Saddle Up Saloon: Joanne Fisher in the Author’s Chair

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

December 13, 2021

“Folks, welcome ta another Author’s Chair. We’re thrilled ta have Joanne Fisher join us this month, all the way from New Zealand.”

“New Zealand! What an Odyssey! Pal, will Joanne treat us ta some a her sci-fi? Mebbe fantasy adventures? More tales a the farm with Jess an’ Cindy?”

“Good guesses, Kid. But here she is, let’s let Joanne tell us.”

“Howdy, Joanne Fisher! Welcome ta the Author’s Chair.”

“Hello Kid, hello Pal. The story I’m going to read is a poem story.”


“It is, Kid, but I am only going to read one poem from my sequence based on The Odyssey, The Return. When deciding on which poem in The Return sequence to use, I decided to start at the beginning (since it’s a very good place to start).”

“How cool! I have a lot of questions already, Joanne.”

“Kid, I’m sure Joanne has a lot to say about the Odyssey and her sequence of poems but ‘member, the point a the Author’s Chair is ta give folks a chance ta hear fer themselves an’ ask their questions in the comments section.” 

“Thanks Pal.”

Penelope Waits

why do I constantly
look out our window
hoping to see your ship
returning to its harbour?
why do I listen for the sound
of your footsteps echoing
up to our bedchamber?
I know you too well
you've gone after
your own desires
& I'm the spider
who waits quietly
the thing with journeys
is that they spiral inwards
to your own dark heart
should you return
you'll find me here
spinning a web
to ensnare you
& every night I unpick it
while hungry men wait below
none of them
have your eyes
or your smell

all the heroes returned
from the wars,
except you
long have I dreamed
of your dark hair, tanned skin,
& sinewy form to emerge
out of the frothing sea-water
& into my arms
but I know you too well
you will come home only
when you are tired
of your journeys
your betrayals
your lies
& after so many threads
I'm tired of waiting
for our lives to begin again
is there anything worth
between us?
Joanne Fisher

You can read the entire sequence here:

“Now folks, don’t forgot, this is all about engagement, so ask yer questions about this poem. I know Joanne would enjoy talking’ about it. An’ remember, names are randomly drawn from among the questions an’ comments. Congratulations ta Norah Colvin who was drawn from Liz’s reading’ last month. Norah, you will receive a copy of T. Marie Bertineau’s The Mason House.”

“Joanne Fisher lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. She writes poetry, flash fiction, fiction, and the occasional article. She has written two unpublished novels, and her poetry has appeared in magazines and journals in New Zealand and overseas. One day she hopes to eventually get round to compiling a second collection of poetry, as well as publishing some ebooks of her flash fiction.”

You can find Joanne at jedigirlblog

Joanne the Geek Facebook page:

Twitter: @joannefisher63

Contact Kid and Pal’s writer, D. Avery, if you want to take a seat in the Author’s Chair here at the Saddle Up Saloon.

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  1. joanne the geek

    Thanks for doing this ????

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank you!
      I enjoyed this poem from Penelope’s point of view. Which character from the Odyssey do you find the most intriguing?

      • joanne the geek

        That’s an interesting question. I think I decided to use Penelope Waits here because in The Odyssey she tells the suitors she will choose one of them once she has finished her embroidery, and every night she would unpick it all, and she kept that up for ten years with no surety that Odysseus would return. That’s some commitment. She obviously had some faith that he would show up again. In my poem I’ve made their relationship a bit more questionable. Yes, she suspects he will come back one day, but she’s unsure of what that will ultimately mean to her. So I do find her quite an intriguing character.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        She was a great choice, the hero who stays at home. It is quite the portrait of a marriage.

  2. robertawrites235681907

    This is a lovely poem. I like the idea of the female depicted as a spider spinning a web. I wonder if her idea was to kill him and eat him as some female spiders do? PS It is lovely to see Joanne featured here.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I wonder too Robbie. I like the spider and web thread (pun intended) but then one has to wonder just what it is she wants. Her missing him has a sinister edge.

      • robertawrites235681907

        Yes, I thought that it was a little sinister too.

  3. Terveen Gill

    A dark and painful one. The eternal question – is there anything worth salvaging…
    Beautifully written, Joanne. 🙂

  4. Gloria

    This is quite sad. A woman waiting for her husband (?) to return home. Or maybe he’s a lover. At first I thought he is dead, but now I think he just doesn’t return because he’s still living the high life. I think he has stayed away too long before, because the narrator says, she knows him too well. He will return when he gets tired of his betrayals and lies. But she doubts his return this time. Maybe this time she knows there’s no point. Is there even anything worth salvaging?
    I enjoyed this. Not because it’s sad, but because it made me feel what I guess she is feeling. She’s deeply in love with a man who doesn’t love her back.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I think he does love her but he’s having a complicated couple of decades. What I like about this poem is how it shows how her waiting is complicated too, her feelings increasingly complicated over time.
      To keep this post short and sweet I asked Joanne to share only one section of her “Return” sequence, but I do hope you click over to her blog to read it in its entirety.

      • Gloria

        Yes D, I realised after I commented that this was only part of the poem. What is interesting though, is that this piece can work on its own too. It could have many different meanings and allows the reader’s imagination to run wild. I imagined all sorts of scenarios as I read through it.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I agree. This is a fine stand alone poem and works out of sequence and out of the epic context.

  5. Dave Williams

    I’ve really enjoyed reading Joanne’s flash fiction — and her Odyssey sequence of poems is amazing. I very much recommend reading the full set.

  6. T. Marie Bertineau

    Ohh, this poem! Sometimes, despite all the despair, we cannot help but continue to love.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The cool thing is how, when he finally made it back to her his proof that it was indeed him was to remind her that he had crafted their bed from an olive tree that was still rooted.

  7. pedometergeek

    Enjoyed the poem and story behind it. It was epic! Many an epic tale comes from the land of the Kiwis. Thanks Joanne for sharing it with us all, and for sitting in the author’s chair.

    How much mythology have you studied and which myth is your favorite?

    • joanne the geek

      I studied a lot of Greek and some Celtic and Arthurian mythology at University. Since then I’ve also read much Norse, some Native American, and of course Maori mythology. I also love the mythology of Middle-earth which of course was created by J.R.R. Tolkien, in particularly the First Age. As for a singular myth or story to choose I would have to think about it. I’m not exactly a decisive person and choosing any favourite thing has always been an issue for me, but I will think on it.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Maybe there’s a favorite theme or type amongst the myths you enjoy, as opposed to one favorite myth. I bet with all your reading you kept finding commonalities rather than differences?

      • joanne the geek

        I always find the Tricksters quite interesting. Most mythologies have one, whether it is Loki in Norse myth, or Coyote/Raven in Native American stories, or even Maui in Maori myth (who also appears in other Polynesian mythologies I believe). In fact some of the more fun parts of Norse myth is when Loki is playing pranks on Thor, one of his usual targets.

      • joanne the geek

        Aside from the Trickster Gods, I quite like the figure Medea, the Sorceress from Colchis who joined Jason and the Argonauts. You could say that she is an archetype of the creative/destructive and of female revolt. I’ve written a poem about her.

        Medea helped Jason steal the Golden Fleece. As the Argonauts fled Colchis, Medea delayed the pursuit of Aeetes (her father) and his men by murdering her own brother, Apsyrtus, and dismembering his body so her father’s time would be taken up looking for all the bits of his son, which allowed the Argonauts to escape. Rather gruesome really.

        Medea also persuaded the daughters of Pelias, the King of Iolcus, that she could change the king into a young man again only if the daughters chop him up and cook him to prepare him. Once they did this, Medea told them “You know how I told you to cut up and boil your father so he could be rejuvenated? Guess what? I was lying!” Pelias had executed Jason’s father Aeson and taken his throne, which is why Jason and Medea wanted revenge.

  8. rochellewisoff

    I enjoyed hearing you read, Joanne. Wonderful write. Thanks for sharing her, Kid and Pal.

    Shalom y’all,


  9. About Holistic

    beautiful thought-provoking poem, very well written

    • joanne the geek

      Thank you ????

  10. suespitulnik

    Thanks for reading and sharing your poem. As an American, I always imagine an American accent even if I know someone is from another place. Being able to hear you as I read with you then looking at your picture will give me the chance to hear your voice every time I read one of your flashes. Thanks again.

    • joanne the geek

      Thanks. Yes I probably imagine everyone has a New Zealand accent. ????

  11. Liz H

    Beautiful real telling of moments of doubt from the woman so often seen as eternally faithful. Because that intensity of faithfulness must always be seasoned with frailty: the human/woman condition. Wonderful to hear this in your voice, accent, and cadence!
    I seem to recall that it was the hound that first recognized Odysseus, on his eventual return…when did Penelope perceive him?

    • joanne the geek

      The Odyssey was read to me when I was a child (though a young readers edition) and I remember Odysseus’s dog was the only one who recognised him immediately and died from being overjoyed in seeing him again. I always found that rather sad. I seem to remember Penelope only recognised it was Odysseus (as he was dressed as a tramp) once he strung his bow that only he could string. Odysseus (with the help of Telemachus) then killed all the suitors.

      • Liz H

        Thank you! I haven’t read the Odyssey for over 30 years!
        Yeah, sad reward for the most loyal of all…

  12. Jules

    Thanks for a fine contrubution. There is so much to learn.
    I think ‘men’ in general need to learn that women are very capible of both love and deciet. And can be very clever with the life they are ‘saddled’ with!

    Cheers, Jules


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