by Peter Low
It is usually clear when an author has enjoyed writing a book and this collection of 134 limericks speaks of many hours of amusement as Peter Low came up with ideas, worked them into word form, and then produced this book.
The verses are ordered into four thematic sections, though some content does overlap.
Kiwi Blokes includes poems on such icons as Maui, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Ernest Rutherford, several All Blacks, and a few names from history far and recent – Abel Tasman to Kim Dotcom if you can call them Kiwi blokes.
Young Rutherford shone by his wit.
When sent to the timber pit
to chop up a log,
he said: “Dad that’s hard slog.
Ain’t there anything smaller to split?”
The limericks in the next section, Kiwi Gals, show the author is more confident writing about his own gender. Fewer real women feature as subjects, and that also makes a comment on Kiwi society. One of the best in this section –
A good Kiwi farm-girl called Briar
got pinned by a huge tractor tyre,
so she sawed off one foot
which she managed to put
back on later with number 8 wire.
The verses in Kiwi Nature, particularly those on a variety of native birds, show the author’s creativity with rhyming. It’s clear the amount of fun Peter Low had finding rhymes for korimako, ruru, Korora, and more.
The talons and beak of Haast’s Eagle
were murderous, monstrous and regal.
Fate made it extinct
on the theory (we think)
it was too bloody big to be legal.
Then comes Kiwi Places with more pokes at cities, towns, and people along the highways from Invercargill to Cape Reinga.
Overall the author works in references to icons of Kiwiana such as the bach, jandals, Buzzy Bee, rugby (of course), and brands such as Hubbards, Weetbix, Marmite, Skellerup, Fisher and Paykel though you’ll have to interpret the last one.
Puns pop into a lot of the verses, and the poet plays with the form in some cases – altering the rhyming pattern and the number of lines. What holds the collection together is the Kiwi identity.
A good gift for Grandad’s birthday.