The fridge in the mangroves

  • 2810B093-7DCC-4003-BDFF-6553ECF3E154An old one ( this end of year’s tidying up is producing a lot of nearly-forgotten poems! I’ll have to post a new one soon)

I used to walk often down by Cox’s Bay ( before it was cleaned up a bit). Always a lot of stuff that had been tipped. Always disappointing to see, but a mangrove swamp back then was considered wasteland and suitable for dumping. I have always loved mangroves – one of the topics for our special study in Bio at seventh form ( now year 13) which I taught for many years


The fridge in the mangroves

The fridge in the mangroves is tide-marked
divided into grubby white and rust
once cornucopia now forgotten symbol
an oil slick gently strays
from the adjacent engine block

the trees are stunted
at the limits of their temperature range
they are an intense green camouflage
for most of what we abandon here

global warming could see the fridge under water
human detritus transformed to
a small reef with flickering crowds of fish
though the engine block would still leak rainbows
to surround the trunks of towering mangroves



NZPS Book launch – After the Cyclone


A lovely launch with some excellent readings. I was happy to be able to read my poem After the Cyclone, which had been awarded first prize.

I wrote most of it when we were driving back to Aks from Hamilton after days of heavy rain. The road follows along the Waikato river for part of the way and the flooding was impressive

the river rises / the river floods / branches float by / and clumps of flax / and pukeko nests / swift drifting islands

the river covers the land / cows thigh deep in cold water / they won’t swim for it / not till they’re nearly drowning

my eyes flood / my vision distorts

I see what I don’t remember

I am heart-deep / and cannot swim

towards that fast-moving / swampy shore


Conversation by Owl-Light



The title of of my first collection of poetry ( Conversation by Owl-light) I took from the title of this poem. As a present to myself, to celebrate the publishing (by Steele Roberts Aotearoa) of this collection, I commissioned Black Fox Press to create this letter press version – I feel the variability of the text adds greatly to the impact of the poem.

Owl-light is that imperfectly lit liminal zone between night and day; a transitional time when difficult things (life death love betrayal) may be spoken of.