Monday, 12 August 2019

Black & White Worlds

The theme this week was black & white. Firstly writers were asked to respond to the question "What if the world was black and white?" After writing we realised that a black and white world would actually be mostly grey! Next they were asked to think of a black and white film they had seen and bring one of the characters to life. Surprisingly one person in the group had never seen a black and white film, others used television characters. We had the option of writing poetry or prose and not surprisingly some went somewhere in between - 'prose poetry' - the debate about which it is continues and will likely never be resolved!


Earth is white and all around is darkness
Shapes of buildings rise, blocking in the dark
and down the road a traffic beacon
flashes grey to grey and grey
A white tree rises ghostly in the park, where
white grass glistens with the dark dew of morning

From Earth's core a fiery glow sustains
heat for growth and life
While a dark sun follows Earth's dark moon
across a daytime-black sky
filled with twinkling lights

Homes painted in many shades of grey
Line cheerless suburban streets
Inside the hearth is warm, heated from Earth's core
glowing white-hot. Our Earth, giving life

- Kate Jenkins



The wind howls wild like a dog in the night. I feel my fingers shake. Each step, I crawl closer. Could this be a mistake? It’s only something small yet it looms aggressively in my eyes. I am climbing the mountain, most foul and most high. My feet collide with the crumbling dirt, agonising shards of winter rip through my shirt but on I walk up the slope to a place they call hope.

There is a legend I am chasing, one whispered long ago about a differentiation, a bright gap amidst the snow. I remember reading the thought stashed at the back of my mind. Sketched so clearly on paper in black and white. The legend temps me towards the light, so up the mountain I must climb.
My boots are heavy and my breath ragged, scaling up these perilous daggers yet climb I must. I thrust the next foot forward, feeling my heart pound like a drum. All though the journeys not always fair there's always room to run.

I am chasing a rumour called colour, it sits at the very top and even through the snow I feel the streaks of tiny colour blots and up there I ponder, a new way to see. Up the mountain high is where I want to be. Living in colour, that is my objective and dream.


His face was covered in lines as he walked with stony steps. His mood reflected in the way he walked. Along the garden path he would frown to all the flowers then carry on his way to the store. Cane in hand, he was an older man who had lived his life well before. His eye brows could sweep the street, posture impossibly unique and every day he walked, creased faced to the park to pass the gate. One day he was traveling, his stony steps routine and he happened past a shop window, freshly cleaned and gleaming. A woman stood there smiling as she wiped the window down, he’d never felt his face in any shape other than a frown. His brow began to lift like a hat removed gracefully from a head. His eyebrows arched upwards and pushed the lines towards his forehead. His nose rose steadily and his cheeks were crimson red, rows of sparking teeth stretched under his happy smile. An experience he soon wouldn’t forget. The man continued down the path feeling brighter in his step. Seeing things beyond the frame he always found himself drawn in, his world began to change and with every single step he felt a little better with every day he kept.

- Nellie Toubon


What if the world is only black and white?
For some things, that would be alright
Pandas would still be super-cuddly
Zebras could still make a good buddy
Black labs, white sheep
Snow drifts so deep
That empty, blank canvas
That so enjoys to taunt us
But the blue of the sky
And the birds that fly high
Would be grey and boring
Would we even see them soaring?
At least if I dress
And try to impress
Everything would go together
Whether lace, wool or leather!

- Christine Philp

Monday, 15 July 2019

Acrostic Poems

Sounds complicated, however, acrostic poems are quite simple. Just write your chosen word vertically down the page and use each letter as the start of each line. We chose a place, a person and a season to write about but it could be almost anything. It does help if it has some personal connection or meaning, and it's good to mix up how you are writing. Use single words, try sentences or try linking the whole poem into a story.


Streaks of fire colouring the sky
Underneath, grazed by fire
My skin blushes to point of bursting
Manic stinging running along the highways in my body
Electricity, coursing and teeming
Rejuvenating, replenishing, revitalising my spirit

- E. T.


Boddhisatva with
Love and
Unity, expressing
Equality and thought prayers of
Karma to be born as an
Indian or
New-born or
Born again. An
Avatar, child of


Later arrival.
Yearning for a
United, free from


Uniting people and saving


Terrible person
Ruling the
United States with
Money and


Summer soon.
Roses and
Insects cover


In the pot
Lavishes of
Ignited on tongue.

- Phillip Porteous


Going home to Dad
Leaving New Zealand behind
Always thinking of you
Sometimes I want to go there
Given your connections
Only wanting to know
Where do you come from Dad?


Always love you
Now you're gone
Deeming me unacceptable
You're always in my heart.


Verbally gifted
Always look forward to your comments
Now and always
Even though
Sometimes it gets too much
And friend.

- M.F.


Destroyer of Daleks
Regenerated Recently
Watcher over Worlds
Hero - Helper
One & Only


We're here in this cold yet dry false winter
waiting for snow and ice and rain

Idling thru our nights in front of heaters and fires

Nibbling on winter food, relishing soups, casseroles, baked potatoes and mulled wine

Turning thoughts to the garden, to what to plant for Spring food and Christmas fare

Eagerly watching the pointed green tips of daffodils
lancing through the soil to grab the sunlight

Resting on our laurels - I'll prune that later

- Kate Jenkins


Killing of a Korora
Organise some warriors
Return the broth back to me
Open it up to clean it
Rinse it in the waters of Russell
Add oil, salt, water and leaves
Rest it on my breast
Eat after the manner of the Jews
Kiss sweetly the lips
Ah "Ka reka te korora"


Wool, hats and scarves
Inside by a warm fire
Natures natural remedies out
Taking hot baths and showers
Eating hot soup and takakau
Resting in a nice warm bed


Jail birds loved him
Instant success
Millionaire extraordinaire
In a trance
Heroin addicts delight
Energising audiences worldwide
Nasty lyrics and rhthym
Dead of an overdose
Revered even in death
X-rated music

- Haki Davis of Ngati Manu, Copyright 2019


Nervously arriving in this country
Expecting challenges, and successes
Venturing into the wilderness
Into the frigid Central Otago Winters
Surviving, succeeding, and leaving a legacy behind.


Six years old
Playing outside
Running under the sprinkler
Ice cream man visits
"None today" says Mum
Grrrr!! no fair.


Seasonal changes
Potential of things to come
Rumblings of warmth
Increasing daylight
No heaters needed
Grass, bare feet, bliss!

- Christine Philp

Monday, 8 July 2019

Digging Foulden Maar

Today we went to the Dunedin Public Library to see a poetry and art display about Foulden Maar which has been in the news recently. The poetry is from a local writing group and we thought we would check out their work and use it and the concerns over Faulden Maar as the inspiration for our own creative writing. Here is a selection of the poems written in response.


The pillagers say,
"We'll take some of that."
And pockmark the land
From it, oozing like pus
The stench of their greed
Dour and rank and slopping against the senses
Leaching into the soil, like blood spoiled.

The pillagers say,
"It is not enough."
So more they take away
the speckles coalesce, and suddenly!
The mess is everywhere
Beyond imagination
This disgracing
Plain in view for all to see.

The pillagers say,
"We will leave some behind."
A sliver no wider than the edge of my nail
As if that will bleach out their sin
But within
The stain never leaves.

The voiceless, entrenched for thousands of years, say,
"                                          "
And roll over, treated no more than livestock
But more than a collection of bedrock
No words to say
For the pillagers have stolen them all.

- E. T.


Destroying the land of lakes and trees
are like destroying The Nature of Life
Seeing bones and fossils of creatures from the lake
laying on the ground all rotten and dull
Show people that what people did to lakes were no good
Like they had no sense or care of keeping lakes and lands so beautiful
When you see dead flowers and trees scattered on the ground
makes people wonder what did they care for in life
Cause seeing a photo or painting of a destroyed piece of land and sea from a long time ago
Shows us that some people cared more about destroying Nature and Life
Than caring for the world and people coming afterwards

- Julia Godfrey


One cool and wriggling life,  fins alive, flex to drive
brown and blue in habitat tones of earth and water
mouth and gills gulp & flap and gulp & flap - air to live by
food for gulls and eels, each chasing smaller fry
washed down from streams between forest banks
into fine fresh water home.

Aeons below ancestors rest
laid down, still, as each age departs
soothed by fine silt, coatings of a volcanic past
in the life-lacking oxygen-free depths
Weight of millenia pressing down
life like a flower between the pages of a book
is compressed, encased, ordered

This cool and wriggling life
lies with its neighbours, whanui, contemporaries
a jot on the page of its history
extinct, or unfound in the catalogue of modern life

- Kate Jenkins


In Middlemarch, we find a place called Foulden Marr,
size of a cylinder a km long.
Volcanoes erupted and made this place 23 million years ago.

Over time layers of ash fell and water soaked through trapping
fossils, leaves, fish, insects, fungi seeds, flowers, beetles,
berries and maybe other things.

People wanted to mine this area to make pig feed
from the diatom silt.
Why should we leave this place decimated?
23 million years to make and a few days to destroy.

We said No! leave this area alone.
There are still treasures unseen.

- Gail Palmer


Landscape is barren with rocks of schist, tussock grass
dust roads, mountains, blue sky in the background,
peaceful and ancient Foulden Maar.

Fossils trapped there for millions of years preserved.
Miners want to mine it for pig feed.
Sure it would make jobs,
but it would also destroy the Maar and the landscape.

Got taken to court,
the people who opposed the bill won.
Foulden Maar, free for generations to come.

- Gail Palmer


Archive of the past
Leaning into the future
Past lives catalogued
Within frail shapes

Fishing for a reaction
The reactionaries wish to make you food of swine
Cast your treasures into a pig sty
Memories crushed between the teeth of a pig

These beautiful shapes
Like butterflies of the earth
They tell their stories poignantly
Reminding us that we are dust.

- M.F.


Folded like paper
The origami of history
Written on these pages
Are the signatures of evolution’s struggles
Species long gone
Pressed into the earth
A fight for survival
That extends before and behind us
History in rock

A lesson to be learned

- M.F.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Dream Rhymes

We all have dreams, most of which we don't remember. Today was a chance to explore our dreams but with the added complication of a rhyming scheme (now I can't stop!). We tried the standard format of ABAB and AABB and a few variations ensued. As always the theme is a starting point for creativity. We found that it is important to read your poem as you go to ensure it has the right rhythm which seems to have added importance in a rhyming poem.


I am dreaming consciously of you
while the concepts flutter around my head
I know my dreams wont come true
and sooner or later I"ll end up dead
Although I know this poem is wrong
it encapsulates everything I think
I think I heard this in a song
This dream is driving me to drink!

Clutching at a straw
I fall hard
This dream's a bore
Alone in my room
That's like a junk yard
All my hopes and dreams
I must ignore
What you sow
so shall you keep
A tale of woe
circling around and around you.

- M.F.


The fish rode the bike
Along the winding street
It was really a trike
But still pretty neat.

Next came a cat
Skipping with rope
On its shoulder, a bat
Dressed as a Pope.

Then 3 dancing hogs
It's not as strange as it seems
For like the green dogs
They were all in my dreams.

- Christine Philp

Monday, 17 June 2019

The Never Ending Night

Today we had a record 11 people at Writing Group, if it get's any bigger we'll need an extension! The theme today is Antarctica and the concept of a never ending night. In winter it gets dark earlier everywhere, but in Antarctica it is dark all the time. Our first challenge was to respond to the idea of 'The Never Ending Night' with a poem. Next we assumed the role of an explorer or worker based in Antarctica and wrote a fictional letter home.


Black canvas
Dark night
Swirling aurora
Clouds obscure
Perpetually temporary

- Pauline


Darkness, sun hiding, people using artificial light,
indoors, outdoors, penguins for company.
A few people manning the station.
Antarctica in winter,
temperatures well below zero,
all day, all night.

Lose your bearings, day or night,
it doesn't matter, check the 24 hour clock.
Working outside by moonlight,
by starlight, doing your chores.

Inside the station you still sleep,
eat, play games, do activities.
Contact outside by satellite,
can't get through in blizzards.

A handful of crew for company,
hope that you all get on, tough if you don't,
you are all together for the winter months,
Vitamin D, fruit, veges are necessary for your health.

Artificial light is not the same as sunlight.
Snow mobiles, skiing, no more huskies at base, all electric.
No pets, no supermarkets, no children,
not much left, just survival.

- Gail


No light
No signs of life.

I am alive
(I think)
Or am I?

I must be alive
I feel pain
Physical pain from the cold
Emotional pain from the nothingness.

Is this some sort of purgatory?
That gap between death and whatever happens next
If indeed there is a next.

- Christine


Hunkered down, shoulder by shoulder
Beaks low, eyes closed
The wind howls by as we stand en masse
and the darkness grows

Like one giant creature we flow together, Rotate
away the coldest point,  Stand in the lee
of our tight-feathered community
And about us only darkness

About, the gale whines and roars
Above, the blackest clouds
Around, the dark intense

And cold, and ice, and chill

- Kate Jenkins


I was created in the darkness when there was no form,
The deep made me in the night,
When it comes to beginnings, I was first
I was a continent, a land mass, 17,000 years in the making, so I’m told
The structuring of my financial infrastructure, is my DNA
I was formed in the secret parts of the universe
Today I am still here
My name is unchanged
I am a famous landmark

- Haki Davis 


I felt the ice
Fall off the end of the world
And the dark without light

I saw the empty trail
Forests longed for
Up over the hill and down
to fetch the pail from the windowsill

Here such descriptions fail
The morphing of the unfamiliar land
And the absence of life seems to derail my mind
The curves support an empty nihilism
And ice
frosts over the water to stop people setting sail

This emptiness, this cold, seems a collision of ideals
Emotions in my mind
I feel the ice
It is not nice
There is no trace of mind there
And I think it’s only fair
To leave myself to space and fear
As a decision to confine myself
That I am here to remind myself
That ice and only ice
Is not existence but
a dissonance
Is felt
A sense of human fleeting from the South

Ice and only ice is there

- Dylan Anderson


Dear ____

The sun has set for the last time. I will not see it again for another six months.
This feels very strange and I am afraid. Will I go mad? So much darkness surely can`t be good for one?! Six days seems like an eternity. An eternity of darkness.

On further reflection, there is still much to explore in the dark. It will be an inward time of eating, sleeping, staying still, writing. Finding the limits and the freedoms within and hoping not to go mad in the process.

love from ____

- Pauline


Hi Dan

One month gone and ok so far.  There’s only 8 of us here this season, and Scott Base is locked down. 

Bernhardt is a bit of a nutter, keeps everyone else wound up.  He has a permit for taking atmospheric measurements and insists on going outside to take his own instead of using the digital data – on low-med wind days at least.  He barely makes it back in the doors sometimes.  One of these days he’s going to collapse completely; we’re all hoping he doesn’t do it outside.  He’s from CantyU, one of the geophys lab lads; from Austria originally.

Dom, Mike and Barry pretty much keep to themselves.  They run the particulates lab and have been getting exciting results.  Their exterior sampler has stood up to the wind gusts so far.  They should all last the distance.  Working with Prof Thomas from Geology.

Cam seems to read the old newspapers all the time.  He’s some sort of psychologist, here to study us rather than the penguins.  “Professional Isolates” is what we are apparently.  Can’t help it that Antarctica is days from everywhere.  He’s ok to chat with though; a cricket geek, knocked up his first 100 in Feb.

Benji and Marko do ice studies.  Race outside when the weather is ok, grab a bit then off into the freezer room to look down their microscopes.  Warmer in there than outside.

I’m off to check over the radios.  All working ok so far but some of the batteries need replaced, the cold can kill them bloody quickly.

Cheers, Steve

- Kate Jenkins

To whom it may concern

I feel as you yourself may, an absence.  Something that was there or perhaps wasn’t.  It might have been, had I stayed, something cold, something obliterated.  Something.  Your love.  Yes, that’s right, I do believe I was searching for your love.  Yes, your love would suffice.  But had I found it, a cruel fate I might have suffered.  A sting in the thumb, paralyzing, so when you lay there tonight, as you do, cling to your pillow, feel something real.  Exploration hidden only reveals that not hidden.  So feel driven to love, to lust, accordingly and morally as yourself.  And feel obliged to do what you do.  I know now, that miles away, my spawn cries.  And wails through that lovely nighttime estate but be not ashamed for everything in your life has weight, to reach out.  So reach out as a lover, feel something, but make it loud, and feel.  Feel the wind and take the clouds, for ice right now is only there, for me.  And accountable is only darkness, so why not feel and be ecstatic.  To whomever it may concern, feel pain.  To whom it may concern, be the woman I knew, that lived and loved.
To whom it may concern,

- Dylan Anderson

To my loving wife,
This is my last diary entry
There is not enough food
And sombre is the mood.
If we are to survive
my dear wife,
it will be
without me.
My next step may help my crew
We are so cold we're turning blue.
These are my last words,
said with a forced smile.
"I'm going outside,
I may be a while."

- Phillip Porteous

Monday, 3 June 2019

Te Reo Poems

Today te wero, the challenge, was to use te reo Maori in our poetry. We first brainstormed all the words we could think of (which filled two A3 sheets!). We then created a poem in English incorporating some of the Maori words that we had written down - as many or as few as we wanted. Taking it to the next level, we attempted to write a poem entirely in te reo Maori. Some felt whakama/shy about putting their work up here but some great work was produced. Kia kaha!


The kupu of the pukapuka is like kai for the puku
Haere mai, haere mai
Like waiata to the rangi
As tamariki running along the whenua
Etu toa
Become tapu, become mana

- E. T.


The harekeke blew in the wind
Tui's chased korimako as the
waves of Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa relentlessly
crushed the shells to sand.

It was a lonely place
As if its name kept people at bay
- Murdering Beach, now softened
to Whareakeake, where a few
modest cribs live on and on.

Where the birds say -
Whakarongo ki te Tane
Whakarongo ki te moana
Whakarongo ki te Rangi
Whakarongo ki te wairua

The harekeke waved haere raa
As the waves washed our presence
from the sand
But the stories remain in
the shadow of Motutapu

- P.S.

Whakarongo wahine
Tamariki puka puka
Iwi kupu
Tangata aku
Tangata whenua
Tangata papatuanuku
Moana kakariki
Maunga Otepoti
Wahine toa
Hoha ka kite ano

- M.F.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Favourite Things

What are your favourite things and do you think you could write a song about it? Well they did it in the Sound of Music and so we thought we would give it a try. First we listed all our favourite things then attempted to rewrite the song using the same rhythm and style as the song My Favourite Things. Some of us went off on tangents but that's creative writing for you!

Dogs, cats and white rats, sisters and brothers
School friends and classmates and all of the others
Sometimes there's rainbows up high in the sky
These are the things that help time go by

When the door slams
That's where I am
When I feel sick
There's just one trick I can always use
I simply remember these wonderful things
And then I won't feel so blue

- M.F.

Hot tea and muffins with dark chocolate buttons
A warm bed with soft and luxurious cushions
A fire and a book and a code cracker too
These are good things when I'm feeling blue

A breeze blowing softly as we send stones skimming
Camping in Central exploring and swimming
A cold beer and a sing-a-long with friends in the evening
These are the good times I think of when dreaming

When the day ends
When the birds sing
When everyone has gone
I simply remember my favourite things
And recite this annoying song

- P.S.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on lions
Bright witches and magical wizards
Larnach Castle in the Spring
These are a few of my favourite things

Hot chocolate and Mac'n'cheese
Tigers and leopards
And Harry Potter with J.K. Rowling

When the Disney princesses dance
When Julie Andrew's sings
When witches and wizards are on screen
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so bad

- By Julia Godfrey

Camp stove by lake cove
Boots for tramping and a tent for camping
Alcohol free beer and other gear
A cup of tea and a place to pee
Tramping and camping is the life for me

Back country huts and ciggy butts
A Swiss-army knife, ah, that's the life
Smoking a cigarette while listening to music
Solar panel instead of a candle
Fire and solar power my USB
Tramping and camping is the life for me

- Phillip Porteous

Black & White Worlds

The theme this week was black & white. Firstly writers were asked to respond to the question "What if the world was black and white...