Thursday, May 29, 2014

Marvellous Maya

"The line of the dancer: If you watch (Mikhail) Baryshnikov and you see that line, that's what the poet tries for. The poet tries for the line, the balance."   
Maya Angelou

This comment of Maya's speaks to me as it will to anyone who has at least tried both to dance and to write poetry. I loved her Caged Birds (1970), which I think is one of the best memoirs ever written. 

In everything she did, she had that balance she admires here and she brought balance to our lives. 

Dance on, marvellous Maya!

Remains of the Autumn Days

Two days till autumn officially ends and I feel this year that I haven't made nearly enough of a fuss of my favourite season. Perhaps because last year, on this very blog, I made quite the fuss of autumn and probably overdid it a bit. Everything is a reaction to something.

Still, I miss autumn already and wonder where it went to that I hardly stopped to see a single leaf drift down from its tree to gently settle on the ground, like nature's great peace-making with the way of things. Instead I looked up and all the leaves were fallen, elbowing each-other for space on the grass, almost as if in a hurry to have the season over and done with, which is not at all the usual calm way of autumn at all.

To make up for my overlooking autumn this year, I have taken a series of photos to commemorate its closing days for another year as we head into winter, a more assertive season altogether. 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Go Google!

Rachel Louise Carson's 107th Birthday
“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” 

Is it just me or is Google on a mission to recognise women as intelligent beings who have contributed to the constructive movements in history so much more than the world of men has ever been ready to concede; indeed so much more than men have, given the male gender's enduring propensity for destruction, cruelty and greed?

I hope I'm not being a wishful feminist in observing this trend in Google's doodle dedications and in hoping that it is a deliberate mission to amend the male bias in favour of celebrating themselves and denigrating or simply overlooking women.

Go Google!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Braying Bird

Straight backed

From the uppermost perch
a braying sermon on the branch

Blood orange beak inside,
hot with words to speak

Pauses for listening,
for respect;
for effect

Please stand
for our inaugural speaker!

Monday, May 19, 2014


I like to take cryptic photos. If you go close-up enough to almost anything its image becomes cryptic, it's not a bad way to see things, rather more clearly, ironically, than stood back at a sensible distance. 

That said, what is it? Could be a metallic crocodile. A crocodile from the future. Our fashion future: metal croc skin. I like it. Heavy.

But no. This is not from the future. This is from the present. There's a clue in the title. Indeed. It is a whole bunch of nails. Why -- and how -- so many all together? 

It's one of those nail-press things. You press something underneath the nails and turn it over in your hand and the nails not pressed drop away and leave an impression of your thing, whatever it is. My thing isn't all that impressive. People mostly do a hand. Mine is the remote control for the tele. 

Not a bad place for it, really.

Blue Beats Grey

Here Comes Day...

Grey Black White

Grey Green Cream

Grey Cream Yellow

Grey Purple Orange

Grey Red Blue

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Griffith Review 43 (a tribute)

I talk to the cat: I fed you, I say.
She meows anyway.
A cat in my lap; no hat.
She doesn't approve of her food.
A lady writer, Tiffany? rings a bell,
writes about a writer called Geoff.
Geoff's cutlery shivers in its drawers
when the bus stops. Goal posts are gallows.
Tiffany takes Geoff and his goal posts round the world
To pause over people who cough in their countries,
unseen. Tiffany (her second name)
shows me my weakness;
too weak to stand up and be blogged.
She puts her dolls to sleep at night in a box,
a black sheet over their scared eyes.
Eggs boil for the boys,
the cat, off my lap, thinks they're for her.
Rain comes in a sound wave tsunami
like rising applause.
My poet is pleased; weakness appeased.
Geoff appears now without Tiffany
Enigmatic; understated; discordant; male.
A reluctant hero, elbowing still for that punchy last line.
Nails it, in a cafe, sipping coffee:
a racket we play without balls.
Conducting an experiment in living.
Delicate sheets of pale green lettuce
balanced lovingly on lumpy beds of mashed egg,
like cot sheets on a sleeping baby.
A long brown bun, the top half now closes
over the bottom half -- coffin like.
Yellow clumps of over-boiled egg
like maggot clusters, escape. Are gobbled up. Too late.
Air-tight Gladwrap puts an end to it.
The house smells like egg;
someone's bound to come to the door.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mum's Up

Why would I make her -- the woman in the opaque black helmet who is stopped at the petrol station to fill up her motorbike before heading off to begin her new life on the Witness Protection Programme -- purr?

That cryptic question is my first thought for this day, Mothers' Day, 2014; that is had while still asleep within a dream of unusual dimensions where I'm either the film director wondering why I would make my character purr, or I am questioning my dream self about her dream logic, half aware that I am dreaming. I can't be sure which.

Still asleep, I interrogate the dream. The bike has its engine switched off so it can't be the bike that is purring, my second thought as I attempt to solve the mystery while still clinging to sleep and the logic of the dream.

Then I begin to construct various plot scenarios of dream-cryptic plausibility for why my character might be purring at this point, rather than be woken up for lack of logic, which wouldn't do: I am enjoying the dream.

Alas, before I can construct a plausible plot scenario, blasted REALITY asserts itself, dragging me out of the dream and sleep medication to boot, to find a cat perched on my shoulder, thinking it's a parrot, purring into my ear as if it were a petrol pump pouring fuel into a motorbike.

HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY!!  The time is 6:23 on my bed-side digital.

The previous morning, after another restful five hours' sleep, I was woken fighting for my life with someone holding my head underwater in a bucket. At least on that occasion, REALITY was not quite so blasted. But combined, these waking scenarios make clear that there is definitely no rest for the wicked, least of all for all the wicked mothers out there.

One of my most memorable Mothers' Day moments was when my youngest, then 4, became very emotional when he discovered during our morning gift-giving ritual in bed that he hadn't got me a gift, and close to tears exclaimed; "I didn't know how to get you anything!" before tearing off outside and returning, at a gallop, with a perfect little white button daisy -- just for me.

This morning, that same boy (now 15) took off for his squash comp, grumpy about having to wake up so early on a Sunday (it was 8.30), without so much as a Mothers' Day wish for his dear old mum. Instead, I bid him farewell, wishing him a Happy Mothers' Day squash game, which received a slight snigger as he went out the door with his back turned.

Just as well I don't go in for all this Mothers' Day hoopla!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

So many firsts

I tend to read poetry when  
I'm doing other things
which is precisely
the wrong way
to read
Poetry is more than
meets the eye,
the mind
and the
There are so many firsts in a
poem,even with all the
senses at work you
can miss the
But still I persist with my cereal,
crunching the gritty bits
"the great city of
his audacity"
nearly slips
my grip:
Then to wondering how he found it,
did the 'city' in audacity
strike him first or
the audacity of
the great
However it came to work
the great city of 
his audacity
is a first

For Cliff Fell

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Here's looking at you, cat

Meet Trixie, our lucky little cat. Trixie, named by our daughter, miraculously survived though her siblings tragically perished, their mother, TT, having a broken spine at the time of the delivery. One very lucky cat indeed. And how merciful is nature to allow TT at least one little kitten; so much more than none. Here's looking at you, Trix -- here snapped, being a cat, through our kitchen window.  

This little tree minx was born on our living-room carpet, to yours' truly presiding, shivering like a leaf.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A quiet morning

The trees sleep in,
standing up still

Birds try to wake them,
back off; chill

The wind snores,
a tickle at the tips

Light dresses day,
takes its time; drips

The sleeping trees
take on personalities:

Father Totara,
big, bushy and brusque

Mother Liquid Amber,
changing colour to suit us

Teenage Cabbage tree,
spiky-haired, lanky, lean

A trio of trees,
a quiet morning family