Tuesday, 30 September 2008
*it's unremittingly grim and made me feel more like giving up than increasing my activism
*it's over 20 years old and despite all the activism of the last twenty years the film is still relevant - showing it now seems to imply activism changes nothing
*although the film has a message its quite nebulous and doesn't give the viewer a focus for any activism
In a general sense I would argue that films aren't intended necessarily to inspire activism, but this was a festival of activism. Which environmental films would you show to inspire activism? Indeed, are there any such films?
Monday, 29 September 2008
Sunday, 28 September 2008
two deer motionless
in a field
I wrote this haiku a while ago after seeing deer from a train window somewhere between Edinburgh and Glasgow. A week or so ago, i saw more deer, from a train window along the same route. You can read about those deer here on A handful of Stones.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Friday, 26 September 2008
I'm honoured to be the first guest poet on Gordon's blog and you can read my poem here.
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
slanting light glances
and five shades of rowan berries
the last poppy splashed
against ochre grass
the minor key
of robin's autumn song
Write on Wednesday asks us this week how detail oriented we are in our writing and what details matter to us. This blog is very much oriented to nature and the environment but even in my wider writing, the details of nature are what I notice most, also details like colour and sound. Autumn is a great time of year for me as a writer, because there are so many colours to notice.
I think though that its important not to over-describe, too many details can bog a piece down, there should be space for the reader to think about the piece and create their own mental picture.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Who else likes brambles? Find out more at the RSPB here. So I'm happy to let the rest of the berries go to the birds and the insects....
Monday, 22 September 2008
precision hunter, yellow eyes staring defiance,
pummels sparrow to extinction.
Domestic cat, disturbed by her internal tiger
leaps from the path with outstretched paws
wondering what is tiger for?
Sparrow-hawk sees only predator with claws
flies off, concedes defeat
returns to a hungry nest.
Overfed cat plays with sparrow, walks away,
tiger stripes blurring in her mind
to shimmering flames of domestic fire.
I realise its a while since I posted a poem and at the minute most of my writing is destined for other places, so here's an old one.....
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Apart from the current chaos on Edinburgh's roads because of the tram works (hey we can live with some chaos (even three years of it!) if the end result will be worth it!) the trams are I think misguided, because:
Edinburgh is a small compact city that probably doesn't really need trams as well as the excellent bus service it has (Lothian Buses are respected as a very good bus company)
the trams will serve such a restricted area - basically Leith Walk (down towards the Scottish Government offices), Princes Street (the main shopping street) and onwards to Haymarket train station and further to a stop bizarrely about ten minutes walk from the airport. There may also be a line down towards Granton, but since the new business and housing development in Granton is possibly not going ahead, due to the current economic uncertainties, that line may also not go ahead. These areas are all currently well served with buses, while large areas of the city currently with poorer bus services will be without trams.
all public transport money is being poured into the trams, with the result that bus services to outlying areas of the city are at best not getting more investment, at worst are being cut. People who live in outlying areas are already more likely to have cars than those of us who live in the centre and if their bus services get worse, they're certainly not going to be tempted to leave their cars at home...
when the trams arrive, it seems that no buses will run along Princes Street. (I may be wrong about this, does anyone know?) This means that someone who lives in Restalrig and works in Gorgie for example, who currently can get a bus directly from their home to their work, a 30 minute journey or so, in future will need to get a bus to Leith Walk, then get off and wait for a tram to Haymarket where they will need to get off and get a second bus. This is hardly going to encourage people out of their cars.
There will only be one tram stop on Princes Street! Princes Street is quite a long street and currently has several bus stops.......
our roads will be very restricted when the trams have taken over most of the space - I would guess it will be much more difficult for cyclists
You can read more about the chaos on our streets and the negative impact on local businesses caused by the tram roadworks at Bond Bloke's Edinburgh Day by Day blog here, here and here
public transport for Easy Street Prompts
Friday, 19 September 2008
After we had looked round the farm we had a barbecue and danced to some Cuban music. You can read a haiku about the barbeque on Over Forty Shades here.
Thursday, 18 September 2008
I posted a view of Weißig here on over Forty Shades.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
The Johansplatz Abenteuerspielplatz is a lovely green adventure playground with a climbing wall, lots of cycling activities, a Bauspielplatz area (where the children can build huts etc) lots of trees and some rabbits. You can see their rabbits here and the photo above shows my favourite, not that you should have favourites amongst rabbits of course!
Eselsnest is a donkey farm and adventure playground with rabbits too. It's a very large area of sand and feels a bit bleak to be honest, but the animals are nice and they have lots of activities for young people. Eselsnest has a website here (in German only) but there are plenty of photos on this page here (click on each photo on this page to reveal a whole new gallery!).
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Monday, 15 September 2008
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
In the garden this morning I was thinking about the Writer's State of Mind that Becca talks about this week in Write On Wednesday. In some senses I am very much in that state of mind when I'm gardening, I'm observant but my mind to some extent does wander beyond the tasks at hand. There was lots to see in the garden today, a beautiful lace wing, some small moths, lots of harvest spiders behind the buttercups (which have already inspired this poem), a lovely snail on its back, retracting its body into its shell - a future poem perhaps and the ripening blackberries which are more likely to inspire jam than a poem. I also planted some shade tolerant wildflower seeds which hopefully will grow and inspire at least a blog post next Spring!
I do find being in nature to be a great place to inspire the writer's state of mind. Whenever we go for a walk in the countryside or a park, I am constantly coming up with haiku, which I need to stop and write in my diary.
I try though to constantly be in a writer's state of mind, open to ideas and inspiration. I've had ideas for poems in business meetings and in night clubs, watching films or doing the washing up. So you never know.
overgrowing verges, persistent
weeds deep rooted under paving stones
in summer yellow flowers
glow in the undergrowth
and behind their thick mass
harvest spiders gather
their strange beauty
in a secret world
most gardeners would destroy
if only we could see them
with a rabbit's eyes!
You can read an imagined (and fanciful!) bunny's eye view of dandelions here.
Seeing the Ordinary with new eyes for Miss Rumphius
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
Also, I've just had two poems accepted to appear on Words-Myth in October. Words Myth was voted by readers and visitors to the Poetry Kit site as the "Favorite Internet based magazine 2007" so I'm delighted that i will be included on it!
The exhibition includes over 100 paintings from artists including Monet, Sisley, Degas and Whistler and covers the history of Impressionism and its effects on the Scottish art scene of the time. I went round the exhibition twice, once to have a close look at the paintings and to read the interesting labels that outline the influences between artists, and then standing in the middle of the room to get a better perspective on things - if ever paintings needed to be appreciated from afar its these ones.
My favourite paintings were those by Monet (especially Poplars on the Epte and his vibrant seascapes), and George Reid's painting of Montrose with the stunning clouds and reflections in the water. A large number of the paintings are landscapes and many others focus either on the dying traditions of rural life or on the industrialisation that was then beginning to threaten these traditions.
Bondbloke also recently saw this exhibition, you can read his review here on A Brush with Art.
Monday, 8 September 2008
Sunonhead shades his eyes from the river glare and jiggles his big toe to summon fishy fish, blind to his moonwife winding her way through dappled eucalypt and melaleuca scented shade. A dingo slinks past her on his way to the den and an echidna bristles.
The whole book is a must read for anyone who is already a fan of Paul's blog. If you're not yet a fan, you can start reading his blog here. I've said more about The Puzzle Box on Over Forty Shades, you can read about it here.
Sunday, 7 September 2008
There were some determined birdwatchers on the grassy banks near the shore, with telescopes and tripods (if you click on the photo below, you may be able to see some of them!), no doubt watching out for unusual passage migrants that might be blown off course into the Firth.
We went back onto the woodland track and found some interesting fungi, the photo below shows earth balls on a rotten tree stump.
Saturday, 6 September 2008
I feel sad for places I have lost - the fields near my parent's home that are now covered with houses, though one of the fields remains and now has a nice wildlife pond, this doesn't make up for the lost area. The new hotel and golf course near there too. Many similar lost areas in and around Edinburgh.
Places that will forever remain in my memory as they were years ago, because I haven't revisited and am indeed very unlikely to - the village in Cornwall I lived in briefly, the village in Malawi that I lived in for two years. These places must have changed, perhaps beyond recognition.
I feel the incremental loss of rainforests across the world, though I've never been to a rainforest. The area around Victoria Falls which once was rainforest, was already really just a small woodland when I visited though I could almost feel the memory of the rainforest there.
The Power of Place for Write On Wednesday
Friday, 5 September 2008
There is a haunting sense of mystery in a lot of the poems, which often seem fairly surreal and sometimes sinister:
twelve kinds of self reaping harvests move into refrigerated sky (from Schloss Solitude)
on ocean's map......marbles secretly constructed like revenge (from The Transmigration of Gardens)
flocks of concrete birds......cover your timeless window (from Constructed Ground)
This isn't easy poetry, but nor is it wilfully obscure. It deserves patient reading and re-reading, which will reveal it to be inspiring and meditative.
It feels perhaps a bit like a Chinese Puzzle Box, talking of which, many thanks to Paul over at Gingatao for sending me a copy of 'The Puzzle Box' his collection of poetry and prose, which I will say more about once I've read it, probably over at Over Forty Shades.
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
.....a warm glow slanting with a chill at its heart
when rowan berries shine like jewels
.....and the robin sings its sadder song
when the gold of August fields fades away to brown
.....and green becomes yellow above our heads
then swallows and martins chatter and flutter
gather in crowds on telephone wires
and wait for the northerly wind to blow them
south - its time to go, they know
Time to Leave for Totally Optional Prompts
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
I was impressed by the size of the nurseries, they're round the corner and across the road to the north of the Botanics and cover quite a large area. There are several polytunnels, a big potting shed, a tiny bee shed (which is going to be renovated so that volunteers can develop bee-keeping skills), some allotments for the students and a lovely wildflower meadow, that even now at the end of the season is very colourful and full of bees and hoverflies.
The nurseries also make bird and bat houses and insect hotels using reclaimed wood and slates.