Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Travelling the Verse Portal

The end of the Tuesday Poem, is making me think about how I want to continue with this blog. And the way I wish to travel through verse... So maybe as a beginning of an end, I can take you on a journey through space and time, not just speculative fiction, but the long road of being human

Here are links to some of my favourites...I hope you enjoy

Cul-de-Sac by A.J. Ponder

Eulogy to battles lost by A.J. Ponder

Firefly by A.J. Ponder

For Whom the Bell Tolls/No Man is an Island by John Donne

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

The Road goes Ever On, walking song  by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Road Not Taken - Poem by Robert Frost
The Piano Twins by A.J. Ponder

The Trouble with Time Machines by A.J. Ponder

Travelling by A.J. Ponder
This Year of Fire by A.J. Ponder 

The Weary Traveller by Mary Wroth
Winds and Time by Keith Westwater

 My love of poetry is undiminished, but I will be making some serious decisions about the when are still undecided. But nothing is decided yet - and I do rather like post over Christmas...after all, Christmases are often signposts of our journey through time...

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas with Miss Lionheart and the Laboratory of Death

Happy Christmas, time to kidnap yourself into mad scientists territory...
 Yes, the perfect gift for anyone with an e reader, and the need to take over the world with mad-science is now available as an ebook - just buy a copy and contact me, or my publisher phantomfeatherpress(at)gmail(dot)com and you could be in to win one of five paperback copies - yet to be officially released in April 2016

"Rabid rodents, a fun read!" Lee Murray
Miss Lionheart and the Laboratory of Death from award-winning writer A J Ponder is the first part of a science fiction adventure intended for middle grade readers.
The story opens with the heroine, Miss Lilly Lionheart, snatched off the street by Mr Big, the CEO of GKS Laboratories and the least important crime lord in the World Wide Web of Evil. Bundled into his underground bunker, Lilly is being forced to genetically engineer a dreadbeast for Big’s Spring Catalogue of Evil. She has no choice in the matter, not if she plans to live to see New Year. But even if her science skills were up to creating an arachnid-reptilian hybrid in the short weeks before Christmas, her social skills are not, which makes managing her rag-tag scientific team somewhat problematic. As if that isn’t enough, someone seems to be watching her, someone other than Big’s ruthless security thugs and their ubiquitous cameras…
A former scientist myself, and slightly nerdy, I wish this book had been written when I was younger. Just as Lewis and Tolkien opened our imaginations for fantasy, Ponder’s is the kind of tale to prompt an interest in science in its young readers. Just how long would a squirrel-snake hybrid need to gestate anyway...

Happy Christmas everybody and don't forget to say goodbye to the Tuesday Poem blog, with the final poem, What I didn't know then

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)

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up -- for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Strangely enough, this is a quote I associate with Firefly above all else - even though (according to my impeccable source) it was never actually in the show. Unless you count references to "Captain Tightpants" Even so, it has become a meme for Firely fans possibly because Mal was the doomed captain of a successful ship.

And now, for those of us who have followed the Tuesday Poem, with the end of an era is almost upon us,the Tuesday Poem blog I would like to thank the two people who captained the ship, Mary McCallum, and more recently Helen Lowe. Both of whom are accomplished poets and writers well worth the read.

I would love to wish everybody a great week, stay strong, and maybe enjoy some more poetry at the Tuesday blog, or check out my Firefly poem Eulogy to battles lost.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hey Neil DeGrasse Tyson, There's No Need to Welcome Science

Hey Neil,
just FYI
nobody need welcome science into their lives,
it's not a religion.
Like it or not
gravity doesn't care one jot

as it pulls you down.

doesn't need your belief
or mine.
The intricacies of Darwin's theory
are more robust today than ever,
and for that
let us thank a 19th Century monk,
Watson and Crick
and a whole bunch of people
who asked questions--
even those who didn't like the answers.

For in science
belief is the antithesis,
Unknown Scientists
Add caption
it is never called for.
A spectre of bias that
raises it's ugly head
at every turn.
Were this world indeed supernatural,
I'd call on you to cast your belief
into the flame,
sprinkle it with holy water,
and salt the ground.

But we live in observable
So put away your belief,
and wield the true power of science -
and wonder.

A.J. Ponder

Hi people,
I hope you enjoy your poem fix :) This one is for science, but also cautionary, because although science is amazing, and has changed the face of the earth in ways nobody could ever imagine, we can't demand belief. Because belief is antithetical to discovering the truth.

Articles like this are misleading, making science look like a religion. That's not a role science should ever fulfill. I never want people to "believe in science," or "welcome science." Science is science, it's about finding the world and how it works fascinating. It's about setting up hypotheses and knocking them down. Mostly about knocking them down! That's the fun bit. There is no "too big to fail" in science. Many huge discoveries have been made by comparative unknowns, who followed the evidence and not what they wanted to be true. Mendel, the guy who basically discovered genetics, Joseph Lister, the guy who discovered hand-washing before an operation was a good idea (despite much opposition at the time). If something seems wrong, question it, and be ready to be wrong yourself, because when science becomes a belief system it is no longer science. The themes in this poem also link to the "Reason" by John Pomfret poem I put up last week, written in the 1700's :)

The article: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/oct/24/neil-degrasse-tyson-national-geographic-channel-startalk

For more contemporary poetry, why not check out the Tuesday Poem blog tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com

Have a great week,

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Reason" John Pomfret (1667-1702)

Unhappy man! Who, thro’ successive years,
From early youth to life’s last childhood errs;
No sooner born but proves a foe to truth
For infant Reason is o’erpow’r’d in youth.
The cheats of sense will half our learning share,
And preconceptions all our knowledge are.
Reason, ‘tis true, should over sense of preside,
Correct our notions, and our judgements guide;
But false opinions, rooted in the mind,
Hoodwink the soul, and keep our reason blind.
Reason’s a taper which faintly burns;
A languid flame, that glows and dies by turns:
We see’t a little while, and but a little way;
We travel by its light, as men by day;
But quickly dying it forsakes us soon,
Like morning-stars, that never stay till noon.

The soul can scarce above the body rise,
All we see is with corporeal eyes.
Life now does scarce one glimpse of light display:
We mourn in darkness, and despair of day:
That nat’ral light, once dress’d with orient beams,
Is now diminished, and a twilight seems;
A miscellaneous composition, made
Of night and day, of sunshine and shade.
Thro’ an uncertain medium now we look,
And find that falsehood which for truth we took:
So rays projected from the eastern skies
Shew the false day before the sun can rise.

That little knowledge now which man maintains,
From outward objects and from sense he gains:
He, like a wretched slave, most plod and sweat,
By day must toil, by night that toil repeat;
And yet at last what little fruit he gains!
A beggars harvest, glean’d with mighty pains.

The passions still predominant will rule,
Ungovern’d rude, not bred in Reason’s school;
Our understanding they with darkness fill,
Cause strong corruptions, and pervert the will:
On these the soul, as on some flowing tide,
Mus sit , and on the raging billows ride,
Hurry’d away;  for how can be withstood
Th’ impetuous torrent of the boiling blood?
Be gone, false hopes! for all our learning’s vain;
Can we be free where these the rule maintain?
These are the tools of knowledge which we use:
The spirits heated will strange things produce.
Tell me who e’er the passions could control,
Or from the body disingage the soul:
Till this is done our best pursuits are vain
To conquer truth, and unmix’d knowledge gain.
Thro’ all the bulky volumes of the dead,
And thro’ those books that modern times have bred,
With pain we travel, as thro’ moorish ground,
Where scarce one useful plant is ever found;
O’er-run with errors, which so thick appear,
Our search proves vain, no spark of truth is there.

What’s all the noisy jargon of the schools
But idle nonsense of laborious fools,
Who fetter reason with perplexing rules?
What in Aquinas’ bulky works are found
Does not enlighten Reason, but confound.
Who travels Scotus’ swelling tomes shall find
A cloud of darkness rising on the mind.
In controverted points can reason sway,
When passion of conceit still hurries us away?
Thus his new notions Sherlock would instill,
And clear the greatest mysteries at will;
Bu by unlucky wit perplex’d them more,
And made them darker than they were before.
South soon oppos’d him, out of Christian zeal,
Shewing how well he could dispute and rail.
How shall we e’er discover which is right,
When both so eagerly maintain the fight?
Each does the other’s argument’s deride;
Each has the Church and Scripture on his side:
The sharp ill-natur’d combat’s but a jest:
Both may be wrong; one, perhaps, errs the least.
How shall we know which Articles are true,
The Old ones of the church, or Burnet’s New?
In paths uncertain and unsafe he treads,
Who blindly follows others’ fertile heads.
What sure, what certain mark have we to know
The right or wrong ‘twixt Burgess, Wake, and Howe?

Should untun’d Nature crave the medic art,
What health can that contentious tribe impart?
Ev’ry physician writes a diff’rent bill
And gives no other reason, but his will.
No longer boast your art, ye impious race!
Let wars ‘twixt alcalies and acids cease,
And proud G—ll with Colbatch be at peace.
Gibbons and Radcliffe do but rarely guess;
To-day they’ve good, to-morow no success.
Ev’n Garth and Maurus (Sir Richard Blackmore) sometimes shall prevail,
When Gibson, learned Hainnes, and Tyson,fail.
And, more than once, we’ve seen that blund’ring S—ne,
Missing the gout, by chance has hit the stone;
The patient does the lucky error find;
A cure he works, tho’ not the cure deign’d.

Custom, the world’s great idol, we adore,
And knowing this we seek to know no more.
What education did at first receive,
Our ripened age confirms us to believe:
The careful nurse and priest are all we need,
To learn opinions and our county’s creed:
The parents’ precepts early are instill’d,
And spoil the man while they instruct the child
To what hard fate is human-kind betray’d,
When thus implicit faith’s a virtue made,
When education more than truth prevails,
And nought is current but what custom seals?
Thus from the time we first began to know,
We live and learn, but not the wiser grow.

We seldom use our liberty aright,
Nor judge of things by universal light;
Our prepossessions  and affections bind
The soul in chains, and lord it o’er the mind;
And if self-int’rest be but in the case,
Our examin’d principles may pass.
Good Heav’ns! that man should thus himself deceive,
To learn on credit, and on trust believe!
Better he mind no notions had retained,
But still a fair unwritten blank remain’d:
For now, who truth from falsehood would discern,
Must first disprove the mind, and all unlearn.
Errors contracted in unmindful youth,
When once remov’d will smooth the way to truth.
To dispossess the child the mortal lives.
But death approaches ere the man arrives.

Those who would learning’s glorious kingdom find,
The dear bought purchase of the trading mind,
From many dangers must themselves acquit,
And more than Scylla and Charybdis meet.
Oh! what an ocean must be voyag’d o’er
To gain a prospect of the shining shore?
Resisting rocks oppose th’ inquiring soul,
And adverse waves retard it as they roll.

Does not that foolish deference we pay
To men that liv’d long since our passage stay?
What odd prepost’rous paths at first we tread,
And learn to walk by stumbling on the dead?
First we a blessing from the grave implore,
Worship old urns, and monuments adore;
The rev’red sage, with vast esteem we prize;
He lived long since and must be wondrous wise.
Thus are we debtors to the famous dead
For all those errors which their fancies bred:
Errors indeed! for real knowledge stay’d
With those first times,nor father was convey’d,
While light opinions are much lower brought,
For on the waves of ignorance they float;
But solid truth scarce ever gains the shore,
So soon it sinks, and ne’er emerges more.

Will knowledge dawn and bless the mind at last?
Ah! no;  ‘tis charms, and undiscovered lies.
Truth, like a single point, escapes the sight,
And claims attention to perceive it right:
But what resembles truth is soon descry’d
Spread like a surface and expanded wide.
The first man rarely, very rarely, finds
The tedious search of long inquiring minds:
But yet what’s worse, we know not when we err;
What mark does truth, what bright distinction , bear?
How do we know that what we know is true?
How shall we falsehood fly, and truth pursue?
Let none then here his certain knowledge boast,
‘Tis all but probability at most:
This is the easy purchase of the mind,
The vulgar’s treasure, which we soon may find:
But truth lies hid, and ere we can explore
The glitt’ring gem, our fleeting life is o’er.

John Pomfret 
Was searching through old poems - and the name for this one caught my eye. It looked interesting enough, so started transcribing...and transcribing (P.S happy to have people point out mistakes, just be careful I've deliberately tried to leave in the spelling of the day, not to mention the apostrophes and inconsistent captilisation of the word reason. Still, it was a fun romp, showing that even while things change (the poets idea of reason would have encompassed his religious views) they stay the same. 

I think the modern version would be a heap shorter - along the lines of "You want the truth...you can't handle the truth, and even if you could, you'd never see it because the only thing you've learned is how to close your eyes!!" ;)

Have a great week
A.J. Ponder
PS, please note this poem has thematic links to my recent "Hey Neil DeGrasse Tyson, There's No Need to Welcome Science"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Vertical by A.J. Ponder

When you're digging down
to the bedrock of belief
the truth is hard to hide
and easy to misrepresent

When the slope is vertical,
there are no handholds
and little water to soften
the fall

No one can deny the majesty,
of the view -
it's just the little matter 
of the cost

When, for almost nothing
we can hug a tree
in a horizontal forest,
and taste the rain

Bit late for Tuesday - but I am busy, busy, busy, it's just that time of year. Lilly Lionheart and the Labyrinth of Doom is close...very close, just the last, last, last edits. And I got a little distracted, the world is facing some seriously exciting prospects, people planning to end extreme poverty in our lifetime, and just as this amazing goal seems almost within reach...

Countries like India are frustrated that too much time and money has been misspent on vertical programs that only tackle one, or very few diseases, drawing money away from much needed health projects. They've had enough, and want co-ordinated projects that tackle the diseases and conditions that most affect their populations. They're calling for horizontal programs (water and primary care), and an end to being bullied into Western disease of the week agendas. So I'm keen to put a little money where my mouth is, but it's hard work finding the perfect charity....good enough will have to do.  It's all anyone can do.   

7 water charities: because water is life, and clean water will save more lives than almost anything else we can do. http://www.goodnet.org/articles/1000


for checking out your "perfect" charity (already set to "save the children") http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4438#.VhzyoSst540

Any ideas or suggestions welcome. 
Have a fantastic week!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Robin Hood and Alan a Dale - Folk tale

I've been busy writing some pieces for publication, one's in a secret project - and getting around to editing it  (I promise Lee) just as soon as I have my Choose your Own Way FairyTale Adventure in to the publisher. I found this poem while researching my adventure...just because

Come listen to me, you gallants so free,
All you that loves mirth for to hear,
And I will tell you of a bold outlaw,
That lived in Nottinghamshire.

As Robin Hood in the forest stood,
All under the greenwood tree,
There was he ware of a brave young man,
As fine as fine might be.

The youngster was clothed in scarlet red,
In scarlet fine and gay;
And he did frisk it over the plain,
And chanted a roundelay.

As Robin Hood next morning stood,
Amongst the leaves so gay,
There did he espy the same young man
Come drooping along the way.

The scarlet he wore the day before,
It was clean cast away;
And at every step he fetcht a sigh,
“Alack and a well a day!”

Then stepped forth brave Little John,
And Nick the miller’s son,
Which made the young man bend his bow,
When as he see them come.

“Stand off, stand off,” the young man said,
“What is your will with me?”
“You must come before our master straight,
Under yon greenwood tree.”

And when he came bold Robin before,
Robin askt him courteously,
“O hast thou any money to spare
For my merry men and me?”

“I have no money,” the young man said,
“But five shillings and a ring;
And that I have kept this seven long years,
To have it at my wedding.

“Yesterday I should have married a maid,
But she is now from me tane,
And chosen to be an old knight’s delight,
Whereby my poor heart is slain.”

“What is thy name?” then said Robin Hood,
“Come tell me, without any fail”:
“By the faith of my body,” then said the young man,
“My name it is Allin a Dale.”

“What wilt thou give me,” said Robin Hood,
“In ready gold or fee,
To help thee to thy true-love again,
And deliver her unto thee?”

“I have no money,” then quoth the young man,
“No ready gold nor fee,
But I will swear upon a book
Thy true servant for to be.”

“How many miles is it to thy true-love?
Come tell me without any guile”:
“By the faith of my body,” then said the young man,
“It is but five little mile.”

Then Robin he hasted over the plain,
He did neither stint nor lin,
Until he came unto the church,
Where Allin should keep his wedding.

“What dost thou do here?” the bishop he said,
“I prithee now tell to me”:
“I am a bold harper,” quoth Robin Hood,
“And the best in the north countrey.”

“O welcome, O welcome,” the bishop he said,
“That musick best pleaseth me”:
“You shall have no musick,” quoth Robin Hood,
“Till the bride and the bridegroom I see.”

With that came in a wealthy knight,
Which was both grave and old,
And after him a finikin lass
Did shine like glistering gold.

“This is no fit match,” quoth bold Robin Hood,
“That you do seem to make here;
For since we are come unto the church,
The bride she shall chuse her own dear.”

Then Robin Hood put his horn to his mouth,
And blew blasts two or three;
When four and twenty bowmen bold
Came leaping over the lee.

And when they came into the church-yard,
Marching all on a row,
The first man was Allin a Dale,
To give bold Robin his bow.

“This is thy true-love,” Robin he said,
“Young Allin, as I hear say:
And you shall be married at this same time,
Before we depart away.”

“That shall not be,” the bishop he said,
“For thy word shall not stand;
They shall be three times askt in the church,
As the law is of our land.”

Robin Hood pulld off the bishop’s coat,
And put it upon Little John;
“By the faith of my body,” then Robin said,
“This cloath doth make thee a man.”

When Little John went into the quire,
The people began for to laugh;
He askt them seven times in the church,
Lest three times should not be enough.

“Who gives me this maid?” then said Little John;
Quoth Robin, “That do I,
And he that doth take her from Allin a Dale
Full dearly he shall her buy.”

And thus having ended this merry wedding,
The bride lookt as fresh as a queen,
And so they returned to the merry greenwood,
Amongst the leaves so green.

Traditional folk ballad, a couple of old collections: Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed (1863–1944). The Oxford Book of Ballads. 1910. & The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child, 1888.

Have a great week everybody, 

and check out more poems at the Tuesday Poem blog.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Solomon's Wisdom

Solomon's Wisdom

Dear Solomon,
I didn't come to you for judgement
your swords are useless here

the question
of who will break first
is long since moot

I fear it's
something I will
prove time and time again.
It's not the
revelation it was
So let's move on
to the twenty-first century

and make a decision
that doesn't involve grinding
the last

A.J. Ponder 

This is the final poem to the sequence Count your Spoons and The SEP. 

If you do have a diagnosis of  CFS/ME, I'd be looking for alternative treatable conditions. Because for now, it is difficult to say what CFS is other than a dumping ground, that may (or may not) include a condition that can be separated out as CFS. There can be no doubt, the one we've been dealing with is not CFS as such, or postural hypotension, or POTs  because of a failed a test that is almost universally accepted as 100% specific. Unfortunately, despite the diagnostic criteria being available in Up to Date and in other medical papers his condition it has not been recognized by the local endocrinologists.  Which leaves us counting spoons, like everybody else. But if anyone is aware of people who think they may be misdiagnosed, I'm thinking seriously about going to the health and disability commissioner, to ensure that NZ doctors properly rule out endocrine and other issues, before randomly diagnosing people with CFS, as that is theoretically the British/Australian criteria.

Spoon Theory: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

Up to Date: Diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency in adults (you will need a log in to get any more than a peek)

Isolated corticotrophin deficiency, Andrioli et al (2006)

Adrenal insufficiency, Charmandari et al 2014 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2813%2961684-0/abstract  (p.s. sometimes you can find a version of this online that is not a paid version, but as it is relatively new, I suggest payment is ethical if you have the money)

CFS as a dumping ground of hard to diagnose illnesses
I'd have to agree with this. For instance, the diagnosis of CFS was made for my son despite the fact that he didn't fit the CDC (The US 1994 Fukuda) definition of CFS, the definition used in Australia and Britain, is so vague as to be nothing more than a dumping ground of "too hard." Theoretically other conditions are supposed to be ruled out. But that certainly was not the case.

One possible misdiagnosis of CFS / ME is POTS: http://www.webmd.boots.com/healthy-ageing/news/20140617/misdiagnosed-condition-confused-with-me-cfs
PoTS is generally and most safely treated with fludrocortisone. Unfortunately this not only didn't work for us, but made the symptoms worse, still it should be seriously looked at as an alternative diagnosis, as it is treatable. The same article also indicated a link with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (a connective tissue condition with joint hyper-mobility and may have problems with skin, tendons, and bloodvessels etc.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Thing Of Beauty (Endymion) by John Keats

This week, a poem by Keats himself. The first line of which is so famous as to be almost infamous, but I hope you enjoy it's old worldy-ness. It's quite different from what I've been writing lately, but I still do love the cadence only rhyme can give, even though it can be patchy. The moments are exquisite. I really like the end, from ...O may no wintry season, bare and hoary... And the end of the first verse is pretty amazing as well.
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

Anyway, have a great week, look forward to seeing you all again next week, hopefully with a poem.


A Thing Of Beauty (Endymion) by John Keats

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finished: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end!
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.
John Keats

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The SEP,

Can't you see?
We're sitting in the middle of an SEP

We only look like we're breathing
from the outside

In here
the atmosphere's
twenty K's
and group think
has you believing,
hydrogen is water
and air
is simply there

It's a diffusion of responsibility
that cuts at the frozen heart
of a problem

with thanks to Douglas Adams (An SEP is from Douglas Adam's Life, the Universe and Everything. It's earned a place on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somebody_else%27s_problem as well as having a wiki page: http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Somebody_Else%27s_Problem_field)

This is a fractured piece of something I began a few weeks ago. It began with Count your Spoons, and may or may not finish on a piece called Soloman's Wisdom.

If you're unfamiliar with the terms, Group Think and Diffusion of Responsibility, also have their own Wikipedia pages. (And Frozen Heart is also apparently the name of a song from Frozen, which is probably quite apt, although I'll admit, a complete accident.)

Have a great week, I'm planning to have a bit of down time myself, and check out some great Tuesday Poem blogs, I know there are a few sites I need to catch up on, including Helen Lowe's and Helen McKinlay's, because they are always so inspirational, not to mention fantastically supportive of NZ poetry and fiction :)


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Missed it by "that" much

Life is what happens when other things get in the way. Other things get in the way when life happens? At least that's what happened this week - so I missed my self-imposed deadline

There's a poem that's been "nearly finished" for two weeks now, that I'm keen to post. But it's in no mood to appear this week, so instead of a poem, maybe I can send you to all the things I've been busy doing instead of poetry...

I'm an occasional contributor to www.saharsblog.com/ask-an-author/

Have been very busy writing material for http://www.ronagallery.co.nz/home

Advertising the Rona Gallery Sale and Under A Thousand Art Exhibition

I even put a couple of posts on my facebook Author page (most unusual)

So that's basically it - apart from writing horror and fairy tales - it's becoming my thing :)

Have a fantastic week and why not check out some wonderful NZ poems at the Tuesday Poem hub? Let's hope they're having a more productive poetical week than I am...


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fairy Song by John Keats

Shed no tear! oh, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Weep no more! oh, weep no more!
Young buds sleep in the root's white core.
Dry your eyes! oh, dry your eyes!
For I was taught in Paradise
To ease my breast of melodies,--
Shed no tear.

Overhead! look overhead!
'Mong the blossoms white and red--
Look up, look up! I flutter now
On this fresh pomegranate bough.
See me! 'tis this silvery bill
Ever cures the good man's ill.
Shed no tear! oh, shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Adieu, adieu -- I fly -- adieu!
I vanish in the heaven’s blue,--
Adieu, adieu!

Ah! woe is me! poor silver-wing!
That I must chant thy lady's dirge,
And death to this fair haunt of spring,
Of melody, and streams of flowery verge,--
Poor silver-wing! ah! woe is me!
That I must see
These blossoms snow upon thy lady's pall!
Go, pretty page! and in her ear
Whisper that the hour is near!
Softly tell her not to fear
Such calm favonian burial!
Go, pretty page! and soothly tell,--
The blossoms hang by a melting spell,
And fall they must, ere a star wink thrice
Upon her closed eyes,
That now in vain are weeping their last tears,
At sweet life leaving, and these arbours green,--
Rich dowry from the Spirit of the Spheres,
Alas! poor Queen!

And if this isn't enough Fairy Poetry For you, why not go here to my Portal to Fairy Tale Poetry here, and find some of the best Fairy poetry there is.

My books can be found at Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington Bookstores.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Count Your Spoons

Count Your Spoons

We needed spoons
Old Mother Hubbard
and I
so we ransacked
that cupboard

The poor old dog
didn't stand
a chance- 
no gallivanting
up and down
and all around town
when you're counting spoons

Sport goes first
at a dozen spoons for a wig,
that jig
is too darned expensive

at two spoons and a cake fork -
maybe not today
or tomorrow

Still, no worries
let's leave the tripe, and the pipe
it's hard to eat
when the cupboard is bare

Forget the wine
white or red
or standing on your head-
We're counting spoons

standing up,
taking a walk,
every luxury is
bartered away

Once you've
dragooned every spoon,
determination will get you to the day,
when there are only
three spoons left-

and Stolen.

A.J. Ponder 

Today's poem is brought to you in honour of the  Spoon Theory (http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/) Hope you enjoy.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Dinosaurs are Running Wild

Having just seen the film Jurassic World, I'm wondering if it's alright to even like such a colossal waste of...special effects.I guess it's a bit like having bubbles blown in your brain - sure it's fun, but you wonder how many brain cells had to die to bring you a steaming pile of - "Ooo look! It's a dinosaur with big teeth!"

So I thought I'd write a dinosaur poem. But every time I try, you wouldn't believe it but lyrics from Weird Al's Jurassic Park derail everything.

So poem...

Jurassic Park is frightening in the dark
Nope. Weird Al lyrics again...

A huge tyrannosaurus ate our lawyer
Well, I suppose that proves... they're really not all bad.

So, it's the dinosaurs that aren't all bad...or the lawyers - because at least they're edible? Okay really this isn't helping, Weird Al. I still need a poem, and your lyrics are brainworm candy.

I recall the time they found those fossilized mosquitoes...

Seriously, there has to be points for any poem (or song in this case) that manages to start with a line like that. But it's destroyed my whole dinosaur vibe...so unless something changes, next week's poem wont feature anything dinosaur related at all. It'll probably be something catchy like Ode to My Earworm.

I know I can't wait, can you?


In the meantime why not check out tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com  or for animal poems...I've just realised how short I am of animal poems...I will eventually put up a hub...but in the meantime why not visit my cat posts here. After all, cats are pretty scary to anything smaller than they are. Also if you follow me, I will be turning up from time to time on Saharsblog.com, in her Ask an Author feature:http://www.saharsblog.com/category/ask-an-author/


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Waste Not

Rivers of
run down to
a sea
in plastic bags

It's an island you could walk on,
but not if you're a fish.
An island you could
place in an engine
and drive
around the world

but first you have to smash through
the barriers
of discarding what you see,
to discover
what you want

and how to get there

For who are we to
mine for gold in
mine for uranium
in rock

Everything we need
runs through our fingers.
All we have to do is
reach out
and take what is ours
to protect
what is not

A.J. Ponder

Some more links to go with the ones I put up a couple of weeks ago on "Working Towards Waste Not", where I posted a video of Bill Gates drinking - shock! horror! water!! And there are a few more links about recycling waste including companies "mining" gold and other precious metals in sewerage.

Gold and uranium mining. Believe it or not gold and uranium are often mined hand in hand, although not so long ago, uranium, was usually left in the tailings. So maybe someone should have asked Bill Gates if he'd rather drink recycled sewerage or uranium? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/dec/05/nuclear-greenpolitics. 
Turning plastic bags into diesel fuel?  When? And yes, maybe we shouldn't be using them at all, but it's a bit late for that so... http://news.illinois.edu/news/14/0212bags_oil_brajendrakumarsharma.html

Have a great week,

P.S.  I'm not sure I can manage to live waste free like these people, but it's a great goal, and one we should be working toward as a community :)

And lastly...This...http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/hawaii-plastic-bag-ban_n_7702382.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000010   (if you're not sure why they've done it, scroll down for the surfer)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Have a Nice Day by Spike Milligan

Obviously the poem -  Have a Nice Day- is still in copyright, so instead of posting it here are a number of links,

video https://vimeo.com/96133058
Poetry site http://allpoetry.com/Have-A-Nice-day

Have a Nice Day starts...
'Help, help, ' said a man. 'I'm drowning.'
'Hang on, ' said a man from the shore.
'Help, help, ' said the man. 'I'm not clowning.'
'Yes, I know, I heard you before...

Spike Milligan

Spike Milligan is one of the people in this world who was happy to turn his hand to anything, television, writing, poetry, all with an endearing gusto and often biting black humour. He had severe bipolar disorder,

"I have got so low that I have asked to be hospitalised and for deep narcosis (sleep). I cannot stand being awake. The pain is too much ... Something has happened to me, this vital spark has stopped burning – I go to a dinner table now and I don't say a word, just sit there like a dodo. Normally I am the centre of attention, keep the conversation going – so that is depressing in itself. It's like another person taking over, very strange. The most important thing I say is 'good evening' and then I go quiet."

 Why I chose this poem even though I couldn't actually post it..

Even without Spike Milligan's history it's pretty obvious the absent Dr Browning is no bit-player in this poem - but in the face of death and disaster the protagonist says he's had a very nice day. The stiff upper lip, ubiquitous phrases that permeate modern (and not so modern) life, "have a nice day" "how are you/I'm well" "good evening" where nobody says it like it is. So yes, I really enjoyed it, as it hit the spot on the complain-o-meter without actually complaining ;)

So that's it for this week, a total cheat, and remember not to have maybe not a nice day, but a fantastic week! Hopefully will be up for a poem by then.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This week - working toward Waste Not

This week, I'm working on a new piece - Waste Not - although I admit several other titles did jump to mind. WastE NotE being one of them. Too much. Yes, obviously. But you know...too much waste is kind of the problem.

There have certainly been some interesting advances, discoveries when it comes to recycling.

People are looking at obtaining gold and precious metals from sewerage, and of course drinking water is a precious resource that many cities have been recycling for years.

Turning food waste into glass is newish, although banana skins and sugar cane have long had the fiber within used as a strengthening agent instead of fiberglass because of the weight savings. And to be honest to me it seems an interesting experiment, but possibly not the best use possible for food scraps.

It's interesting that waste and energy are two of our biggest problems, so it will be equally interesting to see how (and if) the advances in each field will compliment the other. It seems some countries are even importing waste for that purpose!

The video? Bill Gates swigging down some recycled water  :)

So yes, apologies, but poems at this time of the year are slow...

Gold/precious metals: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/23/gold-in-faeces-worth-millions-save-environment
Glass: http://ceramics.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Cover-Story_Aug14.pdf
Water etc: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jan/20/turning-human-waste-into-drinking-water
Energy: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jun/14/norway-waste-energy

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Port of Poems: for pirates, smugglers and other rogues

Given the popularity of the Portal to Fairy Tale Poetry, I thought, why not pirates and the like!
With links to my poetry, some great poets, and some I've just found. If you find some more, I'd love for you to leave a comment, or for my shy friends, (you know who you are:) ), talk to me and I'll add them.

In the meantime, 
(poems are in alphabetical order)

A Ballad of John Silver by John Masefield

We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the cross-bones and the skull;

read aloud or read the words yourself


A Smuggler's Song by Rudyard Kipling

An amazing poem...if you don't remember, it starts like this...
If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that ask no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by.

Articles of Faith

Part 1: Pirate's life & Part 2: How Doth the Deinosuchus

The use of pirates as a metaphor for

Cargoes by Poet Laureate John Masefield

Nice contrast of the exotic against industrial Britain. And in the juxtaposition lies the tragedy. The poem is featured by both Helen McKinlay and Helen Lowe on their Tuesday Poem blogs.

Here be Dragons by A.J. Ponder

Yo ho
and there's a map to
where the skeletons lie,
sunning themselves
on the sand and
Spanish gold...


Murdering Poetry by A.J. Ponder

I would kill... 

Timothy The Pirate by Charles M. Moore

 "...Timothy the pirate
he didn't like the sea..."

Piracy by A.J. Ponder

I still quite like this, it's space pirates (so insane) and the pace gathers momentum as the tragedy unfolds. :)

Pirate Story by Robert Louis Stevenson

I'm not sure how anyone can resist the cute version of kids playing pirate on the lawn.

And so, there we have them all. The pirates we love to love, and love to hate, have a great week! And if you haven't yet had enough poetry, there are always more fabulous poems on the Tuesday Poem Hub, or on my blog.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Pirates in England by Rudyard Kipling

When Rome was rotten-ripe to her fall,
  And the sceptre passed from her hand,
The pestilent Picts leaped over the wall
  To harry the English land.

The little dark men of the mountain and waste,
  So quick to laughter and tears,
They came panting with hate and haste
  For the loot of five hundred years.

They killed the trader, they sacked the shops,
  They ruined temple and town-
They swept like wolves through the standing crops
  Crying that Rome was down.

They wiped out all that they could find
  Of beauty and strength and worth,
But they could not wipe out the Viking's Wind
  That brings the ships from the North.

They could not wipe out the North-East gales
  Nor what those gales set free-
The pirate ships with their close-reefed sails,
  Leaping from sea to sea.

They had forgotten the shield-hung hull
  Seen nearer and more plain,
Dipping into the troughs like a gull,
  And gull-like rising again-

The painted eyes that glare and frown
  In the high snake-headed stem,
Searching the beach while her sail comes down,
  They had forgotten them!

There was no Count of the Saxon Shore
  To meet her hand to hand,
As she took the beach with a grind and a roar,
  And the pirates rushed inland!

Rudyard Kipling (Saxon Invasion, A.D. 400-600)

First published in Three Poems (1911) The Pirates in England was originally called The Pirates of England. It's quite different to his, A Pict Song here, whatever anyone else may say. Because Rudyard Kipling is so awesome ...and out of copyright...other Rudyard Kipling Poems on this website are The Vampire and, my favourite, A Smuggler's Song.

Enjoy your week!

P.S. Next Week's Pirate Portal...(and various other vagabonds - it depends what I find)...should end my obsession with pirates for a while.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Articles of Faith: Part 3 Dancing Pirates

Articles of Faith: Part 3 Dancing Pirates

Harden up, and pay me my money down
jibe-ho, harden up to the wind
For there at the port, is a lass who is waiting
jibe-ho, harden up to the wind

it's a hard life,
and we can hard-tack it
it's a free life
so you can unpack it-

Say I can't understand
why you sing the sea ditties
you know that the ocean
will steal all your pretties-

If the pursers' hand's in the pot-
feel free to cut the man down

Harden up, and pay me my money down
jibe-ho, harden up to the wind
But there at the port, the Jollies are waiting
jibe-ho, tack away from the shore

yeah it's a free life,
and we can free-wheel it
it's a short life
and we can die dancing
you take the cutlass
and I'll take the claymore
with a sword in the gut
and at least we'll die free

Harden up, and pay me my money down
jibe-ho, harden up to the wind
For there at the port, is a noose that is waiting-
yeah it's a free life
as free as the rope hangs 
it's a good life
albeit a short one
it's a hard life,
and it's better than starving

jibe-ho, I'm not much for dancing,
but I'm hard now, harder than sin,
jibe-ho, we paid down our money
to dance on the head of a pin.


Alright, as promised, Dancing Pirates.  I'm wondering if I should give a glossary...

 Everything you could possibly need to know about pirates, except a lot less.

Many pirate ships had a code of conduct, known as articles of agreement, often romanticised as the pirate code, harden up is turn toward the wind, sail closer to the wind, the phrase I'm really sad about not managing to shoehorn is is to splice the mainbrace which, surprisingly enough, is to issue the crew with a drink.  According to Mirriam Webster a jibe is: to change a vessel's course when sailing with the wind so that as the stern passes through the eye of the wind the boom swings to the opposite side, which explains why Jibe-ho is the warning that the boom is swinging across the centerline, when a ship is jibing (gybing).

I hope you  enjoyed the poem, and now, instead of the more traditional angels, I'll hope you'll ask the burning question - how many pirates can dance on the head of a pin?

have a great week!

P.S. Articles of Faith PArt 1 and 2 are here http://anafflictionofpoetry.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/articles-of-faith-part-1-pirates-life.html 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Articles of Faith: Part 1: Pirate's life & Part 2: How Doth the Deinosuchus

Articles of Faith

Part 1: Pirate's life

Hey Jollies,
it's a pirate's life we wanted,
with ne'er enough rum
to splice the mainbrace,
although our articles
were a work of faith,
when the land
was ruled by golden sharks.

Hey Jollies
it's a pirates life we live,
with never enough rum
to splice the mainbrace,
as our articles,
are pitched,
and long broken,
against a tide of green

while we dance silent and
barefoot amongst the flotsam,

and the gaping jaws of monsters
bellowing loud enough to break the heart...

Part 2: How Doth the Deinosuchus

How doth the Deinosuchus
Improve his shiny tail
And poor the waters of denial
On every platinum scale

How sadly doth he sympathise
How neatly spreads his claws
And welcomes all the foolish in
With gently smiling jaws.

A.J. Ponder

More pirates next week. Dancing Pirates. I hope. The last part of Articles of Faith - which is about right, because it's an act of faith, given all I have right now are notes, despite having had this one on the back-burner for a while.

Moreover, I hope you enjoyed the reference to Charles Dodgson's work. I've always taken by How doth the Little Crocodile. So much so, I think it was the first poem I ever learned by heart. Although I suspect that the main consideration was the length, the warning of lurking danger in apparent beauty never gets old. Watch out little fish, and have a good week!


P.S. Articles of Faith Part 3 is here at http://anafflictionofpoetry.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/articles-of-faith-part-3-dancing-pirates.html

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's been a while

WW1 ambulance "staff" Picture taken by P. Sirvid
It's been a while
since we remembered,
the shattered streets
and shattered lives
a world away from
our quiet suburban lives

Lest we forget
we're living on a world
that never stops shaking,
let us take time to celebrate 
the men and women
on the front lines
willing to give up
a piece of their lives
to help others

WW1 ambulance Picture taken by P. Sirvid
It's been a bit of a roller coaster of a week, ANZAC celebrations...cough...I mean commemorations always leave me a little sixes and sevens, it's important for us to remember the loss and sacrifice of a generation of young men, but sometimes it doesn't feel...right. Quick - nobody smile - I'm the joy police! Maybe I want to hear about how the CO's stood by their principles even to the death, and how most soldiers respected that stance, far more than the public at home. Yes, there is a time to fight, I'm sure, but you don't need to fight to be a hero.

Some of ours are off in Nepal right now...

To donate: The New Zealand Red Cross is probably as good a charity as any, if you have other suggestions please leave a comment. https://www.redcross.org.nz/donate/nepal-earthquake-appeal/

Overseas: http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-04-25/how-help-nepal-7-vetted-charities-doing-relief-work-following-earthquake

Best wishes for the week,


(P.S. I normally post late on a Tuesday, but because the magnitude of this tragedy is so great, and I decided to post early in the hope of encouraging people to donate.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is it Tuesday Today?

Is it Tuesday today?

I need a little poem,
just a little poem -
any type of poem will do...

No, sorry I'm barren this week - next week - if I start early I'll be able to focus a little better - 

It's been a big week, my husband completed 71 troops for the WWI diorama that will be on the display in the Dominion Museum over Anzac, sorry no pictures allowed!!! :) My daughter reached her second decade, so for Hobbit fans she is now officially a tweenie! (And as she was a Hobbit extra that's about right)...

Lost in the Museum SJV awards: A.J. Ponder
(editor), Eileen Mueller (sub-editor) and Geoff
Popham (artist) with Sir Julius Vogel looking on.
And in book related news, I was involved with a book that won two Sir Julius Vogel awards, okay so one was for cover-art, by the amazing Geoff Popham who is on the left holding his Sir Julius Vogel Award. (Actually it's a stand in award because Weta has been too busy with the WWI diorama - but he will get one just like it very soon!)  and the other was for the anthology itself, which I was heavily involved in. Helping with typesetting, design, coralling authors, and gluing all the stories in Lost in the Museum together with commentaries by Tui Merriweather. Believe it or not Tui was quite a tricky character to work with, we didn't even have her correct name until the last minute, and without Eileen Mueller (in the centre holding the book), and Lorraine Williams (almost as elusive as Tui Merriweather herself), she would never have come out of the shadows in quite the same way.

Lost in the Museum was written by Phoenix Authors Writing Group and invited authors including Lyn McConchie, Phillip Mann, Tim Jones and Glyn Maclean, and is available in many Libraries, and good New Zealand bookstores, (including Children's Bookshop & Rona Gallery), and of course Amazon.