‘Beginning’ provides an excellent excuse to post some photos of my Grand daughter, Juniper. At seven and a bit weeks of age, she is at the beginning of life, and very keen to dive right in and learn all about it. Wouldn’t it be great to have back all that wonder and enthusiasm (she will gaze intently for minutes at a time at the shelves of books…), but without the difficulties of locomotion and communication…
I’ve chosen pics for this challenge from our travels in Washington State, from my visit to Perth, and some from a lot closer to home. In some, the horizon is far and wide, in others, little more than a vanishing point between buildings. Many Australians will be familiar with these lines from Dorothea Mackellar, “I love her far horizons, I love her jewelled sea, Her beauty and her terror, A wide brown land for me.” I may have misquoted her slightly, but I think the photos taken in Victoria illustrate her words.
I’m trying to come up with a Christmas poem/card idea. It’s that time of year again. I have taken myself and my note book and pen to the Bodhi Tree for coffee and solitude, in hopes that my meandering mind will eventually stumble on at least an idea of a poem, and inspiration for an image to go with it.
It’s 11-05 in Perth, overcast, warm and sticky. I should’ve put on shorts, not jeans. I just put butter on my blueberry muffin – how unvegan. Although I will happily eat vegan, and don’t care if I don’t have meat, I don’t think I want to label myself as ‘Vegan’, ‘Vegetarian’ or even ‘Flexitarian’, even though I think that means “I eat what I want – whatever”. Actually I feel skittish about wearing any labels at all. Except maybe artist/poet. Even then – don’t want to set up expectations.I don’t have a spoon to scoop up the coffee fluff.:p Little ballet girls are manifesting themselves in the Bodhi Tree. It’s Saturday morning, sticky and warm. The music in the cafe is soft and warm. My blueberry muffin is soft and warm and sticky. Delicious. Is this a flow of consciousness or a list of observations? I am conscious of my observations, and the little ballet girl at the next table is conscious of her thirst. She has asked for water on this warm and sticky mid-spring morning. There are snowflake Christmas decorations hanging from the ceiling here in the Bodhi Tree, here in Perth, where it never, ever snows, especially at Christmas. Odd how we cling to and carry with us traditions that are no longer relevant or applicable – Snow-in-summer is the name of a tree, a shrub, a number of plants with abundant white flowers…Christmas is coming. Isn’t it always? No matter where we are in the year, Christmas is coming, always another one on the way. And what is Christmas – Jesus putative birth day, a marketing opportunity, mid-summer, mid-winter, return of the light, turn of the year. A time for children, family, love, a time for loneliness and despair. A time to reach out a hand to those in loneliness and despair. A time to call for Peace, for Love, for Empathy. Christmas is always coming, it is always time to reach out in peace and love and empathy, to place a light in the window, a candle to dispel the darkness, a light for all humankind.
11.25am. I think we have our poem, with a little work…
Christmas is coming…
isn’t it always?
No matter where we are
Christmas is coming,
Always another one on the way.
And what is Christmas?
Birth day of Jesus,
a Marketing Opportunity,
mid-summer, mid-winter, return of the light
and turn of the year.
A time for children, family, lovingkindness;
A time for loneliness and despair:
A time to reach out a hand
to those in loneliness and despair;
A time to call for Peace and Love and Empathy.
Christmas is always coming:
It is always time to reach out
In peace and love and empathy,
To place a light in the window,
A candle to dispel the darkness,
A light for all humankind.
The image is a detail from a page in my Perth Journal, a mainly pictorial and not-very linear record of my current stay in Perth.
Expression, self-expression, is obviously highly personal. Sometimes photography is all about revealing what is there, sharing the bare truth of it with someone else, documenting, recording for future reference…Photography can also be a means of artistic expression, revealing, perhaps, something that isn’t ‘there’, a glimpse of the artists inner life. I remember when I bought a copy of the Pixies’ Dolittle being incredibly excited about Simon Larbalestier’s photos in the inlay book. When I’m taking photos as a means of expression, I don’t like to be too obvious. The question “What is that ?” annoys me – I want the viewer to think Wow! Look at that! , not try to identify an object…To misquote Kurt Cobain, I do mean to be really cryptic or mysterious at times – I think that pictures that are different and weird and spacey are interesting, and that’s the way I like art (and music) – all kinds of expression, really.
It’s been a while since I wrote this poem, a paean to lack of solitude and writer’s block, but it’s time to write a poem for the annual Christmas card, and…
I’m not making my own days
Slip through my fingers
Like mist, like blood, like tears
Slip and are gone
The darkness gathers
Solid and alone
I touch you
And I cannot reach you
I am borrowing from some poets
My own song
There’s not much poetry these days
Come to my window
No one appreciates the songs
Not even me.
Can you pick any of the poets I have borrowed from? Do you sometimes borrow, when the well seems too dry?
The Hue of Me is pink’n’orange…
Some people may think that that is two colours, but they are wrong!
I have a folder devoted to photos of pink’n’orange, and used them to illustrate/embellish a book I did last year of my “Christmas Card poems”. Here is a sample…
Home is where the art is…something like that. I’ve been far, far away in Perth for nearly 6 weeks now, helping out and enjoying my grand daughter (who has also been here for around 6 weeks). Honestly, I haven’t missed much. Facebook and the telephone maintain contact with my people, and I brought a lot of photos, music and art with me on a portable hard drive. I also brought some notebooks, including some of my poetry, but I forgot to pack a quote book, and I have missed having that to draw on.
I’ve been sleeping in my daughter’s craft room, on a mattress on the floor – a mattress that is, in the words of The Shins James Mercer in “New Slang”, “old and bony”. I like to Be Here Now as it saves a lot of misery, so I can’t say I’ve actively missed my own bed, but I will be delighted to sleep in it again in a month or two…
Reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” this morning, this paragraph jumped off the page – (and into my blog) –
” If we are the kind of people who “don’t do vulnerability”, there is nothing that makes us feel more threatened and more incited to attack and shame people than to see someone daring greatly. Someone else’s daring provides an uncomfortable mirror that reflects back our own fears about showing up, creating, and letting ourselves be seen. That’s why we come out swinging. When we see cruelty, vulnerability is likely to be the driver.”
It is a given that Dominators “don’t do vulnerability” – they are afraid of it in themselves, and despise it in others. What is more maddening for such a person than someone who dares to stand out, step up, be seen, seek an education, board a rickety boat for a chance at freedom…? It is only natural to react with cruelty in such circumstances. Malala Yousafzai is shot because she goes to school, girls are murdered by their fathers and brothers because they dare to defy cultural traditions of marriage, desperate refugees are denied asylum in Australia…all because their acts of daring in the face of their own vulnerability makes those who wish to believe themselves to be invulnerable feel terribly uncomfortable.
Malala was interviewed on American TV, describing her non-violent take on dealing with the dominator approach of the Taliban…be inspired!
This poem is an homage to Walt Whitman, with, perhaps a touch of Basho at the end…
I want to lie
Here in the dark
By the open window
And contemplate the cosmos
The wonders of the cosmos
O might! O splendour!
The moon, the thunder clouds
The hidden stars
O high ideals
O vastness of philosophy…