Mark Tredinnick’s writing course – A Dream with a Pen in its Hand – produced reams of writing, including Mark’s own poem on Savusavu. It was a week in which each writer made substantial strides in their work, gaining confidence in their style, developing their voice and experimenting with form. Working up in the yoga platfom they had a tranquil area with a stunning view all to themselves, and the dreams flowed though their pens. On the final evening they read out a selection of their work. Here is part of Mark’s poem, and some of the pieces that they presented.
The sky here is a mile
……………………….. too big for the bay’s boots. Savusavu—
This flooded arena in which nothing much, on the surface of things, ever happens,
To the enormous delight of the cava-mellowed mob of semi-superannuated
Mountains in their green flak jackets
…………………………………………. and their greener fatigues—Savusavu
Is morality play in countless acts of cloud and itinerant weather.
It’s where the whole world’s water cycle dress rehearses.
In the early morning by the bay I hear a lone car pass. Something falls on the bure roof, something hard, a nut? I am alone in bed, far from home. There’s no company in my room except a humming fridge and the ceiling fan which turns above my head like a lazy chopper. I think of people I have known, men I have loved, friends in foreign cities. Back home the bins will be collected at this hour, and as the truck bangs and clatters outside my house I will commend myself for remembering the bins last night, or curse myself for forgetting. But here, by the bay, there’s nothing to remember or forget. My mind can rest at last in the arching palms above the bure.
HELL’S GOING TO BE LIKE THIS, ONLY WORSE
I was dreading this meeting. The executive committee of the body corporate had elected me to the position of chair person; at the A.G.M. in September 2011. It wasn’t that I was the most suitable person; it was just that they did not want Mary.
I’d cleared the table of photographs and coloured cards, gluing- tape, scissors and pens left from making Christmas cards. I’d filled a jug with water placing it, with five glasses, on the colourful runner in the centre of my wooden table. Now to psych myself into a confident, informed, assertive, state of mind.
Confidence : I last felt full of it when I stood on a desk before a classroom full of school girls; as a newly elected house captain. That was so long ago it doesn’t count.
Informed : When I taught a well crafted Feldenkrais class; but then everyone was lying on the floor.
Assertive: Germaine Greer and The Dog Whisperer talk about being like that; it sounds easy but isn’t.
The door bell chimed. Hiding under the table pretending I wasn’t home wasn’t an option because my neighbours had a key.
I opened the door. No Mary, only the Treasurer and Robyn.
“Nice unit you have here” they commented.
As they were moving to the table the bell rang again, The Secretary and Mary.
Time to get on with it.
I opened the meeting with the usual formalities; I was as tight as a laced up corset.
On with the business: After the treasurer gave his report it was Mary’s turn to speak on her area of responsibility, Building – whatever that means; we already have a building, three in fact.
Mary went on about the need for an Engineer’s report on the water problems in the complex, which was useful. She then complained of ongoing problems in her unit . I reminded her that a special levy had been raised to help her. She denied it. I let that slide.
Mary changed direction,
“Robyn give your gardening report, she demanded.
“You might be surprised to know that you’re not running this meeting, Mary.”
Her face went white, her jaw tightened, she fell silent.
We worked on through the agenda.
Mary was not finished with me.
Three meetings later she was given the job of ringing a builder to ask him to start work on a water penetration problem in Robyn’s unit. It didn’t suit her to ring him for another six weeks. It was pouring with rain.
I sent her a questioning email; this set her off like a fire cracker. She emailed every person on the committee, abusing me for pounding the table and shouting at her during our first meeting. Adding, “I’ve put in your letter box suggested ways of conducting a meeting, especially a meeting of peers.
Jill turned into Enid (as my kids would say)
Thank you for your informative email, Mary. I have been elected as chair person so I will run the meetings as I see fit. When you or any other member of the committee holds this position you can run them as you choose. By the way, at last count on google there were eighty nine thousand different ways of running a meeting.
In the mean time I ask for your co-operation.
Hell’s going to be like this, only worse!
CD’s of Mark reading his poems can be found through riverroadpress.net
The River Road Poetry Series is an innovative venture into sound publishing. It creates an audio collection of Australian poets reading their own work. You can buy the CDs directly from this website or visit good bookshops that stock the series.