Friday Poem: Where I’m Coming From

I haven’t posted a poem for ages, but I’m back for today, at least. I’ve been asked (several times) where my antecedents came from, as if it mattered to who I am. But I don’t believe it matters very much where a great great grandparent was born. What matters is how you love.IMG_20170518_172123_919

I am born of earth.
I am human,
Made of stardust and love.

I don’t care
where you or your forebears
came from;
we are all out of Africa and ash.

I care about
Kindness
Peace Love Empathy
Justice, Compassion
Freedom and Joy.

I respect the compassionate.
My heart bleeds for the withered hearts
that only know hatred and fear.

I am bodhisattva;
I am of earth
to earth I shall return.IMG_20160711_191930

Advertisements

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.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Quest

Every week, the Photography Challenge sends me on a quest to find images that fit in with the week’s challenge – this week, that challenge is – Quest!. I’m staying at my daughter’s place in Canberra, cat and dog minding while they visit family back in Perth. If grand daughter Juniper was here, I’m sure I’d get some brand new pics of a quest to a playground, (with which Canberra is well supplied) but instead I’m sharing these from a few weeks ago. Juniper adores trains, she has a growing collection of engines from the Thomas stories, and she’s had rides on several miniature railways.

But this was her first real V-Line train ride, and it was exciting! I took this set of photos before we’d even left Ararat station on out quest to Melbourne. We had a ride on a suburban train later, but by then, the novelty had worn off, and she was much less impressed…img_8263edit

This photo is from April – she has even more trains now, and she knows and loves every one of them, but she’s always happy to go on an engine quest to a toy shop for more!

Creativity: On the Mat

I’m a regular volunteer at Ararat Regional Art Gallery, and one of my tasks is to help out with children’s workshops. A Mini-Maker’s Art Club started recently as a monthly story-and-craft session for preschoolers. I thought story time needed a suitably magical carpet for the littlies to sit on, and so I began to crochet one. It has grown a little bigger with each session, and all being well, I aim to have finished it by the July one.

I was inspired by the work of Alexandra Kehayoglou , but I don’t have the carpet loom or skills to copy her work. I do have free-form crochet skills and a stash of yarn that needs busting, so that’s how my “Moss carpet” has been growing.

One of our mums commented that it needed a pool, so I did one in blues with silver sparkles. Last night I made an arigurumi pebble to fill up a little round hole, and I will be making some more – can’t imagine why I didn’t think of it earlier!

The idea is to have a soft and tactile place to sit during story time – we have a supply of cushions as well – and to include little lumps and bump and many different textures so that it is always interesting. Ararat Regional Art Gallery has an international reputation with our permanent collection of textiles, so my story time mat complements that, too.

At present we are hosting a wonderful exhibition from NGV of Central Asian textiles and jewellery – a must-see for lovers of embroidery and textiles generally.

The creativity of the children’s clothing in particular is incredible – so many hours and loving stitches, amulets and protective symbols put in by mothers to clothe and keep their precious children safe. Have at look at the Gallery’s Facebook page (and like it while you’re there!) for a taste of what’s on show.

 

Friday Poem:Sorry, Muse

I’m away from home, spending time with my little granddaughter and her mum and dad. I’m busy doing “nothing”, keeping company with a toddler obsessed with Thomas the Tank and his friends. Poetry has taken a seat at the back of the bus (Bertie, to his friends), and yet…thinking about neglecting my Muse somehow seeded a poem….IMG_8358edit2I’m so sorry My Muse
I don’t mean to avoid you
I garner a few lines
And they vanish on the breeze
Like dandelion clocks
Scattering at a puff.

O My Muse
I am as vacant and empty
as a ploughed field
I am waiting for
wind-blown seeds
I am waiting for
Refreshing showers
I am waiting for you
Sweet Muse
to send down roots
and uncoil shoots
And bring me poems.IMG_2799 (Medium)

I had some fun looking for photos that would go with the words (the toddler is napping at present). The void is not highly regarded in Western culture, and yet emptiness is necessary before something new can come in and grow. Maybe I should be thanking my Muse for the blankness of my poetic sheet, not apologising…what do you think?IMG_7956 (Large)crop

The third photo is a detail of a lampshade I made from wire and eucalypt-dyed tulle and thin silk.

I feel like I should add a pic of Juni and her trains, just for the record. I’ve taken so many!IMG_8308edit

Creativity: Playing with Paint(.NET)

IMG_7462 (Large)

As you may know by now, I am celebrating turning (gasp) 60 by having a punk-themed party. I am also a Nirvana fan, and a feminist…I decided a detail of a collage would add something to the party decor, but the slightly blurry photo wasn’t all that exciting. So I decided to jazz it up a bit, using paint.NET.

posterized (Large)

After fiddling with brightness, contrast and saturation, I played around with curves until I had a look I liked (making the discoloured old newspaper clippings pink and orange). But that still seemed a bit dull, and I felt the dark spaces needed…something.

posterized with text (Large)

Writing using the mouse is a challenge – so I did that. I was surprised how neatly I managed to write the name of my “event”. I filled some more empty space with my “peace love empathy” bleeding rainbow heart symbol, and wrote in the words. Filling in the colours of the rainbow took a lot of effort, and frequent use of “control Z” to fix mistakes…because the original background is unevenly coloured, it was not a simple matter of filling the space between the lines, and the lighter section (the newspaper clipping) read as the same as the heart outline – resulting in the whole thing being coloured in….several times before I gave up and left that corner “as is”. Finally, in case anyone missed it, I underlined the more pertinent parts of the quote about women. I made the collage from bits and pieces that had been stuck on a wall in my studio a long time ago – 18 or 19 years – so unfortunately I have no idea who it was that said/wrote either of the quotes.