It’s that season again, where you accidentally grab cicadas when you’re un-pegging your washing,  the woolly aphids are decorating the apple tree with white candy-cotton – and there are always two or three bees at once down the throats of the pumpkin flowers.

bumble-footed bees
stumble, stoned
among the pumpkin flowers
their stripes disappearing
in yellow dust

© Maureen Sudlow



I was woken by a small earthquake in the early hours of this morning.

Here in the ‘shaky islands’ of New Zealand theories and legends about earthquakes abound – concepts such as earthquake weather, which probably has some small basis in fact as pressure changes affect the earth’s surface.  There are stories of animals becoming restless before large earthquakes, and I recall a particular time where a neighbour’s little dog hid under the house crying before a not insignificant shake.  On the West Coast of the South Island there are reports of loud noises from the mountains before some earthquakes.

The Maori also have their own explanations such as the restless movements of Taniwha, supernatural creatures who inhabit areas of the earth or sea.

hot night
the earth shrugs
in its sleep