Bernard Gadd 1935-2007

Tributes made at the time of Bernie’s death:

The first and only time I met Bernard Gadd was in 1987, the year I joined the staff of PPTA as editor of the PPTA Journal. Somehow Bernard knew that I would be in Auckland to cover a conference and he asked me if I would like to visit his home and have a look at his Brick Row Publications. This I gladly did and had a cup of tea with Bernard and his wife before he kindly drove me to the Otara Spinal Unit where my 17-year-old daughter was recovering from a tramping accident.

I remember with gratitude how kind and solicitous Bernard and Mrs Gadd were at this difficult time when my start in the new job coincided with Susan’s serious injury.

I have always enjoyed Bernard’s vigorous participation in the New Zealand poetry scene and the breadth and humanity of his own poems which I have had the honour of reviewing on two occasions for the NZ Poetry Society’s magazine a fine line.

Bernard will be sadly missed by the many people whose lives he has touched.

Robin Fry, Petone

only yesterday
I was reading your poems
on the website
Modern English Tanka
only yesterday

hangs around all day
this sadness
the death of a friend
I wish I’d known better

Andre Surridge, Hamilton

One of Bernie’s most endearing qualities was his readiness to laugh at himself. He could be quite acerbic about literary pretentiousness. He was no grandstander. I remember how he chuckled when he was described once as a literary icon, yet it would be a fair claim. I don’t think I know the full range of his writing and publishing..

In 1998 Bernie joined me as co-editor of winterSPIN (now Kokako). I thoroughly enjoyed working with Bernie. He was always up to the mark and totally reliable. What had become onerous was now pleasantly shared.

Considering the range of Bernie’s achievements he was very humble. I think his poems based on historical events and characters were especially acute and he won the inaugural Bravado Poetry Competition with a fine poem of this nature. Bernie will be greatly missed for his dedication, unflagging enthusiasm and wry humour.

His contribution has been huge. Thank you Bernie.

Catherine Mair, Katikati 

Over many years of association, as a fellow writer, editor, anthologist, publisher, reviewer, and contributor to magazines I edited, Bernie Gadd never did anything but encourage me. Forthright in his opinions and generous to others with his energies, he was a genuine literary enthusiast who made a difference. I shall miss him.

up Landscape Road
a grey warbler
holds its voice

Tony Beyer, New Plymouth

We met perhaps only twice, and brief times they were. I knew him better through correspondence, mainly when I was editing the 1993 and 1998 anthologies but also at other times. He said that his haiku in the 1993 anthology were the first he’d had published. He was always encouraging, constructive and helpful in a kind and quiet way that seemed to me to be the essence of his nature. I admired the dedication and achievement in his own poetry, in his efforts to promote the work of others through his Hallard Press and to further the craft of haiku and related forms through his essays. I was, and remain, intrigued by his poetry – at times, its quirky brevity; at other times its rawness or its unexpected view of reality. For today nothing seems more appropriate than Bernie’s haiku in An exchange of gifts (NZPS, 2001)

in the car park
of the church with the white cross

Cyril Childs, Port Chalmers

remembering bernie
inventing words
& thoughts like larks
on a summer breeze
leaving  me breathless

xmas card
wishing him all the best
– unsent

summer storm
a battered butterfly
on my doorstep

blowing in
and out again

pile of dust
including bristles
from his broom

Ernie Berry, Picton

This poem was going to be submitted to Bernard, but didn’t make it in time. It reflects an area he loved to write and collect ideas from. I was lucky enough to have another poem printed in the anthology he put together through the South Auckland Library system called Manakau in Poetry. He has been a great inspiration for me in the development of my writing.

OP shopping in the Manukau

Shuffling along streets on the Manakau
I search for bargains
past colourful Salvation Army stores,
St Vincent de Paul waves me in

Polynesian women
stop chatter to follow every move
I pull garments carelessly from stainless racks
musty smells knock my senses
while cheap cloth creates channelled isles

Young woman’s hands flick through denim skirts
like playing cards in diamond ruff
Philippine style footwear lay still
spilt over carpets and upside down
beneath peeling patterned walls

tatty novels cascade over wooden shelves
preloved titles back up space
near Bric a Brac that hardly moves
price sticker curl on worn outside

Finally a radio plays pacific tunes
Island silky shirts only a fiver
Mum leads her kids
through rows of retro trousers
looking like Dr Seuss, hung out for all to see

Gregory Brimblecombe, Auckland

For Bernie

summer moon
a single morepork’s cry
marks the night

a blue heron
wades through the shallows
without returning

dying winds
faint mountain path
leads to a cairn

the wind rises
you will not come now
and tomorrow
the old oak tree will shed
its leaves, one by one

afterwards I thought
of the yellow-billed blackbird
and then imagined
Bernie putting it to me:
‘You’ll maybe write a poem.’

death of a poet
I mark my address book
with an asterisk
late at night, no-one to see,
I read his poems in bed

Patricia Prime, Auckland

just a moment

for Bernie

John O’Connor, Christchurch