Thursday, 5 August 2021

Olympic Poetry

Well the Olympics is on and there's some amazing athletes doing some incredible things. Much of their performance is beautiful to watch and contains highly choreographed movement with artistic flourishes. So our group was tasked with choosing an Olympic sport and writing a poem or short story about the athlete's prowess, poise, determination and perhaps their hopes. We then had to imagine we were the athlete and write about the moment just prior to the big performance and what was going through the athlete's head.


I feel the nerves take hold,

Breathe, I tell myself.

Forget the skater now competing,

I have no control over what she does.

Maybe she will give a better performance,

Maybe she will not,

That is outside my control.

But my own programme is not!

Don’t watch.

Just breathe and breathe again.

What do I need to do?

Think girl, think.

I need to land my triples,

All of them!

I can do it,

I know I can!

This is no time to doubt.

I can do it.

I know I can!

Do I try for my triple axel?

Do I, do I?

I have landed it in practice,

I have landed it in my programme.

It’s hard, but I have done it.

But do I take the risk?

I am sitting fourth now.

Can I move up?

A triple axel and clean programme would do it.

Can I do it.

Yes, I have done it!

I can do it again!

What if my landing is shaky?

What if, what if?

I could tack on another jump.

Yes, I could.

It doesn’t need to be a triple,

A double will do.

Yes, that is the plan.

I have nothing to lose.

I only have something to gain.

Yes, I can do it,

I can really do it.

And I will.

My coach believes in me,

And so do I.

My goodness, it’s my turn,

My turn to be the best I can be.

I am ready.



The skater takes his pose

Waiting for his music to begin.

He glances at his coach

Who nods his support.

His music begins and his body sways

As the music appears to become a part of him.

He begins to move

As the music takes him with it.

He becomes caught up in the story

His music and his moves tell.

The music builds

As he prepares for his first jump.

His focus is intense.

Set it up,

Wait for the beat.

He summons the strength,

And he takes off.

Lift and twist.

Round once, twice, three times.

Landing backwards he lifts off again

Using the momentum from his landing

To gather the lift and speed needed.

He takes off.

Lift and twist.

Round once, twice, three times.

He lands with a smile on his face.


One element achieved, the hardest.

He feels on a roll.

His body works to the music

Flowing effortlessly with the beat.

He feels strong and in control.

Wait for the beat.

Now spin.

Wait for the beat.

Now change position.

Another element,


He feels strong and in control.

Again, and again,


He is near the end,

Now the music is all that matters.

It flows around and through him

Taking him through his movements

To that final dramatic sound and pose.

As the music fades away

He slowly becomes aware of the standing ovation.

In this moment he knows,

Knows he has achieved a personal best.



As the high jumper poised himself 

and got into his stance

he gathered his thoughts 

by having a glance at the bar 

and how far and how high. 

He thought, oh my

I will try and try 

to jump so high, 

I will even try to fly. 

Over the jump and 

over the lump and the bumps 

on the way to glory I will go.

Go for gold 

for gold is the best colour 

to seek and secure 

valour, prestige, honour. 

No guts, no glory. 

So I gather my prowess 

and try to jump 

as high as the sky

To jump and leap 

whether I dance 

or hold my stance 

in such a way to play 

and compete. 

To extend my arms and legs

to stretch and move 

as high as a kite.

To jump with all my might 

and to gracefully 

win to my delight.

- G Maynard

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

A walk in the country side


This weeks we took inspiration from the natural world and some writing of one of the artists at Artsenta who had written a detailed account of his walk in the country. So our writers were tasked with remembering a time they did the same and writing a short story based on that experience and trying to bring the sounds, sights and smells that went with it. We then were tasked with turning that prose into a poem that captured the experience in a more fleeting way.

Walk in the countryside

The cowpat is glooping over my shoe - yes, I am using gloop as a verb, no other verb seems to capture the visceral, unsettling sensation while the brown turns to green as it spreads over my previously cleanish shoes.  And here I was, more concerned by the ripped trousers and the bleeding thigh that I had just given myself trying to scramble over the barbed wire fence.  Why is there even barbed wire?  At least the next fence coming is one of those orange ribbons of modern temporary electric wiring, no barbs on that.

The smell from my shoe is so very 'rural'.  A smell I had tricked myself into thinking I had escaped.  A smell I had hoped was trapped in my childhood.  I smear it ineffectually across the grass, failing entirely to get my shoe remotely clean.  There is no escaping this smell.  Last week's grass.  Even the nearby brush of tussock is proving no help.

The big dumb eye of a cow dispassionately watches my awkward flailing.  I anthropomorphise it, tell myself it is enjoying my suffering, the unpleasantness it has caused.  But I can't fool myself, that eye is too stupid to know malice, too stupid to know anything.

I should have stayed in town.






Confidence is Power, Misplaced


The orange ribbon sparkles

          with interwoven metal


Manufactured glory

Sparkling across the verdant earth

Held in place

         by plastic posts

            stabbed into the dirt


A reminder that man has conquered nature

          with this flimsy




Stepping over it

          man is quickly reminded that he


          is nature


The pulse hits

          somehow both sharp and dull


          but with panic inducing confusion

Tightening the muscles against escape


Why did we do this to ourselves?


          We too are nature.



Today we feature one of our regular writers who has diligently written up the poems she has developed at the Artsenta Writer's Group ove...