Throughout her life, Caroline responded to poetry. She used to write down favourite quotes, and often sent them to friends. Her own writing skills developed when she was a student - she wrote about friends, yoga, music, emotions, dreams and memories.

She was a keen photographer and was fascinated by images that suggested movement. Many of her poems relate to themes that she explored in dance class. Three of her 'dance poems' are given here.

To Dance

SeaweedTo take an empty space
An empty mind
An empty body
And fill it with life
Explosions of energy
Poetry of movement
To give mind over to body
In a glorious moment
Of spontaneous self
To dance ...

I have fern frond legs
And a seaweed spine

I am a babbling brook
Running through soft mossy banks

I am floating out to sea
In a hundred different pieces.

Here it is again
The voluptuous flow between conscious and unconscious
Sliding and flying
Earth and sky.

I pour myself across parts of my body
I have never felt before
As I follow momentum
In her beautiful undulating arcs

And I am gravity's slave no longer.
Instead I play with him
I tempt and provoke him
In all I do.

I am the sculptor's clay.
A sensitised awareness
An exhilarated being

To dance ...


Ecological Dance

- Poems written in the Catlins, September 2001


DriftwoodPurakanui Bay
the bend and sway
of the waves
and my body
in the wind.

The wind
laughs as he sends a wave
to engulf my tingling toes
and the sun on my face
is teasing,
seducing me further down the beach,
then hides
with a glint in her eye
behind a cloud.

majestic and wise
crash in their ceaseless symphony,
and we dance.

We stand on the beach
like ancient trees
who have known no other place -
then yield unquestioning
to the rhythms
and perpetual motion
of this place.

Purakanui Bay
wild and wonderful
as we.


SheepThe water surrounds us:
On the hill it was vehement and unforgiving
Slashing, hacking and biting at our cheeks,
From this way, now that,
Hungry and wild
in a violent tarantella
it hails.

But in the forest
the mana of the trees
seems to induce a certain respectful calm
and water has become a gentle caressing mist.
It circles us softly
in the dainty, spriteful steps of a forest walk -
and we are charmed.


A photograph -
A limited boundary -
Yet inter-textual meanderings
run wild.

To see the world in finest detail
do we forsake the awe
of the whole?

I observe life acutely
through my multi-coloured
ultra-zoom lenses ...
but do I live it?


Blown by the wind
as grains of sand

leaving only our footprints
and vanishing shadow
we dance.

The Petrified Forest

lashing rain
and howling wind
the Petrified Forest
... is petrified ...

the waves
are so damn



Poetry of Movement

We are porous
in our body's natural state
wind, water, air, space

we are falling, now flying,
at play with gravity's gentle laughter
weaving its way around our limbs.

The earth
The breath
We are grounding, grounded, ground

Being moved
head, sternum, elbow, hand, knee,
foot, waist, ankle, pelvis.

Mobi These strings pull me
The contradictions of push and pull
Drop and lift
Collapse, glide, desire ...

Allowing our heads
to fall from us
give my head to you
forwards and over
I tip this precious vessel
in trust
over your body
over mine
to the ground.

Cabbage TreeNote: This poem was written not long before Caroline went in to the Hospice. We had been asked by dance lecturer Ali East to attend a class devoted to the Skinner dance technique. Caroline found it difficult to climb the stairs in the School of Physical Education building, and she was on a high level of morphine, but she loved being back in the dance practice room and feeling involved - at the end of the class she got down to move around sinuously on the floor, joining all the students . The poem was "discovered" in the back of a shopping-list book after she had died, and it was only then that I remembered her writing something during the class.

Dance Prose

Other Writing