Monday, 16 October 2017


Today we tried our hand at writing a blessing with the thought that these could be used at Artsenta or events. In Maori tradition there are three main blessings or karakia - one for opening an event or meeting, one for closing and one for food. The first below is for an opening and the other three are blessings for food.

Our Father we thank you for your kindness
We uphold your name in this place
Great and mighty God of this place
Bless us
End all hostilities as we gather together
Let us gather together and remember
Those who have gone before us
Let us gather together and remember
Those who are alive
We pray your blessings on us and our children
May the God of peace guide us
For these blessings we pray
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

- Haki Davis

Mother nature brought us here today
We give thanks and praise
Acknowledgement of our weaknesses and strengths
For the well being of this kai
Keep us safe together
For the enjoyment of all walks of life
We are truly thankful
Go forward with strength, honour and respect
For all of our talents

- Vincent Clayton

Lord God,
Give us this day our daily bread,
To fill us up from our toes to our head.
We give thanks to those who made our food,
Once we're all fed, we'll have a good mood.
We also give thanks for the land and sea,
Meat and veges, oh let it be.
Bless this food we are about to receive,
We hope it's yum so we don't all leave.

- Katie-Rose McRobbie

Shakespeare said:
'If music be the food of love - play on!'
I say:
'If food be the music of love - dig in!
But enjoy it slowly
Savour each mouthful
Have enough, but not too much
Share the bounty with your friends
Give and you will receive
Good karma, utu, fulfillment.

- Paul Smith

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Artsenta Writer, Recent Works

A Collection of Recent Works by Eleanor Harrison

How to Define Oneself
A Collector of Found Objects,
A listener, a reflector, A Gazer
A Woman, A writer! A maker,
A Polymath! An opener, A Potter,
An Unconditional Leo Lover,
A Capricorn Moon, An Observer,
A Cancer Sun with Libra Rising,
The Balancer,
The Passive yet Stern.,
I finally know what I want and how to speak,
How to be productive,
How to be Alone.
How to treat others consistency with love and respect,
A Giver of Time,
An abundance of Ideas,
A survivor of Cruel Experiences,
that did not come close to shattering my essence;
for I have learnt to greet suffering with a smile,
and oh how our emotions are so fleeting,
They will always pass and so will the pain.
For my words have always been pushed aside
and so I hesitate to speak,
and they only care for your appearance,
But I have found true light and strength within myself
and only I know the true power of my words;
for that is how I have healed myself, time & time again,
and if only you could see me now.

Tearing off my Personality
When you are born, two individuals exist under one.
Your personality - which is ever changing,
From Birth, your personality is affected by the family you are born into,
place, time, circumstance. Your essence is your true divine nature.
Your constant stable I. Your true consciousness that always exists within you.
From Birth we are taught to suppress this.
Our divine, all encompassing, unconditionally loving nature until
we all become truly mechanical beings without any sense of ourselves but falsehood.
Tear off your personality!
Tear off your false ideals!
Humans may say they like something one day, then the next say they despise that same thing.
Humans do not know themselves.
What we think we are is not what we rationally are.
To become truly closer to oneself - one must remove all these made up selves.
To see what is true outside of us, we must be able to see what is true within us.

Only I can know how much I can Endure
Only I can bite my tongue for so long
Only I try to never complain
Try to be always grateful
Only I can fend for myself & those around me
Only I know how to love my family despite I am invisible
Only I care for my Mother and siblings,
Only I compromise,
Only I know how to make myself happy,
Only I know how to take care of myself
Only I know the extent of my past,
Only I know how much I have grown,
Only I know how to truly care for others,
Only I know how to smile while blood is trickling down me,
Only I wake up everyday and demand I do something productive,
Only I demand a future for myself,
Only I walk 11km to the nearest waterfall to dunk my head after being without a shower for two weeks. Only I can pretend I have my reality together.
Only I know the extend of my pain, and despite that,
Only I know to persevere.

Monday, 18 September 2017


Traditionally Haiku have three lines with the first being 5 syllables, the second 7 and the last 5 again. Some of us did try this but the primary goal was to focus on capturing a moment in time using the least amount of words and simple, direct language. So if you're a stickler for rules these break a few. Still we are in good company as the NZ Poetry Society are on our side!

Coffee in one hand
Hand in hand together
Snuggling by the fire

Cold and raining
Attaching working limbs
Slow climb up the hill

- Katie-Rose McRobbie

The ghost of a tree
At my back door

Cobwebs dangle
In the glasshouse
Over winter

He reads
As he walks
Into a bus

- Paul Smith

Monday, 28 August 2017

Animate the Inanimate

We all had to choose an inanimate object to write about, or as if we were that object speaking. The challenge was to find the personality of that object. Some are obvious and others you have to guess what they are!


I like to stretch
And reach for the sky,
Never quite getting there
But oh how I try.

I'm made of wood
Or metal too,
Anything that's strong enough
To hold you.

There are many new versions
Multiple uses for all,
But always the main aim
Is to be long and tall.

These humans, they think
They are the bee's knees,
But they'll never reach the top
Without at least one of me!

- Christine


Four cups on a table
When all else fails, have a
cup of tea, said Mum.
This is grief.

- Robert McFelin


Words of history
Words of prophets
Words of the holy and unholy
Though inanimate
People say I have a living spirit
Uttering words from above
Sin crucified on cross
Stories of people
Saints and sinners
Prostitutes and prophets
Whores and history
I tell also of future
Not the price of gold
Not the winning race horse
But how God wins in the end
And how we all reap paradise

- Phillip Porteous


One day the iron got tired
of steaming and pressing
and grew arms and legs
it jumped off the ironing board
and ran down the street trailing its cord
until all its water
had sloshed down the drain
its iron stomach
expanded in the freezing cold
and it grew hungry
for electrical ions whirling
and so it returned
to where it was from
meekly it served out the rest of its days 
putting creases where it was told
but now and then in protest
it overheated
and melted nylon petticoats

- Helen

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Toitu Museum visit

We took a trip to Toitu Otago Settlers Museum to get some inspiration. One of the challenges we put to ourselves was to find an object that we liked and write something about it without letting on what it was. The other challenge was to write something from the perspective of one of the many Scottish settlers in the Smith Gallery.

HOME (from bagpipes, treadle sewing machine and horseshoe)

The heat of the fire 
burns the red mark on the side of her face.
The treadle sewing machine keeps her in place,
trapped in the task of sewing a new apron
to protect her husband out in the smithy's barn.
She thinks of his muscled arms
working the horseshoes,
their embrace reassuring and loving
in this hell-hole of a settlement.
The rhythm of the machine pulls her back,
taking her home
to her beloved Scotland
and the sound of the bagpipes
floating in the air.

- George 


Conceivably I could
live in the same house as you
sleep in the same bed
work in the same building
worship at the same church
and eat the same meals as you.
At a fancy dress party
I could even wear your clothes
I may be your descendant 
but still a chasm divides us
I cannot get inside your skin
Less than 200 years separate us
but our thinking
our way of talking and acting
the mores of society
are so different
it's as if you belonged to a different race
What can I learn from you
and the familiar but alien world in which you lived?
I can learn to take risks
abandoning all in the hope of a better future
I can learn dauntlessness
persevering in the face of insurmountable problems
Can these things be useful
in light of nuclear weapons and environmental disaster?

- Helen


Claw feet
Flat deck
A long handle.
In another age
You were pressed into service
But here you are still
A witness to the story
Of settlers
A Sermon From the Dead
An instrument of peace.

- Robert McFelin

Monday, 31 July 2017

Snow Drop Poems

Today our writing was inspired by snowdrops. Some of us entered a competition run by the Dunedin Public Library and Larnach Castle who are hosting a Snowdrop Day on 20 August. They have heaps of them apparently!

White lies in waiting
the passive ready to be acted on
the show before the first footprints
the page ready for the words
white marks a new beginning
the bride begins a new life
white is the humble snowdrop
that hands its head under its weight
be gentle with white
easily crushed, easily marred, easily spoiled
white does not stay pure long
the page, the dress yellow with age
the snowdrop gives way to the primrose
white is temporary like winter
with applied warmth it buds
once marked it cannot be undone
white can never be a virgin again
once the marriage had begun
the progress is measured by its lessening
the more the lines on the page
the less white shows.
The white stands as background
for the true work.

- Helen


"Hello little snowdrop, I didn't see you there!"
"Hello my giant friend, I couldn't miss you, but most people pass me by as they see me as insignificant."
"Oh dear one, how lonely that must be!"
"No, as you can see I have many other little friends."
"But you are so beautiful; how can those of my kind pass you by?"
"We only come up at the beginning of spring, grown from the snow in winter, when your kind are only watching for the ice, not to slip and fall."
"Well my my, I must inform my own friends of your marvelous beauty."

- Katie-Rose McRobbie

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Poetic Shapes

Today we looked at poetry created in a shape that reflects what the poem is about - or vice versa. Here's a couple of examples, two in shapes and one that unraveled along the way.


of friends
inside the triangle
of life, to make light
in the darkness, to make
sense of the unknown future

- Robert McFelin


My dog
has fleas
the bridge
Words float from
my lips. Patterns of
sound bounce, jump
jangle, jiggle. It's a 
bit of a giggle. 
Fun in a box. 
Fobbed off on kids. 
Left in a toy cupboard with 
broken strings. Or crafted and
 cared for and played with a 
passion accompanied by a 
go-go dancer in drag. Make 
it what you will. Give it 
love and it will 

- Paul Smith


My mother told me I was born with wings,
tucked neatly behind my back.
To this day the most beautiful words she ever spoke to me.
She told me I was an angel,
yet my wings had to be clipped away to enter into this world.

My upbringing, each day I would shed some of my feathers.
With each adverse experience I became more damaged - more ragged.

The other day, gazing up at the sky,
I locked my eyes on a few soaring birds,
I want to tell them how beautiful they are when they spread their wings.

I want to tell myself that it is time to spread my wings too.

- Eleanor Harrison

"No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings"

- William Blake


Today we tried our hand at writing a blessing with the thought that these could be used at Artsenta or events. In Maori tradition there are ...