National (bad) Poetry Day

Last Friday was National Poetry Day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to posting a poetry blog on the day, but I did work with my students on poetry all week. 

When I give my students a writing challenge, I like to do the challenge alongside them. That way, if they’re shy when it comes time to share what they’ve written, I can share my writing first. Usually, they’re willing to share after hearing my hastily-written first-draft junk.

So, needless to say, I wrote a lot of poetry last week. A lot of silly, poorly thought-out poetry. Here are a couple of them that made my students giggle.


They think I have a superpower
A skill that’s so superb,
It rivals every other hero.
Villains it perturbs.

I smile inside because I know
They are all mistaken.
The only skills that I posses are
Smiling well and faking.


Cat by the Fire

He worships his god,
Prostrating himself nightly
Before the fiery altar,
His rumbling prayer
A tuneless drone.

His faith and devotion
Are unsurpassed,
Radical, even,
As he attacks any
Who prevent his adoration
Of the winter god.


In the Fish Tank at the Library

There once was a mermaid so fair
Passersby all stopped to stare.
She hated the looks
And hid behind books.
A book-loving mermaid is rare.

2 thoughts on “National (bad) Poetry Day

  1. Tena koe e Robinne,
    I’ve just finished reading ‘Breach’, which I found in Eileen Muellers book of short stories, ‘Te korero ahi ka’, and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it., so I Googled you and found this page.
    I liked the time traveller kaupapa, but was left feeling a lot guilty and a little bit helpless, because the planet we are leaving our children, and theirs, is nothing like the one we inherited.
    Years ago I read Maurice Shadbolts ‘The Lovelock Version’ where James Lovelock walks out of an 1860’s bush, onto a1960’s road and shares a joint with some guys who pick him up in their car, then ends up back in 1860’s west coast.
    It just didn’t fit into the rest of the story somehow, but Mary Macpherson going back 400 years to meet her ancestor was a very clever way of getting across the consequences of our selfish, money-centric lifestyles.
    I’ve always enjoyed reading but was never brave enough to consider trying to write anything. However, the positive feedback I got from whanau, following the travel log I wrote while in Europe last year, spurred me to give it a crack, so I started by writing my 85yo Dads story. It was only 15 pages long, but I really enjoyed writing it so have started doing the same for his younger brother, who also happens to be the keeper of the stories handed down to him, of our whanau. His hero is his grandmother, my great-grandmother, Arapera Paraima (Arabella Prime)
    Although she died years before I was born, through his stories, I think I gained a pretty good feel for who she was; so much so that I decided to write the following tribute to her.
    This is my first ever poem, and although it is comes to you via your Bad Poetry link, if it is bad, that wasn’t the intention:)
    Anyway here it is; I’d welcome any constructive criticism you may have to offer
    Arapera Paraima

    Kaitoki creek murmurs its way north
    Prodigal son of Motatau and Maungakiekie
    Errant twin of Hihaere,
    Separated at birth,
    bleeding cold into the heart of TeHoanga
    wellspring to the fields of Pera Paraima

    Misty curtains of summer rain
    diamonds from restless storm clouds
    wobble ponderously
    across the purple hills above Waimahae
    Moistening the thirsty graves
    Of long departed tupuna
    Here but not here
    Gone but not gone
    Asleep in the clay embrace
    of Kaitoki wahi tapu

    Hills draped in the hundred colored korowai
    of Nikau, Maire, Puriri, taraire and ponga
    Mute Sentinels
    Watching over the kumara gardens
    Of Arapera
    Back bent to the hoe
    coaxing life from the
    reluctant soil
    No time for backward glances
    to a work-absent husband,
    and father of 15
    Long departed for te Po nui,
    Plaything of the idle

    Back to the wind, stands
    the weathered totara
    Buffeted yet unbowed by
    the rasping breath of Tawhirimatea,
    Surveying her domain
    From the shoulders of Parikohe

    Tenacious flower of Hineamaru,
    Mataroria and Tipene
    Gentle shepherd to the children of Tane
    Pushes her head up
    through the concrete cracks
    of a system designed
    To suppress
    Stranger to submission
    and surrender
    Against all odds.

    suffragette unaware
    Glass ceiling breaker
    Barrier conqueror

    Tiahomai e kui,
    whetu kanapa
    O Ngatihine

    -Motatau and Maungakiekie are the two mountains at the south of our farm
    -Kaitoki, Hihaere and TeHoanga are the streams that run through it.
    -Waimahae is the marae built in that farm.
    -Kaitoki is the name of the cemetery on the farm
    -wahi tapu is a cemetery
    -te Po nui (the long night) is one name for the home of the dead
    -Tawhirimatea is the god of the wind
    – Hineamaru, Mataroria and Tipene are three important ancestors
    -tiaho Mai etc…. Shine on kui (kwee)special female elder, shining star of Ngatihine (our sub tribe)


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