Topic: Cry Canterbury by Rosemary Francis

Topic type:

A 2013 Memoir and Local History Competition entry.

Archived version here.

(Commemorating cherished Christchurch childhood)




Clear, cold, cloudless.

Clement conditions continue.

Canterbury’s charming.

Countryside cultivated;

country-folk cheerful.

Colts cavorting,

chickens, calves contented,

Cows chewing cud.


Christchurch City’s colonial centre

crowded.  Citizens continue

crossing cathedral courtyard.

Cafes, canteens - cheerful clatter;

chattering customers clearly contented. 

Cars, coaches, cycles cruising crossroads.

Children converge, clustering.

College campuses -

classes continuing.

Cantabrians complacent.

Christchurch calm.




Canterbury’s crust, cooling, cracking.

Continental- shelves collide.

Crustal-plates contort, crumple, compound,

Core contours convulsing.

Conceptacles compress, creating

caverns, canyons - catastrophic circumstances.

Cauldron – churning contractions!

Complex chain-events connect,

creating colossal cymbal-clash.

Cataclysmic collapse.


Crepitation; creaking.

Ceilings collapse, concrete chunks crumble,

cellars cave-in, closing crawl-spaces.

Catacombs contort, creating

 claustrophobic conditions.




Christchurch crushed,

Cramped, cringing citizens clinging-

Croaking, coughing, choking.

Children crying, chaps cursing, caught, caged.

Cars, coaches -contents crushed.


Crowds crawl, clamber confused.

Crusher-dust, cement-clouds choke.

Canterbury’s clobbered,

countryside convoluted;

crud-oozing cones cover crust.

Chucked –up custardy clay

creeps, contaminates.

Clocks cease chiming, counting.

Claxons’ clamour, cloying.


Charming commercial centre,

cultural, Christian centres -

character completely changed.

Cross crumbles.  Christ Church

Cathedral collapses.




Century-old city cisterns clog, crack;

cruddy contents  contaminating city creeks.

Cables collapse; current ceases. 

Computers crash.   Cell-phones- chargeless.

Call centres, cyberspace clogged.

Communication ceases, causing consternation.


Canals criss-crossed, consumed.

Creeks curve; confluences change.

Crooked culverts crack, collapse.

Chucking continues covering countryside,

corrugating, churning, chewing crater-like.

Clogged, contaminated clay-

crusty-ooze congeals.

Crumpled cardboard collage-

countryside collapses.



Cliff’s cleave; cornices careen.

Craggy crevices clastic.

Countless cracks causing

crumbling; chasms, craters.

Climbers caught, crushed.

Conglomerate compresses;

chunks caked; clods combine -

cascading, crash; crushing cabins, chalets.

Careworn commuters crowd causeway,

congesting clearways.

Clifton-Hill clipped

Cave-rock completely camouflaged.


Capricious conditions -

Canterbury HMS churning

Cargo carriers, container-ships

cruisers, craft cork-bobbing.

Combustible cylinders, cargoes

critically compromised.

Craterland citizens cluster,

consoling comforting.

Commercial cargo-carriers

cannot continue coming.

Canterbury commerce ceases.


Cry, Canterbury.

Crying’s cathartic.




Critical care cases crowd clinics.

Comatose, choking, cardiac-stressed,

concussed confused, catatonic cases-

carried, choppered, carted clinic-ward.

Care centres crowded.

Concerned consultants confer,

checking complications.

Charge-nurses, calm, collected care-givers

comfort, console confined,

contused, conscious cases.

Casualty count creeping.




Choppers chunk chunking,

Criss-crossing city-ruins.

Carrying correspondents,

Commentators contributing

comprehensive, close-up coverage.



Camera crews circle city,

Celluloid confirming crisis.

Continuing-quakes, crescendo cranking-up.

Confusion.  Carnage.  Chaos!


Caterpillars, cranes, carriages,

chainsaws, cutters, containers commandeered.

Convoys-military converge,

combine, co-operate.

Civil-Defence, construction crews,

canine-sniffers called.

Constables carefully combing collapsed city.

Car-jacks, cranes create crawl-spaces,

Cops co-ordinate crisis,

civilians comfortless, co-operate.




Casualties confirmed, certified.

Constabulary collect corpses,

contact chaplains.

Clergy console, commiserate.

Coffins chosen, constructed.

Coroners collate-case-notes.

Coronial court confers cold comfort,

Closure complete?

Cry, Canterbury.

Crying’s cathartic.







City closed. Citizen’s-rights curbed.

Christchurch crushed.

Courthouses, chambers crumbling,

Court cases cancelled.

Chancellor-Grand. collapsed

Crown- Plaza compressed,

Clarendon crooked,

Convention Centre cracked,

Carlton clobbered.

Clock-towers crumble,

Catholic Cathedral convulsed

Chambers-Provincial creaking;

Contemporary Council Chambers cribbed.

Convent cloisters convoluted, cluttered.

Casino closed, chips cashed-in.

Complexes, car-parks, compromised, crumpled.

Cashmere cock-eyed; cinemas,

concert-halls clubbed.

Cenotaph capsized; cross chipped.

Cambridge crooked, Crammer Centre caved-in. 

Childhood – Education College compacted.

Cashel Mall - cashless coffin.

Community-house cropped.

Centaurus- Road cluttered,

Colombo- Street contorted.

Cowles-Stadium clipped.


CTV charred, charcoal cinders,

coal-dust choking.

Concertina cave-in.

Chalklike concrete columns collapse

Consultants carefully checking

catastrophic construction.

Car-fuel causes conflagration!

Contributes complications, consuming.

Corpses, crushed, cremated.

Complete carnage!

Cry Christchurch.

Crying’s cathartic.




City-water compromised.

Command Centre, Civil- Defence Control

confronts confusion, considers carefully,

co-ordinates, checking conditions.

Crude crossroad corner

‘conveniences’ common.

Container-city created.

Colour-coded city confounds citizens.

(Crimson conveys critical condition;

Construction compromised; condemned.) 


Country counting cost.

Capital city concerned.

Centralised committee,

closeted councillors commiserate,

contemplate consequences.

Clipboard-carrying consultants

clarify conditions, covering contingencies,

conferring consents, charting course.

Construction company chiefs converge.

Contractors’ crews compete


Cleverly, Cabinet, CERA collaborate,

control Christchurch City Council.

Controversial case, causing clashes.

Carking, confrontational councillors

contrary, critical, cynical, cautious.

Conclusions clear – crown-appointed

Commissioners contemptuous;

Councillors coerced.

Cantabrians’ civil rights, culled;

chosen council castrated; cowering


Crusader’s compound corrugated, crooked

Cloisters cracked, chocolate-coloured

cream-consistency contamination;

clay clag causes corruption-

condemned.   Ceremonies,

celebrations cancelled.

Crusader’s Crater-land completely cudgelled.


Clerics converge

Cathedrals conspicuously cropped.

Clergy call consultants.

Cathedral custodians-

condemn cathedral cloisters.

Clastic collapses continue,

corrupting church-grounds.

Contents cleared.  Cracked

chapels, convents, churches,

crypts, closed.

Christ’s Church condemned?

Cry, Christchurch –

Crying’s cathartic.




Council, concerned citizens collaborate-

Clear city clobber.

Cantabrians – courageous characters.

Clean-up crews - cheerful chaps.

Concerned carers, ‘cuppa’-cheer.


combine, contribute comfort.

Constabulary courteous.

Crooks castigated, charged,

Convicted; custody compulsory.


Canopy-city, contorted.

Citizens camping, candlelight-cook-ups

Clean-water coaches converge.

Crossroads cleared, cleaned.

Communal commodes- chilly, crude

‘crapper-cubicles’ created.

Chilly canvas, caravans- cold comfort.

Containers cocoon coastal communities.

(cascading clobber-cover.)

Crepitation- creaking cruelly continues.

Conditions cause cowering creatures –

cats, canine companions





Classrooms cracked, colleges condemned.

Camp-like conditions; crowded, cold.

Clean-up chaos. Classes combined,

curricula co-ordinated.  Children

constantly checking cell-phones charged.


Condemned colleges callously confirmed-

(confusing ‘consultation’ conceals

compulsory consolidation.) – conundrum.

Capacity-crammed classrooms

certain consequence.

Closures condemned;

Controversy continues.

Cry, Christchurch children.

Crying’s cathartic.




Census cancelled.

City clear-felled

Cantabrians confronting -

complex circumstances.

Crushed concrete collected.

Clearing, cleaning continuing.

Construction - Canterbury’s cash cow.

(Cost-cutting, corner-clipping construction-,

condemned.  ‘Curly’ consents criticised).

Contractors, councilmen cautious.

Commission-Royal –commands

compulsory code-changes.

Cherished cultural compounds cleared

Conservationists can’t comprehend

cavalier confiscations, callous clearance.

Continuing Cabinet-crony Commissioner

controlling Christchurch’s

civilian-appointed Council -

compounds Cantabrians’ concern.

Cry Canterbury.

Crying’s cathartic.


Complete- change chance-

Canvas clean.  Course changed,

contributions collected.

Creative chapter commences.

Campaigners, challengers compete.

Citizens choose contingencies; confirming.

Christchurch city core creation crucial.

Civic confidence confirms

Cantabrians consider compulsory

Christchurch City contains

colonial centre, convention centre, 

commercial centre, Christian centre.

(Creative, craft -centre coveted)


Cafes, clients, consumers cogent,

cosmopolitan community confident.

Canterbury’s come-back crystal clear!

(City coffers crucial;

capital contributions consolidate.)

Cavernous collapses, crises camouflaged,

Calamity concealed.

‘Cardboard Cathedral ‘commissioned,

Commemoration ceremonies conducted,

Coronial-Inquiry completed.

Caskets consumed.

Citizen compensation continuing.

Carefulness covers complacency.


Congratulations, Canterbury!

Crisis confirmed citizens’ capability,

compelling cohesion, comradeship,

comforting concinnity;

compassion, confidence,

community connectedness.

Courage confers character.

Christchurch’s circle continues.


Cease crying, Cantabrians

Colour city canvas cheerfully-

Christchurch CAN continue.








This page archived at Perma CC in October of 2016:


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Cry Canterbury by Rosemary Francis

Note:About the author: Rosemary Francis, nee Pearson, lived for two challenging decades in Southeast Asia. Armed with a linguistics degree, and Teaching, Public Relations and TESOL diplomas, she worked in hotel management, and taught tertiary students. She was an adviser for Civil Defence, served on the Board of Consumers Association, and on the Board of Governors of a large College. She was a regular columnist for the Straits Times; and wrote for 22 international publications. The author of twelve books and several radio plays, Rosemary was recently widowed. She left Canterbury with her menagerie, all exhausted by thousands of earthquakes. Rosemary is the proud mother of four adult children, living in four different countries, and she has eleven grandchildren.