Tag Archives: Poetry




The windows rattle.

Outside, the lawn is mottled with smashed leaves
from the cottonwood.
Flax pods heavy with rain thud against each other.
A tui clings for dear life, and is whisked away.

The Northeasterly is not kind to my garden.
Branches snap, flowers shred,
hens scatter.

It passes through the mosquito mesh.
Invisible fingers lift the tapa cloth off the wall
then let if fall.
I’m reminded of Nalauaki.

Torrential rain is its companion.
Waves break against the stainless steel flue.
A million tiny coral flecks rattling with shells.

It’s been so long since it’s been windy.
I’d almost forgotten.

Jane Percival, March 2016


All is Quiet


Kaipara Winter’s Morning

All is quiet when the mist seeps in
to hold the land close in its selfish embrace.

The twiggy branches of the gingko are decked
with the clever webs of orb-web spiders.
They shimmer in the slightest breeze.

The bright green grass glistens with dew
and my steps form wet hollows.

In the orchard, a tahou hops and flits
on lichen-encrusted bough.
His breakfast a selection of tiny insects.

Jane Percival, July 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam

Yasawa Haiku

Shells and coral, collected from the beach

I’ve spent the past week in the Yasawa Islands, Fiji, escaping from the wintry blast that has been afflicting South Head.

I’d originally planned to take my laptop and work on a couple of stories while we were away, but in the end, decided to leave work behind.

I was certain I’d write something while I was there, but I have to admit that I struggled for inspiration, only managing a handful of haiku.

Hermit crab

Tiny hermit crab
scoots along glimmering sand.
It sees me and stops.

iridescent waves...

Iridescent waves
paint a clean line in the sand.
Caramel to cream.


I see the sun’s rays
push against the comb-like palms.
Grey stripes on the sand.





The pomegranates we hoped to sample have burst.
Firmly secured to their bare branches,
they are still too high for us to reach.

Corpulent macadamia pods fatten ‘on the vine’.
Smooth brown nuts in moss green shells,
each day I gather them from the ground.

The last feijoas lie scattered, rotting away on the soggy earth.
More than one hundred have passed my lips this year.
They still taste sweet.

Across the road, black and white cows munch away on green grass;
One or two have lain down in the sun.
Beyond, the Kaipara is soft in shades of blue and grey.

Yesterday at dusk I heard the chirping of a cricket,
then a cold wind chased me indoors.
Surely June is too late for a cricket’s cry.

Jane Percival, 2015

Poetry and Inspiration

Reacquainting myself with an old friend

I was enjoying reading I. K. Paterson-Harkness’s recent blog on Haiku and thought I’d post something of my own. My interest in poetry and the actual writing of poetry has been rekindled lately, to the extent that I’ve purchased a couple of books to get me back in the mode (or is it in the mood?).


One was Six Centuries of English Poetry Tennyson to Chaucer: Typical Selections from the Great Poets, (1892) by James Baldwin, and the other, Above the River: The Complete Poems, by (author) Professor James Wright.

I chose the first book to reacquaint myself with some of the works and the styles of the classic poets, some of whom I read decades ago, and others of whom I’m sorely ignorant.  And as is often the way for me, I heard one of James Wright’s poems being read last week on National Radio and liked it so much that it spurred me to purchase more of his work.

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in
Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

(James Wright)

Poetic Forms

Paul B. Janeczko, A Kick in the Head
Paul B. Janeczko, A Kick in the Head

Another book I’ve loved for years is Paul B. Janeczko’s, A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms (2005).  This book lists 29 different poetic forms and provides examples for each. I’d recommend it if you are interested in the challenge of some of the more complex styles.  The illustrations are neat, too.

Haiku from a Distant Summer

Here’s my Haiku offering… something I wrote way back in 1995 when I was living in St Leonards, Dunedin.

Dry parched hills
in the eyes of our cats
amber, gold and brown.

rapid fluting melody
I catch my breath
as they fly

Flax seeds
ripening broom pods
caught on the breeze

Arid creek
quiet noise
sunlight dulled by
brackish pool

Jane Percival
(March 1995)