Inside out

Some poems and reflections on life



Clouds rain dark shadows
Causing mist to blanket the hills
Light breaks through briefly
Illuminating the broken;

Mist swirls in the palm
Of my outstretched hand
Contained in a globe
to be shaken;

Snow falls on a miniature village
People unseen scurry from home to work
Unseen and unknown
Going nowhere;

We look for the hand of God
Discerning patterns in the chaos
Form within void
The imprint of meaning on our lives

Event without cause
Action without reaction
Confuses our senses
And leaves us adrift in a sea of random non-sense

Trees whisper soft meaning to each other
Through mycochondrial networks
Connecting a forest
of multi-species conflict and cooperation

I sit
alone in my room
this poem.



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The gate

The silent sentinel
Entrance abandoned to
a forgotten destination

Rust binds metal to post
barricaded against the onset
of rampant growth

Who was it that once lived here?
running excitedly to check the mail
collecting fresh morning milk
cream clotting on the top
trudging home weary from the day
glad to see the sight of home

Now coprosma and hebe crowd the path
Burying it under a litter of leaves
Fantails swoop in the cooling evening
People drive by unseeing

No one will come this way again
But still you stand
the silent sentinel


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Pray for me

Pray for me? – if you like
Prey on my loss, my guilt, my hurt
if that will make you feel better
closer to your god …
who is so far from me

But do it on your own time

For now
just sit
and be
in the darkness

Join me in the pit
as I cry out to the universe
in rage
in terror
in abandonment

Lost to all feeling
poured out on the ground
grieving for what is lost forever

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Owed to perfection

Inspired by reading “The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block”  by Hillary Rettig


Perfectly you stand, in glory
Astride the sea-wall gates
A colossus guarding all who enter

No one can ever measure up
Nothing will ever compare
All will fail under your shadow

We wait in dread silence
For the muse to strike
For that amazing inspiration we need
To propel ourselves over your wall

Faint praise damns us to hell
Good enough is never good enough

We lie stuck in the stench of our own self loathing
As giants stroll by not realising
That all we have to do is
stand up

So get up
Strut your stuff
Damn the critics
Damn the reviewers
Damn that voice inside that tells you you are not worthy

Run naked down the street
in all your flabby glory
Get out of where you are
And tell everyone your story

Not because it will be the ‘next big thing’
Not because it will get applause
Not because it will bring fame and fortune
Or not even because it will make this sorry world a little brighter

Tell it because it is yours to tell
Tell it because it is our story

Rough and ready – full of wholes
Written badly is better
than not written at all.



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Under the city


Tracks lie in semi-dark,
soft illumination highlights
a shadow of a train

Fine dust covers the platform,
lies deep as sand on a beach

The ticket collector waits
patiently for passengers
who never come

The train travels silently
down the track;
an empty remnant
of a half dreamed project


Down a passage – through a door,
cigar smoke fills the room
as cards are shuffled and
vodka shots poured


Fleeing down a winding stair
lost in the labyrinth,
an underground network
of tunnels and rooms

Shadow reflection of the world above

Dark corners hide
secrets long buried


Stooped over a bench of dials and gauges
a man reads off numbers;
signs and signals of the world above

Wizened and hunchbacked,
he scurried down the corridor
passing messages
of great importance
and enormous secrecy


Water drips from the ceiling,
broken tile gives way to
natural rock

Caves formed by a stream;
transparent fish school
in the shallows

Abandoned remains of people
who once sat

Before the city was built above.


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Matariki 2016

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year. Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki).”

“Don’t the overwhelming majority believe that mankind is the crowning achievement of Creation, that man is better than everything, even things we haven’t yet investigated? And don’t those people who aren’t able to escape the bonds of their own ego think that the entire Universe, even the countless worlds of outer space, is just a backdrop for this ego? And yet it might be quite different.”
Adalbert Stifter (1805 – 1868), Indian Summer  – quoted on Views from the Edge


A star rises in the pre-dawn sky
A marker for new beginnings

Against this majestic backdrop
We argue and fight for glory

Who will win? and
Who will lose this time?

The world hangs on a thread
waiting for the outcome of a vote

While millions wander homeless
Cast out by war not of their making

Justice alludes us again
As guns fire and knives stab

Tirohia atu nei, ka wheturangitia te pō
Akuanei, ka pūao te ata

Engari, i te tino wā nei …
titiro  … whakarongo … whakamiharo …


[Look – the night sky is adorned with stars
Very soon, dawn will break

But in this very moment …
Look … listen … wonder …]