Reading at the Thirsty Dog, Auckland

Poetry Live has regular performances and open mike at the Thirsty Dog on the K. Road in Auckland. I read three poems, “The Conjurer”, “Nude Descending a Staircase No 2” and “Wreck”.

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A New Language

Hypothesis for Two Voices (to be read simultaneously)

“Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. “ – Albert Einstein

He has spent most of the evening
Analysing the data, looking for
The form that it takes, plotting a scatter graph
Looking for differences in a table.
But now, fatigued by the effort
His eyelids fall and he fails to see

The list of numbers appears to be formed
As a sestina, final stanza unfolded,
Another column makes
A short sequence of sonnets,
Untitled, all concrete
Abstract, unspoken.

There is no mathematical logic
In this poetry of relationships.

“As long as one employs method only on symbols one remains within the limits of a sort of game. In action that has method about it, we ourselves act, since it is we ourselves who found the method “ – Simone Weil

He has spent most of the evening
Analysing the scansion, looking for
The form that it takes, counting the syllables
Looking for the stresses in a table.
But now, fatigued by the effort
His eyelids fall and he fails to see

The sequence of words arranged in the form
Of an oscillator, once random noise is removed,
A rhythm made up from
A repetition of sound,
Unstressed, all concealed
Evident when spoken.

There is more than simple poetry
In the mechanics of recitation.

© Martin Porter 2013


This poem is meant to be read simultaneously by two voices, with each half superimposed on one another. This is to emphasise the similarities and/or differences.

Alternatively, the two poems may be placed side by side to give the similarities in structure a degree of prominence. Such a placement does tend to diminish the nature of the differences and so is not my preferred method of presentation. It does, however, give the reader time to consider the differences and to contrast them at greater leisure.

A New Language d

Hypothesis for Two Voices (to be read simultaneously) has been published in Printable Reality.

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Pig – a parody


The valley cradles you in green baize.
Open skied, the sun
carelessly bakes you. You make me smile.

Your shadow throws a blotch of coolness
with remarkable generosity,
and you awaken, scented by manure,

trotting on tip-toe between stones
from your night-time dreams,
darkness lanterned by a moon

glowing like a turnip freshly dug.
You flesh out a vitality, dewed
damp in your glistening skin.

We tempt you
away from the slurry pit, mud caked,
protected, a dirt-ball clown.

© Martin Porter 2015

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Digging Trenches at Jersey Festival of Words 2015

“Digging Trenches” has been selected as one of the poems from the “100 Voices” collection to be read at the “Daniel Austin: 100 War Poems” event as part of the Jersey Festival of Words 2015. The event takes place at the Studio, Jersey Opera House on Sunday 4th Oct at 4pm.

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lantern jpg

‘lantern” © Martin Porter 2015

“lantern” is a recent workplace exercise. It is based on a didactic cinquaine form.

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Notes for “On Reading ‘The Stone Book’ “

“The Stone Book” is the first of a sequence of four short stories for children collectively known as “The Stone Book Quartet” written by Alan Garner. The poem is based on an empathetic reading of the story as it relates to personal experiences of caving and the discovery of family ancestry and heritage.

The poem, itself the first of a sequence of three, uses punning on the word “void” to create ambiguity in the verse. This notion of space, emptiness and nullification is explored in the two following short poems. The linkage of time, physical space and mystical space was also explored in the sequence.

Ekphrasis is normally considered to link the writing of poetry to pictorial arts, connecting the many dimensional image to the word. In this poem, the link is from word to word, with the change in genre providing the tension.

The remaining poems were published in “High Places”, a school magazine containing writing from both staff and students of Hautlieu School, Jersey.

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On Reading “The Stone Book”


Deep underground
It lies.
Some say.
They know nothing.
The painted pictures run across the walls.
The pressed perfumes of flowers linger on.

© Martin Porter 1990

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Angel Play

Angel play

While the adverts glare out from the window
Of the now closed t.v. rental shop, glowing in that eerie blue
Two clouds are rent asunder and, in big top glory,
Streaks a ruddy spotlight. Lucifer falls, luminescent, cometary,
And grasps the trapeze, goes swinging down.
Son of the Dawn, he flies in true contempt
Past the Mecca bingo hall, past the interactive games arcade,
Sneering at the thrill-a-minute video shop
Where the unangelic seek their earthbound pleasures.
He knows that on the upward rise to rope bound platforms held in space
The archangel Gabriel will pass, to the sound of trumpets from the pit below,
And they will cross, high in the marquee, ascending back to heaven.
And only one will fall.


Without a safety net.

© Martin Porter 1998

Angel Play was written as a workshop exercise held at the Jersey Arts Centre and led by Mario Petrucci in 1998. The task was to write a poem based on a circus artiste, in this case a flying trapeze artiste. I had been working on a sequence of poems based broadly on the topic “Angels” and the correspondence seemed obvious at the time. The poem was completed during the time given and, unusually, required minimal editing.

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The Wind Farmer

The Wind Farmer

He strides across the fell,
Chasing his flock through the dales,
Each a flowing, white puff
Like sheep before him,
He gathers together each tiny movement,
Each gust,
Driving them forward,
Driving them to and fro,
But still driving them forward,

Bitter from one direction,
With warmth from another,
Caressing each limb,
Each forehead,
Each hair with love
As it blows
Inexorably forward,

In a confused, cyclonic mass,
Towards the pen,
Trying to trap the motion of the air,
That forward impulse,
Driving like unruly sheep,
Unruly puffs of moist, warm wool,
Of moist, warm air,
Driving forward
Inexorably driving…

© Martin Porter 1999

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Fast Fibres 2 Northland Poetry – Call for Submissions

After the success of the first edition of Fast Fibres Poetry, the Fast Fibres Collective, are producing a second edition broadsheet and chapbook of poetry to display the talents of Northland poets under the title Fast Fibres 2.

We invite poets with a strong connection to Northland, born here, live here, lived here, to contribute a total of two or three poems for the broadsheet and the chapbook.

The deadline for receipt of poems is Thursday 25 June 2015. We will accept printed poems but prefer poems sent as attachments in rtf or doc format.

Submissions should be sent to fastfibres(at)live(dot)com
posted to Fast Fibres, 248 Jobe Road, RD8, Whangarei 0178

In order to display the work of individuals to maximum effect, we will accept poems which have been previously published, as well as new work. Acknowledgments will be published at the foot of the poem. If you are submitting previously published work, it is your responsibility to ensure you are not breaching any agreements made with the publisher, and to include full details of the place of publication eg:, journal title and edition, book title and publisher details.

We will provide copies of the broadsheet free of charge, but will set a nominal price for the chapbook to help us recover some costs. We are also hoping for sponsorship support.

Fast Fibres will be edited by Piet Nieuwland and Martin Porter. Piet’s poems have been published in NZ and Australia including Mattoid, Snafu, Printout, Takahe, Trout, Spin, Tounge in Your Ear, Live Lines and most recently in Poetry NZ and Landfall. Martin’s details are listed in this blog.

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