Friday Poem: Whose Girl?

Yesterday was the funeral service for my mother-in-law, a bitter sweet day, as all five of my grown children were together for the first time in several years. family band 1

Today I had another funeral to attend, that of my friend Rosemary, whom I have known for 30 years. She was older than me, and in indifferent health, and I’m going to miss our chats every Monday – I called Mondays “Old Lady Day”, but I never told her that!

She was of the generation brought up to be a good wife and mother, and that’s what she did – but she also nursed a rebellious spirit, and would have liked to kick over the traces a lot more than she did after her husband died, if only her health had been better. This poem is for her today -

drive 2

Daddy’s little girl wears twinset and pearls;
She’s coy with the boys, and sweet with the girls;
She wouldn’t say ‘boo’, let alone ‘shit';
If a boy’s got clean nails, she won’t see he’s a twit;
Her room is all tidy, her clothes put away;
She’s polite to the guests, she has nothing to say;

At school, she’ll choose courses in cooking and cleaning,
She has no idea that that could be demeaning;
She has no ideas of her own, that’s her problem;
She does as expected in all situations;
But if she wakes up one day and thinks for herself,
She’ll tumble right down from her niche on the shelf,

And she’ll say what she thinks, and she’ll do what she wants,
And shock her old daddy with the force of her thoughts.
She won’t any longer be his sweet little girl,
She’ll be something much better – HerSelf – after all!drive 1

We had a long drive home yesterday, stopping over in Ballarat for a Grill’d burger for tea. By the time we set off again, the sun had gone, leaving a clear, beautiful twilight, which I enjoyed photographing from the back seat as we drove along. The photo above the poem is of a passing truck. One has so little control over pictures taken this way, and some are undoubtedly duds – but every now and then…magic!

I wrote this poem after my husband made a remark about “Daddy’s little girl ain’t a girl no more”* as if that was inherently a bad thing, and I didn’t agree.

* Lyric from Nirvana’s Negative Creep – a song which a person of my age and gender isn’t supposed to like, and yet I do…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Cover Art/Creativity

I am merging my WPC and Creativity posts this week due to the serendipity of the challenge and because it’s a busy week. The theme of Cover Art is right up my street! The name of my blog comes from the Sukie’s Original Covers I am showing you today. I had to hunt for them, and now that I have, I really should do more work on the idea – I have the technology now that was lacking in 2000 when I made these.covers 1

Inspired by the photography in the inlay book of the Pixies “Doolittle”, and having a few empty CD cases available, I set out to make inlay books of my own, with some of my photos as cover art. Back then I had an SLR film camera and an excellent macro lens. Krystina liked to develop my photos, because they were always different (no smiling party people – just flowers, beads, bugs…etc).

The photos were cropped with a pair of scissors (or a craft knife), and the spare bit was adhered to the back of the inlay book, the cover of which I made from beautiful paper.covers 4

The booklets have not been finished (yet), but I had chosen poems for each one and written most of them on loose leaves cut to size. Some are typed and printed off, some hand-written. Now I have more sophisticated software, a scanner and a guillotine, so I will be able to do them ‘properly’.covers 5

There are more photos on the backs of the cases, and also under the tray where the CD would go. covers 6

The inlay booklets removed from the smudgy old cases. The image on the Transformations cover is of rose petals – Fragrant Cloud – immersed in white vinegar to make it gloriously coloured and fragrant, for culinary use.

The white lily grows in my garden, but the coloured one would have been bought. I would buy bouquets (usually cut-price!) and take pictures of the flowers both fresh and fallen.covers 7

These (unfinished) artworks were branded Sukie’s Original Covers, “Sukie” coming from “Sue K” – although my mother remembers a relative calling me Sukie as a child. Over time, it became “Sukie’s Original, and my brand for all the things I make, and the name of my blog.

I never made a decision about putting an actual CD in these covers, but now I think I’d make a mix that I felt fitted in with the theme of each book of poems. Mark Lanegan would probably be on there, and Sonic Youth, Leonard Cohen, J Mascis, Pixies, Gyuto Monks, Antony and the Johnsons…I could spend years refining my choices…I like all kinds of music…

Friday Poem: For Elma

My mother-in-law died quietly yesterday morning, after a long and happy life. She was still playing golf a few months ago – she planned to retire from the game at the end of the year, after fifty years – but illness intervened, and she suddenly had only weeks left to wind up her affairs, say her farewells and drift away from us into that inevitable unknown.

This poem was written for another old lady – Bryan’s mum’s name is Marj – but it seems appropriate. It is heavily influenced by Walt Whitman, in content if not in style.

4 generations

Soft tender death
Whose breath of sweet release
Will free us from this prison of our flesh
And free from bruises, aches and grief, all pain,
Gentle in her embrace
Upheld by love at last
We look on God again.

white lily

Nana was thrilled to meet Juniper , only two weeks ago. It amazes me how much Bryan now looks like his mother, especially in that photo of the four generations. Zoe’s partner, Matt, took the photo.

Creativity: Escape V

Here’s a page of my altered book “Escape” that has been painted with house paint, rubbed over with pink pencil and embellished with little rings meant for reinforcing holes in paper. While they were on their original backing they were used for printing dots on fabric, leaving the rings nicely coloured and perfect for decoration.

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The text isn’t exactly about creativity, not directly anyway…The bookmark is the packaging from chopsticks, and too nice to toss away.Escape 17

Between two ‘normal’ pages is a leaf of translucent parchment paper, with a little stamping on it. It is held in place with common-or-workshop duct tape, and excellent and versatile material popular with artists and home-handypersons!

Escape 18

 

More yellowish paint, and coloured pencil. You may notice that the two pages stuck together while the paint was wet (ooops) and tore off a layer – that’s where the rainbow pencil came in. Always go along with your mistakes – in art – maybe not so much in life….The stamp I used at the bottom is long and narrow, with an image of rough stitches – at least, I think that’s what is intended. However, the ends look a bit like stylised trees, and that is how I often use it. It also works well in the context of textiles, of course.

Rubber stamps are great for altered books and other mixed media creativity, so it’s good to have a broad collection (and to keep them fairly orderly). Look  for them in bargain shops! It is probably impossible to have too many…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Refraction

The theme of this weeks challenge (or inspiration!) is ‘Refraction’. Literally that means ‘splitting’, I think, but it generally refers to the splitting of white light into the colours of the spectrum, otherwise known as ‘the rainbow’. I have a lot of pictures in my files of the rainbow colours thrown around rooms by various prisms of ‘crystal’ hanging in sunny windows,

and my first thought was to search out some of them.refraction 1 However, I was having one of those cleaning and reorganising mornings, which led to having a bright, shiny cut-crystal sherry glass in my hand, and… refraction 3 refraction 2

 

I also had an iris ready to pose for me. Iris is the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow, so its a good fit for ‘refraction’. The petals (and sepals!) glitter in sunlight with tiny specs of rainbow colour, which I hoped to capture better than I did…

Maybe next time!

Friday Poem: Solitude

nataraja 1

Late in the night
a single candle

Nataraja dances
in his circle of flame

Bright jewels

The silence rings

Outside, the empty stars
late moon
cold in the dark.

Inside the room
beautiful shadows

Beside the candle
Lord Shiva is dancing
by himself.nataraja 2

In Indian cosmology, it is Lord Shiva, in his Nataraja form, who dances the world into being. He is also the destroyer, acknowledging that creation and destruction are inextricably linked. Sometimes when I am in a melancholy mood, I like to light a candle and lie in the semi-darkness, contemplating life, death and the whole damn thing. Which is an excellent and pleasurable pursuit for an introvert like myself. It’s OK to be sad sometimes, and that’s where the poem came from. As my sister would have been fifty years old tomorrow, I’ve been trying to imagine her as a fifty year old woman, and I can’t do it. After almost twenty three years, I am accustomed to her not being here and I am rarely assailed by grief, but her birthday (which is also one of our brother’s – he was six when she was born) will always be a time to wonder – what if? Who would she have become if she hadn’t fallen ill and died so young?

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What I want to say is – enjoy life as it is. My mother -in-law is dying at 87 after a good and full life, my sister died at 27, after a full life that didn’t seem nearly long enough. And you never know how much time you or yours are going to have – so live it, and love while you can! Dance alone sometimes…

Peace Love Empathy – they make the world worth living in.

1 Day 1 World Project: 11am – 12pm

Lisa’s 1 Day 1 World Project has reached it’s final hour – it doesn’t really seem like 24 weeks, but I guess it must be!

I worked at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery again today, and arrived to find that Mark was still busy installing the new exhibition – Organic Intimacy, curated by Sara Lindsay. I was given the task of finishing installing the work of Ruth Hadlow, which entailed attaching many pieces of paper to the wall with tiny pins, which are tapped in place with a small hammer. My 11am to 12pm hour was divided between a restorative cup of coffee with Mark, and working on the installation.

The final touch was to hang threads loosely across the face of the grid, which required a lot of walking across the room and contemplating the effect before I was satisfied. Way more fun than stuffing envelopes or filing!