Harvest Moon – Poetry Competition 2013 Winners


  • 1st : Jenny Powell - Chang E Visits the Garden of Distant Longing
  • 2nd: Kirstie McKinnon – Gold Dust
  • 3rd: Nicola Thorstensen - Harvest Moon


  • 1st : Rosie Bingham - Man in the moon
  • 2nd : Emily Draper - Dinner Party
  • 3rd: Grant Kingi - Bleeding Moon


  • 1st : Flynn Montgomerie - Harvest Moon
  • 2nd : Henry Ruan -
  • 3rd : Devon Wilson -  Harvest Moon

Chang E Visits the Garden of Distant Longing


Slender Shadows of shy
bamboo and cherry blossom
      on granite paths
         in the faint breeze
of distant longing


Hearts lift on the full moon
night of dreams, lady of light
           in courtyard spaces
             love along each winding
path and straight terrace


In the low sun of winter
the lake’s heart mirrors
      upon far place,
time lines
           captured within
 the climbing mountain

Jenny Powell - 1st place – Adults Section

Gold Dust

Sleep later!
Now music
Is playing under a
Stretched out sky and
The grass is rushing,

Do you remember the days when
Pollen blew in clouds of
Yellow smoke and the
Cold sea glittered like a
Dish of promises?

Summer’s work has split and
The sun-sweet plums have
To rest,

Paint before the light falls –
A blood orange
A brass scale tipping
A harvest moon.

Kirstie Mckinnon - 2nd place – Adults Section

Harvest Moon

Luminous beauty, bathed in mellow light,
mysterious as ancient runes on stone,
though you draw close, we cannot know your plight,
fated to live your life apart, alone.

Perfect oval, with power to guide our way,
imploring us, without the need for speech.
Pale imitation of yourself by day,
you seem so near; you stay beyond our reach.

While you may rise, with your countenance bright,
on the horizon, like an untouched bride,
delicacy masks understated might,
on lunar-heightened tides, a fickle guide.

To your heavenly face none is immune,
complex, contrary, ethereal moon.

Nicola Thorstensen – 3rd Place – Adult Section

Man in the moon

On nights when we wonder, the sky holds your face,
We seek answers to cries, we seek answers untold,
You stare back, apart, in silvery grace.

Whispers-wishes-wants echo up into space,
Small wisps of hope, trapped in night’s pocket fold
On nights when we wonder, the sky holds your face.

We wait restless, we wait in haste,
burdened lives, the lost, young and old
You stare back, apart, in silvery grace.

Response lies in silence, but not out of place,
your complacent judgement is virtue extolled.
On nights when we wonder, the sky holds your face.

Soundless, immutable, a cause for retraced
secrets tucked away, withheld, untold,
You stare back, apart, in silvery grace.

When our symmetry shifts, is misplaced,
when all we want is to be consoled,
You stare back, apart, in silvery grace.
On nights when we wonder, the sky holds your face.

Rosie Bingham – 1st Place – Teenagers Section

Dinner Party

The men, all broad shoulders and puffed-up stomachs
loiter on the deck in the warm night air
long after the women have cleared the plates and gone inside.

He has taken an old care and redone the interior,
he said, gleaming.  The night was heavy and dense,
the kind of naïve humidity that exists just before rain.
Smokes rises from their lips towards a full moon.

She, with the practical shoes and beautifully lined hands,
takes off her rings and places them
on the windowsill so that she can scrub the pans.

Around her, talk of the best way to cook a turkey,
fry it, roast it overnight, or perhaps, in a slow cooker,
make sure to brine religiously,
or use, if you’re that way included, some sort of secret family spice rub –

and all the while she looks out to the men on the deck
and feels on the paper skin just underneath her collarbone
the warm breath of summer nights
just like this

where she was merely an extension of his fingertips
no further apart than they could reach without stretching
sneaking away for quick eager kisses in the pantry
underneath the canned peaches
row upon row of yellow-orange moons
floating in syrup
flesh carved away from black pits.

Emily Draper – 2nd Place – Teenagers Section

Bleeding Moon

The bloody, red moon
Bleeds with glorious light
The moon is a lead spoon
Which poisons the night

The heavens are painted
With shades of black and blue
And the stars become tainted
When moonlight is cracking thorough

Vineyards of darkness
Are brightened with orange
And ready for harvest
Birds on the forage

The night and day are equal
The equinox is here now
To serve as light for the people
No need to fear now

Nature sings a melody
Sweet, beyond description
The moon orbits with gravity
Free from all friction

The harvest moon is frayed,
Moving in a very slow motion
A moonlight beam is a blade
Penetrating through the ocean.

Grant Kingi – 3rd Place – Teenagers Section

Harvest Moon

The cloud sits like the breath of a god
over the harbour.
The moon comes out in the night
with the clouds
and they all play hide and seek.
The moon hides behind them –
they are friends.
It shines to show us how lovely it is.
And when the cloud gets dark and the moon hides,
all you can see are little sparkles
like a dance ball.

Flynn Montgomerie (5 years) 1st Place – Children

When we celebrate the Autumn Moon
the rice is ready to be reaped soon.

When we look to the sky above
it’s time to number who we love.

All the world looks into the night
and are all greeted by the light.

The tradition has been passed down the years
it’s been celebrated with warmth and tears.

This is a tradition cherish in every heart
and to practice this delicate art.

It started with the woman in the sky
it must be lonely up so high

Whether you’re up in the sky or out at sea
come celebrate with me.

Henry Ryan – 2nd Place – Children

Harvest Moon

Having fun
At Chinese Garden
Running around
Very slow
Every time I feel happy
So I love it very much

Marvellous Fortune Cookies
On the moonlight
Of course I LOVE it
Never hate it

Running around looking around
Oh it is fun
Cause there is so many awesome things
Keep on going, get to the end
Sad we are leaving

Devon Wilson – 3rd Place – Children

Contact details

Contact Visitor Services Officer, Dunedin Chinese Garden on 477 4000.

Image - Pavillion at Dunedin Chinese Garden