Poetry For The People

Time is swift,slow, sure — but not for those in love

By our poetry correspondent, Gill Ward

Greetings readers!

A new year and we are so far into it already. Time is so odd. Much has been written about how fast or slow time passes.

Have you noticed if you are waiting for something an hour is an hour but if you are doing something really fun then an hour is still an hour but they never seem to be the same length of time?

Here’s a poetic thought regarding time:

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

Henry van Dyke, “For Katrina’s Sun-Dial in Her Garden of Yaddo”

Writing that made me think of this:

Bob Dylan’s in his halcycon years..

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Well now – who wrote that?  It was our new Nobel Prize for Literature recipient.

Yes, Bob Dylan and the song/poem, The Times They Are A-Changin’.

Recently with many others I attended the Dylan/Cohen tribute at St Peter’s Hall in Paekakariki.

It was a treat and seemed as if the whole of the Village plus their friends had turned out. Kudos

and respect to all the great crew who conceived the idea and so successfully engineered it.

Then. of course the late  Leonard Cohen the poet and musician perhaps better known for his

songs which, like Dylan’s, were poetry. Such an interesting person. Some time before the concert I had been reading about Cohen. Worth a look – head to the people’s friend Google and type in: Leonard Cohen makes it darker – The New Yorker. You will be fascinated.

And so – while I’m on Cohen I might as well go for broke. This small poem of his is called


You tell me that silence

is nearer to peace than poems

but if for my gift

I brought you silence

(for I know silence)

you would say

 this is not silence

this is another poem

and you would hand it back to me.


Poets to the People at High Tide Café still flourishes. Last month our guest was Vivienne Plumb. Viv is so alive and quirky – such a refreshing guest. She is a full time writer teaching and writing and participating everywhere.

Being trained in drama, her reading takes on an extra dimension with all the accents needed. Never overacted, the voices fall so easily into her readings that you hardly notice the voice of an Australian, American or whoever being slipped in. Everyone came away smiling and stimulated. Many of Vivienne’s poems are prose poems.

She read this one about Wellington and said I could put it in here.

the capital city

it is one of those ecstatic days when Wellington resembles a jewel on an open palm/ the cars are luminous metal-back bugs/ like caterpillars/ labouring up the incline of The Terrace before they tip themselves over the next rise/ au revoir/ the singing harbour and the carillon bells are a lamington with cream/ down Cuba down Dixon down Courtenay/ ka pai/ it smells so windy so fresh so clean

The Cheese and Onion Sandwich and other New Zealand Icons, Seraph Press 2011

Next month’s guest is Rob Hack from Paekakariki. Many of us know Rob and admire his work.  He is a modest, understated reader of his poems and will be reading from his recent collection Everything is Here  (escalator press 2016) which had an outstanding launch at St Peters Hall in Paekakariki last year. Apart from that, Rob is a thoroughly nice and cheery chap.

So… Be There!

High Tide Café 4 pm Sunday March 26th  $5 koha. Food and drinks available to purchase.

Signing off with a quote from John Wain a British writer:

Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking

Gill Ward