Friday Poem: Spinney

I decided to reach deep into my back-catalogue for a poem this week, and chose one fairly randomly. Often when I pick an oldie I look for something written around the same time of year, so that it is seasonally appropriate (for southern Australia, anyway), but that doesn’t apply to  this one …a spinney 2

Is there a spinney
That overlooks the sea?
A sacred grove
Where people rarely go:
Is there a pure spring
That rises from the earth?
Are there wild flowers
Scattered in the grass?

Is there a spinney
That overlooks the sea?
A sacred grove
Where people rarely go;
Where the leaves flicker
Tossed by the gentle breeze,
And the songs of birds
Float about the trees?

Is there a spinney
That overlooks the sea?
And if I find it,
Will you meet me there?


a spinney

I’m a little hazy on my inspiration for this because it’s about 18 years old, but I’m fairly sure I was reading something on Ancient Greece, hence the sacred grove. Once more I have chosen pictures from The Trip of a Lifetime. Technically, I think that’s Puget Sound, seen from Discovery Park in Seattle, and the path through the birch trees is in Seattle’s Sculpture Park.a spinney 1

Creativity: It’s what You Make It

I had a friend who was always making things, and had a house (and shed) full of materials for making things, and who regularly declared that she was not at all creative. Nothing I or anyone else could say would shake her conviction that because she was German and used patterns, she was not and never could be creative. Yet everything she made, despite the offending pattern, was quite obviously her work and no-one else’s. Her home was full of unusual and beautiful handmade objects, including a lizard made in a class with Mirka Mora many years ago. She told me more than once that Mirka had admired her work, but still could not acknowledge her own creativity, which I think is an enormous shame.

Whatever we make, we are creating that thing, whether it is a quilt, a cup cake or a garden bed. Creativity is part of being human, and can be a great source of joy for ourselves and those around us.

Recently, I have been making an Eye-spy quilt for my grand daughter, who turns one next month. The point is to have lots of pictures of things on the blocks, and half the fun is collecting bits of suitable prints. I had a pattern, but I didn’t follow it very closely – but doing so would have saved me a lot of bother!

“Creativity is the ability of a person to respond to visual and other sensory stimuli in an original way, and then share this response with passion, individuality and spirit.’

Gerald Brommer.

My friend was most definitely an original, and Juniper’s quilt is too, even if I did use a pattern!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Fray

This weeks photography challenge is Fray, a word with several connotations and therefore very open to interpretation. I had to think about it for a day or two, and I guess that’s a good thing! I have chosen frayed textiles, because textiles are my ‘thing’ (or one of them…) and I also love the concept of Wabi Sabi, the beauty of imperfect, old, worn out things.

All of these things have been ‘rescued’ from the Op Shop/thrift store where I volunteer one day a week. All too gorgeous to discard, even though they are beyond use. The fabulous ’60’s fabric was a cushion cover,  but look at that print! The colours! And the flamenco doll – she’s pretty armless, but what a face! I had to bring her home, and one day I’ll figure out what to do about her missing limbs. The piece of pale satin with the hooks and eyes is a very old pair of ladies knickers, made long before the days of elastane-powered stretchy underwear.

All of them are frayed, and all of them have a beauty and a value far beyond any newly minted item with the function they once fulfilled. Well, I think so, anyway!


Friday Poem: Winter

I wrote this on the bus on my way to Ararat last weekend. It was one of those days, typical of winter in our region, in which warm sunshine came and went all day, taking turns with the clouds and a stiff, cold breeze. I didn’t take photos – I don’t think they would have worked very well through the bus window – so I’ve picked some with shadows from our Trip of a Lifetime, which was three years ago this month…a shadow 2

The clouds part
Brilliant sunshine
Paddocks glow green
Crisp shadows
Stripe across the road.

Then it’s gone again
Dull light
Flat-green paddocks
A smudge of tree shadow
Blurs on the road.

a shadow 3The top pic is in Tacoma, opposite the Washington State Museum, the second in Seattle, and the last in the glorious urban forest in Portland, which adjoins the Arboretum, Japanese Garden and an amazing Rose Garden. It was on that walk that we saw our first Hummingbirds, and our first Banana Slug. The slug is much easier to photograph…a shadow

Weekly Photography Challenge: Silhouette

The Challenge this week is to show a silhouette, something that makes me think of the clever man with the scissors and black paper who used to travel the countryside with the other Show People. In a matter of minutes, he could produce a readily recognisable silhouette of a customer’s profile. My mother had them done of all us children – I wonder if she still has them somewhere…

I was in Melbourne earlier in the week, where I took a few photos of buildings both old and new silhouetted against the sky – plus trees opposite my daughters place, because Melbourne is proud of having plenty of green and growing things. That new building behind Southern Cross Station is growing faster than a gum tree, though! The ornate tower is part of the beautiful old Forum Theatre, on the corner of Flinders and Russell Streets. Certainly worth a closer look!

Friday Poem: Ordinary Things

We had (another) frost this morning, but with the clearest of skies and brilliant sunshine, it would be hard to complain about the icy start to the day. The temperature climbed to the high teens (Celsius) in the afternoon, bringing sweet promises of spring just around the corner…but not just yet, I suspect.frosty morning 3

I can’t write all the time
Of sorrow, grief and love and pain,
Sex and Death
The Great Themes of poetry:
Well worn and self-renewing,
The Happy Hunting Grounds
Of countless poets;
Fertile fields fresh-sown
And constantly reaped;
Always compelling, large and intimate.

Sometimes I must write
Of ordinary things:
But even ordinary things
The common garden clay,
Weather and clouds and days,
Nod more than a little
With familiar courtesy
To the same Great Themes –
Comfort and grief and love and death
Really are ordinary things;
No topic is unfit for poetry.
The magic lies in
How you look at things.frosty morning

I took my camera out into the frosty morning, even though I thought that maybe there was nothing new to see in it. However the brilliant sunshine behind the trees was ravishingly beautiful. And, back inside and thawing out my fingers, I found the winter sunlight just as lovely in the kitchen.

frosty morning 2

In photography. as in poetry, the magic lies in how you look at things!

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 27


We are coming to the end of my scrapbook…I have to think of something else for next week and thereafter…

This is the wrapper from an environmentally conscious bar of chocolate, with information about sea-turtles. I like turtles. And chocolate.as98

TripleJ used to have a segment called Mixed Bag, for which listeners submitted 4 songs – with some kind of link between them – and this sheet has two such lists (never submitted) and a sort of hybrid poem/lyric for my own amusement. It’s good to keep these little oddities and make a place for them in a scrapbook, because otherwise these things would be utterly forgotten.as99

More lists – I was trying to do a set of my “10 Favourite…” – poets, books, albums, bands, but it all got too hard, and I couldn’t narrow it down to only 10, and kept thinking of more. I wrote “wishful thinking, froggy” on there in reference to the calling of Brown Tree Frogs aka Rain Frogs – it wasn’t raining though, just a sprinkler. They generally start calling when it rains.as100

This is the inside of the back cover. A clear plastic pocket, stapled in place, holds tickets and other mementos from festivals and concerts. There is also an icecream stick glued to the cardboard. My self-penned timetable of bands is many years old now. I feel very lucky that I saw At The Drive-in that year, because they broke up soon after. The Big Day Out (now also broken up, sadly) had multiple stages, spread around the old Melbourne Show Grounds, and it was a major undertaking to work out who you wanted to see most, and plan your movements for the 12 hours or so of live music – remembering to factor in a meal or two to keep your strength up!



I scattered some images from this booklet of political posters throughout the scrapbook, and stuck the remains of it to the back cover. Women are still badly under represented in parliament – the current government even has a man as minister for women. Go figure…as103

Last of all, the back cover features a “Heavy” tag from my luggage. I find these labels irresistible – heavy, man! And that is the end of my Artist Scrapbook. I hope I have inspired someone somewhere to gather up supplies, souvenirs and scraps, and start pasting and stapling them all into a book of memories! Something to show the grand-kids, perhaps.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Texture

The challenge this week is to find texture in unexpected places, and take photos of it. The possibilities are almost endless, and rather fun – the only problems, where to start, and where to stop!


flame texture

We had a bonfire one night last week, and I was surprised by the texture of the flames.

Then I looked around the room, and found two birds nests, with completely different textures, a piece of shed skin from a Shingle-back lizard, and a doiley embellished with tatting (not done by me). I could have gone on, gone outside, found lots more textures, but I decided that these will suffice.

Friday Poem: Poem

That’s not much of a poem title, I’m afraid, but that’s what I called it, and it will have to do…a moon with sparks

For you I have no indifference
For you I would tear out the stars
And cast down the sea.
For you I would know everything
And then forget it
Because there is nothing
more than you.

You are burning in the stars
And awash in the sea
No mere torches will find you
But I have found you
Hidden in the stillness
Of my heart.

a moon with sparks 2

We had a bonfire last night, hence the photos of sparks rising to the moon. I took a lot of pictures (one of the great advantages of digital!) because flames are just as compelling for us as any cave-person ancestor. This one of my son feeding the fire and seemingly becoming part of it may well be my favourite – and not something I could have predicted or planned…alex on fire

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 26


Not much colour in this week’s pages, except in a clipping of a ‘Q’ magazine cover. English music mags are fairly expensive here (especially if they are air-freighted and therefore not a month old) but they are usually worth the price for the quality of journalism. And they sometimes come with excellent mix CDs stuck on them. 10 years of Nirvana – so that’s a good ten years ago then.




This ‘page’ is an old envelope, folded in half…at the top, a scrawled poem, and below that, a list of songs etc broadcast on TripleJ in one of their Nirvana specials. I would have stayed up late to record it on cassettes…leaping up to turn the tape over at least once during the show, and hoping nothing vitally interesting was lost in that time! Those were the days… Now-a-days, one would find all this and more on YouTube and it’s siblings…


I don’t think it was me who circled everything like that – probably the youngest child – but I like the way it turns what is merely a list into a kind of pattern.


One of the local art shows always asks for an ‘Artist Statement’ to accompany one’s work. I have great difficulty in writing these things – some artists list courses they’ve studied, past exhibitions and prizes won – but that isn’t me. This one must be around 15 years ago, my latest effort is different again. Although it’s a bit like pulling teeth, it is a really good exercise to write a piece describing yourself and your practice, because you have to actually think about it…If you are making a scrappy journal like this, make it a point to write an Artist Statement, and include it in your book!


Here is a more recent one – I do like to cook sometimes, so maybe I do want a kitchen…what about you?