From Renée's garden
  • If there was somewhere to be safe

    September 28, 2022

    Kia ora Koutou,

    in 2006 I was a student in a Whitireia poetry class taught by Lynn Davidson. Sarah Delahunty, another playwright, also attended. We both agreed that playwrights (or anyone wanting to write good dialogue), could gain a lot from studying and writing poems.

    I was remembering that year and its benefits, recalling that Lynne decreed that we had to write a poem a week and bring it to the weekly class and there were many such days when some frantic writing and rewriting would be done, lines crossed and recrossed while eating a hurriedly made piece of toast and marmite or peanut butter before, with one last scribble and the certainty that this was probably the worst poem ever written (was it even a poem?) I walked out the door and along Courtenay Place to that classroom on the second floor.

    I remembered Sarah’s poem, written for one such class and which I always loved because the theme is universal and it seemed appropriate for this present time (or any time perhaps?) so I asked her for permission to publish it on the Busk and she said yes, so here it is… many thanks Sarah.


    If there was somewhere to be safe

    If there was somewhere to be safe
    I would have found it long ago
    made up my fire and crouched there

    My head would bow down
    thank gods for mercy
    ask only to remain beyond their furies.

    If there was somewhere to be safe
    you would be there with me
    the air between us warm with breath

    Our eyes would flicker at each other
    through the firelight, our whispers
    would be wilder than the wind

    If there was somewhere to be safe and be with you
    I would have found it long before tonight.

    Sarah Delahunty

  • Up to here…

    September 21, 2022

    Kia ora Koutou, I have had enough. The wall to wall coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s death/funeral arrangements/ the queues/ whoever’s standing beside the coffin/ flowers/enough… enough. The frenzy of reporting every detail, the seeking out of anyone old who has any memories, real or not, or anyone young for that matter, tributes to the Queen’s stamina, work-load, manners, smile, okay, I get that. She was a very nice hard-working woman. I get that, okay? I have had the good fortune to know a lot of very nice hardworking women and their stamina, fortitude, energy and smiles, match the Queen’s, but the world did not stop for them even when they were alive. We might have sung Bread and Roses at their tangi, their death might have (or might not) been reported by the media but even if there had been a reference to their death and life of service, by the next day the rest of the world had quickly moved on. And in any case, I know they would not have wanted a huge expensive celebration of their life or death, I know they would rather have the causes they marched for become reality – women treated as equal,… Read more…

  • The Queen has died… long live the King

    September 14, 2022

    Kia ora koutou, The Queen has died… long live the King. The realisation of the great cycle of time becomes more apparent at these moments. Vague memories wash back like breaking waves on a shore, they recede, more memories wash up. I went to Mclean Park in Napier, my second baby in my arms, to see the Queen. She was just a blue smudge in the distance surrounded by black suits and soldiers. I tried but failed to feel excited and never made the attempt again. Like everyone else I loved Diana and watched and watched the televised moments of her death and funeral. I think the marriage was doomed to fail and for that I blame the Royal Minders not the Royals. I regard the Royals as puppets who move this way or that way, go there or here, do this or that, all dictated by their faceless Minders. Occasionally some humanity or personal preference or mistake will happen but all is eventually subjected and shushed by the Minders. And if anyone pays, its the Royal public figure not their faceless Minders. There are times when I think the pomp and ceremony of Royal tours are too expensive and… Read more…

  • Tiger Country

    August 31, 2022

    Kia ora koutou, Once upon a time a doctor said to me, ‘You have entered Tiger Country, Renée, and when you least expect them, the tigers will come out.’ So I wrote a poem about tigers.We all have them, different tigers for different times. I have a few and sometimes they sleep and sometimes they wake up and snarl. You will know the experience. I don’t know what your tigers are and vice versa, but tigers are tigers, metaphorically speaking, so here’s the poem… Tiger Country You plunge off the cliff into Tiger Country sleek and smiling tigers play hide and seek slope around abandoned chairs, sad tables silk cushions call encouragement from the sofa an old painting turns its face to the wall. Tigers lurk in old cards, beneath yours forever snooze under Christmas lights that never worked lope ahead to a destination only they know signposts are suspect; there is no tunnel, no light nobody pins a tail on these tigers. Some nights after the sun has flamed and seabirds search the pastures of the sea tigers come out and lean gentle over your chair – wrap you in a striped shawl of sturdy warmth fold their paws… Read more…

  • Voting

    August 24, 2022

    Kia ora koutou,  Its in our bones. We male an effort to vote in the general elections, or at least the large majority of us do, but the local? Its seems not. I have to admit to a feeling of ‘can’t be bothered’ myself. I don’t think its my fault. I think it’s the fault of those few who get elected. I have never seen one, not one of them has ever knocked on my door, texted, emailed, or rung me. In the last weeks leading up to election I might get a couple of publicity emails but that would be pushing it. If you asked me if that woman or that man was a councillor I would have no idea. The problem is that, unlike their counterparts in government elections, they probably don’t have much of a publicity fund and also perhaps, they are untrained in putting themselves up for public scrutiny. I might also be that a few well-heeled and well-connected ones are simply voted in because something about their name seems familiar. I read emails, I read Newsroom and Spinoff, I listen to the radio. I have a microscope which helps me read the local papers. I… Read more…

  • Here’s to the Editor

    August 17, 2022

    Kia ora koutou, Its been a busy two weeks editing my next novel Blood Matters. I’ve been starting work around 8.30am and stopping around 5pm. In a way editing is rewriting the entire work because most small changes result in needing to make other changes throughout the draft. I am lucky to have worked with two brilliant editors and I know it. Editors have to enter into someone else’s story, not to make it their own, but to reveal to the writer what else they need to do to make their story shine. Sometimes suggested editorial changes might be big, you might have to rethink, reinvent another sub storyline, other times it might be turning three paragraphs of storytelling into dialogue, other times it might be a request for two or three extra pages. Then there are the smaller changes of words, points of view, alternative ways of saying something. Its hard slog but its also rewarding and satisfying. You are often working against the clock or feel that you are. The work has a kind of fascination too, like you and the editor between you, are creating the thing you really wanted to do but were too close to… Read more…

  • So here we are…

    August 3, 2022

    Kia ora Koutou, It was a lovely weekend. The First Night of Wednesday To Come at Circa, saying hello to old theatre friends, old friends, whanau, new friends. And ten days late, celebrating my birthday. There’s something very pleasurable that only happens once in a blue moon for most writers and that is the feeling that yes, you definitely did a good job there. Writing is a solitary business. Its between me and the screen. Once it used to be between me and the typewriter, the piece of paper and the dreaded Twink. Whatever medium, a cave wall and a sharp stone or iron chisel, a pen and paper or pencil and slate, a typewriter or a screen, the process is the same.A writer always starts with a story to tell and whether the medium is fiction, poetry, nonfiction, writing for stage or screen, writing the news bulletins, columns, editorials, reviews, essays, a newspaper column, the process is the same. An individual gets an idea, does some reading, gathers some info and wants or is being paid to write it down for a reader or viewer, poetry lover, theatregoer or reader. There might be a flash of insight that swerves… Read more…

  • It had to happen once

    July 27, 2022

    Kia ora Koutou, Well. That’s the first in 93 birthdays that I’ve ever been sick. In all those decades I’ve been happy, sad, angry, cold, ecstatic but never sick. I suppose it had to happen once. Lying in bed gave me time to think about those nine decades and other birthdays. In 1939 I was ten. There were 103 males to every 100 females but war was coming very fast and the next decade those numbers would change as young men scrambled to join the armed forces and march off to their Blue Smoke days along with a group of nurses. The ones who came back four or more years later were not only older but changed forever because of what they’d seen and done, because of what had happened to them and their mates. And all of a sudden I was about to celebrate my 14th birthday and without a moment’s hesitation I decided I would give myself a birthday present. I would make a dress. Rose had an old treadle sewing machine so why not? I wanted a new dress. Needed a new dress. I was going to a dance. My brother had agreed to double me on… Read more…

  • Yellow bulbs in an old pot…

    July 13, 2022

    Kia ora Koutou, July is living up to its reputation. I thought for a couple of days that it was going to turn over a new leaf but that was just a tease and here we are, heavy rain, roads closed, slips, same old. This happy trio is a feature of winter anyway but as we are already grumpy, angry, resigned, irritated re the pandemic (just wear a mask, you idiot), it just seems to underline the things we cannot control like place of birth, genetic inheritance, etc etc… Recently I was given a couple of packets of seeds and I got someone to scatter them over the garden. They’ve had time to get a little bit established and I imagine they’re now swimming valiantly to stay in the one place. I got the same friend to move my pots of bulbs, flowers, from the back near the line to the front where they’ll get any sun that’s going and start warming up, grow and flower. The rain and cold might be a little bit daunting but they’ll get there. They’ve done it before — they can do it again. We’re a bit like those bulbs and seeds, we’ve met hardship,… Read more…

One chapter. One week.

One chapter. One week.

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One chapter. One week.

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From my garden

From my garden
From my garden
From my garden