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Saturday, 14 June 2008


The other night son S in Japan Skype-d us Ayana's Japanese characters. He and E also told us what the name means - serenity and etiquette come into it, of course it's not as simple as that; translations seldom are. But anyway, I love the way it looks. We watched as E wrote it for us and then S held it up for us to see (you may be able to see us at the bottom of the screen - me with the camera taking a photo of the name!)


About six weeks or so ago now, the anthology 'Swings and Roundabouts' was released.

I love all Mark Smith's black and white photos in the book; the cover photo could so easily be of our two older sons; not only are the looks similar, but the body language as well - the confidence of the elder alongside the more diffident second-born.

Ably edited by Emma Neale, with photos by Mark Smith, 'Swings and Roundabouts' contains poems by some well-known overseas poets (such as Seamus Heaney, Fleur Adcock, Les Murray and Sharon Olds.) However, most of the poets included are New Zealanders.
The theme for the book is parenting, in its widest sense, and includes very readable poetry about all that is entailed in this role - the dilemmas, triumphs, crises, stresses, tensions, humour, warm fuzzies, contradictions, dramas ...
My poem in the book is 'all that' which is from 'made for weather' and is a poem about our youngest son leaving home.

all that

The last to leave home, we’ll miss
his unwashed frying pan
thick with the amber lace of fried egg,

the abandoned, empty shoes looking helpless
and far too big for any son of ours.
His choice of adjectives; ‘wicked’ and ‘primo’;

the verb ‘gutted’, the phrase ‘pretty much sucks’.
The 4.00 a.m Sunday morning clank and creak
up the narrow hallway.

The toilet light left on all night, a blaring, lighthouse
-globe to guide moths through the peril
of open louvres. Yes, we’ll miss all that, plus

stretched out on the couch his crashed, sleeping body;
the tender snoring, his long, hairy legs
as sweet as baby pungas.

* pungas - a tree fern native to New Zealand with a characteristic 'hairy' trunk.

(After reading this poem, C's flatmate now calls him 'Punga'!)



Catherine said...

I submitted poems for that collection, but didn't get any in. So - congratulations! I skimmed the contents at the bookstore and felt that the proportion of dead and overseas poets was high enough to make it really hard for those of us still living and local. There's quite a lot of Sharon Olds. And a fair few by Lauris Edmond, who I admire, but would like to see more newer poets given a chance.
I like your new blog title. But I don't think I'll get used to not thinking of you as Chiefbiscuit.

Kay said...

I'm sorry you didn't get in Catherine as your poems are favourites of mine.
Thanks for the ups on my new title. I think I have finished playing around now - the rugby's almost over on the TV so I can go join the world again! :)
Feel free to keep calling me Chief or Biscuit!

Tammy said...

I'm impressed Kay! You are in a book along side Sharon Olds? wow

I loved your poem and will add both books to my next purchase. My reading has slipped due to sping and I have to buy online in the mountains. Maybe a mule train will come by. LOL XXOO

harvey molloy said...

"Most of the poets are New Zealanders however, and I'm happy to be included." Where were you born, Kay? I'll reflect the change of your blog's name on my blogroll.All the best for the new book.

Kay said...

tammy - I immediately think of Jose Feliciano whenever mule train is mentioned ... I love the thought that 'made for weather' and 'feeding the dogs' would be on board a mule train! :)

harvey - I am born and bred kiwi (in fact tangata whenua) born in Tuatapere, Western Southland. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

Cailleach said...

Congrats CB, I loved this poem in made for weather, so am pleased to think of you in there with Heaney, Olds and the like!

Kay said...

cailleach - I can see your poems about parenting proudly stashed alongside the like as well.

pepektheassassin said...

You are in great company! And it is well-deserved!

Translations: Ayana is a beautiful
name for this beautiful baby. Mine both have Japanese middle names; Natsuki= Natu (summer) and Ki (Princess) -- and Kaito= Kai (sea) and To (Star), so, Bookworm and Starfish....

Di Mackey said...

I loved this and posted it, along with a link back to your blog and to your website poetry section, where the info on purchasing the poetry is :)

If you have any problems with me doing that, don't hesitate to let me know and I'll remove your poem from my blog. It was only that I loved it so much that I gave into the compulsion to blog it forward.
Kindest regards

Becky Motew said...

You have captured your son in words just as surely as a photograph or painting might.

Nice to meet you, Kay. It's a little like you got married or something and changed your name.

We'll all get used to it.
Love your work as always

paris parfait said...

Nice to see the Japanese characters. And your poem is so lovely - one only a parent could write. :) xo


'how this all harbours light'