Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dying for the Record

A.J. Ponder No poem this week, instead I'm directing everybody over to my story "Dying for the Record," published as a PDF on "The Tomorrow Project" and a runner up for the Arc 1.1 competition "The Future Always Wins." For those who are unaware ARC is a fiction spin off of the New Scientist, and the competition was run in conjunction with "The Tomorrow Project" which has been set up "to explore our possible futures through fact-based, science-based fiction and video conversations with scientists and science fiction authors, legends and world renowned experts..."

Read the story click here.

To find out about to how to enter Arc1.2 go here 

I'd love for people to drop by and comment - but if you do - I'd advise you not to read the blurb because it hints at the ending - and not in a good way. 

So yeah, sue me for being lazy, I've completely failed to manage to post a poem, but in my defence the week's been chock full of writing.  Wizard's Guide to Wellington is coming along, there's an exhibition to organise for Rona Gallery, teaching to do, a family to organise and so much more!

For your poetry fix why not drop by the Tuesday Poem Hub, I'm always pleasantly surprised by the sheer diversity and talent lurking in the sidebar.

A.J. Ponder 

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Babes in the Wood, Anonymous

My dear, do you know,
How a long time ago,
     Two poor little children,
Whose names I don't know,
Were stolen away
On a fine summer's day,
     And left in a wood,
As I've heard people say.

Among the trees high
Beneath the blue sky
     They plucked the bright flowers
And watched the birds fly;
Then on blackberries fed,
And strawberries red,
     And when they were weary
'We'll go home,' they said.
                                                                             "Babes in the Woods" Eastman Johnson
And when it was night
So sad was their plight,
     The sun it went down,
And the moon gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed
And they bitterly cried,
     And long before morning
They lay down and died.

And when they were dead
The robins so red
     Brought strawberry leaves
And over them spread;
And all the day long,
The green branches among,
     They'd prettily whistle
And this was their song-

'Poor babes in the wood!
Sweet babes in the wood!
     Oh the sad fate of
The babes in the wood!'

I loved this old poem, and always thought of it when my two little cherubs were little, especially if they'd been naughty and were hiding  behind the couch to delay being told off.  It was also one of the inspirations for my poem "Remember, Remember the Babes in the Wood."

Of course, far younger still, and doesn't everyone at some stage wonder who the strange "Anony mouse" was?  Certainly someone who'd written an awful lot of rhymes and poetry, but possibly more than that, maybe something more like a Borrower (Mary Norton).  After all, these are important considerations for the young.  It's important that trespassers wont be executed (prosecuted), and that words like anonymous are properly analysed - just in case they hold some not-quite hidden meaning.  :)

Enjoy your week, I'm sure there are going to be some great posts up this week at the Tuesday hub.   For those that haven't been by for a while there's a new layout and the links to the Tuesday Poets are now on the left hand side.  (Emma McCleary was the editor this week with "Kiss," by Rachel Bush.)

A.J. Ponder 

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Soliloquy on an Empty Purse by Mary Jones

Alas, my Purse! how lean and low!
My silken Purse! what art thou now!
One I beheld—but stocks will fall—
When both thy ends had wherewithal.
When I within thy slender fence
My fortune placed, and confidence;
A poet’s fortune!—not immense:
Yet, mixed with keys, and coins among,
Chinked to the melody of song.

Canst thou forget, when, high in air,
I saw thee fluttering at a fair?
And took thee, destined to be sold,
My lawful Purse, to have and hold?
Yet used so oft to disembogue,
No prudence could thy fate prorogue.
Like wax thy silver melted down,
Touch but the brass, and lo! ’twas gone:
And gold would never with thee stay,
For gold had wings, and flew away.

Alas, my Purse! yet still be proud,
For see the Virtues round thee crowd!
See, in the room of paltry wealth,
Calm Temperance rise, the nurse of health;
And Self-Denial, slim and spare,
And Fortitude, with look severe;
And Abstinence, to leanness prone,
And Patience, worn to skin and bone:
Prudence and Foresight on thee wait,
And Poverty lies here in state!
Hopeless her spirits to recruit,
For every Virtue is a mute.

Well then, my Purse, thy Sabbaths keep;
Now thou art empty, I shall sleep.
No silver sounds shall thee molest,
Nor golden dreams disturb my breast.
Safe shall I walk with thee along,
Amidst temptations thick and strong;
Catched by the eye, no more shall stop
At Wildey’s toys, or Pinchbeck’s shop;
Nor cheapening Payne’s ungodly books,
Be drawn aside by pastry-cooks:
But fearless now we both may go
Where Ludgate’s mercers bow so low;
Beholding all with equal eye,
Nor moved at—“Madam, what d’ye buy?”

Away, far hence each worldly care!
Nor dun nor pick-purse shalt thou fear,
Nor flatterer base annoy my ear.
Snug shalt thou travel through the mob,
For who a poet’s purse will rob?
And softly sweet in garret high

Will I thy virtues magnify;
Outsoaring flatterers’ stinking breath,
And gently rhyming rats to death.

Mary Jones, 1707-1778

It seems that the mystery of the self-emptying purse is one that has been with us for some time now, but I am not so sure it is an affliction that is entirely the province of poets.

PS very few rats were harmed in the posting of this blog - so have a great week everybody.

A.J. Ponder 

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


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An extract from Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinger

"It was a strange wood, stranger still now the light was fading.  Ryan loved it for its litter.  Yellowing newspapers nestled in branch nooks, like a crop of dead leaves strangely patterned with print.  A sprawling throne of rotten oak trailed dark ivy and coddled a treasure trove of crushed cans.  The twigs of one wavering branch had been carefully threaded through the fingers of a red woollen mitten, so that the little tree looked as if it was waiting to grow another hand and start applauding."

Everyone knows I'm a big fan of Frances Hardinger - mostly on the merits of this one book, Verdigris Deep (Review here).  The prose was just so gorgeous, creating an atmosphere designed to enhance character and plot - but this was one of the images that has stuck with me. 

So all is quiet this way on the Western front except that I'm head down bum up trying to get some work done... so let's see how that goes, shall we?  And for the poetic souls out there The Tuesday Poem blog is bristling with talented poets from all around the world, so don't forget to drop by.

NB. Apologies to Frances for not being able to find her and get explicit permission, although obviously the extract is well within fair use parameters. Her amazing work is available in all good bookshops, and of course, online.

A.J. Ponder 

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

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Wings melted
feathers flown
you promised me the sun
and then you
burning from the sky
in flames and smoke
into a boiling sea.

you promised me the sun

I'd like to give it back

A.J. Ponder 

(After a different sort of Firefly? try here at Eulogies for Battles Lost)

 Picture: Pieter Brueghel's, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (circa1558)

 I'm the editor of the Tuesday poem this week and so of course I'd love for you to drop by and visit the poem I've chosen, Helen Lowe's, Fey -

"your door 
stands open still
at dusk...

 it's quite delicious, especially if you like just a touch of Other in your poetry.  And of course there's the whole Tuesday poem community in the sidebar with so many other accomplished poets and writers.  Well worth checking out. Have fun people and enjoy your week.

A.J. Ponder 

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