not do it now,
I am older and have settled down,
Driving country roads, cities and the towns.

- Robert McFelin


    Golden Autumn grass gleams in the evening sun
a few home sheep stand like rocks in the far paddock
Red and brown, the leaves blow from the Prunus
        and the Waitati fog whispers in

Up on the motorway saddle
    lights pierce the white-out cloud
truck wheels rumble and the clay pan vibrates
    as the Waitati fog slides by

      Sunset over Flagstaff
shards of fiery light pierce my eyes
lighting windows and throwing shadows
    as it shreds through the Waitati fog

Darkness. House lights are seen
    traffic is muffled on Highway one, TVs call
    Curtains close
Blacking out the drifting Waitati fog

- Karen


You won't stop the train from rolling
Can you see the days and weeks?
Here comes those voices round my mind
I can't stop the train from rolling

I am alone with raging thoughts
Feeling frightened and confused
'Who's there?' Just starting to panic
Can't stop the train from rolling

Stop. Look back and calm. But you know
You won't stop the train from rolling

- Philip


I am curious what the flags represent
They must mean something important
It can't be a national event or gathering
There doesn't seem to be police or body guards
I am now thinking 'What have I missed?'

I am curious what the flags represent
It's in my part of the community
Now I feel annoyed because I'm unsure
Curiosity killed the cat (superstitious), tho
I am still curious what the flags represent

I feel lost. It's not in the newspaper
Now I'm taking a determined step
I'm feeling confident enough to ask
'Excuse me, can you tell me what's happening?
I'm curious what the flags represent?'

Polite chap he was. He and the rest of the flag holders
were for a campaign of freedom, choices and equality
I feel happy. Now I know what the flags represent!

- Vince

Monday, 19 March 2018


Today we explored impression writing. We started by listing things we know about, whether that is a hobby, sport or place. We chose one thing and then expanded on that, writing about what makes it special, what it looks, sounds or smells like, how it makes us feel, what it makes us wonder about? We then wrote a poem using short fragmented lines. The aim was to create an impression of the subject or thing without using normal sentences. The beauty of this is that it leaves room for others to create their own meaning from our poems and gives us as writers another way to write about the world around us.


Dancing to a tune
Burning brighter than a light
Hungry as a lion
Dancing with the divine

- Haki Davis


Sligo graveyard by the sea
Yellow-red sunset
Swans on the lake
Quiet town
Flat topped mountain above
The poet writes
Leaves the world a better place
I come to his resting place

- Robert McFelin


dense white
            loitering, lingering
     solid like marshmallow
                     silently creeping
compressing smells, smoke, light.
Heat from body, hearth and home is sucked
Now feeling safe, enclosed, secure;
    like Capetown's Tablecloth, our Blanket

- Karen


another day
graceful hello
gentle touch
kind word
a second to share
a smile
we've done it again
another day

- Molly


Curving up and down
Like waves
Curled in my arms
Light as a feather
It springs into action
My fingers fly
Flickering strings sing
in falsetto
     Smiling and singing
         Smiling and singing
With laughing eyes
Play on you say
Play on.

- Paul

Monday, 5 March 2018

Haiku #2

Haiku is a popular and accessible form of poetry that some members of our writing group were keen to try. They're short (the Haiku) but deceptively difficult to do well. The aim is to use as few words as possible to capture a moment in time. According to one expert "a good Haiku conveys through implication and suggestion a moment of keen perception or insight into nature or human nature". Traditionally there are references to the environment or season, grounding the poem in the world around us. Sometimes they have contrasting or juxtaposing elements that can surprise or make us think differently about something. People often use a 5-7-5 syllable format for each line but this is not as important as the ability to paint a picture with few words, capture a moment and achieving that 'aha' moment. 

Here's a few that the group came up with in today's session. 

Fog obscured land
Above white - blue
Albatross gliding

- Karen

White whiskers twitching
Beady eyes glint, surveying
Patter of feet race

- Rose McCulloch

Poor smoker puffing
Smoking golden tobacco
Poor health of wallet

- Phil Porteous

Fog obscures the beach
Waves rolling to the shoreline
Distant figures turn

Hills glow in yellow
Moments later they are dark
Bird twitters loudly

- Robert McFelin

Ice-cream melting
Very hot day
Damn, not my car

Man standing alone
Should he stay or should he go?
Bloody bus service!

- James Macandrew

sounds echoed around
getting louder and louder
within her head

grass grows all around
mown in intricate patterns
rugby sprigs destroy

- Christine Philp

Monday, 29 January 2018

What is love?

That's right, this week's theme was love, which is a big topic to tackle as it comes in all shapes and sizes, but maybe that's a good thing for a writer? We started our session by simply describing love in poetry or prose. We then worked with the line 'Love is...' which we had to repeat in a poem in some way - such as the start of each line or stanza. Lastly we wrote a love poem to a person or animal - pets being quite a popular subject!


Love is feeling warm and safe
Like a bird in its nest
Or a human family
Gathered in a house around the fire
While winds and rain rattle the dwelling
It feels as if it will last forever
Beyond death

- Robert McFelin


love is tolerant of small wrongs
love speaks out at big wrongs
love is not always passionate
love is enduring
love is candlelight and roses
love is warming old slippers by the fire
love is helping a small child learn to read
love is clipping grandfather's toenails
love is cooking your partner's favourite dinner
love is helping with the dishes
love is forgoing a beer with your mates to buy your wife flowers
love is fixing the dropping tap without nagging
love is a dreamer into the future
love is pragmatic in the present

- Helen Ledger

Monday, 22 January 2018


This week we wrote about birds and in particular writing from the bird's perspective.


heavy foot and claw grasp the ground
thick sinews stretch and contract
head thrust forward, eye bright
beak open to taste the air
why could I not have wings to lift
this heavy body to the sky?
from heaven it came
Earth bright, crackle, spark

- Karen


I am an owl
They call me a morepork
You can always eat morepork
But who, who, who said we
are wise?
Us owls with big eyes
The guru
Who asks who?
Only then do we find
the spirits who are kind
And shut out the evils
of the devils
The owl
Who asks who
Is wise like the guru

- Phillip Poerteous


Ah, there they are again
Fishing rod, tasty bait, two good men
They fidget and talk, sometimes I squawk
Lines a-dangling, one smoking and one sitting
They come here every week
Whatever the weather
Their thoughts of a catch increasingly bleak
After an hour or so they pack up their stuff
Climb in their car
And drive away fast enough
And what of the bait?
Well, I eat it mate!

- James MacAndrew


Waste not want not
Aarrk! Mine!
Get away
I've got this morsel
Hmm, not too bad
Not as good as the chips
I found at St Clair beach yesterday
But better than a bloody worm

And so much choice!
Piles and piles of delicious detritous
Aarrk! Mine!
Clear off buzzards

Men at work
Good chaps
Very kind really
Life at the dump
Is beautiful

- Paul Smith


What is art? Is it all perfectly drawn                 without mistakes? Or can it be beautiful things from the heart that are created? ...