Thursday, October 30, 2014

Prehistoric forest?

Is it a bird, is it a plane, or is it a... prehistoric forest? 

I'm pretty sure it's not a bird or a plane, this milky grey-green, lumpy bumpy, squidgy under foot ground growth that has appeared on Takapuna beach after a serious storm some months back drove several layers of sand further up the beach to expose it. And exposed it has remained.

People are talking, as they will about the appearance of something before unseen, and what they're saying is that it is the remnants of a prehistoric forest, which is kind of cool. I like the idea, even if I don't much like getting the prehistoric forest in my shoes. It's kind of sticky, is the prehistoric forest. 

And it is now, maybe three months hence, dissolving, seemingly, and in the process, is turning the edge of the beach water a milky grey-green, which you can sort of see in this picture that I took yesterday. It's greener than this shows and quite attractive really. 

But if anyone out there knows for sure what it is and what the longer-term prognosis for our would-be prehistoric forest and beach might be, I would be most interested to find out. 

Regards from a curious prehistoric forest frolicker,


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let's make it a Permanent Wave

Feminism is back. The Third Wave, you could call it. Let's make it a wave to stay.
Let's make it a permanent wave, eh?

Personally, I don't surf, or wave my hair, or go in for the whole feminist wave thing. I have been a die-hard feminist since I was a child and noticed boys got advantages that girls didn't, wave or no wave. When I found there was a name and movement for fighting against those unfair advantages, I signed up without hesitation.

I was a feminist in the nineties when the Second Wave was all but forgotten and the backlash was in its heyday. In the nineties and naughties Feminism became the F-word, with almost all young women I encountered, when I was still young, including at university in a Politics department, railing against the word and the whole idea that women are systematically oppressed by men. There were two women with tenure in the Politics department of Auckland University, out of a lecturing staff of sixteen. Feminism was not politics. Politics was men's business, revolving around issues of war and conflict. Gender was a social issue; a women's issue.

I didn't get it. I pressed on and wrote a PhD on gender inequality and violence against women. The only feminist PhD in the department. It didn't get me a job. Gender studies and gender politics courses closed down in the naughties. Plenty of women, educated women, supported these closures. Feminism was old hat; conservative; square; complaining. Men didn't like it, women didn't respect it.

I moved on, retreating somewhat into my unfashionably feminist shell, sticking my feminist head out now and then to test the air and getting it bitten off, more often than not.

Now, in the 10s, I am noticing, as are many others, the steady increase in media and public attention to gender politics and 'feminism' is no longer a dirty word and is even becoming fashionable again.

Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman, I think got the ball rolling, making feminism hip again. Lorde helped by identifying as a feminist for the even younger set, and of course Malala Yousafzai's brave survival and campaigning for women's education and now Peace Prize. Hillary Clinton's probable run for the US presidency is bringing gender politics to the fore and Emma Watson's UN speech promoting the whole HeForShe campaign (, inviting men to recognise they have a gender and gender inequality is their issue too, has added more weight to the movement. It's obvious that men should be involved, but to date, few men have seen it that way.

Let's make it a permanent wave, hey? Let's make it a wave to stay, or until we understand that misogyny, in its many forms, undermines global humanity more systematically and catastrophically than any other form of global prejudice. Let's ride the wave until this is no longer the case.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


You be the judge. 

Guess what it is and I'll give you, I don't know, a tongue scraper? Better still, my respect, for being a top-notch guesser. 

You, my number one follower, might have a slight advantage... but then you always have had. 

Apologies to those who expect more of me. I am wriiiiiiiiiiiting... 

Ps: Mystery of the suspicious sick solved in the comments. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Power to the Pen

I've just a moment ago (drum roll please) put the final full-stop, in pen, to the fourth -- and bloody well better be -- final draft of the book I've been writing ALL YEAR. Of course it now needs to be converted to the computer. But that will NOT be another redraft, such is my undying faith in my not so humble pen.

I am at least a hundred times faster writing in pen than tapping the keys, and possibly as a result of this greater speed and ease, I feel much more in tune with and absorbed by the writing than on the keyboard so that the thoughts flow altogether easier and sweeter.

Basically what I am saying is that I am on intimate terms with my pen, whereas my keyboard is still an ugly and bumbling appendage. Indeed it is an ugly and bumbling appendage upon an ugly and bumbling appendage because operated over the top of my lap-top keyboard which I apparently broke by hitting the space bar too hard. Please. Bloody fragile keyboards. What a bunch of wusses!
Keyboards, I mean; not you, pretty pen.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The stream forgot to smile

"The stream forgot to smile...  
the scared leaves flew the faster...
as the wind gave chase,
close at their heels..."

Winter on its way,
as Dickens saw it in Chuzzlewit;
I am a devotee of the author --
just a bit -- for his second-to-none whimsy, wisdom and wit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mould (or mold if you're American) happens

... while you're writing poetry.

When I started this blog last year I wasn't a poet, or wannabe part-time poet (there's another blog right there: Part-time poet. I can't help myself). Instead, before I penned the odd poem (or 200) on this blog, I waxed lyrical and not so lyrical about the ins and outs of HOUSEKEEPING. Check it out back in April, May, June 2013, if you dare.

Since poetry -- and I'm okay with blaming poetry for my shameful shower if you are -- my passion for housekeeping has waned somewhat from a "rock 'n' roll" spirit, as I once described it, to more of a let it be one. Get out the piano/pen and weep while the world falls, instead of get out the bleach and on your knees and scrub while the mould grows tall.

The shower(s) didn't necessarily thank me. Who knew mould begets mould. I did and I didn't. Also I did and a I didn't care. I was writing POETRY folks. In the greater scheme of things, I'm fairly sure poetry trumps mould. Besides which, this is the "kids'" shower and they are no longer kids. Still, getting teenagers to clean the shower is harder than getting a poet to. And if you have a teenage poet (which I don't) you can forget about it. That shower will be be so alive with mould it'll be cleaning itself before a teenage poet gets on his or her poetic knees and scrubs it off. With a forty-something part-time poet, your chances of a clean shower are slightly better...

I know. But I said slightly better, and this is a week after the clean and I have three teenagers (well one is twenty-one but he cleans like a teenager). And if you think this ain't clean, you should see the rest of the shower. I only cleaned this corner.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ode to October (Down Under)


Flowers not yet old
already faded and told;
leaves begin again, true,
but not because of you.

September brings in spring,
November foretells summer,
December through to August
have their purposes Down Under.

But you, you merely hover,
no cause to run for cover;
your wishy-washy colours
with nothing to say to lovers.

You rain and then you stop
you're cold and then you're not;
you blow a wind a while
but haven't the stomach to smile.

It's not your fault October,
I should not pick on you,
without your thirty-one days
I'd be at least fifty-two.