Saturday, 31 May 2008
while drinking tea as daylight turned to dusk,
bougainvillea above our heads still
dancing pink against the darkening blue
and, flying fast against the fading light
returning to its tree - a fish eagle.
Each day the haunting calls of the eagle
echoed from shire to shore across the lake.
A heavy bird, in flight it seemed so light
as it hunted for fish from dawn to dusk
moving quickly against the sky of blue
and diving in the lake so clear and still.
As the big bird passed we would sit quite still
awestruck by the grace of the fish eagle.
Sometimes we would walk in the evening blue
to look for other birds around the lake -
the weaver birds displaying until dusk
their wingtips fluttering in the fading light.
Sometimes we would see the flickering lights
of fishing boats floating on the lake, still
and motionless in the gathering dusk,
competing for food with the fish eagle.
The fishermen shouted across the lake,
the football scores echoing in the blue.
Once I sat on the beach, feeling quite blue
and watched the fireflies glimmering with light
as they gathered by the side of the lake.
I began to feel so peaceful and still -
above my head the call of the eagle
heralded another gathering dusk.
I left the beach to get home before dusk,
saw a kingfisher with its flash of blue
(a much smaller bird than the fish eagle)
startlingly bright in the pale evening light -
the colour stayed in my mind's eye as still
I walked to my house with views of the lake.
I heard the eagle call above the lake-
in the blue evening the world felt so still
and in deepening dusk my heart became light.
Unleash the Poem Within recommends using the sestina to explore memory.
Read Write Poem this week asks us to play about with form, using one form to rewrite a poem that was originally in another form. This poem, my first attempt at a sestina, is sort of a reworking of After Sunset, Lake Malawi.
Friday, 30 May 2008
Then pausing at the gate one night
he thinks of seven. Not trees. Not dogs.
Just seven. Like The Plough
before God put the stars in.
The collection also includes elegant new versions of Odes by Horace and a poetic condensation of a novel by John Buchan. I was sent this book by another member of Bookcrossing and now need to pass it on to the next on the list, but I may need to go out and buy a copy...
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Here are the rules:
You must link to the originator of the meme ( that is Tara ), list the following rules, and then tell:
1-The name that the family uses daily ( such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James ).
2-The name that is particular, a name that is peculiar, and more dignified ( such as Munkstrap, Quaxo or Coricopat )
3-What you are doing when you are thinking of the name only you know, and will never confess, that deep inscrutable name. Then tag three cats ( or other creatures) to give us their names.
Anya's answers would have been:
3. lying sprawled out after eating dandelions
Most of the blogging rabbits I know have answered this meme already (or are thinking about it!) so I'll just tag Inland Empire Girl who has plenty of pets who could answer this meme, but anyone else out there with a pet who'd like to do this meme, feel free and let me know in the comments that you've done it so I can find your answers!
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Monday, 26 May 2008
We also wandered up Kinnoull Hill, which, on the lower slopes, is beautiful woodland, full of birdsong (especially the descending trill of the willow warbler) (see photo above) and more open at the top, with steep cliffs falling down to the plains below.
a ruined tower
beside perilous cliffs -
a peregrine hunts
It was wonderful to see this bird of prey as it glided past and dived near us several times. They're quite uncommon and certainly I've rarely seen them anywhere. On the bus home we saw three deer in the woods just outside Perth.
Saturday, 24 May 2008
North Light - Contemporary Photography (on until 8 June at the City Art Centre ) is a varied and interesting collection. A lot of the photos on show are social commentary, ranging from black and white photos of Edinburgh in the 1960s to more recent vibrantly colourful photos of a Sikh wedding ceremony. My favourites were the black and white photos taken in Orkney - Thomas Joshua Cooper's stark landscape of part of the Old Man of Hoy and Albert Watson's series of photos of stones - a standing stone and large scale close ups of ancient mortar and pestle. I left wishing more photos had been on show....
Across the road from the City Art Centre in the Fruitmarket Gallery was an exhhibition of works from Lucy Skaer (on until 9 July). Skaer's work is varied and interesting but sometimes feels to me to be too experimental, just for the same of being experimental. The highlight for me was her large scale reworking of the iconic Japanese print of the Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai , her version is entirely made up of grey spirals of various sizes - the exhibition is worth going to purely for this piece.
Friday, 23 May 2008
Thursday, 22 May 2008
They swoop so low and soar so high
I think there may be more than ten -
do you see the swifts are here again?
We know it's summer round here when
our favourite bird comes gliding by
You see the swifts are here! Again
they sweep so low and soar so high!
A triolet for Totally Optional Prompts. It reflects my conversation when looking out of our window at this time of year!
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
an owl hoots under the light of the moon
The city streets are deserted tonight
tv aerials held tight to the moon
A girl stares out of her bedroom window
she wants to take a bite out of the moon
A young boy runs into the empty street
trying to fly his kite to the moon
Musing and gazing out into the dark
Crafty green poet delights in the moon.
Chapter 4 of Unleash the Poem Within suggests that the ghazal is a perfect form for daydreaming and letting your mind wander.
The Ghazal Page , an excellent resource to find out more about this fascinating form, is currently holding a competition for moon ghazals.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
My problem with formal verse has always centred on why to use a particular form, I'm a prolific haiku writer because that is a form that suits my way of looking at the world and the things that inspire me, but I don't like to write, for example, a sonnet, just for the sake of it, I want to feel it's the right form for the thoughts I want to express. This book really helped me with its chapters outlining why each form suits particular situations, eg:
sonnet - working out emotions
sestina - making sense of memory
ghazal - allowing your mind to wander
haiku - living in the moment
villanelle - accessing your inner voice
ode - dwelling on what is good in your life
I know that each form suits other situations too, but this was really helpful in getting me to think about form and when I can use it. So in the next few weeks and months, watch out for posts here containing my first ghazals and sestinas!
The book is aimed at beginner poets and women interested in poetry as therapy. As the author says: 'I decided to write a book on poetical form because it is something I can wholeheartedly believe in and can provide personal testimony about. It can help women to live fuller, more in tune lives...' It's a book about allowing creativity to help you explore personal issues and though it is also useful for free verse writers who want to start exploring form, it is not a manual for the experienced poet who wants to develop skills in writing quality formal verse.
Unleash the Poem Within by Wendy Nyemaster, published by Source Books.
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Walking into the Botanics, we noticed the new bird feeding centre that has been set up near the North Gate. We saw a greenfinch, a chaffinch and a couple of blue tits here as well as a grey squirrel and several feral pigeons, waiting underneath the feeders to pick up food dropped by the smaller birds. We had a very good view of a long tailed tit just at the edge of the Chinese Hillside.
We had a cup of tea in the Botanics Cafe, which is always a good place to get close views of more common birds such as robins or blackbirds. Today we were lucky enough to see a treecreeper climbing up a tree and then flying from tree to tree. We also saw blue tits, dunnocks, chaffinches as well as blackbirds and robins.
Saturday, 17 May 2008
squabble over perching rights
on chimney pots,
throw back their heads
in raucous chorus,
rip rubbish sacks to shreds,
steal chicks from nests
and devour them on the roofs
then launch into the sky
to soar on thermals,
sharp white wings
against the blue.
Soar for Sunday Scribblings
If you're here via Sunday Scribblings, why not browse the rest of my blog here.
*Recycling computers is a good thing, if done locally in an environmentally friendly way. In the UK there are a number of companies that refurbish computers and donate them to community groups that need them. For a list of these companies see here.
Friday, 16 May 2008
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Find out more about the Fuel Pod, which can be used to recycle waste oil into biofuel on the Green Fuels website.
Of course, finding environmentally friendly fuel for your car is good but finding an alternative to the car whenever possible is even better! We're lucky in that Edinburgh is a small city, pleasant and easy to walk round and with very good public transport (and there are bus companies in Scotland that run their vehicles on biofuels made from recycled cooking oils!).
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Only your ghosts dance
while cranes of another kind
dance cities into being.
All that remain of you are
a fading crackle of your energy
and some grainy video footage
that people in the new cities
will watch to marvel
at the wonders the world
The International Crane Foundation works to protect crane species across the world.
I'm delighted that this poem has been included in an English language and literature text book in India. However, if you are an Indian student who is using this text book, please note - I cannot help you with homework questions that relate to interpreting this poem though I can answer other questions about my poetry in general.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
lesser black backed gull
in summer we also see swifts
I recently once saw a grey heron fly by and my partner has seen some sort of bird of prey
I have heard what sounded like a blackcap singing, but that seems unlikely, it was more likely a dunnock, which has a nice song that I can never recognise unless I can see the dunnock at the time!
Monday, 12 May 2008
six ducklings leap one by one
into the river
there's another mother bird in this poem.
Over on Over Forty Shades, you can read a poem I wrote about a mother and daughter here and on Cynthia's blog, Epiphany: Amour Habito Intus Vos you can read a poem I wrote about my grandmother here.
Mothers for Read Write Poem
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Saturday, 10 May 2008
Friday, 9 May 2008
Thursday, 8 May 2008
coffee is drunk but doesn’t keep awake.
Bored fingers crumb biscuits,
leaf through unread notes.
Absent minds wander.
Outside, birds discover spring,
the river dances,
a young woman passes by,
blonde hair flying free.
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
84 percent of the scored companies —among them some of the world's largest -- made improvements in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and to make information about those actions actions easily accessible to consumers.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Monday, 5 May 2008
where old satellite photos show
there were once forests and fertile plains
farmers scratch a poor living
and hide from packs of rabid dogs.
Vultures once cleaned up the dead
animals that now pile
across the land. The last vultures
died years ago, staggering and deformed
poisoned by banned drugs.
The aliens behind their invisibility shields
telemessage back to their planet
turn through the wormhole
Population of white backed vulture in northern India in 1990s - 30 million
Population of white backed vultures today - 11 000
The dramatic fall in population has been caused by use of the veterinary drug Diclofenac, which stays in the carcasses of domestic animals and is then ingested by vutures. The drug has been banned for animal use but is still available for human use and is still finding its way into the vultures. The drug Meloxicam is a vulture-safe alternative to Diclofenac. All three species of Indian vulture will probably be extinct within ten years. There is evidence that Diclofenac is now being exported to Africa.
To find out more about vultures in crisis across the world and about successful breeding programmes, visit the Vulture Rescue website. If you live within the distribution range of any vultures in Asia, you can help map their popluations, see here for details.
Science Fiction for Read Write Poem
You can read my recent scifaiku here and here.
You can read an earlier poem I wrote about vultures here.
Sunday, 4 May 2008
Saturday, 3 May 2008
Torrential rain for Weekend Wordsmith
You can read about previous walks round Arthur's Seat (and see photos!) here.
Friday, 2 May 2008
Mother is the brown of polished chestnuts
with a beak as bright as her mate's.
Dutifully they collect food, wait
every morning for the feast of raisins
to carry to their brood
hidden in a garden tree.
Soon they will come to the lawn
with large-mouthed, speckled young
teach them to pull worms from grass
to recognise the footsteps
that promise raisins.
for my parents, who feed raisins to the blackbirds
Family for Sunday Scribblings
Thursday, 1 May 2008
My prompt on Science Fiction poetry is now up at Read Write Poem - you can read it here! I'll be posting my response to the prompt here on Monday, but meanwhile here is a scifaiku I recently wrote (strange layout courtesy of Blogger!):
pewter sky glowers
over the leaden land -
I posted another scifaiku over on Over Forty Shades, which you can read here.