Live Poets Napier at Creative Arts Napier
NZ NATIONAL POETRY DAY – 21 AUGUST 2020
Lens on Poetry organised by Napier Live Poets to celebrate NZ National Poetry Day was hosted by Creative Arts Napier (CAN) for two weeks.
The invitation to this event described it as follow: “Lens on Poetry is a collaboration combining poems and photography. Photographs will hang alongside its relevant poem to create a visual-linguistic dialogue between each coupling. Each medium will have its own status and there are no limits or parameters on creativity. It is hoped that the work will reveal new truths and previously unknown histories of our city. Visitors to the exhibition are free to engage with the work as they wish, with input and comments welcome.”
The following poets and photographers responded to this year National Poetry Day challenge:
Jeremy & Nurasiah Roberts, Erice Fairbrother & Stefan, M D Rogers (Duncan Bowles) & Naomi Prowse, Dave Sharp & Paul Sharp, Susan Wylie & Marie Taylor, Lynn Frith & Sally Carter, Valentina Teclici & Ken Sandö. Angie Denby, Sonia Mackenzie and Ian McQuillan played the double role (poet and photographer).
Jeremy & Nurasiah Roberts
Jeremy Roberts wrote a bilingual poem (in Bahasa Indonesia and English) inspired by Alia, his daughter’s drawing. Nurasiah Roberts, Alia’s mother, took the photo.
Erice Fairbrother & Stefan
There is nothing I would ask For, from anyone,
Except perhaps one
Thing – to just live,
God hears me they
Say, once walked in our shoes – Can you
Walk with me
So I might walk with you
Hope in these streets, warmth From the mind, and
M D Rogers (Duncan Bowles) & Naomi Prowse
Backwards she glances
through sharp stinging tears
watching the moon
from the air.
Her fragile love entwining
Sorrowfully dreaming she gasps in
despair while drowning
once more in those angry
tears Clawing for
breath she stares
and she stares
M D Rogers
Ian McQuillan (photo and poem)
Out of the Chrysalis
It was time to come
Out of the chrysalis
That suspended green house
With a golden strip around it
Inside, the caterpillars
Magical metamorphosis occurred
The Monarch emerged
Resplendent, beautiful butterfly
Waiting patiently close by
The praying mantis
Knew her time had come
Grasping the helpless baby butterfly
She began her feast
Devouring first the head of her victim
Leaving the rest for later.
Nature lovers rejoice!
Ian McQuillan 6/7/20
Sonia Mackenzie (photo and poem)
There’s a golden sunset above the houses across the green
can it be seen where you are?
There’s a small brown thrush amongst the leaves in autumn trees
could it take a message to you?
There’s half a moon disappearing soon behind a cloud
if I shout out loud can it take my thoughts to you?
For you only went away today and I am missing you already!
Dave Sharp & Paul Sharp
Grim Reaper Junior.
“Good evening Mrs Reaper,
Welcome, come on in,
I have to report the school has some issues,
Relating to Young Grim.
He’s never in School Uniform,
He’s always in black robe and hood!
Ooh, ooh, religious is it?
And what’s with this scythe he carries round?
Oh, symbolic! It’s like a cross. I see.
Religious intolerance? No, no, no,
Of course he can bring it, gracious me!
But please explain this hour-glass thing,
That Grim studies every day,
He tells his classmates it’s their lives,
He’s watching slip away.
He says he’ll meet them later,
Depending on some dice,
Oh, it’s about classmate reunions in the future!
Well isn’t that so nice!
Now School Nurse mentioned a problem,
He’s too bony, far too thin,
She says he’s skeletal in fact,
You need to up the protein he takes in.
Well I won’t see you again, I’m retiring,
I’ll be out of everybody’s mind,
But your son promises to look me up, next June,
He’s really a good lad, ever so kind!”
Susan Wylie & Marie Taylor
Photo: Marie Taylor of Plant Hawke’s Bay, from her 2019 calendar of native plants and local craft.
Box: Peter Maclean, rimu with totara berries, Podocarpus totara
Box of Berries
At some time
and remade itself.
At some time
the tree was felled
milled shaped planed sanded
and piece by piece
remade as a box
with joints and handle like twigs
and an eye looking upwards.
A box, still tree.
At some time
these berries fell from a tree
dropped tumbled scattered
and a fraction
is remaking in the dark damp earth
a tree as joints and twigs
in its mind’s eye.
A berry, still tree.
At some time
the end the start
Angie Denby (photo and poem)
Stairway to Heaven
She is climbing the stairway to heaven,
The cage rattled as we drove
She paced the room
With caring hearts, our talk came to a foregone conclusion.
“Sounds like you have made up your mind. These are the choices.”
I choose tat one.
Can’t go to the counter.
Can barely see.
I carried the empty cage to the car, and drove home.
Clear away the bowls.
I keep looking out for her, thinking she will walk in.
She is in my mind on and off all evening.
Rest in Peace, faithful feline.
Lynn Frith & Sally Carter
reveals earth’s beauty.
The path stretches
into an unknown future.
Life can be hazardous.
Valentina Teclici & Ken Sandö
THE SPIRIT OF NAPIER
Napier, amazing city, Phoenix
rising from your own ashes.
1931 earthquake ruined your buildings,
killed and injured people,
but never killed your hopes and dreams.
I search through chapters of history.
1850, your roots, your genesis.
Alfred Domett, Sir Charles Napier.
Step by step, growth and progress.
Once a borough now a harbour city
attracting millions of tourists.
Sister cities in Japan, China and Canada.
I wonder where your beautiful spirit hid?
In old buildings?
In your resilience and determination to survive and strive?
In the deeds of great people who left their legacy behind?
In the bronze statues Pania of the Reef or A Wave in Time,
witnesses to the happenings
on Marine Parade and Emerson Street?
Is your spirit hidden in the waiata of the ocean?
Tangaroa never resting the keyboard of his waves.
Is it hidden in Maori legends, whakatauki
and whakapapa of Ahuriri?
Gratefully, Ken Sandö’s photo collage
teaches me more about my adopted city.
Now, I believe that The Spirit of Napier
is in the power of rising above all challenges
from Mother Nature and human beings.
It’s the essence of the past and present,
each breath of every rock, bird, tree and ocean wave.
Each person belonging to you, dead or alive,
all in your true beauty,
of moments and continuity.
Thank you to the poets and photographers who agreed to have their contribution to the Lens of Poetry event published on the Scripta manent Publishing House website.