Rib Raft


In a way the nothing is worse than the thing,

the lack more frightening than the event.

Float like a boat, my son said.

He knew about the raft before the quakes,

learned the knack in China

making Disneyland,

creating concrete mountains beside real trees

and concrete trees outside real buildings.

Float like a boat, he said,

and it does.

In the old, the end he built was the safe place

while the elderly front rocked and buckled;

rising, falling, tilting till it broke

like a boat.

Not afloat but beached

on a reef

broken in the middle.

Every quake another moment of terror,

the noise heralding the movement,


sending Nigel Latta’s monkeys up the tree,

pails ready.

Anxiety levels rising,

breath held till it’s over.

But the new is different,

A new house,

rib raft foundation.

Floats like a boat, they said,

and it does.

But not a boat on the high seas,

more a punt on a gentle pond.

Still the noise

wakes the monkeys,

pails ready.

But nothing.

No shake, no movement.

The house is still

and, in that stillness,

not reassuring,

not safe,

but somehow more frightening

as the inevitable

is not.

Copyright © 2014 J.L. O’Rourke

This poem is my response to my on-going post-quake anxiety attacks. Every aftershock created for many an instant panic attack, which Nigel Latta explained beautifully as monkeys running up a tree, so every time the house shook, even from buses driving past, the panic would be instant but followed by a let-down as the shaking stopped. But when our house was rebuilt on its special ribraft foundations, I discovered that the anxiety was strangely heightened as the noise of the aftershock came but the shaking didn’t happen – so there was no way to end the experience – the waiting for the final bit remained unresolved.




Scratching the terrors that don’t exist
Sobbing eyes on unscarred wrist
Wanting to scream, the voice unspoken
My inner self feels constantly broken

My smile hides the tears
My laughter shields my fears
I am surrounded in a locked steel box, and the other side of me won’t let you have the keys

I don’t disappear to get away from you
I disappear to get away from myself
Then find myself needing you more
But hate the thought of not being alone

I am the perfect “clown”
I paint on my face
What I expect you to want

Copyright © 2015, careyjane. All rights Reserved

Carey is a depressed & anxious normal 40 something.  Slowly seeing the rainbow after many years of seeing only clouds.



Photographer: Wendy Sama
Image used with permission

I am a child of mother earth

A gift I was given unto

My body and spirit a temple

I am free an only I command it true

Of only happy and gentle souls

Of those which disrespect it

Must be a devil on burning coals

I have been gifted a loving spirit

And my temple I shall protect

Only a privilege to those if I allow it

Or be in their spirit I shall reject

Forgive all that believe in their right

To cross through my temple gate

They are but naive and selfish spirits

The word “No” only the devil does hate

Where but hell gives a spirit the right

On another to force it’s wants and greed

To touch uninvited beyond ones boundary

Abusing a personal gift, only rejection you shall feed

The key to my temple and sanctuary

Lay in the gift gives, not in a kiss

If I withhold the key and NO is spoken

Don’t force your touch, your spirit I will dismiss

Copyright © 2008, Shannan Walsh

Hi my name is Shannan, I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager, I have suffered from Anxiety and Depression for many years and writing has been a great therapy. I have had to deal with alcohol and drug addiction in the past. I had a child hood which involved battling with suicide and low self esteem which developed into anger and addiction. My words are my life and the roads I have travelled and I have kept them very private for many years, I am finally ready to share these poems and I am sure many out there will relate and I hope know they are not alone.



Photographer: Wendy Sama
Image used with permission

Dusty grey clouds float overhead, Reminds us of dark days past

A history of pain, hurt and anguish, Oh the memories and the years gone by fast

The clouds drift apart to a sun so warm, To replenish, cleanse us and heal

Lessons learnt and wisdoms earned, We spread our wings and the freedom we feel

All burdens let go and hatred forgiven, The gift of inner power released

Strange emotions felt, love, caring and trust, Past mourned, put to rest, burnt, deceased

Self esteem rebuilt, dignity and pride intact, Our minds our own, the freedom of speech

Positive thoughts, controlled calm and gentle, The attributes in our children we must teach

Through gifts of courage and strength given, Happiness and joy, like the sun, shines through

We give ourselves freely and open our hearts, Love will be given and be honest and true

So we hand you back the remote control, And the ropes which we were once tied

No longer your play puppets to dance on command, We forgive you, the last word spoken –

But wish no longer to stand at your side

Any negative souls don’t tread on our ground, Your control, hate and hurt is unwelcome

Take heed of this warning, as we now stand strong

Only the glorious sun and bright stars shine in our kingdom

We are beautiful women, born of Mother Earth, Once broken, scarred, beaten and weak

Now our fires burn strong, no hate in our hearts

We don’t need you, we are survivors

We will stand on our own damn feet.

Copyright © 2008, Shannan Walsh

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:Hi my name is Shannan, I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager, I have suffered from Anxiety and Depression for many years and writing has been a great therapy. I have had to deal with alcohol and drug addiction in the past. I had a child hood which involved battling with suicide and low self esteem which developed into anger and addiction. My words are my life and the roads I have travelled and I have kept them very private for many years, I am finally ready to share these poems and I am sure many out there will relate and I hope know they are not alone.





There is not a soul alive that seems to understand me

Not even my closest companions, not even my family

My bedroom drawer is packed with prescriptions

Making sleeping pills the main of my many addictions

Every social situation that I’ve tried hard to avoid

Has resulted in me being labelled paranoid

Regular visits to the clinic of psychiatry

But still, no one could help with my inner anxiety

The fear of being watched, judged and scrutinized

Has forced me to wish that one day I’d be euthanized

Ever since childhood, shyness was difficult to abolish

And throughout adolescence, seclusion was my only solace

Till this day, I pray to be saved from this internal disaster

If only I could convince God to answer.


Copyright © 2014 Grant Kingi

 Hello, my name is Grant Kingi and i’m a psychology student at Otago University. This poem I have written was inspired by the anxiety that I experience when in public or in social situations. I have not been diagnosed with social anxiety but I have undergone a series of psychiatric/ psychotherapeutic tests which indicate that I possess more milder symptoms of the disorder. I realize that the problem could be rooted deep in my past. As a child, I was shunted from foster home to foster home and as a consequence, I began to feel chronically insecure. This is my story…

The Stigma of Autism

Young, maybe 6, cocooned in protected warmth
innocence, love and laughter are child’s things
Autism shattering everything into small pieces
now an outcast, no one understands

7, in front of a psychiatrist, seems school knows best
1970, Autisms’ a mystery, unheard of
no diagnosis, no institution, no label, no sense,
school thinks Health Camp might be best

Health Camps full of confused, anxious children
misfits unable to tolerate normal childhood
sent to find peace, laughter and strength in each other
how many I wonder were Autistic just like me?

Cold, calculating, distant father persecutes
doesn’t want a son who’s clumsy, always bullied
the shame on a man who only understands perfection
your oppression is far more damaging than my peers

It never stopped this thing called Autism
misunderstood words and actions few comprehend
anxiety, depression, alcohol, drugs, crime, what a waster!
a lifestyle indicative of low self esteem

Epilepsy and brain surgery, daunting thoughts
huge waiting list, Government inaction, pending elections
perfect opportunity to show the world hidden strengths
TV appearance, newspaper stories, fight, fight, fight, fight

I won; I beat them all, the Government, epilepsy and my own inadequacies
strength, pride and confidence now my allies
new career, new life, new me
now helping others by fighting to reduce stigma and discrimination

Copyright © 2010 Tipene Taylor


I lie in this bed
with no energy left to burn
no matter how hard I try
there’s just nothing left.

I gaze out the window
as blood is being pumped into my veins
I’m hopeful
as some kind soul
has given me the chance
At feeling normal again.

Pills, water and food
all take a lot of energy
just to swallow
though I know
all will help in the long run.

The hours tick by
as my veins get filled with healthy blood
three hours and the first bag is flowing
among my bodies’ tissue and organs.

Bag two is up
another long three hours
have just begun
as I lay here and watch
blood trickling down the tube.

I hope to feel human again
as new replaces the old
I beg for improvement
but only time can tell.

I watch the blood
as it drips into the river
which flows freely
inside my body.

I soak up my surroundings
the sterile smell
the plain white sheets
people in uniform
all line the corridors.

There are no happy faces here
just the look of concentration and concern
as the unknown of everyone’s situation
spills out among the atmosphere.

Everyone here is aiming for the same target
though reality is, not all will get there.

Copyright  © 2010 Keryn Densem

Keryn Densem is a 22 year old living in Canterbury.  Keryn has been writing for the last seven years as an outlet through her struggles with depression, anxiety and various health problems including the recent diagnosis of a chronic blood condition.  Her main inspiration is her twin brother who fought childhood cancer and now lives with the serious late effects of his illness and the treatments he had to beat it.


Falling through life…
panic and strife…
can’t believe I’m in this situation again…
can’t believe I’m in so much pain…

I ask myself why
as I ponder times gone by
how could I have ended up here again
sitting alone in so much pain..

Is the lack of sleep
the scars the cuts
they run so deep
is it my demeanour
or is it just me

Maybe I can run
build a new life that’s more fun
that’ll make me happy
I’ll leave it all behind..

What if it’s me
maybe I’ll ask
but what if they agree
what will I do

Run from myself
that’s just stupid
not again….
not the pain..

Stop hurting me!

Copyright  © 2010 Rhys Adams

Rhys Adams is 30 years old and currently lives in the South Island.  His poetic inspiration stems from living like a gypsy for a few years while he travelled around New Zealand to find himself.  Rhys has suffered from depression and anxiety since he can remember.

Stormy times

Whenever a storm worry’s me
You’ve been the light I seek
For as long as you’ve loved me
You’ve made my journey complete

Whenever rain clouds emerged
Worry rapidly rises within me
You’re the one who’s understood
When I’ve laid my battles at your feet

Whenever a storm embraces me
You’ve been my beacon of hope
As my battle rages on the outside
On the inside you’ve brought hope

Whenever my storm awakens me
I’ve felt lost inside with nowhere to turn
You’ve given me the willpower
To find my way through any storm

Copyright © 2010, Jude Blance

Jude Blance currently lives in Titahi Bay, New Zealand.  Whenever dark shadows have caused havoc in her personal journey she’s often found refuge in writing poetry, a personal collection of poetry titled My Stormy Weather.  Jewelie often finds sharing her emotions helped release her from her world of darkness.  Her personal storm has been never ending and in times of trouble, she’s found herself despairingly searching for the light within herself.