Friday Poem:Descent

I’ve gone down into the back-catalogue again this week – almost precisely 17 years in fact. The subject, however, is an evergreen one, and timely, for me at least. Sometimes we have to descend into dark and uninviting places to find what we need…a-descent-1

The way down
Is rough and steep,
Precipitous in places
Where you fall, and
Crawl on, bruised.
It’s a narrow path
Hemmed in with brambles
And thickets of thorn,
That catch your clothes
And tear your skin.
Sharp stones cut your shoes
And cut your feet.
Somewhere else is mud
That clogs your feet
And makes them heavy.
It is gloomy down there;
The sun cannot reach you
Amongst the rocks and thorns.
But when,at last, you reach
The lowest, darkest place,
Torn, bloody, bruised and worn,
You will find there,
Pure and sweet,
A healing spring that rises
From the bitter earth.
This is the goal you struggled
Long and hard to reach;
This is the spring of Life
That rises out of Death.a-descent-3

Part of the fun of these poetry posts is choosing images from my photography that will, I hope, illuminate or otherwise complement the poem. I don’t often clamber down into dark ravines – not sure why not!- so I’ve picked 3 images from The Trip of a Lifetime that I think fit fairly well. The first is in Forest Park, near Portland Oregon, along a walking track to the Japanese Gardens there (below). The middle image is in Olympia Wa, near the old brewery at Tumwater. It seems like the middle of nowhere, yet there is a busy road up behind those trees.a-descent-2

Friday Poem:Unfoldment

It’s been a week since my Dad died. He was 85, and in poor health, so it came as no surprise. There’s been a lot of organising of travel arrangements, and looking for photos and reminiscing. It’s sad, but hardly tragic, and life goes on unfolding – what matters is love. Have you ever noticed how linens seem to expand and grow when you pull them out, and shake out the folds?folds3-a

I want to unpack my love
Bring it out of storage
Unfold it and keep unfolding
Spread it out across the world
‘Til there is nothing left unloved
And love has covered
Everything
Sheets and sheets of love
Reams of it
Unfolding from the cupboard of my heart
Fine linen bandages
Bolts of it unwinding

The more love is unfolded,
The more there is.

I took some photos of folds especially for this post. I think it’s amazing how much there is to see in such a simple subject, and a little tweaking of contrast and saturation can change plain white into lavender-pinks. The three pics in the gallery are all of the same raggedy, naturally dyed silk scarf, yet they are all a little different – just like us humans: basically the same, but all a bit different (some more so than others).

Creativity: A Top Top…

 

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A couple of months ago, I uploaded some of my photography to Vida, from where anyone can order custom garments with these images printed on them. The photo above of a small blue plastic top (possibly from a Christmas cracker) spinning in a patch of rainbow light is one of them.You can see more here.

It was hard to choose, but I had to order at least one to wear myself, if only to find out what they actually look like!

This morning, the parcel finally arrived…

Beautifully wrapped in brown tissue paper, and tied up with ribbon – my Top of the Rainbow top, all the way from Karachi, via California.It really is a global garment! The makers are provided with literacy programs, which enables a better life for them and their children, which for me is a considerable “added value” for designs on Vida.

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.

Friday Poem: I +II

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This week marked twenty two years since Kurt Cobain’s untimely death, an event that sent shock-waves around the world. I wrote this pair of poems months later, after my boring life had been “changed forever”, thanks to seeing Nirvana Unplugged on TV. These were the first in a flood of poems and art that came after…IMG_7956 (Large)

I

A soul hung out to dry
Hangs tattered in the wind:
A song grows ragged
As the voice wears thin:
These slender hands
Knew tenderness and sin:
No sunbeam shone:
There was no hope for him:
And all alone
He let the darkness in.

II

His life and soul
seem tangled into mine
He robs my sleep
He fills my head with songs
And he is dead.IMG_7962 (Large)

I don’t lie awake at night wondering why Kurt did it any more, but my life is so much richer for all the songs he (posthumously) led me to. Also, I don’t think I would have gone to Washington State on The Trip of a Lifetime, if it wasn’t for the Taking Punk To the Masses exhibition (featuring Nirvana) that was at Experience Music Project in Seattle – let alone to Aberdeen and the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (and yes, they really are…).

The images are of an Imperial White butterfly, which I found dead and took home to photograph, a detail of a lamp-shade I made from wire and eucalypt-dyed silk tulle, and wax-coated photo of a pre-school Kurt Cobain, resting in a vintage cup amongst my jewelry.

Friday Poem: What We Missed

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It’s just over 24 years now since my sister died, but this time of year still drags, and a vague sense of something missing – someone missing – dogs my days. I’ll be more cheerful again soon…Well, generally I am, but poetry is for trawling the deeps.

Also, I turn 60 in a couple of weeks. How can that be?

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When I am sixty and
you are still twenty seven…
That’s not what’s supposed
to happen.
We are supposed to grow up
and go on adventures.
We are supposed to cook meals
for each other,
play with the kids
exchange gifts at Christmas
grow old together.
We are supposed to spend
days in cafes
drinking coffee, reading papers
talking or just being there…
That’s what’s supposed to happen.

You were not supposed to
get sick and die.
I don’t like that kind of story.

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Christmas Eve Baby

No poem today – it’s Christmas, and it’s been an unusual one. Quite apart from being hot and windy (with a Total  Fire Ban), and not having everyone home(a rare event these days anyway), we ended up having a picnic lunch in Ballarat, before going to the hospital to meet the newest family member.

She arrived on Christmas Eve, and her Mum, Dad, Aunt,Uncle and Grandparents all agree that Matilda Merrilyn Hazel is a keeper!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Gathering

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One of the hazards of volunteering in an op shop/thrift store is the strong possibility of gathering appealing old objects such as these vintage amber glasses – 3 large, 2 small – which followed me home last week. The melamine tray they are sitting on I found in another oppy, and I use it all the time. So when I saw that the theme of the photography challenge is “gathering” this week, my hunting and gathering habits first came to mind.

Later, I went out to the garden and gathered these roses. Papa Meilland had plenty of blooms, and the weather forecast was for very hot and dry, so they would have been frizzled by mid-afternoon if I hadn’t picked them for inside.

This time of year is generally all about family (and friend, and work…) gatherings and shared feasts, but this year things are fairly quiet for us, as we await the birth of our second grandchild in the next day or two. We still don’t know where Christmas lunch will be, but we do know it will be some sort of picnic, and that there should be one more in the family by then.

Can’t wait to meet her (or, possibly, him)!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ornate

A challenge indeed for this week, since ornamented things are not my favourite to photograph. But the Weekly Photography challenge is to show something Ornate, so I have been thinking and thinking, and finally remembered the photos I took at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne when my daughter Lucie took part in an ornate graduation ceremony there.

 

The building is huge, completed in 1880, when minimalism was a concept no one had thought of yet, and too much decoration was never enough…The paintings of nearly -naked angels(?) gods(?) are a sight to behold! On the day I took the photos, hundreds of Melbourne Uni Grads and their families were seated downstairs for the ceremony, after which we all retired upstairs, where a feast of finger food had been laid on, and Lucie caught up with a young friend for a chat, and to admire the vast space below.

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The words “Carpe Diem”painted high on the wall seemed particularly appropriate for the occasion!

 

Friday Poem: Running Wild/Climbing

I had nothing in mind for this week’s poem post – it’s been busy around here, what with the Festival King and his various duties – but the Daily Post prompt caught my eye with the mention of American poet, Mary Oliver. I only discovered her work recently, when three separate references to her seemed like the Universe making a suggestion.evening light

So, I read the prompt, and thought…what poem have I written that would answer, opened a notebook, and there it was, a poem about finding my place in the world. Serendipitous synchronicity!

I’ve waited so long to make this journey:
Holding back, stayed by the family circle,
Not ready to leave the safe familiar;
But now I am impelled to climb and climb.

It’s a long way up, and steep and slippery,
But I will make it if I just keep on.
The path is marked with pointers showing me the way,
That give me comfort and confirm my choice.
If I grow weary and stumble and lose my way,
My guide just waits to lead me on again.

My reason says it’s crazy to go climbing,
But my heart knows it is true and it must be.
My spirit grows and opens up within me,
And when I reach the top, I will be free.poster wall 2

One of the pointers on my path away from being the Good Girl was reading Women Who Run With The Wolves, amongst other dangerously freeing and eye-opening books. So off I went spiritually, on a big adventure, in search of my own kind, which led at last to writing a blog…

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I’m turning 60(!) in a few months, and the “Punk’s not dead” poster is for my party.