Makariri te po – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 30 – translations

Makarri te po

Here a waiata tangi (a lament) written in collaboration with my dear friend Katarina Reedy. The title is part of the lament. Please go into the comments below where you can hear the beautiful rendition of Katarina sing this waiata tangi with the full resonance of the language.

Makariri te po
The Night is Cold

Ahiahi mārire
Quiet evening

Nga rangi hina
The grey skies

te whakararuraru i ahau.
Trouble me

Na reira

Āta puta atu ra
Proceed slowly (out into the weather)

Makariri te po
The Night is Cold

He mokemoke ahau e.
And I am lonely

Benita H. Kape & Katarina Reedy  © 30.4.2016

I feel awed and humbled by a language (Maori – te reo) which is the language of my country. This is the first time I have attempted a poem in te reo. Forgive me if I display any errors. I have taken care. (I have made corrections after consultation with Katarina Reedy.) Tonight we were to write in another language, or to attempt a translation of a poem in a language not our own. A shaky start to te reo but hugely satisfying. Many thanks Bubbles.

The Night is Cold

Quiet evening
the grey skies
trouble me
proceed slowly

the night is cold
and I am lonely

Benita H. Kape © 30.4.2016


Beach Drives – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 29 – memories


Beach Drives & Babies & the Time I Drove into a Bank

I want to remember how old I was when I first heard
the wind sigh in the pine trees across the paddock;
first recall I suspect! I feel I was a little older the first
time I can remember going down the hill into
the village: standing in the back, grabbing the car seat
in front; in awe of so many houses, so tidy, so close
together. But I knew the village well by the time our
family numbered nine and we packed into the Ford,
driven miles to the beach for a picnic. It was New Year.

I remember, my first full-time job, biking there and
being driven home with period cramps so bad I was
curled up. But on happier notes the boss drove me
into town to sing as a guest. It was just after the war
and the song was ‘I’ll Walk Beside You’. My father was
beside me on the birth of my second child as he drove
down Mt. Stewart. Keep driving I shouted as I slipped
forward and gathered the child in arms. But it wasn’t
until I was over forty that I finally got my vehicle license
and drove a car myself.

I remember each early adventure. The time I bent forward
to change a dismal tape that was playing and with my eyes
taken of the road I hit a bank. As luck would have it six cop cars
to my rescue in a remote spot; they had been detailed to
patrol the arrival of a celebrity (Princess Di and Charles)
in the city I’d just come from. I was headed to the bedside
of my dying father but I never told him about my numerous
heros and it never made the news. Apart from a dent above
a left front wheel, the worst of the damage was a massive
scattering of my favourite tapes. And apart from a brief
consideration (the mad things we do when recently divorced) –
of changing direction, going with my heros back to town. I
blame that silly moment on shock. I was half-way into an
eight hour journey and of course I carried on. I have lovely
memories of my truck driving father; that last sad week-end.

I can’t remember what it would be like not to drive here
and there, from one end of the island to the other, though
less now. But I love driving and memories of driving. Over
the years I had more than one Ford but now I’m into Mazdas.
That is, until my eye-sight a gathering problem, finally lets
me down.

Benita H. Kape © 29.4.2016

p.s We never did divorce, we separated for a time. But I’d always said I’d only ever have one husband.


What does a cat know? – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 28 – a poem telling a story, but telling it backward

What does a cat know?

What does a cat know of betrayals?
With a cat’s curiosity, as the sound dies, she
approaches as the sound plays and replays
in the still air.

In the morning air a sound so pure.
If clay has a sound supreme, a timbre;
a high pitched scream.
Arms aloft, nothing would stop
Too late; confide an agency of grace.
Rasping sounds of breathe to release.
A sound of wings?
A dive will be made.
A river of anger and despair.
The victim of cross-fire, some dark mantra.
Kingfisher lifting with catch caught in the
magic of clay. Chromatic conflicts, resolve, resolve.
The anguish, the regrets, the loss of harmony.
Sisters split apart by one small revelation.

Benita H. Kape © 28.4.2016

A poem telling a story, but telling it backward.


Children Take Shortcuts – NapoWriMo 2016 – Day 27 – longer sentences

The Bay 1

Children Take Short Cuts

It takes a very long line to say I live in a very short street.Children take short cuts down our street, in order, to cross the river bridge.Our island is narrow but we live near its widest point east to west. The city is on the shores of a bay, crescent moon, is its shape. Hills shadow the shape of the bay, Titirangi being closest to shore. On her slopes Tangata whenua seek to restore vegetation. A vegetation more appropriate to the environs of our land. Back in my street my own yard long overgrown, a punga stands tall. Tomorrow I will cross the bridge on my way to the beach and back home. Home; there are no more lines to add to a Whitmanesque sequence. But there might be yet another as I look onto a scene of our yard. How lovely, how young the grass inviting us in to take a seat.

Benita H. Kape © 27.4.2016

Backyard seat 2013

Titirangi – name of a hill on the city shore

Tangata whenua – indigenous people of New Zealand

Punga – a fern like tree


Yesterday – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 26 (2) – call & response


Rainbow trout 001.jpgYesterday

A soft word to you my yesterday
A soft word in reply

No tears for my yesterdays
Those we shed were a truth at the time.

Travelled miles in my yesterdays
Today is for home

Been through floods and had accidents
Today is unknown

Written poems and tossed them
Remembering those you rescued

Yesterday poems and todays
Are all that I am

Benita H. Kape © 27.4.2016

I just had to share my second response to call and answer. Perhaps I’m nostalgic for days when the kids were at home and badgering for lunch in town.


What’s for Lunch – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 26 – call & answer poem


School Holidays – What’s For Lunch

Are you hungry my darlings, my darlings?
Yes we are hungry, very hungry, mother dear.

Then whose turn is it to make lunch today, my darlings?
Whose turn? You ask mother darling; how about father?

Your father is out of town. He will be away all week I fear.
Is that mother, the reason you give us the scrapings, the scrapings?

The weather is cooler I suggest a light lunch of soup and toast!
Soup and toast mother? On soup and toast, we have long over-dosed.

Well, I give up. I’m not sure my cooking will ever please you my hungry darlings.
Quite right about that mother; can we go to ‘McDonalds’ or ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’?

Just for today, mind you my hungry darlings. Just, for today.
Oh we love you, we love you mother darling. And tomorrow can we try Wendys?

Benita H. Kape © 26.4.2016

Ok, it’s salad not soup. But I’ve never been keen on cooking and my kids will tell you that. Though tonight I have on hand a very nice steak!

2nd lunch s8.9.2014


Love is not- NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 25


Love is not a Bunch of Roses

You pushed the door and it opened
to transformation. It looked better
on you. It’s moments of silence
that have me in awe. Smother in
silver and braided, love is not
a bunch of roses. You think of
a girl who wanted to ride bare-
back in a story. And you lay awake.

But this is where I take over
while you walk around the block.
You pushed the door and it opened.

Benita H. Kape © 25.4.2016


* “You pushed the door and it opened” from a poem ‘The Visit” by Kapka Kassabova. Some of the lines came from lines of poems I may have used for this prompt, but not all.

And now for our (optional) prompt! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it. This will work best if you just start with a line of poetry you remember, but without looking up the whole original poem. (Or, find a poem that you haven’t read before and then use a line that interests you). The idea is for the original to furnish a sort of backdrop for your work, but without influencing you so much that you feel stuck just rewriting the original!. For example, you could begin, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” or “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,” or “I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster,” or “they persevere in swimming where they like.” Really, any poem will do to provide your starter line – just so long as it gives you the scope to explore. Happy writing!


Enough is Enough – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 24

glopo2016button2Slippers on computer

Enough is Enough

This weakness I suffer from
ailurophile, though this lassitude,
an elixir mostly for one alone
and her name is Slippers Cat.
Selecting her, I write a poem
of suspect eloquence. Undeterred
she laps at her bowl on the floor.

Cats can be trained. I tap her nose
lightly and say NO to imbue her
with a few good manners. I foregive
her the moments she follows me to
the bathroom, (the sound of running
water as she sits near the sink). Some-
times it works as I reach for serendipity
in poems to her. Palimpsest, many
for her, haiku and free verse. In my
lounge chair drooling with her on my
lap or (when the training fails) as she –
flicking her tail under my nose crosses
the keyboard to get my attention. At
which time I declare her my nemesis .
Woebegone Slippers when I insist –
enough is enough.

Benita H. Kape © 25.4.2016

And last but not least, our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to write a “mix-and-match” poem in which you mingle fancy vocabulary with distinctly un-fancy words. First, spend five minutes writing a list of overly poetic words – words that you think just sound too high-flown to really be used by anyone in everyday speech. Examples might be vesper, heliotrope, or excelsior. Now spend five minutes writing words that you might use or hear every day, but which seem too boring or quotidian to be in a poem. Examples might be garbage disposal, doggy bag, bathroom. Now mix and match examples from both of your lists into a single poem. Hopefully you’ll end up with a poem that makes the everyday seem poetic, and which keeps your poetic language grounded


Sonnet – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 23


Sonnet for St. Andrews’ Honour Boards
Anzac Service 2016

As season turns to autumn pay homage.
Raise eye to thirty six names written.
In silence, another honour list listen.
A remarkable leader, duly acknowledge.
Sometimes in pairs family names read.
Five thereof, plus a group of brothers three.
Great the loss within one small community.
These are the names of the brave overhead.
Red poppies lodged on the honour boards.
Awesome beauty and respect in our silence.
Of their sacrifice, we who live are their wards.
That all know, a peaceful world, seek guidance.
Sound anthems: Make me a channel of your peace.
Reflecting on our loss, efforts never cease.

Benita H. Kape © 24.4.2016


Albino Snail – NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day 22 – Earth Day

Haibun (tanka) for Albino Snail (powelliphanta)

Part of our history, a landmass isolated eighty
million years that keeps our characteristics unique.
Among the few that were left they found a rare albino
whose shell was a beautiful golden and brown.

Hermaphrodite,  an estimated
ten years and could live to twenty, grow to the size
of a man’s fist. It wasn’t just because you were albino
you were given your Latin name, and I shouldn’t smile
because he was a very studious man who gave so much
for snails whereas until seventy to eighty years ago we
knew so little. Sometimes though they are known as the
Mount Augustus snails, named its seems for both mountain
and man. Your story is beautiful; you lay eggs with hard shells.
You suck up worms like spaghetti and are therefore carnivorous.
But you were the white one where usually your kind have bodies
of black and among the shells colours red and black too. Sadly
you are at high risk, an endangered spies priority. See here a
picture of a woman arms stretched over hundreds of snail shells
which have been predated on the forest floors. I am thinking
of snails, big and small, Earth Day, two thousand, sixteen.

fenced wetland fields
pigs, possum, rat, weka
to be kept at bay;
safety measures
at high-altitudes

Benita H. Kape © 23.4.2016

*weka – another ground living NZ bird (more flighty than the kiwi)
And now for our (optional) prompt. Today’s prompt comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who also suggested our prompt for Day Seven. Today, Gloria challenges us all to write a poem in honor of Earth Day. This could be about your own backyard, a national park, or anything from a maple tree to a humpback whale. Happy writing!