Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas: Christmas is Coming (Annonymous)

Christmas is Coming (Anonymous)

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man's hat;
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do,
If you havenot got a ha'penny then God bless you!

Only two days to go...so Merry Christmas one and all, and if you don't enjoy Christmas, then my best wishes for the Holiday Season - be you here in Southern Hemisphere in the heat, with berries on the branches - or enjoying the winter solstice.

Have a good one and a Happy New Year! :)


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Poem: How do I love thee? (Sonnet 43, 1845) Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861

Another poem from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, campaigner for human rights - including the abolition of slavery and improving child labour laws. The first poem I posted of hers is The Cry of the Children, a truly remarkable piece showing the horror of the conditions many children faced at the time, while retaining a lyricism and beauty around the core of unease.

On the other hand this is a love poem, with an inner core of strength, and a sense of the inevitable, possibly obtained from having battled illness most of her life.


How do I love thee? (Sonnet 43, 1845)  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

For more great poetry, check out the Tuesday poem hub here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Ursula Le Guin's acceptance speech for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

This carefully crafted piece may not be everyone's idea of a poem, but I believe it is, it is rebellious, hopeful, generous, and inimicable.  So without more ado - Ursula Le Guin's acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. The transcript is below - but hearing it - that is the thing.

"Thank you Neil, and to the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks from the heart. My family, my agent, editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as mine, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice at accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who were excluded from literature for so long, my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction—writers of the imagination, who for the last 50 years watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being - and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries - the realists of a larger reality.

Right now I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not quite the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship. (Thank you, brave applauders.) Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial, I see my own publishers in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an ebook six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience and writers threatened by corporate fatwa, and I see a lot of us, the producers who write the books, and make the books, accepting this. Letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish and what to write. Well... [I love you, Ursula!]  (I love you too, darling.) ...books, you know, they’re not just commodities. The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable - so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art - the art of words.

I have had a long career and a good one. In good company. Now here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want, and should demand, our fair share of the proceeds. But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.
Thank you.

Have a great week - and for more poetry the Tuesday Poem hub is always full of surprises.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Jericho-The snake has killed the dove

There's life on one side -
on the other there is death,
so where were you
when I took my final breath?

The bricks have all been broken
& the mortar's mortal set -
but where were you?
What - did you think you'd get

to say all your last goodbyes
after the bird has flown the coop
and the snake is at the door?
Or do you think you can just

sloop off and never see the sign,
the solid staff
the snakes entwine
the silent epigraph

that's carven on the wall.
Yes, there was a time
but now that time is done

where were you,
my love-
my dove-
When the walls came down?

A.J. (demolished chimney shots will hopefully be put into this post tomorrow)

It's been a fantastic week, busy, busy busy, with a great launch of Twisty Christmas Tales and some fantastic reviews - including - KidsBookNZ "Three excellent anthologies for children" So why not have a little twist on the festive season this year with Twisty Christmas Tales: available at good book shops and on Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/The-Best-Twisty-Christmas-Tales-ebook/dp/B00OWXKEAW

The Tuesday Poem, is a great source of poetry from NZ and all around the world, why not stop by and see what it has to offer at www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Return

did i hear your footsteps
o prodigal son?

i glanced out the window
but your vision was unclear

were you standing at the door
or lying far from here?

-The hunter long since hunted
and the race was overdone

the requiem is missing
and the eulogy's been sung-

and yet i find i'm standing here
just waiting at the door

i stop
to hear the voice
that i shall hear no more

A.J. Ponder

Yes I'm back! And with a poem, I really like this one (am I allowed to like my own poetry?) It means things to me, I hope you find meaning in it as well.

It's so good to be back after an all too busy time, a few deep breaths, a goodbye, and next week perhaps a hello to the future and a return to the fantastical! :)

So see you some time in the future, where you may find there's been some trouble with time machines :) But for poetry now - you can't beat the Tuesday Poem.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Watch out for Wizard’s Guide to Wellington

Warning! Wizard’s Guide to Wellington is now available on  Kindle  

Yes, you no longer need to be in New Zealand to explore the magic of Wellingtowne. All you have to do is pop over to Amazon to order yourself and your friends a copy of this family friendly adventure.



Wizard's Guide to Wellington

Alec finds a magical book, “The Wizard’s Guide to Wellingtowne,” lying in the corridor of Wellington Airport. But it doesn’t help answer his questions. Where is his father? Where is Perrin, the mysterious English cousin they were supposed to be meeting? And, most importantly, am I going mad, or is someone playing practical joke?

Perrin arrives at “Wellingtowne Airport” only to discover, Ike, her cantankerous wizarding guide had disappeared. She has been warned abut the dangerous city of “Wellingtowne,” but when she sets out to find her missing uncle, she has no idea just how dangerous it is going to get.

“Bad men watch you.”

Two cousins from different worlds must rescue Wellington from wizards who wish wake a very dangerous taniwha. (If you're not from New Zealand, a taniwha could be best described as a dragon, not so much a modern dragon, but an old fashioned wyrm, and this one is more than troubling because it is the size of a mountain...)
(paid link)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Old Horse

The Old Horse

Unfortunately this old horse doesn't know when it's beaten.

Taking to the arena like an old man
with a broken adamantine sword
and the truth of
a misspent

Fortunately this horse keeps running all the way to the knackers

It's easier this way, saves the trouble of rounding up
all Medusa's zealously ignorant friends
their smiles long since
turned to

Unfortunately this old horse stumbles, broken winded, an object of ridicule

There is a truth like a rock in its shoe
the final gun a pebble
lost in many
layers of


Another cheery poem. But never mind, some really exciting news next week - at least for me, so until then, have a great week and why not check out all the other fab poems up on the Tuesday Blog

P.S. To find out more about this poem check out DYADIC DISEQUILIBRIUM AND THE ALTERNATION OF DEBT: EPISTLES 1.1 or maybe suggest to me some other, better posts about Horace, or at least the work attributed to him, if you know one...in the meantime, this cobbled together extract isn't quite the same as flogging a dead horse...but it is written in a dead language ;)

Prima dicte mihi, summa dicende Camena,
spectatum satis et donatum iam rude quaeris,
Maecenas, iterum antique me includere ludo...

...‘solve senescentem mature sanus equum, ne

peccet ad extremum ridendus et ilia ducat.’...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Counting Down to Sanity

Mike Ponder Rona Gallery
Looking forward to all the big projects being over, Phantom Feather Press has reached it's PledgeMe total, the Rona Gallery has been declared officially open and looks gorgeous, I've just got a few more i's to dot and t's to cross, before returning back to poetry, in the meantime here are some pictures of Rona Gallery on opening night.

Next time...I'll have a picture of the galley proof of Phantom Feather Press' new book "The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales" that's sitting by my computer...if not the actual book itself.

Be well, 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday Monsters:

Mrs Mo's Monster Paul BeavisFor the Little Monsters:

I had a little monster
as monstrous as can be
I gave it bread and honey
in front of the tv

it grew a bluish colour
with eyes of scarlet red
so I took my little monster
and put it down to bed

I had a little monster
it howled all through the night

To be continued.... hopefully (a little bit stuck!)

Been very busy with The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales PledgeMe and also with the Rona Gallery opening - doing things like organising newsletters and promotion for the re-opening of Rona Gallery. Looking forward to Gino Acevedo opening the evening, his art is pretty amazing - and also pretty monstrous, which totally fits today's monster theme! :)

Have fun and check out the other offerings at The Tuesday Poem, I wish I had the time...soon though...And really looking forward to it. :)


Friday, October 10, 2014

I can finally reveal something of the scale of my latest project...

The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales

We're on our way into the unknown....but The Best of Twisty Christmas is live so why not check us out at https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/2665. Hurry Santa, and dont be late! :) We have also, to my vast delight picked up a charity that we (we being the team at Phantom Feather Press, Eileen, Peter and myself) can all wholeheartedly support, The Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand.  I'm so happy, it's been fun doing this anthology, but it will be fantastic to give back a little to such a deserving community. Check them out at www.mda.org.nz.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Yes, it's September, but that means Christmas is around the corner - at least for me!

Twisty Christmas tales illustration Geoff Ppham
Santa over Auckland by Geoff Popham
Yes, that's right, Christmas is getting closer, and so is the deadline for the Twisty Christmas Tales project I've been working on....

It's enough to drive a grinch crazy.

"I MUST stop this Christmas from coming! But HOW?"
(extract from the Grinch, by Dr Seuss)

Of course I don't want to stop Christmas, that would be terrible, roll on the fun...but slowing down time would be great. If anyone has a spare time travelling machine, would really appreciate lending it for the next month or so. (Of course I do have one, care of my very special character Frankie, but it's just a little temperamental.)

for Tuesday Poems, check out the Tuesday Poem hub

Or to find out more about the Twisty Christmas Tales anthology, the authors, and the artist - check out the link...  http://phantomfeatherpress.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/twisty-christmas-tales-feature-joy-cowley-david-hill-dave-freer/

Wishing everyone a great week, and sorry for bailing again on a poem -- it's crazy busy here, with little elves working madly on the final stages of this project, not to mention Lilly Lionheart, a national science fiction convention, and the Rona Gallery opening...


(paid link)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Poem: She had somehow fallen into the sea

things are worse than ever
I never was so 
small as this before,
extract from Alice in Wonderland 
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson 
alias Lewis Caroll 

For actual poems check out the Tuesday Poetry Blog

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday Poem: No Comment

I guess you heard the news today

oh boy
Nobody said a thing
Nobody had to

What I heard
I couldn't say
oh boy
I didn't say a thing
I didn't have to

A.J. Ponder

Dramatic Chipmunk in tin foil hat - for the real video click link
Yes, it's get out the tin foil hats time - kitch sci-fi has taken over the world and become reality - not that tin foil's going to help much - except possibly to obscure your identity (although I dare say clothes would do a better job).

And while nobody is probably going to care too much about what you wrote to Auntie Muriel in your last email, privacy is privacy, including how that information is used, but before anybody can begina  serious discussion of - how far is too far- the moment is gone...cue dramatic chipmunk!! ;)

For mroe dramatic moments, and some great poetry check out the Tuesday Poetry Blog here
I particularly liked Helen Lowe's choice this week of “July 1914″ by Anna Akhmatova

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday Poem: No Tomorrow

You all knew where you were
when you heard the news-
down the motorway
to the apocalypse

So forget yesterday
and tomorrow
the worst of plans
is letting the sun
on the path
when there's no
best foot
to put forward -
not between the lot of us -

since the rot set in and
on broken bone
became the height of summer fashion

Cant remember when
we weren't all holding on -
broken fingernails
on tarmac

wont wait 'til tomorrow
when the sun'll come out

and we'll fry
on the tarmac
raising a stink
like green eggs
and ham-



So that's the poem this week, it's a bit of a tricky one, so won't be surprised if it changes a little. Suggestions, as always, very welcome. Have even toyed with making it a couple of poems - after all - there can never be enough zombie apocalypse poems in the world - not when metaphorical disaster is more fun than the real thing.

If poems are your thing, why not check out the Tuesday Poem hub, full of poemy goodness.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Cry of the Children by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
      Ere the sorrow comes with years?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers —
      And that cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows;
   The young birds are chirping in the nest;
The young fawns are playing with the shadows;
   The young flowers are blowing toward the west—
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
      They are weeping bitterly!
They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
      In the country of the free.

Do you question the young children in the sorrow,
      Why their tears are falling so?
The old man may weep for his to-morrow
      Which is lost in Long Ago—
The old tree is leafless in the forest—
   The old year is ending in the frost—
The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest—
   The old hope is hardest to be lost:
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
      Do you ask them why they stand
Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers,
      In our happy Fatherland ?

They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
      And their looks are sad to see,
For the man's grief abhorrent, draws and presses
      Down the cheeks of infancy—
"Your old earth," they say, "is very dreary;"
   "Our young feet," they say, "are very weak!"
Few paces have we taken, yet are weary—
   Our grave-rest is very far to seek!
Ask the old why they weep, and not the children,
      For the outside earth is cold —
And we young ones stand without, in our bewildering,
      And the graves are for the old!"

"True," say the children, "it may happen
      That we die before our time!
Little Alice died last year her grave is shapen
      Like a snowball, in the rime.
We looked into the pit prepared to take her —
   Was no room for any work in the close clay:
From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her,
   Crying, 'Get up, little Alice ! it is day.'
If you listen by that grave, in sun and shower,
   With your ear down, little Alice never cries;
Could we see her face, be sure we should not know her,
   For the smile has time for growing in her eyes,—
And merry go her moments, lulled and stilled in
      The shroud, by the kirk-chime!
It is good when it happens," say the children,
      "That we die before our time!"

Alas, the wretched children! they are seeking
      Death in life, as best to have!
They are binding up their hearts away from breaking,
      With a cerement from the grave.
Go out, children, from the mine and from the city —
   Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do —
Pluck you handfuls of the meadow-cowslips pretty
   Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through!
But they answer," Are your cowslips of the meadows
      Like our weeds anear the mine?
Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows,
      From your pleasures fair and fine!

"For oh," say the children, "we are weary,
      And we cannot run or leap —
If we cared for any meadows, it were merely
      To drop down in them and sleep.
Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping—
   We fall upon our faces, trying to go ;
And, underneath our heavy eyelids drooping,
   The reddest flower would look as pale as snow.
For, all day, we drag our burden tiring,
      Through the coal-dark, underground —
Or, all day, we drive the wheels of iron
      In the factories, round and round.

"For all day, the wheels are droning, turning, 
      Their wind comes in our faces, 
Till our hearts turn, — our heads, with pulses burning,
      And the walls turn in their places
Turns the sky in the high window blank and reeling—
   Turns the long light that droppeth down the wall, 
Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling —
   All are turning, all the day, and we with all!
And all day, the iron wheels are droning;
      And sometimes we could pray,
'O ye wheels,' (breaking out in a mad moaning)
      'Stop ! be silent for to-day ! ' "

Ay ! be silent ! Let them hear each other breathing
      For a moment, mouth to mouth —
Let them touch each other's hands, in a fresh wreathing
      Of their tender human youth !
Let them feel that this cold metallic motion
   Is not all the life God fashions or reveals —
Let them prove their inward souls against the notion
   That they live in you, or under you, O wheels ! —
Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward,
      As if Fate in each were stark ;
And the children's souls, which God is calling sunward,
      Spin on blindly in the dark.

Now tell the poor young children, O my brothers,
      To look up to Him and pray —
So the blessed One, who blesseth all the others,
      Will bless them another day.
They answer, " Who is God that He should hear us,
   While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirred ?
When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us
   Pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word !
And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding)
      Strangers speaking at the door :
Is it likely God, with angels singing round Him,
      Hears our weeping any more ?

" Two words, indeed, of praying we remember ;
      And at midnight's hour of harm, —
'Our Father,' looking upward in the chamber,
      We say softly for a charm.
We know no other words, except 'Our Father,'
   And we think that, in some pause of angels' song,
God may pluck them with the silence sweet to gather,
   And hold both within His right hand which is strong.
'Our Father !' If He heard us, He would surely
      (For they call Him good and mild)
Answer, smiling down the steep world very purely,
      'Come and rest with me, my child.'

"But, no !" say the children, weeping faster,
      " He is speechless as a stone ;
And they tell us, of His image is the master
      Who commands us to work on.
Go to ! " say the children,—" up in Heaven,
   Dark, wheel-like, turning clouds are all we find!
Do not mock us ; grief has made us unbelieving —
   We look up for God, but tears have made us blind."
Do ye hear the children weeping and disproving,
      O my brothers, what ye preach?
For God's possible is taught by His world's loving —
      And the children doubt of each.

And well may the children weep before you;
      They are weary ere they run;
They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory
      Which is brighter than the sun:
They know the grief of man, without its wisdom;
   They sink in the despair, without its calm —
Are slaves, without the liberty in Christdom, 
   Are martyrs, by the pang without the palm, —
Are worn, as if with age, yet unretrievingly
      No dear remembrance keep,
Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly:
      Let them weep! let them weep!

They look up, with their pale and sunken faces,
      And their look is dread to see,
For they think you see their angels in their places,
      With eyes meant for Deity;
"How long," they say, "how long, O cruel nation,
   Will you stand, to move the world, on a child's heart, 
Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation,
   And tread onward to your throne amid the mart?
Our blood splashes upward, O our tyrants,
      And your purple shews your path;
But the child's sob curseth deeper in the silence
      Than the strong man in his wrath!"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
A little mover and shaker, this piece.  Published in 1842 in Blackwoods, it is believed to have helped bring about child labour reforms by raising support for Lord Shaftesbury’s Ten Hours Bill (1844). Of course such a bill did not pass intact first time around, but change was in the air. It was also helped on by some pretty remarkable people who stood up for what was right,  including Richard Ostler: "If blood must flow, let it be the blood of lawbreakers, tyrants, and murderers ... infanticide shall cease." & Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, who took on factories, asylums, chimney sweeps, and more: "So, by God's blessing, my first effort has been for the advance of human happiness. May I improve hourly!"
 I have some new heroes, to find more, or maybe for something a little more upbeat, why not surf the Tuesday Poem, here at Tuesday Poem world.
...may I improve hourly
A.J. ;)  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Poem: A Wolf Ate My Homework

You've heard the story of the three little pigs
who did their homework-
one with straw
one with wood
and one with bricks

But I bet you never heard about their sister

A wolf ate her homework-
three parts nitroglycerin,
one part diatomaceous earth,
wrapped in paper.


This little pig danced about in the sun all day
and piped a tune
and when the teacher asked
did you do your homework?
where is your house?
little pig,
little pig,
what were you doing?
dancing a jig?

The first thing she said was,
"what's wrong with dancing?

and, yes, here's my hoemwork-

-at least what's left of it."

And the teacher held out his hand
and didn't learn anything.

A.J. Ponder

Wishing everyone a fantastic week, there's so many great poems to see on this week's Tuesday hub. Really loved  Lying is an Occupation by Laetitia Pilkington, on Bigger than Ben Hur, something horribly apt as NZ is being plunged into election fever.  Or for more fairytale poetry check out my portal to fairy tale poetry.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday Poem: kinda totally lost

And I thought a wolf ate my homework would be original...
Rats, Faith McNulty got the idea first...

I have to admit this is not (exactly) a poem, the wolf ate my homework...I started a poem earlier this week called Lost, and it's ended up dragging me in about three different directions, which is about right for me. Never too sure which way to go - and all the roads look pretty good...at first. It's only later you realise you really should have chosen to walk across the field with the strawberries...

I guess that's what the garden path is all about.
I guess that's what being lost is all about
And so while there is no poem as such this week
there's this...whatever it is...

Which doesn't amount to the same thing, but at least it's going somewhere...
but here

Have a great week,
and hopefully I'll figure out where the poem Lost is going to take me. Maybe to two different places, maybe to a nice comfortable couch, a good book and a warm cup of cocoa, or maybe to the Tuesday Poem Blog.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Positive Thinking

Strung out in wires
hyped up on amps.
-I'm wired-
running backward
on premises
nobody bothered to correct, 

dangle like promises
in a soup of potential
and yet,
you should know better than to put
your finger in that socket,
-on that element-

You say I can do anything -

You say a positive charge flows in -

You say there is a drop in potential

Aren't we all as excitable as ever
until we hit the resistance
and the heat goes on.

Or is it all just insulation,
and kites.

A.J. Ponder

Hope you enjoyed this week, and have somehow managed to avoid the flu season - possibly by being in another country where it's not the tail end of winter. Here the flu season is truly upon us, biting in just as winter seems to be losing some of it's grip - and there is a promise of spring, ever a testiment to life goes on. (Except of course, when it doesn't.)

For more poems why not check out the Tuesday Poem Hub, to see what the talented poets there are up to. I particularly liked, “Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?” by Ron Koertge on Gurglewords, for some of the worst advice ever, or maybe the best. It's hard to tell. ;)

Thanks for dropping by and have a great week,


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Ghosts

A reflection
of the past. A smudge
of light
A memory of fear

Hiding behind the wainscot,
in the cupboard,
under the fridge
on the stairs

And still,
it wasn't enough

Our ghosts didn't break the furniture,
wail through the night
Not a ghost, more a haunted Fred (Angel cosplay)
rattling chains

Our ghosts
leave that for the living.

A.J. Ponder

Hi, thanks for stopping by to read my poetry, I hope you enjoyed this week's spectral theme. For me, there's something very compelling about writing supernatural poems, to deal with bigger things. So I enjoyed "penning" this one. Not that a pen was involved at all, and I'm sure often isn't in the modern era.

Of course if you love poetry, why note check out the Tuesday Poem, for more poems new, and sometimes even old, here at the Tuesday Poem hub.
And lastly, not that this is really to do with the poem, just a random thought as I was tyring to think of a title - If ghosts are the things that haunt us, can we haunt them back? - 

Have a great week, 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Anthrax is not a placebo

I see you play the game of uncertainties well
no chance,
no roll of the die
that can't be rolled a dozen times

Best of all
the yardstick is as mutable as mercury
gullible as gold
pliable as picture-

I believe you said
"placebo controlled"
and it certainly was,

so long as we don't peek

your carefully packaged

A.J. Ponder

Gosh, where did this week go? Been busy enjoying reading all the submissions to "Twisty Christmas Tales," and bang - it's Tuesday again.

Ok, Alright, I admit to also reading New Scientist, in the interim. It's gone more than a bit pop-science recently, but it's usually better than most, and I expected the wh/eat article to be of a certain standard. Better than what you would find in, say, New Zealand's North and South magazine. Boy was I disappointed.

Poor scientific reporting indeed to say "milk protein" was used as a placebo. At that point the article stopped being merely unhelpful and entered warning, warning Will Robinson territory. After all experiments rise and fall on their control/placebo - it's an absolutely critical part of any experiment. So I couldn't help but wonder why choose a placebo that is known, or even suspected to be problematic? Online, it was easy to discover the "milk protein" was not actually casein, (which would have been the worst possible option and something you'd expect an article in New Scientist to mention). It was whey--but the study didn't control for casein. Nor did the experiment allow sufficient time to elapse between diets. (Yup, seen that ploy used to great effect, and far more blatantly, with certain food additives. Cough. Monosodium glutamate.)

What was interesting (although not exactly a surprise) was that the study did seem to show that FODMAPs can cause problems for people who identify as gluten intolerant. (And so can shuffling around diets, and introducing stress to people who have stomach problems - now there's a surprise!)

So, if you managed to wade through that, next time you pick up a paper and read about a study, why not take a second look at the placebo and ask yourself, is that a placebo? or is it anthrax in disguise.

Have a great week!
and maybe check out the Tuesday Poem blog, why not?

and have fun,


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Currently Working On Something Big

Do Not Disturb,
although of course a writer is disturbed most of the time
and hopefully disturbing,

Men at Work
definitely needs a sign,
how else would anyone know
that lounging around signified -
anything more than impending doom?

Drugs at Work
seriously. Sounds more recreational to me.
But just in case...

Pay Attention to Prevent Injuries,
although in a writer's universe,
it's important to exchange "Prevent" with "Cause"
to really get your money's worth
out of your cast and crew.

Danger: Keep Out: Writer at Work,
the standard bribe is one gluten free cupcake
not that I'm fussy or anything,
but you don't argue with Aslan when he has stomach-ache -
- and in my universe I'm far more dangerous than any lion.

Keep Calm
and make sure your characters are put through the wringer
before you -

Carry On

A.J. Ponder

Yes it's been very quiet over here in Affliction of Poetry land, the author is busy doing authorial things, and being busy and all. I love poetry, but I also love books, and stories and adventures (so long as they'e fictional so I don't actually have to be in them).

Have a great week, and don't forget to check out the rest of the Tuesday Blog here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Poem Excuses and distracting pirates.

Bartholomew Roberts second flag CC BY-SA 3.0
 This week was one of those weeks where Tuesday creeps up unawares, and while looking for poetry, found myself distracted.

By pirates.

They breached the - I am looking for a poem - defences - by tantalising me with swashbackling poems of antiheroes  that remained forever out of reach. Yes, there are a few cute kiddy poems, but I was in the mood for an epic.

I know they're out there, but google keeps on washing me up on lonely shores. Sometimes if you want something, you just have to write it yourself, I guess. So maybe next week. That'll certainly keep me busy.

Have a great week everybody and I hope you enjoy the poems on the Tuesday Hub,

A.J. Ponder
P.S. ...some distracting piratical info...

Apparently the Dread Pirate Roberts is real. Born John Roberts, it is thought he changed his name to
Bartholomew, after Bartholomew Sharp of, The Dangerous Voyage And Bold Assaults of Captain Bartholomew Sharp and Others,by Basil Ringrose London, 1684.

So (third mate) Bartholomew Roberts, his ship captured by pirates in 1719, took to a life of piracy.   "Since I hath dipp’d my Hands in muddy Water, and must be a Pyrate, it is better being a Commander that a common Man."

Of course he died. He was a pirate, but his name lived on. (Kind of, he is often known as Barti Ddu, or Black Bart, which he was never called during his lifetime)

He is also credited with - "..... a merry life, and a short one."
Which it was by modern standards.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Frozen

There were Turkish Delights,
I remember that much 
smothered in icing

Once tasted
Almost all else is forgot

There was Hide and Seek
I remember counting
doling out time in delicious seconds

Each heart beat a sliver of
icy anticipation

and lakes to skate across
I remember flying,
and falling

the icy shell easily pierced
unlike a heart frozen through
and through

Tears that never fell
Rim glassy eyes

Do you remember?
I think there was a time
called Green.
And everything was Spring

A.J. Ponder

Hey people, only a little late, and I dare say might come back with a couple of tweeks in a week or so. But here it is - my little Frozen poem, borrowing a little nostalgia from a few places, but mostly Hans Christian Andersen's Snow Queen and C.S. Lewis' White Witch of Narnia.

Hope you all have a great week and enjoy the Tuesday Poem Hub
The poem I enjoyed most this week was Touch, by Michelle Elvy, up here on Helen McKinlay's blog (another of my favourite poets - it's too hard to pick just one)


P.S This poem got the seal of approval from a huge Elsa / Frozen fan - even though it mostly references earlier versions of the fairytale - so I'm very happy :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday Poem: One more thing - or- Once More Unto the Breach, William Shakespeare

Nothing is ever, ever, ever, done. There is always one more thing.
And to that end 

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616
(Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1) 

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage:
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head,
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders, 
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers: now attest,
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture: let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,
Cry ‘God for Harry! England! and Saint George!'

Ok, I chose this "poem" this week because it seems to always be one more thing taking up my attention, and then I can get on with my real job of writing. Even though I know that sort of approach never works. Writing first I say. Writing first. Everything else second. (Except family in dire need. But that goes without saying).

Time to write some books. That's what brings the lustre to my eyes. Seriously, I'm finally starting to appreciate Shakespeare...as being hilarious.  So now the game's afoot..

Why not kick back and find some inspiration or simply enjoy the poems on the Tuesday Hub?

A.J. Ponder (link to my goodreads page)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Officially, officially, Lost in the Museum is Launched and Online

Lillian Hetet signing Lost in the Museum

I'm excited to say Lost In The Museum is now officially, officially launched. There's even a picture from our amazingly successful launch at the New Zealand Science Fiction Convention (even though Dave Freer isn't a contributor, it's the only picture I have of Lyn McConchie, & besides, Dave Freer was amazing, he's said he may contribute to another anthology, so looking forward to that!)

Phoenix Writers
Phoenix Authors and artist Geoff Popham

So I'm kinda sad because it's the end of an era, but mostly excited, because so many new projects are now on the horizon. Looking forward to the excitement of creating more worlds, Lilly Lionheart, another Wizard's Guide, Twisty Christmas Tales and more... :)

Eileen Mueller, A.J. Ponder, Dave Freer, Lyn McConchie at the National
Lost in the Museum is available on Amazon and all good NZ bookshops including Children's Bookshop Miramar.
Retrospace in Auckland and should soon be available from Unity Books as well. The ISBN is 978-0-473-28320-9.

Check out the review by Lee Murray up on Beattie's Book Blog

Phoenix Authors from left to right are Vic Scott, A.J. Ponder (Sir Julius Vogel Best Short Story), Lillian Hetet, Lorraine Williams (who has published more short stories than I've had hot dinners, and has definitely won awards but is too shy to say so), John Homes, Jenny Hammond, Rob Campbell, Eileen Mueller, and artist Geoff Popham.Missing authors are Tim Jones (NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature in 2010), Phillip Mann (Nominated for the Arthur C. Clark Award 2014) Glynne McLean (second prize in the 2013 Ashton Wylie Awards & Sir Julius Vogel Best New Talent), Jean Stevens, Tracie McBride
(Sir Julius Vogel Best New Talent) & Lyn McConchie with awards too numerous to count including multiple Sir Julius Vogel Awards and the Australian SF Foundation’s award for Best Short Fiction

Geoff Popham Lost in the Museum
Geoff Popham artist

Lost in the Museum
Eileen Mueller
Vic Scott

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)

(paid link)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Falling

It's the first stumble
the gasped

that's the worst

It's the rushing
falling, spinning

that's the worst

it's the impact
burning skin


knowing the worst
is yet to come.

Alright couldn't let another week go without a poem. Sorry, it's another cheery one, desperately want to go back to fairy tales, butapart from my gorgeous daughter in her "Frozen" glory... Still maybe that will be a good theme to try and explore next week.

Have a fantastic one
and why not check out the Tuesday Poem Hub?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Submissions are open for a print edition of Twisty Christmas Tales.

FYI all my writer friends: Phantom Feather Press is looking for well-written, offbeat, zany Christmas tales with a kiwi flavour or a fantastical twist.

Submissions will be accepted from writers who are New Zealanders, have lived in NZ, or have a strong connection with NZ. Stories must be suitable for children 8-12 years old. Maximum word count 1,500.
submission guidelines are here.

Have fun creating crazy Christmas capers!  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday Poem: A solemn thing—it was—I said by Emily Dickinson

A solemn thing—it was—I said

A solemn thing—it was—I said—
A woman—white—to be—
And wear—if God should count me fit—
Her blameless mystery—

A hallowed thing—to drop a life
Into the purple well—
Too plummetless—that it return—

I pondered how the bliss would look—
And would it feel as big—
When I could take it in my hand—
As hovering—seen—through fog—

And then—the size of this "small" life—
The Sages—call it small—
Swelled—like Horizons—in my vest—
And I sneered—softly—"small"!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday Poem : My Empire by A.J. Ponder

I should have known
My sweetest friend
That you could have it all
In the end

Someone told me long ago
that it would end this way

Tho' I keep searching for
An answer,

There is nothing I can say
Hanging on the promises
You never thought to give
You're scared

Of the pain you feel,
Maybe it's raining
Or the sun wont shine
I know

You've never seen the rain
except there's a rainbow
above you

I've had two songs going through my head for a long time now, "I should have known," by the Foo Fighters and Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails. There are a couple of other lines that have been thrown in (attributions below), but this song poem, "My Empire," could just as easily been called "Earworm"...

If you enjoy poetry, why not check out the poems at the Tuesday Poem Blog, free every Tuesday.

(Also included Whitesnake, "Here I go again," lyrics, John Fogerty's "have you ever seen the rain," lyrics, The Eagles, "Desperado," and maybe even afew from Joss Whedon's "Once more with feeling." And if I have accidentally placed an unattributed line, please don't hesitate to say. Have a great week!

thanks for dropping by,
A.J. Ponder

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Poetry for Beginners by Surfing the Web. A.J. Ponder.

Poetry for Beginners, by Surfing the Web

Reading poetry well is part attitude 
and part technique
So, here we are, our first lesson.

After all isn't grammar
what poetry is all about?

Actively seek inspiration
from under your desk,
I suggest folding the
13 Ways of Looking Exercise
into a dart-
and watch it fly

You need not make sense or unify
your thoughts
Time this step for 2 minutes.

So, now your teacher has turned the other way,
retrieve the dart
and remember,
is as much about subversion
as schooling.

Lost in the Museum, to be released 26/04/14
A.J. Ponder

Go on, rebel a little, and enjoy the poetry this week on the
Tuesday Poem Hub  ;)

P.S. Lost in the museum now available on Amazon here

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Dance of the Tarantella by A.J. Ponder

Dance of the Tarantella

I told you
I have nothing to bring to this party
and still you dance to my tune

capering, clapping, cavorting...

my invitation was the smallest thing,
one might
There is no hope
other than the whirl of
your colours in the night

only darkness
soft and yielding

as the world tumbles by 
and other dancers call,
slapping their hands
in a denial of the truth

warm and welcoming,
dangerous jewels on velvet

let me hide quiet in the shadows
for truth is silent,
my bite is less deadly than thine

A poem :)
check out more on tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's Tuesday - and I'm almost finished a huge project so here's a taste...

I know you are all dying to see the cover of the book I've been helping with the production for :) So I thought why not put up the pitcures, as the poetry for this evening. The cover art has been done by Geoff Popham - and it's amazing. I can't wait to see the book itself!

And underneath is a mock up (not quite the final) of the cover...

I apologise for the lack of (word) poetry, but it's amazing how much time it takes to put an anthology together, even if I'm not doing all the work. Certainly "Lost in the Museum" wouldn't be as fab as it's going to be without the help of Paul Stewart and Mary Mac. But mostly I'm pleased that it's almost ticked off my to do list.

Looking forward to more time on my own projects, it's going to be a busy year...

Have fun reading, maybe writing a little, and of course, enjoying the amazing poetry on theTuesday Poem Hub


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday Poem: Tuesday Poem

It's the Tuesday Poem's third birthday. And to celebrate the occasion poets entered a line. so I'd like to thank these lovely poets -Michelle Elvy, TP Hub sub-editor, with Mary McCallum and Claire Beynon for the fantastic job they made of using poet's lines to form mini poems of birthday delight.

So why not go to the Tuesday Poem blog and check it out?

Watch out for my line, it has an explosion!

And why not?

As for the rest of my activities, I'm helping edit and typeset "Lost in the Museum," so gotta run, so much more to do - working on the back blurb...

"Get lost in a museum where past, present and future collide....

And have a great birthday! (Or unbirthday if you prefer.)

A.J. Ponder

PS please excuse all the font issues. Will try and sort another day.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Trouble with Time Machines by A.J. Ponder

The Trouble with Time Machines
(first published in Eye to the Telesope, edited by Tim Jones)

Turns out
Time Machines are easy -
all you need is
number eight wire,
several diodes,
and a particle accelerator.

Problem is;
every sad physicist
who goes to the
trouble of inventing one,
unlocks their past
improving upon the original
until there is no need for a time machine
in the first place.

Turns out time machines are not so easy-
all those redundant devices
are proving an enormous hazard
as we unlock the
metaphysical chains that bind
the many parallel universes -
with mathematical theorems that will turn your head inside out
(in several dimensions)
because universes are rather fragile
and blowing just one would



For more mind blowing poetry why not check out the Tuesdday Poem Blog?