ODT Secondary Scene writers and artists

By Various | Posted: Sunday September 20, 2015

Several students had their writing selected for publication in the Otago Daily Times, Secondary Scene in August.

Frances Barnett, Cameron Bayne, Louis Freeman and Charlotte Dickie's writing appears below.
Shem Scoles photography was also featured. In the image, Shem explores colour and the relationship between the 2D and 3D image. He combines traditional still life photography with digital manipulation, as part of a larger series of images for his Photography folio.  Shem was also awarded an Excellence Award in the Dunedin School of Art Otago Secondary School Art Awards in September. 

Puddles By Frances Barnett, Year 13

each day after the clouds have let themselves go

i take you outside to look in the puddles

your brother and sister stay inside

too cold too wet too just - yuck -

they exclaim

but you come

bundled up in jacket and scarf

to see the new world

it is a new world (says you)

you say that only when

the leaves have caught the droplets and the puddles

finally lay still and only then

when you look hard enough can you see

what really lies beneath the still sheets of water

you say that

with your face pressed to the ground

that water elephants live beneath them

and so do clowns

and there’s ice-cream that never melts

and and and you say

its perfect

as we walk back

i search for this other world in every reflection i see

i do not dream of

animals and clowns

but instead of a grown up you

who is still able to find the joy

in a puddle

Animal Experimentation By Cameron Bayne, Year 11

I stood in my cage shaking; the bitter air snapped at my paws and pierced my open wounds. Memories of frolicking in the meadows were all but forgotten, my warm burrow was a world away. With every breath, chemicals blistered my lungs; I tried to remember the smell of the lilacs blossoming in the spring, filling my nose with their fragrant flavours but when I inhaled baneful blight besieged my soul.

I sat in my cage shaking; acid corroding my bones and seeping through my arteries. My eyes became volcanoes; scolding blood cascaded from their craters, rolling down the ascents, and staining my once pristine fur. Poisons electrified my veins like wires in a circuit, but the bulbs blew out long ago.  

I lay in my cage shaking; I could feel icicles forming around my paws slowly inching towards me. I managed to expose my eyes, and doing so I saw another being’s husk withering in despair as the angel of death loomed above him, draining the blood from its lifeless body. His cloak rippled silently like mist, patiently waiting for his victim to relinquish. His presence emitted a sharp aura that instilled terror in all around him. 

He looked up from his prey and I stared into his cowl; his faceless gaze paralyzed me. His slender fingers; itching to quench his thirst for blood. His skeletal arm extended towards me. On his command metal plates soared across the cage and right through me. I squatted unable to fathom the situation I was in. I reflected on my life; how did I go from being free, to being sentenced to a gruesome death inside the walls of humanity’s ignorance. I shut my eyes waiting for an end to the torment.

I died in my cage shaking; an eerie silence blanketed the enclosure. I held my eyes shut even tighter, waiting in anticipation. The bars of my tome burrowed into my flesh, the scraps of my last meal decayed beside me. A frigid grasp snatched my condemned carcass; I forced my deflated eyes open, for one last time and looked into the eyes of death…

Funky Monkey Underground! By Louis Freeman, Year 10

There’s always something happening and it’s usually quite loud on our Otago Access Radio show; Funky Monkey Underground (FMU). The youth of our city often don’t realise how much is really going on in Dunedin, and if we don’t tell them, well, who will?? 

Not just that, but we get to take our stupid conversations from around town and broadcast them over the city’s airwaves. We also get to play our music, any song we like, for hours on end! What could be better - other than buying a whole tub of ice cream for us to share after the show? Everyone hears the show on alternate Tuesdays at 4:00 on 105.4 FM or online under Funky Monkey Underground at oar.org.nz/podcasts/ but that’s just the end product. 

People have wondered how such a work of art can be made, where such genius comes from, and what happens behind the scenes of this brilliant show. Well wonder no more!! Today, I reveal the answers to every question that’s ever entered your head about Funky Monkey Underground.

So maybe there are just five listeners, and maybe they’re us, but I’m sure that if you listened to the show you’d be wondering these things, so I’m going to run you through the whole process. 

It all starts with a plan. Solid planning makes a solid show. To us, solid planning is rushed writing of about 6 bullet points in the 2-3 minutes before the show, despite the fact that we get half an hour of planning time in the studio. Sometimes, we even meet up at school lunchtimes! But we never really get around to planning our radio show before the bell rings. 

Next, there is the most vital, pivotal part of planning; arguing about where everyone will sit in the studio. It’s only fair that I get the seat by the audio jack so I can plug my phone in, right? But no. Someone else always wants the comfy chair! 

One thing we really do care about is what comes next; Music. Which songs will we play? How many? The Kooks or The Strokes? Is it right to interrupt songs in the middle of the second verse with advertising for our own show because “nobody listens to second verses anyway.” 

Then comes the actual talking. Now, I’m going to let you readers in on a bit of an FMU secret, but you mustn’t tell anyone as it would ruin our successful career and everything we’ve worked for in the past year-and-a-bit. Our show is actually pre-recorded! Gasp! We couldn’t do without this as there are always borderline offensive things that need to be edited out by our wonderful producer Domi. 

We all argue for hours on who says what, when they say it, and the whole what, why, where, when, and how of good reporting and everything else in between. Now that I think about it, no one’s all that bothered about that either. When it comes down to it, producing a regular radio show is just a lot of fun, really.

So now I come to the wild and far-fetched conclusion that FMU is not only a brilliant radio show that connects the youth of Dunedin with each other and the city itself, but also an allegory for life, in the sense that it’s all just fun.

The Last Winter Rose By Charlotte Dickie, Year 11

It was late May when she left, right before the start of winter. I can still remember the evening clearly, lying in bed gazing through the cool window. Outside shadows twirled in the dying twilight, the trees dancing a waltz that grew into a fandango as the bitter wind swept through the valley. They had almost all shed their coats, the glossy green leaves darkening and growing richer in colour until they were the shade of warm honey. One colour stood out, the tall crimson roses that sprouted in the midst of the gold and bronze, their emerald stalks holding them up above all other flowers. Like royalty observing the common they were anomalies, possessing a majestic beauty that set them apart from all that surrounded them. 

When I was younger I used to love autumn, the forests that melted into caramel, the wafting smell of rich pumpkin pie fresh from the oven. The air outside felt ethereal, at the perfect temperature of mild so one was ever too hot or too cold but rather felt as though they were dreaming. As soon as March arrived I was lost in my reverie, racing outside as soon as the first wildflower was spotted, delicate hands plucking and pressing it in between yellowed pages and wild stories of fantasy lands, a moment in time preserved forever. However, as I grew older I forgot about the magic of the season. I chose instead to stay inside, hiding behind plastered walls and observing nature through pristine glass. I never had the time to explore the woods, or to press the flowers. Now they lay forgotten, shrivelled up amongst torn pages like discarded memories. 

Downstairs I could hear the shouting beginning again, growing more thunderous in volume as both of my parents joined in. The screams of my sister answered, though incomprehensible I could tell she was furious. Suddenly there was a great thud and I flinched, realising that the front door had been slammed shut. Like a fatal gunshot, the crash resonated through the house before ending in abrupt silence, telling everyone in earshot that it was final. The battle was over, but neither side knew who'd won.

I remember the cold feeling that spread through my body, the nervous thoughts that forced me to crawl out of bed and creep over to the window, clammy fingers pressing up against the freezing glass panes as I drew aside the thin curtains and peered outside. My sister Rosalind paced up and down the dusty driveway, angry tears spilling from her chartreuse eyes. She had a tragic beauty about her, as if her portrait should have hung on a ruined castle wall in some exotic, long forgotten realm. Her hair billowed up around her olive face, an ebony mane that made her enchanting features all the more enigmatic. I watched with bated breath as she edged closer to the gate, her expression tenacious but unsure. She reached for the twisted metal bar and hesitated, bony fingers gripping the handle.

 In that moment I could have run to her. I could have changed everything with just a single word.


But I didn’t. Instead I drew the curtains shut and trudged back to bed, closing my eyes as the duvet shrouded me in the warmth and security I was too comfortable with to leave. The flimsy fabric draped over the window blocked my sister from sight, a barrier between my world and hers. I would never understand her, and she could never understand me.

In the morning she was gone, and a fresh blanket of snow covered the ground. Winter had arrived and the trees were bare, their brittle frames shivering in the early sunlight and light breeze. The wildflowers had disappeared with the grass, and before me lay a blank canvas with only one imperfection. The crimson roses outside had withered overnight, their pristine petals dead in the cold frosts. All except for one, a single flower that had risen above the snow and now stood in gloomy solitude. It had escaped the icy grasp of winter that had tainted the others, leaving it in isolation as they sank deeper and deeper into the winter haze. Rosalind, the last winter rose.