Weekly Photography Challenge:Path +Poem

The week between Christmas and New Year is always rather strange – days seem to stretch and contract in the wake of the rush leading up to the holiday for some reason. We’ve also had some days of tropical heat and humidity, which are difficult to deal with in a normally Mediterranean climate…So it’s Friday already, and my path has at last reached WordPress for the Weekly Photography Challenge.july-aug-2011-584-large

This path is in the Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon, which we visited in 2011, and hope to see again some day. That’s a physical path. This poem travels a path too, and I took another path through my photos, looking for some to illuminate the poem.

I walked out the gate
And saw a rainbow
(Symbol of peace and hope)
My heart
(Symbol of love and passion)
Leapt up
sending the blood
(Symbol of empathy and life)
Coursing through my veins.

I couldn’t find an image of an actual rainbow, but I love prisms in the windows and the rainbows they cast around the room on sunny days. Tran(s)cendence (oops) is an image taken when I had a film camera and had to wait to have my pictures developed to find out how they turned out. It became part of a series of “Sukie’s Original Covers” – handmade CD covers using my work that I thought looked like “Cover Art”, inspired in no small way by Pixies “Dolittle”with Simon Larbalestier’s amazing photography in the inlay booklet.

Sukie’s Original became the name I use for all my artwork, and the Trancendence image is now printed on beautiful scarves by Vida. That’s a path I never expected to travel, but I’m happy that I did.scarf

Weekly Photography Challenge: Relax

At this time of year, with the clarion call of “buy! buy! BUY!” ringing across the land, “relax” is truly a challenge! Cats don’t have any urge to do Christmas shopping, so maybe that’s why Morgen can manage to sleep most of the day (and night). Me remaking the bed was only a temporary interruption…

I like my old eiderdowns (I’m not sure why they got the name – there’s no down in them) with their sweet rosey prints. They’ve usually got some wear and tear (literal) that has to be underneath out of sight.One of my cushions was made (upcycled) from a Nirvana Muddy Banks tee-shirt (wear and tear again!). The back of it features photos of the actual banks of the Wishkah River, from our visit there 5 years ago (they really are muddy…). Sewing is a way I like to relax, but I like to get the tidying up done first, unfortunately.

Friday Poem:To The Poet II

More than forty years ago, my husband joined a Record Club (LPs!). The deal was to buy six quite cheaply, and promise faithfully to buy more at the normal price. He ordered the five he liked, and Songs of Leonard Cohen to make up the six. I don’t know what the others were now, but I knew a poet when I heard one and bought all his albums over the years. I used to stack them in chronological order (can’t do that any more) and listen to Uncle Leonard while I painted. And now he’s gone, it seems, on that inevitable journey…still

Leonard where are you?
Where in the widening world –
Across what sea, what ocean,
On what continent?
In what house, what room, what space?
Beside what window;
Looking at what view –
What street, what hill, what trees,
What flowers?
Where is your mind, your art,
Your style?
Leonard where are you now?dscf4440-large

I wrote the poem in 1981, it seems so long ago (Nancy…)

Friday Poem:Spread My Wings

a-poppy

It is 21 years this week since I sat down on an ugly-but-practical brown couch and watched a Rage TV special – Nirvana Unplugged in New York. I’d heard of the band, I knew how the singer died, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s also true – that record changed my life.

I wrote this poem during the following year, expressing frustration with the constraints of my ordinary life. Nirvana fans might notice the influence of “Sappy”, but there’s a dash of Hank Williams in there, too.

cologne-s

This jar is far too small.
There is no room for my wings;
There is no room to fly;
I want to spread my wings.

I’m not a moonbeam in your jar;
I’m not a pretty toy;
I need to move, I need to breathe;
I want to spread my wings.

These air holes are too small.
You must not smother me;
I want to take the air,
I want to spread my wings.

Let me loose, what’s the use
Of keeping me in here.
I might not fly away,
But I want to spread my wingsa-collage-2

One of the things I did as I escaped from the jar of proper lady-like behaviour, was to stick anything that appealed to me on my wall. Nowadays, that’s an “Inspiration Board”, but twenty years ago, it was weirdly adolescent for a forty-year old woman with 5 kids…At some point, the collection came down, and was upcycled into a series of collages, of which this is one. There’s an apt quote on there-

“Our lives improve only when we take chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves”

Walter Anderson.

I also got rid of the brown couch, and as much other ugly-but -practical-with-kids brownness out of my house, and started surrounding myself with things that I actually liked.

After ordering and waiting patiently for “Nirvana Unplugged in New York (on cassette), I expanded my music collection, my library and my stash of art supplies. I now have the Melvins “Gluey Porch Treatments”, and  I’m reading  Bessel Van der Kolk’s ” The Body keeps The Score”, about the ongoing effects of trauma. When Micheal Azzerad asked Kurt, “Is your’s a sad story?” , he hesitated, and said “…No…”, going on to say that the events of his childhood were commonplace, which, unfortunately, they are. But it is a sad story, they are all sad stories, which Dr Van Der Kolk and his colleagues are learning to address with proper treatment – too late for Kurt, but there’s hope for another generation to have more than numbness – they will be able to spread their wings.

Friday Poem: Song For The Broken

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List-making is a time-honoured method of building a poem, and this poem is basically a list of attributes of a broken unhappy person – but, like Pandora’s box, there is Hope hidden at the bottom.remains small

Split-off
Over-feminised
Conflicted
Words words
Describe you
Circumscribe you
Cannot fill you in

Clouded
Hopeless
Emasculated
Time to run away
Burnt out
Faded
Imploded
Nothing defines you

Hours of madness
And joy
And despair
Joy & Woe
In the end
Emptiness
Quicksand to the neck
Dead sea

In the end
Something else begins
Begin again.
remains of the organ small

The first image is of Reedy Swamp (aptly named!) near Shepparton, and the other two are of the very broken old harmonium at my parent’s house. Mum would have liked to have had it restored, but Dad moved it outside when some decorating was being done, and that was the end of it as a musical instrument. Years later, it is a poetic ruin, covered in fallen leaves and sticks and slowly falling apart.

Friday Poem: Tristan On A Frosty Morning

It’s my middle son’s 35th birthday today, so it’s about 33 years since I wrote this – we were living in a suburb of Melbourne, next to a road reserve where wattle trees, dog roses and fennel grew wild. We walked along there twice a day in all weathers, escorting his big brother to his primary school. baby Tris

Tristan trots along in the sunlit frosty morning,
All grey and brown like a small bird,
Clothing with fennel feathers the naked rose bushes,
His nose all rosy, oblivious of the cold.dill1

He’s a bit younger in that pic than when I wrote the poem – all my photos from back then were slides, which are wonderful, but not easy to share when I only have a few minutes to spare, sadly. Now he’s a grown up with a child of his own, and a in a year or two, they’ll be able to go for glacially slow walks, studying nature and having fun.TRIS AND ME

This pic is from his 21st party – I converted that Something For Kate t-shirt into a cushion cover some time in those 14 years.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Admiration

The photography challenge this week – admiration– I had to check the meaning of ,  before I could make any choices. I was thinking of admirable people who I have no chance of photographing, but checking the dictionary, I realised I didn’t need to produce a picture of Mohondas Gandhi – just lovely things I approve of. Oh, I’ve got photos of those…
verb
  1. regard with respect or warm approval.
    • look at (something impressive or attractive) with pleasure.
      So – here is a gallery of things I regarded with respect and warm approval – and photographed -when I was on The Trip of a Lifetime in Seattle in 2011. First – Seattle, of course, then a Stellar Jay, the pink’n’orange siding of the Experience Music Project building,

       a seahorse at the Aquarium, a famous musician (my watercolour painting, from a photo of a torn poster. I know!), a detail of glassware at the Museum of Glass in  Tacoma. Lastly, a person whom I admire – photographer Charles Peterson – who was working and just hanging out. I snapped him as he was sharing his camera with a little kid in their group. I thought that was an admirable thing to do with a proper camera ! july-aug 2011 085editsmall

      I’m not sure if admiration is the right word for my feeling whenever I glimpsed the ghostly presence of Mt Rainier. We just don’t have mountains like that in Australia.