Waiting for meaning


Someday the meaning
the punch line, the shape.
And during the meanwhile
the anecdotes, the japes.

Pending the golden mean,
the picaresque, the picturesque
the bitsy bits
that make no sense.

Interim a simile
knowing more than you.
Interim the comical,
someday the true.

Meantime is time being
out of the prime,
tackling the particular
and tickling the sublime.

This poem, believe it or not, is about writing a poem, the process, half conscious, half plodding, half mysterious (I know, maths is not my strong suit). Photo shows one stage of writing the poem “Gone“. Pic and poem by rachel mcalpine cc by 2.0.

Recording: Waiting for meaning: read by Rachel


Miss Cashier 1955

Young woman working a pneumatic tube cash carrier at Marshalls department store, date unknown, public domain
Young woman working a pneumatic tube cash carrier

I had a holiday job
upstairs in a cubby hole
fielding metal capsules
reading every message
putting change
into cylinders
like vitamins

whacking that top lip
feeding that hollow brass snake
with change
to be pooped
on a customer
two floors down.

I loved this job.
I was trusted with money
catching live grenades
counting pills
feeding the needy
and playing those tubes
like an organ.


Poem by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0. Photo public domain.

World: just the words


For the first time, I’ve just recorded a poem for this blog, Poems in the Wild. But it’s not a poem, it’s a song, spoken, so it sounds kind of strange. This is one of the songs in Shaky Places, which will be performed on Saturday 12 November in Auckland by the Auckland Youth Choir. (Yay, by the way!) I can’t rightly record any of the other lyrics in Shaky Places, which is a suite of New Zealand poems set to music by Felicia Edgecombe — they’re wonderful, but not mine own. Luckily, World is what it’s all about.

Now, how do I do this…?

Recording of World, written and read by Rachel McAlpine

Oh, I did it. My iPhone SE, Griffin’s iTalk app, iTunes, and WordPress made that so easy, I may do it again some day. Better, I hope.





coming home after absence
home from away
feels like nothing
in the nicest way

I’m ambushed by spaces
a room full of sky
exotica squats
on the path outside

tick tick tick
I do this, I do that
unpick, unpack
and all the while

a cloak of mauve aloneness
slithers closer
you’re here you’re here
you never left