Will I Float Or Will I Fly?


I thought I’d float within my dreams,
Lying languidly in a boat,
Drifting with the flow of lazy streams
Amid lilac-tinted water lilies,
Like the lady of the lyrical poem…
Drift, float… float without a helm
To end where the stream of life ends.

But, no, I didn’t float. I flew
Through my dreams, through a dark azure sky
Over navy seas bespeckled by reflections
Of moon and stars on wave tops;
Over cream-rimmed dark islands,
Twinkling with open fires far below.

I didn’t float, I flew; not gently,
But furiously fast, fantastically far.
High above the world I know,
Then over new worlds, flying low
To see the strange, the new
Places and people, none I knew.

I felt disquiet, sought familiar places,
But none were here, and with a bitter thrill
I swooped to return to known faces,
Known arguments, old disputes
Fast friends and firm promises…
I flew back, to reassurance.

I’ve not written any poems for some while now.

The Daily Prompt theme “Float” brought me to compose this… Be kind.

Longest Placename…


2016-12-27-12-18-44

Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu…

…is the longest placename in New Zealand, maybe even in the world with its 86 letters. It’s roadside directional signpost has been ‘nicked’ many times over the years. I found this sign among the exhibits in the British Car Museum (in Clive, Hawkes Bay, NZ) – obviously donated by someone who ‘found’ it.

What does it mean? The place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater’, played his flute to his loved one.”

Of course, locals simplify it to Taumata Hill.

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Brought to mind by the photo challenge of the week: NAME

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First 2017 prompt :: YEAR


Well, the Daily Prompt folks have delighted me, by not making 1st January’s prompt “Resolutions”. Thanks for the common sense, good folk. It would have been too easy, too over-done, too lazy … for any  to really give a toss about. So … “Year” – ‘A Year Of…’, ‘A Year For…’, ‘A Year In…’, ‘A Year With…’ – endless possibilities here. (You can probably tell I’m desperately thinking as I write this.) What will I wrap ‘Year’ around? Well, regardless of it being too obvious, it’s my view on 2017; plans? promises? problems? (Nah, not problems-let’s keep it positive.) politics? (Nah, not politics-let’s keep it positive. Did someone just say that?)  It’ll definitely be a year of remembrances and anniversaries, some light, some dire…

2017 Anniversaries

500 years:
– Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the doors of Wittenberg Castle’s Church (October 31)

150 years:
– Creation of the Dominion of Canada (July 1)
– Publication of Karl Marx’s Das Capital (September 14)

125 years:
– Début of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (October 31)

100 years:
– Centennial of the U.S. Entry into World War I (April
– US President John F Kennedy born (May 29)

75 years:
– Commencement of the Battle of Stalingrad (July 17) which continued to February 2, 1943

50 years:
– Hollywood releases “Bonnie and Clyde,” “In The Heat of the Night,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “I Am Curious Yellow”, and (December 21) “The Graduate”.
“After decades of studio rule, the gloves were off, battle lines drawn and silver screen taboos toppling like dominoes.”*
– Monterey Pop Festival (June 16-18); With performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and The Who — before they were superstars
– Release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (June 1); Also (no precise date) “The Doors” (The Doors), “Surrealistic Pillow” (Jefferson Airplane), “Are You Experienced?” (Jimi Hendrix Experience), “The Velvet Underground & Nico” (The Velvet Underground)
– Canada’s Expo 67 (April 27-Oct. 29)
– “Hair” opens off-Broadway (Oct. 17)
– Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” hits No. 1 (June 3-10

– the Biafran War (more correctly The Nigerian Civil War) with which came the formation of Doctors Without Borders began (6 July 1967)
– Commencement of the Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt (June 5–10)
– Greek monarchy is overthrown (April 21)

– Death of Che Guevara (October 1)
– World’s first heart transplant (December 3)

48 years:
– Woodstock, the bigger, more iconic touchstone for hippie music gatherings.

40 years:
– “Star Wars” hits theatres (May 25)
– “Roots” becomes a small screen phenomenon (Jan. 23-30)
– Elvis Presley dies (Aug. 16)

30 years:
– “Dirty Dancing” screened.

25 years:
– Johnny Carson steps down from “The Tonight Show” (May 21)
– Nirvana’s “Nevermind” hits No. 1. (Jan. 11)

20 years:
– Ellen DeGeneres comes out as TV’s first gay leading character;
– “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” screened;
– Pop band Backstreet Boys emerged

*Source: Joel Rubinoff, arts and family columnist at the Waterloo Region Record.

A response to the Daily Prompt for 1st January, 2017. Link-back will have to wait, as using the iPad App is not conducive to popping back n forth to get it.

2017, A Hopeful New Year – More Or Less


I do hope 2017 sees me more productive, more effective, more efficient, more fortunate (both in terms of fortune, and luck), more healthy, more academic of thought, more politically aware, more active (physically and socially), more spiritual (actively, not alone), more gentile, more and more free-to-be-me than in years up to now.

But there are also things I feel hopeful should be less, not more. I’m hopeful I’ll have less cravings for cigarettes (off cigarettes themselves, but triggers still twitch), less jittery, less dependent, less doubt about myself, less worried about others’ opinions, less clumsy, less fearful, less weary, less garrulous, less judgemental of others, less stressed by small things.

I’m hopeful I’ll be able to walk the treetops suspended pathway in the Redwoods forest (here in Rotorua) – so I have work to do on my fear of heights. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to start learning to swim – started, but agoraphobia triggered by the broad expanse of the pool’s wide open space (its surface) brought on a melt-down. Both of these conditions hit me at about the time Stiff Persons’ Syndrome did.

I’m hopeful I’ll get lots (and lots, and lots) more work done on my memoir. And I’m hopeful I’ll get myself cracking on writing and submitting shorter works to…whoever wants them. But this is also where hope is not enough. One must have a stern resolution to achieve what one hopes for. Which means setting down the “How To …”, and the “When To…”; so, a schedule, a “To Do” list…all of which do actually become a delaying tactic, a side-track. Getting ready to work is not the same as actually Working, is it?


What’s the betting the daily prompt for the 1st January (US time) will be Resolutions?
(This was intended to suggest a post for the last day of 2016, but I’m in the GMT +13 (NZDT) time zone, so I’m writing this on Sunday 1st January.)

Poetry & Tarts


I wish I could have peeped into your mind as you read just the title – I bet the image (for some) was a tad salacious.

Sorry, it’s rather less exciting… “Poetry & Tarts” refers to an event for New Zealand’s 2016 National Poetry Day, for which the Rotorua Mad Poets Society planned a month of poetry related activities for the community.
The event offered poetry readings by Mad Poets or the public – their own or other poets’ published works; and the only “tarts” available 9671_mini-raspberry-tarts
were not among those participating,
but sitting on plates for the refreshment break.

I’m hoping Poetry & Tarts will be included in 2017’s poetry celebration!
Maybe they’ll allow costumes to be worn!

Are there poems on the Tart theme? One jingle comes to mind:

“An empty gut, an aching heart –
Both fulfilled by a lovely tart.

(origin unknown)

If you know of others, feel free to either add them to the comments (accessible once you have clicked on the title of this post), or if a longer piece, post it at your blog then please pop back and leave a link to it in the Comments.
I Really hope to see more Tart poems (of either connotation)


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Wow, still available


…after all these years

But nearly sold out. Copies still available at the Rotorua Museum Gift Shop, at c.$25 per print copy.

(This post featured at Red Penn Reviews shortly after it was published…)

“An anthology of poetry with a Rotorua theme, compiled from works of the “Mad Poets’ Society”, contributing poets, and young Rotorua poets.

ISBN = 978-0-473-18795-8.

I’m feeling fairly smug as at last I have had six poems of mine published.
All the poems are in three ‘chapters’
One is those with a Rotorua theme.
Two is poems from children and young poets from eleven to seventeen years old.
Three is entitled ‘Reflections’ and you may expect a variety of subjects and forms.

Numbers for One Son


One Son, One Crash, Nine Injuries, One Band

One night, near midnight, the telephone rang, waking us from sleep. The voice asked for verification that I was mother to Michael, and told me she was calling from Auckland Hospital’s Emergency department. I repeated what she said, so my husband would know what was happening. He immediately sprang from bed, and started hauling suitcases down from the cupboard above our wardrobe.

“Michael’s been in an accident?”

“He’s in a critical condition?”

“He may not survive the night?”

“It’s a nine-hour drive.”

“There are no planes to Auckland from here.”

“We’ll hit the road. If there’s any question of permission for any procedure, you have it. Just, please, keep him alive until we arrive.”

Our clothes jammed in the cases and we were on our way, stopping to collect the father of Michael’s girl-friend, who’d been in the same crash. We drove all night, only stopping for a coffee and snack when fatigue hit the driver. We arrived at the Emergency Department at about the same time as the business rush-hour was in full crawl.

“He’s not here,” the man said. I nearly collapsed, thinking he meant our boy had died. “He’s up in the Critical Care ward. I’ll walk with you to show you the way.”

We parted company from the girl’s father, as she was in a general surgical ward, and arrived on the CC floor. Sitting on a bench seat outside the ward was the driver, Richard, his head in his hands. Beside him, another of Michael’s friends. I went straight to Richard, sat beside him, and held him close.

“Richard, this is not your fault. We do not blame you. Please, don’t blame yourself. I’ll call you in as soon as they let Michael have visitors.”

We entered the CC ward, and were led to Michael’s cubicle; there he lay, his usually soft tan skin pallid, eyes closed as he drifted through the induced coma that rested his body. Both of us had tears in our eyes, but we fought them off. Our worry and misery were far outweighed by Michael’s condition.

He had taken nine points of impact and damage when the car had been T-boned at an intersection, and he in the passenger seat took the full impact:

A skull fracture, and concussion;
A fracture of the humerus, and tearing of the ulnar;
A hairline fracture of the C6 vertebra (with potential paralysis);
Two fractures of the pelvic cradle – one at the front, one at the back;
His spleen had been shattered and splattered throughout his abdominal and chest cavity;
Abdominal organs had been forced through his diaphragm (they found his stomach between a lung and his heart)!

They had already removed all traces of his spleen from the abdominal cavity, replaced all organs, and repaired the diaphragm. He wore a neck brace until the C6 hairline fracture showed signs of healing and it was safe to manage without it. They operated to repair the arm fracture.

In the meantime, over the days of visiting him, we all were able to stay in the hospital’s family hostel, with a community kitchen and quiet room. It was a steep walk up to the level of the hospital, and I was using a walker frame, being in recovery form my own health problem.

The girlfriend’s condition was far less concerning than my son’s. She whined about the possibility of a slight scar on her face. Her father had by then been joined by her mother and younger sister – lovely girl. The mother was my husband’s “boss”, and she told him he had to return home, to complete a routine end of the academic year task. So I remained in the family hostel on my own, but managed to get up to the CC ward everyday – just to sit as “wall paper” as Michael lay there, needing quiet, or companionship when he was up to talking.

They operated to pin his pelvic fractures, and advised me he’d be out of surgery and ready to see me at about four-thirty. I returned to the hostel, listening to the radio during the long surgery. When I walked into the CC ward the anaesthetist and surgeon were attending him still. They urgently waved me away, and said they’d fetch me when he was awake and ready. Something was wrong, I could feel their despair.

I waited for another hour and a half before they came out to fetch me. Oh, God. Their faces were the colour of a hospital sheet.

“He’s not coming out of the anaesthetic.” I didn’t wait to hear any more.

Around his bed, the anaesthetist stood at Michael’s head, the theatre nurse stood at Michael’s left side, monitoring his pulse with his hand – watching the wave lines on the monitor. I stood at his right, holding his hand, tears running down my cheeks. It seemed this would be his last hour on earth.

Then, I realised – even in a coma, some patients still hear what is spoken directly to them. Michaelbeing a musician (bass guitar, drums, and vocals in a small rock band) I began talking music to him.

“Michael? The boys in the band are waiting for you. They need you, Michael.”

“Michael, I’ve been listening to the radio all day – The Rock station – all your favourites.”

The medicos were murmuring to each other sotto voce, their tones tinged with concern. I didn’t want to hear their words. Then I remembered something The Rock’s announcer had said.

“Hey, Michael. You know what I heard on the radio? AC/DC are touring down under.”

“Jesus, he’s got a grip!’ cried out the theatre nurse.

“That’s a good response.” The anaesthetist glanced up at the sudden spike on the monitor. “He definitely heard that.

In between silent sobs as I tried to sound calm, I said “Michael, if you come up out of this… if you can wake up… I will get your to an AC/DC concert… even if we have to fly across the Tasman.”

His grip of both our hands was sharp, sudden, strong! Thank you, Lord Jesus.

I kept talking about our favourite band, naming their songs, which videos we both liked best… Heck, I even sang one! I gave time between talking for him to respond – and for the medicos to watch the ever increasing pulses of the monitors of his brain activity, his heart… then, at last…

“Wanna see AC/DC, Mum.” A soft, whispered mumble, but there he was, back from the depths of near death.

Gradually over the next hour as the theatre nurse and I quietly spoke to him about music, his friends… he brought – he fought – himself back to full consciousness. Only when he was stable, and awake but tired – a natural tiredness – could I leave him to sleep.


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Post Script: AC/DC announced they would extend their tour to New Zealand, to Auckland. At the time, I had relapsed (shortly after Michael’s surgeries were completed, and my body collapsed after bearing all the stress) and was again confined to my own hospital bed at home. But Michael, and his sister, did get to hear our favourite band perform live. I have to admit, I cried as I couldn’t be there with them.