Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ring in the New Year

It's been a strange old year, full of stuff.

Good and Bad.  But lets face it, in the bigger scheme of things with earthquakes and the bite of recession, it all makes my life look damned good.   Should be grateful. 

Professionally this was a reasonable year with a number of publications in Australia and New Zealand, but it's always the fish that gets away that disappoints after all it was, "...that big!"

Never mind, every set back is an opportunity, and I'm hoping to publish by Christmas next year.  So that's the new year's resolution, and I'm trying to assemble the pictures for it now.   The formal announcement will be later in the year when everything is ready to go :)

As for poetry.  It's been a light year for actually writing poetry, but the blog has somewhat taken off.  I've tripled my readership...and proved somewhat obliquely that sex really does sell.  So having comfortably passed the 10,000 views threshold the aim for 2012 is 20,000 and to maybe rack up a little spending money.   After all poetry isn't really pulling it's weight given the amount of time I waste writing the stuff  ;)  If only it wasn't so fun! 

So there we have it.

Another year over.  And I'm kind of pleased that it is.  Let's hope that 2012 will be a good year for everyone.  Happy New Year!  :)

A.J. Ponder 

 A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Running away with a Christmas Sonnet

Go kiss your prince below the mistletoe
And hang those stockings high above the hearth
For Christmas is the one day you can show
The greatest love of all and peace on earth

Still, I wish you would take your Christmas cheer,
Pack the day with bows and loving care
And bundle it so far away from here
And don't you mention Grinches, don’t you dare.

For while the thought of presents makes some sing
And has the children dancing round the tree
Christmas makes me wish more than anything
That I could wash my hands and be set free-

Just wander off, enjoy the sunny beach
forget the rules, and
in the

And that was the plan this Christmas.  No stress.  Go to the beach.  

Yeah right.

ok the picture isn't of sun drenched sand,  - but that fin in the water is an orca whale :)

Anyway Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and all that, love to see you in the New Year.

A.J. Ponder 

 A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An appreciation of action soundtracks in suburbia

The car is
carrying an orchestra
on a mission.

Excitement tumbles by
on the beach
on the beleaguered wharf
                                    in the air -
even the birds find new purpose
        as they      strike
into the clouds

eyes peeled
in wonder
as even the sea is
with impending danger.

Across the harbour
behind cloud,
planes disappear
and  reappear
as we drive                 
in time
to heroically  

every vital
                       until the   
 final triumphant overtones
transport us
                         all the way               
A.J. Ponder 

 A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Authors and Poets

Busy week, there's lots to do in the build up to Christmas - there's the obligatory making of Christmas Cakes and scramble to tidy the house and the garden, not to mention all those social event -  books, writing, books and more books - in my case ;)   

And like most people these days I'm also working - although some of it is fun -  Rona Gallery is putting on "The Santa Trap" (One of Peter Friend's and my School Journal Plays) for Christmas.   Not to mention the Christmas exhibition itself - and all the advertising.... so

So for a change I'm putting up about twenty favourite authors -  and in as few words as possible why they are so fab.  Feel free to contribute, I'm sure I've missed more than a few!

JRR Tolkein 
       for historical fiction that went the extra mythological mile
John Wyndham
        for disconcerting and surprising children     
A A Milne
         a bear however hard he tries grows tubby without exercise, 
         he gets what exercise he can by falling off the ottoman --
         and yet other authors seem to lack a certain good willed knack
         of finding love in little things, in toys and chairs - and crackpot kings.
Frances Hardinger
           the newest inductee.  Not for the prizewinning "Fly by Night,"
           but the bottomless well that is Verdigris Deep
C. J. Cherryh
          Down Below Station -  Enough said
Andre Norton
          The lady of science fiction herself   
Helen Cresswell
           There was winter, and there was birds --
            but I although I read the same words I could never read the same story twice
Roald Dahl
           Danny the Champion of the World, not to mention an abiding love of chocolate.
CS Lewis
          For opening the wardrobe door.
Terry Pratchett
           for raising a smile, and adding footnotes.
E.B White
          Thankyou for Charlotte, and your even more endearing mute swansong.
Diana Wynne Jones
Mary Norton
           For making little people big.
Astrid Lindgren
          Two strong arms, plaits and an indomitable personality. 
Ursula K Le Guin
           Ged - and  more recently the little known Lavinia. 
Lewis Carrol
          A glimpse into madness,
Maurice Sendak
            One night Max made mischief - and the rest is history involving a boat and some very cute monsters.
Dr Seuss
           And the song of the swomee-swans rang out in space
Douglas Adams (both really I guess, but this one in particular) 
          Got towel - can travel. Don't panic.     
HG Wells
          For travelling back in time to get there first.

I hope you enjoy these authors as much as I do,
A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

My very popular, Wizard's Guide to Wellington on my author webiste.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Over the Misty Mountains by JRR Tolkein (The Hobbit)

The Hobbit will be coming out at some point, and the thing is - ever since I can remember, I've had these opening credits running through my brain - Smaug devastating the dwarven keep, and flying off down river - his flames turning the water to gold.  Of course this would be accompanied by rousing chanting/singing possibly by the Samoan choir they used in LOTR, and using lyrics from Tolkein's Under the Misty Mountain.   (& preferably not the popular dwarven chant "Gold")

Of course much of this backstory is actually told later in the book, long after the poem - but in a movie it's surely better off upfront with the credits rolling after the fire hits the screen in full tacky 3D.  (Of course I never envisioned that - I mean back in the day 3D was the tackiest, I think my young self would have had an appoplexy ;)  Possibly, though, with the fact that the Hobbit will actually be two movies, maybe they'll leave Smaug's devastation until part two.  I guess so long as that Dale burns, the river turns to golden fire and Smaug looks like he belongs up in the air, dangerous, terrifying and almost elemental - then I'll be happy.

In fact talking about it, I realise some of the details of my little movie are blurring - what a shame, I'll just have to read the book again before I watch the movie.  It's been a long time since my children were seven and "The Hobbit" was the bed-time book of choice, and we were quoting vast chunks of  "here am I, naughty little fly..." Now the bed time reading is serious alone time featuring things like George RR Martin and Brandon Sanderson, and other such unwieldy epics  (ignoring the cute little cat books and the devastatingly off-putting reading logs).  So it will be sweet to get back to my favourite book of all time.

 I am so looking forward to the movie.  The LOTR people may bee playing with my favourite book for over thirty years... but they played LOTR pretty well, and even when I thought their choices were wrong it was still obvious that Tolkien's books had been treated with love and respect.  So bring on the movie.   And bring on the dragon, enter top right screen, turn toward us up the river and let those flames erupt!

And don't forget to read Over the Misty Mountains,  it has to be amongst Tolkein's best poems, not that I'm biased or anything.  But the rhythm is compelling.  I also feel compelled to add just the end of the shorter little ditty that Bilbo's cheekily sings to the spiders of Mirkwood...and I'm probably paraphrasing here and getting it wrong anyway..."here am I naughty little fly, you are fat and lazy, you cannot catch me though you try, in your cobwebs crazy."  It's so perfectly catchy for young uns.

FYI.  The book cover shown is the same copy I read to my children when they were smaller, illustrated by Alan Lee it is quite charming and has survived a lot of reading!

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wynken Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
   Sailed off in a wooden shoe---
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
   Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
   The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
   That live in this beautiful sea;

Nets of silver and gold have we!"
                     Said Wynken,
                     And Nod. 

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
   As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
   Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
   That lived in that beautiful sea---
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish---
   Never afeard are we;"

So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
                     And Nod. 

All night long their nets they threw
   To the stars in the twinkling foam---
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
   Bringing the fishermen home;
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed
   As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 'twas a dream they 'd dreamed
   Of sailing that beautiful sea---
   But I shall name you the fishermen three:
                     And Nod. 

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
   And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
   Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
   Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
   As you rock in the misty sea,

Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
                     And Nod.

I was cleaning out the house and going through the bookcase  when I found a beautifully illustrated book of a poem I have loved since my childhood.  So of course I rushed to the net to see if there was much variation.  Apparently not.  Nobody seems to be able to better the original, and I would have to agree, it is truly beautiful.  The edition above was published when my daughter was born.  So of course, just like her - it's extra special :)

The poem has such a lovely rhythm and tone and contains truly beautiful fantastic elements that it's hard to believe it was written over a century ago.   Originally published under the title "Dutch Lullaby" - presumably because of the shoe.  

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Obviously I can't see you
dangling like a tiny stick
not spinning as such

vibrating upon the invisible thread
around and around

Obviously you're not really there
as you drop onto pages
vast as football fields
hiding in the subtext


Now spiders should always understand subtext.  After all I'm sure Charlotte did.  Which is possibly why they do so well at hiding in it.  This spider (a cute little katipo) isn't bothering to hide, but I can assure you the little house spider that dropped onto my page the other day, sure did.    

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dancing with the Devil to the tune of Lord of the Dance.

If this poem/song stops in a strange place - you're not seeing all of it, just click on the title. 

I ran to the devil
And the devil did sing
Take this pen
On the dotted line
So I took that pen
And I signed my name
Now nothing will ever be the same

I asked for peace
And he gave me blood
For the dead don't fight
And they do not hold a grudge.
I asked for money
And I asked for fame
Now I don't want either
I've lost far more than I gained

I ran to the devil
and the devil did sing
take this pen and this parchment fine
and sign in blood on the dotted line
So I took that pen
And I signed my name
Now nothing will ever be the same

I asked for jewels
And he gave me those
But in the land where he dug them
Nothing ever grows
I asked for appliances
More than my share
Now my house is flooded
I can hardly breathe the air

So I ran to the devil
and the devil did sing
take this pen and this parchment fine
sign your name in blood right here
So I took that pen
And crossed out my name
Surely this time
Things wont be the same

Don't play with the devil
He doesn't care enough
Take your soul
And invest in other stuff
Don't sign your name
On the dotted line
For dancing with the devil
It will get you every time

Don't sing to the devil
With the devil don't dance
Take your soul
While you still have the chance
Don't sign your name
On that dotted line
For dancing with the devil
It will get you every time

Yes, dancing with the devil
will get you every time.

A.J. Ponder

Alright so it's not a "real" poem this week, just a bit of fun.  I haven't actually tried it with the music yet.  Must have a go sometime to see how close it is. :)
For more poems, why don't you check out the Tuesday Blog?  There's always a poem up for the week, and some fantastic award winning poets on the side bar to check out.

Have a great week.  
A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Monday, October 31, 2011

Home on All Hallows Eve

Impending Doom comes all too soon
As the light of the day draws old
And the curtains here are pulled in near
To shelter us all from the cold

For this is the day where evil plays
And the young are found on the street
To be carried away for a night and a day
By the rotting allure of the sweet.

The doors are locked and the hearth is chill
Black cats hide on the windowsill
But Jack-o'-spooks with toothless grins
Are dancing down in the graveyard still

Now they come with a rat-a-tat-tat
A trick or treat and a tip of the hat
Demanding sweets and all of that
While the cobwebs swing from the door

You are not my nightmares fair
Just battering chattering ghosts
So take your tithe and skip away
Wondering who's bagged the most.

Impending Doom comes back so late
As the light of the day draws old
As finally they stumble in
Little nightmares shivering from cold

Their bones are bright and their eyes are dim
And the end of the night is wearing thin
Now they're back you'll know where they've been
Making trouble on Halloween

A.J. Ponder

Quickly wrote this today after Halloweening with the young ones.  Well,  when I say young - I mean my (cough) teenagers, and when I say Halloweening, I mean going out with friends and having a nice time waiting for the trick and treating to finish.  It seemed so civilised.  So much better than waiting at home wondering when they're finally going to get back or traipsing up and down Muritai Rd with teens whose best excuse for trick or treating is that they're "looking after" the young ones.  Hmmm. 
Anyway - I hope everyone had fun and you're not left at home with more sweets than you know what do with.  Until next year :)  

This little piece of trouble has allowed me to use her photograph.   Thank you Illyria from Angel, you look awesome!

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Winds and Time by Keith Westwater

Throughout our lives blow many winds and gales.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for dangerous gales.

Loved ones and their dreams are drowned at sea
when storms cause ships on shoals to sail.

At night, the moon is lashed by trees
while men go mad from days of nor’west gales.

Wind on sand makes seas of crescent moons
and sand on winds of time all life assails.

Take my hand, Margret my love, we’ll climb the tops
lean forward, yell, push back tomorrow’s gales.

       Keith Westwater 

 I have always had a soft spot for Keith Westwater's poetry ever since I saw this very poem "Winds and Time", I remember being so excited - and especially by the last two lines.  So excited it was easy to choose them for a favourite painting on Richard Ponder's Caught on Canvas.  I was so excited to find the perfect fit - his words just resonated.  Now the poem has been updated, and I am find I am still drawn to his use of language throughout the poem with such beautiful lines as - "Wind on sand makes seas of crescent moons." 
Although my favourite lines are - even after all this time, and a little tweaking you might not quite see -  those two final lines, they are so powerful they still make my soul sing.  So thank you Keith and congratulations on winning  Interactive Publications' 2011 IP Picks Best First Book prize for "Tongues of Ash."  

 "Keith Westwater's poetry arises from his appreciation and love of the New Zealand landscape. Well-travelled throughout the land, the poet evokes memories as he revisits places invested with emotion, history and spirituality."

 So that is why I'm particularly looking forward to Keith 's book launch at Rona Gallery - where he is going to be launching "Tongues of Ash" alongside "Men Briefly Explained" by the accomplished writer and poet and winner of the 2010 NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature - Tim Jones.  Tim Jones' book "Men Briefly Explained" has been described, and rightfully so as - "Thought-provoking, impertinent, irreverent, witty, startling, this collection will have you mesmerised from start to finish." 

To see more of Keith's work visit here for his blog -
To see more of Tim's work visit here for his Shetland Ponies Haast Beach, and here for his blog

If you can't make it to Rona Gallery because you live in another part of the country this facebook site has a list of the venues.

Enjoy your week, I know I will

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Please note this is a shape poem so it shows up weirdly when squished so please click on the title.

We all heard
Humpty take his fall
Shattering glass shell everywhere
Yolk busting out and wise men bustling.
All those regal horses rather got in the way
So that when I tried to put him back together
All that was left of the man was a fat cat licking
the ground where he'd fallen,
 and smashed shards
gleaming white in the sun.

Dutifully I fixed the cracks
 Humpty is now
Held together
With glue
And money
And yet when I peek inside
The yolk is gone.

A.J. Ponder

Not being much of one for analysis, make of this as you will.  Updating Humpty Dumpty with modern adhesives has worked a treat - after all I think it's a bit outdated to be relying on King's horses and King's men to do our dirty work.

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Out Hunting with Google (and the Lorax)

I went hunting along the great plains
In the grasslands of google
where the googlebeast roams.
Deep, deep in the network
Of binary code
the google was playing
and bringing me things
such as Facebook and elephants
tied up with string -

A bunch of bananas some shoes I don't need
And don't forget that marvellous thneed
Yes, the google will bring you old clothes by the dozens
Enough for your aunties and uncles and cousins

Just watch when you are searching out on the plains
The google is useful, it can even be nice
But keep your eyes peeled it can change in a trice
Its colours will alter at the flick of switch
one day its your best friend
And the next it’s a bitch
(a not very polite one that bites
and craps on the carpet
and refuses to rhyme)

Damn that googlebeast, fickle by chance
Leading me on this circular dance
I can't find a website with the stuff that I want
And so my dear friend I will give you the grot

The lies and the falsehoods the truth and the tales
The arc that was built without any nails
The hides of the google are not to be found
And when it's mischievous it will go to ground
And infect you with bugs that will turn you around.

Yes, it's as useful as poison put out for the mice
But still, it is free - and well worth the price
And when you are searching where else can you go -
Well, I guess that is something only the Yahoo suits know.

Look there - now I'll stop moaning, and set all of you free
For I've found what I wanted - yes, finally
Some party night potions, an explicit DVD
and the site selling little blue pills - illegally.

A.J. Ponder

ok this poem has to be posted with apologies to the late, great Dr Seuss.   I wrote it awhile ago and it's probably going to be one of those poems that is never quite right - at least not in my head because it tracks off  - wherever it damn well feels like it - and eventually had to be holed up into a corner and shot - just to behave even slightly.  

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, The Children's Bookshop, Arty Bees and good New Zealand bookstores

A.J. Ponder
Author of Quest, Prophecy, Omens, Miss Lionheart and the Laboratory of Death, Wizard's Guide to Wellington, Attack of the Giant Bugs - a You Choose Science Adventure, and The Frankie Files

(paid link)

(paid link)

(paid link)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Google Beast

You intrepid hunter
You fearless prey
I'm led through your alleyways
By the nose,
Wrong way streets collapse without danger.

Time wasting
That's where it's at -
Did you know?
Or was it merely a fancy passing

A J Ponder

This poem may or may not be completed - it's relatively recent - but having spent an entire day meeting teachers etc... and trying to figure out NCEA and topic choices for my two darlings for 2012 I'm not entirely sure of anything.  Even that Google isn't the biggest waste of time in my life is questionable.  No, actually, thinking about it  that would be facebook, hands down.  And the two kittens.  And ....

You'll have to forgive me people, it's been a hard week -- and kittens (you know who you are) no more getting into fights and getting septic paws - you hear?  I'm trying to get on with the biggest gobbler of time I know - writing.  It is fun though, and sometimes I even have a good excuse to search for just the right -- Google.

For more poems up on the Tuesday Poetry Hub and its sidebar follow the yellow brick road....or this linky thing here.

P.S. There are some pretty cool "Google Beast "logos out there - but I'm pretty sure I don't have the rights for them. Personally I'm rather fond of the Spaghetti Monster Logo.  Also the Muppet logo was fun:)

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spring Melt

The wind tells me
there's snow on the grey hills
behind the misty morning fog
it's brisk and ever so fresh
out where the mountain daisies are pushing up from the crags.

Close your eyes,
there's wind in the snow in the crags on the mountains
past the ocean's divide
past the Canterbury plains
up the perilous slopes -
to the top of the world
where spring
against the wind and the snow in the crags on the mountains -
listen well
before spring dies
in the warm winds
of change.

A.J. Ponder

It's been a busy week.  Lots of writing.  Lots of walking out by the waterfront and feeling spring in the air.  Of course it's always nice to the mountain peaks of the South island, especially when there's a bit of snow on them - but that isn't always possible.  Even so - I can see them in my mind's eye - calling out across the harbour.  I hope everybody is enjoying the change of season.  

For more poetry why not check out the Tuesday blog here - and its fantastic blog roll on the side bar.  So many wonderful poems.   So many awesome writers - it's always such a joy to drop by and see what they've all been up to. 

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Alicia's World of Warcraft Poem

It seems a certain game
you bring my poem
past the dangers
of war
through death and
through danger
to complete your quest
in a world

This is not the truth.

I require
only that
you wend your way
through my reality
along the stony path
past the troll
of misunderstandings
to the mountain of disbelief.
If you stand there
upon the tip of your toes
you'll see the world
as it never was.

This is not the truth

For in my world realities sail
bright as ships on a shining sea -
only slightly beyond the pixelated
blood, sweat and tears
of conformity.
So take those words back -
if you can -
past the horrors of war
through death and
through danger
to complete your quest
in a world
as real as

A.J. Ponder

It has come to my attention (P.S. never google your name and poem - it can be a pretty hair raising experience)  that there is a certain quest in Warcraft that requires taking "Alicia's Poem" from somewhere to somewhere else.  Presumably.  

-- I had to include this - in my comments Tim Jones outlined the true origin of the World of Warcraft poem - it's such a touching story, the death of a player inspired writers of the game to create this quest - and the poem to go with it - the real "Alicia's Poem" can be found here.  Try not to cry.

And I thought, as any poet might (at least after the initial dicombobulation), that there had to be an actual poem in there...somewhere.    Enjoy, have fun, and don't forget there are more worlds of poetry waiting for you...

A.J. Ponder

I hope you enjoy my poems on this blog, for more of my work check out Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ode to the World Cup while doing the Washing

Let the men kick pigskin.
For what is it about life
that cannot be learnt
out on the field?

Take it on the chin
after all everyone wants a knock-out.
Show no mercy
it's always in short supply.
Take the opposition down -
go for the legs:
Below the belt is always the best way
to trip someone up.

Kiss butt
and team together,
run with the pack
or get eaten
I mean beaten.
With shades of running into a brick wall - and stringing it wide

Let the games begin
Let the All Blacks win
Let the men kick-

A.J. Ponder

I was in fact doing the washing, and in my own terribly unpatriotic way, not particularly looking forward to the world cup - sorry, and yes, for non-New Zealanders, that's the rugby world cup - when some rugby phrases popped into my head.  You can't live here without hearing them.

So then I started thinking about what those phrases might mean and what the broader impact of rugby in the community might be, in a more than slightly unfair way - because where's the impact in being fair?  Besides otherwise I would have mentioned "play hard, play fair" and all the positive features of hosting a world cup.  Like gosh, wasn't Wales v. South Africa a great match?  And all the wonderful visitors dropping in from all around the world.  OK fine.  I hope everyone has a great time, enjoys the rugby, and remembers that taking it on the chin is actually a great expression - so long as some idiot (sorry, that was me) doesn't decide to take it literally.

So have fun, and remember the best way to watch the word cup is from another room ;) - Preferably with the computer set to check out the poems on my blog ;)

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Sleeping Beauty, by Sir Alfred Tennyson

Year after year unto her feet,
She lying on her couch alone,
Across the purpled coverlet,
The maiden's jet-black hair has grown,
On either side her tranced form
Forth streaming from a braid of pearl:
The slumbrous light is rich and warm,
And moves not on the rounded curl.

The silk star-broider'd coverlid
Unto her limbs itself doth mould
Languidly ever; and, amid
Her full black ringlets downward roll'd,
Glows forth each softly-shadow'd arm,
With bracelets of the diamond bright:
Her constant beauty doth inform
Stillness with love, and day with light.

She sleeps: her breathings are not heard
In palace chambers far apart.
The fragrant tresses are not stirr'd
That lie upon her charmed heart.
She sleeps: on either hand upswells
The gold-fringed pillow lightly prest:
She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells
A perfect form in perfect rest.

Another Fairy Tale poem, boy am I a sucker for the old-fashioned stuff!  The way it rolls off the tongue, its beautiful (apparent) simplicity.  And of course as a fairy tale cover, it will be a lovely addition to my Fairy Tale portal

A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ozymandius by Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains.  Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away"

I just love this poem, and the vastness of it, the overwhelming image of the great and mighty thrown into dust.  I only hope Helen can forgive me because she posted it up not so long ago.

Interestingly enough this poem was written in 1817 in a friendly competition with fellow poet, Horace Smith.  (Isn't Wiki useful?  - although poem shape was endlessly more interesting from a writing point of view with an analysis of each poem (even if the conclusions were a little pedantic). And although I agree Shelley's Ozymandius is far and away the better poem, I rather like Horace Smith's last few lines -

The last lines of Horace Smith's

Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He (the hunter) meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

I think it works better at a remove from Ozymandius the statue - not only because Smith's vision compares poorly to Shelley's - but because the two images in Smith's poem are clashing.  The green image of London turned to forest sits badly against desolation and desert, so that instead of enhancing the feeling of waste, the reference diminishes it - and yet I still find the possibilities of a wild London rather inspiring and I wonder that Smith didn't forget the whole desert motif and truly move onto the wild green pastures that he hints at :)

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this foray into the past  
A.J. Ponder

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


A flame
The wind grabs it
and it shivers -
come close,
protect it with your hands.

A flame...
a fire...
an inferno.
You gotta respect that
from a distance.

A.J. Ponder

 There's all sorts of burning happening over the last few weeks - mostly peoples money going up in power bills.  And the mash up - fire with book - not quite appropriate, but I saw the "Catching Fire" title and I thought wouldn't it be fun if I could mash it up as a book catching on fire.  It might not be perfect, but I think its worked well enough, after all I'm not exactly known for my art so there's not much of a reputation there to lose. Besides, Suzanne Collins is a great author, lots of fun.  

I hope everyone is having a great week.  And to make it even more exciting you may want to visit the Tuesday Poem hub here, or my review for A Dance with Dragons/Game of Thrones at the Rona Gallery blog here

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Face of Beau

It's beauty 
pageant season.
Every profile 
a revelation
make believe
dressed to display
smiling faces
plastered into -
shoehorned into -
the perfect dress
devil may care.
It's beauty pageant season
what the hell should I wear?

A.J. Ponder

Winter has decided to hit hard, power cuts in this weather seem rather excessive hardship, and yet Wellington is full of smiles.  The wonder of snow right outside the door.  On the hills by the sea.  It is like we have all been transported to somewhere else.  It seems, finally Wellington has found a number it enjoys wearing - but for how long?

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Surf Security

Surf Security doesn't like my words
Red circled exclamation marks
Proclaim to all
The unsafe nature of this text
Seeing fit to warn you
Of its revealing nature

After all
Poetry is for the mad,
The troubled,
The ghosts who lock themselves within galleons adrift

Never straying into in sight of
The breathy sea of swimming beaches
Choosing instead to listen to the
Of reality booming
And the shrill cry of seagulls
So now you must choose
To fly far to distant lands
Far, far away from this uncertain brig
Where I lie
My breath thrown
higgledy-piggledy around me
In uncertain 

or turn your wings to the distant lands
to whence lies the unknown
the unknowable
the distant shore-

Or return to your cell.

 Alicia Ponder

An exciting weekend because I was lucky enough to have my poem, "The Trouble with Time Machines" published in "Eye to the Telescope," .  Check out in particular "Rapunzel," by Mary Victoria but there are also some great poems by people like Helen Rickerby (first up), Janis Freeguard, Peter Friend my oft partner in crime, and the surprising Joe Dolce, (better known for songs such as "Shaddup you Face" than his poetry).  Edited by the redoubtable Tim Jones its well worth a look - because as Tim says, 'Whether you love poetry, you love SF, fantasy, and horror, or you just want to find out what on earth speculative poetry is, there is something for you in "Eye To The Telescope 2".'

Also received my contributors copy of Challenge magazine, with "Survival" co written with Peter Friend.  Of course it's not Frankie, as my kids are quick to point out.  Thanks guys - but the magazine is absolutely awesome and I'm so proud to have been a part of it.  :)   I even bought some extra copies from Australia because I knew it would be popular and I'm already running out!  They're mine.  All mine.  

A.J. Ponder's work is available through Rona Gallery, Arty Bees, The Children's Bookshop and good New Zealand bookstores