Thursday, 28 December 2006

Haiku - dusk

Wolves howl at the moon
their cries echo into space -
the first soft snowfall.
.........................................................................................
Thick blue silk of dusk
hangs over the sleepy town -
a saxophone plays.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Haiku - weathering, ageing

This week's prompt on One Deep Breath is weathering and ageing and my offering is a snapshot from the centre of Edinburgh on the 31st December:

more masonry falls
shaken by the fireworks -
another Hogmanay.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Drift

Seven years old, in my jigsaw world map
I saw the west coast of Africa
fit neatly beside Brazil
despite the expanse of ocean
that correctly came between
in broken blue.

Years later in a college lecture room
I discovered continental drift,
plate tectonics, theories of biogeography
and instantly understood.

Now, sifting through photographs
I see your distant face:
Africa to my Brazil.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Climate Change - Lifestyle Change

People in general at last seem to be accepting that Climate Change is really happening and could have serious repercussions for our way of life and for the natural world. The ice caps are melting, ocean levels are rising, extreme weather events are becoming more common. Certain species of animals and plants are disappearing from certain areas as the climate is no longer suitable for them, in some areas of the world human populations are becoming vulnerable to their homes being destroyed by rising tides or other extreme weather events.
We cannot carry on as we are doing, we need to make serious changes to the way we in the richer countries live our lives. This does not need to mean a total abandonment of everything we enjoy and it also is not entirely down to individuals, we need action from governments and big companies too. Governments should recognise that, now that a large proportion of the electorate are aware of environemental issues, it is time to start passing stringent environmental laws focussing on companies before individuals. Companies should be helped to produce more environmentally benign products and should be taxed for their pollution. Railway networks should be improved to reduce people's taste for short haul flights.
Things that individuals can do include: flying less, driving less, taking the train more, walking more, taking showers instead of baths, recycling more, reusing more, buying second hand. Reuse can be really creative, I try to include lots of ideas about that in the craft posts in this blog, second hand clothes can be more eye catching than new and second hand bookshops often have more interesting selections than do most high street bookstores in these days of 3 for 2 offers etc. As we slow our lives down we can take time to savour life, the time we spend with friends and walking in the countryside (while its still there).
Christmas should become a time for enjoying the company of our friends and family over and above shopping until we drop from exhaustion trying to find the latest hi-tec environmentally destructive gift for someone who already has everything.
Wishing everyone a very green Christmas.....
A different perspective on change can be found on my Alter Ego Blog, here.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Season's Greetings!

Christmas in Edinburgh

A fat orange cat on a window ledge, watches
geese on the shore of Duddingston Loch.
Snow on the summit of Arthur's Seat
glistens in the light of the yellow moon.
A Christmas tree gifted by Norway
sparkles on the top of the Mound
where trees draped in white fairy lights
line the path to the ice-rink in Princes Street Gardens.
Children ride the big Ferris wheel,
adults drinking mulled wine

wander round the German market.



Silence of Snow

Blizzard uniqueness falling to earth
suspended in silence.

Myriad marvels melting in flight,
merging in crisp carpet whiteness.

Falling snow magical joy inspires dreams
of finding twin snowflakes like four leaf clovers.

After storm sky-blue highlights the landscape
as each unique snowflake loses itself
in pristine perfection of snow.


For Poetry Thursday. Both these poems have been posted on this blog before, though I have significantly rewritten Christmas in Edinburgh.

I'd like to wish Season's Greetings to all readers of this blog!


Monday, 18 December 2006

haiku - storms

On One Deep Breath this week, the timely prompt is storms. We're currently very lucky in Edinburgh at the moment as large areas of Scotland have been flooded in recent storms. I've seen several storms in my life, the most spectacular recently being on the Mediterranean coast during an otherwise beautifully sunny November holiday last year. But the two haiku below are about storms in Malawi (where I lived for two years). We used to have a papaya tree in our garden until a particularly wild storm:

torrential rain floods
through the drainage ditches -
papaya tree falls



One of the most amazing things about many storms in Malawi was the lack of thunder:

lightening forks
over the hills by the lake -
a dry, silent night



another haiku on storms on my Alter Ego blog here.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Crafty Green Christmas 2 - Gifts

Really this should have been Crafty Green Christmas 1 if I had been planning properly! Ethical options for Christmas presents include:

virtual gifts such as offered through Oxfam Unwrapped
organic food hampers
fair-trade items

items made by locally based craftspeople
second hand items (best check whether people mind their gifts being second hand!)
hand made goods - especially when the gifts are made from reclaimed materials. Here are some hand made gifts I have posted on this blog:

Notebooks
Notelets and wallet

Mirrors - bought second hand and frames painted
pot pourri bags

Thursday, 14 December 2006

These Streets were Fields

She remembers when these streets were fields
stretching as far as her eyes could see
down to the beach.

Now she hangs her washing on a sad patch of grass
where once she lay in meadow flowers,
watching birds fly past.

She watches her sons play football on a concrete road
laid on the fields where her brothers played ball
when they were young.

She knows that bulldozers have now returned
to dig up the small field behind the school
and make another street.

But if she half closes her eyes and sits without moving
she can still hear the birds and grasshoppers
alive in the ghostly fields.



Streets for Poetry Thursday

Monday, 11 December 2006

Save the Children's Festival of Trees

This year, Save the Children's Festival of Trees is being held in Glasgow for the very first time, in the newly refurbished Main Hall of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The event centres on uniquely designed Christmas trees, created by some of the best contemporary designers and decorated with sought-after gifts. In contrast to the trees created by famous names and brands, one special tree was created, with support from the Glasgow office of Ernst & Young, by children and young people who are involved in Save the Children's projects in Glasgow. It is 'The Glasgow Tree' and every penny raised from the auction of this Tree will be spent by Save the Children on children's projects in the city.


Event details here:
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/scuk/jsp/resources/details.jsp?id=4321&group=getinvolved§ion=event&subsection=details

News item in Herald:
http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/75790.html

Haiku - containers

bottles now empty
once full of milk, wine, beer, oil –
recycle please!



secret dumping ground
for containers marked danger –
unexplained deaths.



containers - for One Deep Breath.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Crafty Green Christmas 1 - Wrapping Gifts


I like to wrap gifts in reclaimed materials, but that doesn't need to mean tatty looking scraps of paper. In this example I covered some thinness on the first layer of paper with a piece of a contrasting paper. The two gifts are tied together with reused raffia and the gift tag is made from reclaimed card with a photo from a wildlife magazine. I posted other ideas for gift wrap last year, you can see them here and here.
Now included in this week's Carnival of the Green.

Monday, 4 December 2006

Haiku - Close, Closer, Closer Still

In One Deep Breath this week we are asked to get close, closer and still closer in the observations in our haiku. This weekend I was visiting my parents in Worsley, near Manchester. We had a walk by the red Bridgewater Canal. These are my three haiku, which really call out for photos too, but we had forgotten our camera and my parents don't have a digital!


the red canal
flows through the village -
four swans.


two young swans
with plumage speckled grey -
historic bridge.


water droplets
sparkle on the swans' backs -
rainbows.