Tuesday 27 February 2007

The Art of Haiku edited by Gerald England

This is a great little book, a must for anyone interested in reading and writing haiku and related forms of poetry such as tanka and senryu. It includes articles on different aspects of haiku – including the concept of sabi, the inexpressible element of the content of haiku. Also covered are the difficulties of translating Japanese language haiku into English and the differences in the form in the two languages. There are articles on tanka, haibun and scifaiku (science fiction haiku). In addition there is an excellent selection of haiku, tanka and haibun, to showcase some of the best examples of each form.

The book is available from and costs £5 in the UK. Overseas rates available. More information at: http://www.geraldengland.co.uk/nhi/hk2000.htm

Monday 26 February 2007

Haiku - colour

snow melts
under spring blue skies -
purple crocus.

fallen stars
in a carpet of green -
yellow celandines.

Colour for One Deep Breath

Sunday 25 February 2007

Pied Kingfisher, Lake Malawi, 1991

Inspire Me Thursday are continuing with the theme of Abandoned Art this week. Following on from last week, I found some very old artworks that I thought might be worth sharing here. So for the next few weeks, there will be one a week. This is a pencil crayon drawing of a pied kingfisher hovering above Lake Malawi. It isn't abandoned though, only old!
The theme this week was extended to encourage us to think about using abandoned objects in our artworks. Well this is what I do all the time, if you want to see some examples, please feel free to browse under the labels 'crafts' or 're-use' on the sidebar.

Saturday 24 February 2007

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino

This is a fabulous book! Cosimo decides after an argument with his father that he will go and live in the trees and not come down! In fact he is true to his word (how many of us made equally silly promises when we were young and couldn't keep them?). He manages to live a full and useful life in the trees, preventing fires spreading, hunting food for himself and even having love affairs. Here is a lesson in sustainability and living closer to nature, a plea for tolerance for everyone who chooses to live their lives differently and a totally entertaining read.

It's by Calvino, of course its brilliant!

Thursday 22 February 2007

What a Woman's Body Once Knew

Rooted in earth, she danced
in time with the phases of the moon.

Now our bodies are alien,
rootless and blinded by neon
we can barely see the moon.

For another poem on this topic, please visit Vertigo on my Alter Ego blog.

The Body Knows for Poetry Thursday

Wednesday 21 February 2007

Science of Sleep

This film, directed by Michel Gondray and starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg is many things. In turn it is surreal, hilarious, silly, inventive, banal and thought provoking. But more than anything it is an inspiration to crafters!

The story revolves around Stephane (played by Bernal) a socially inept Mexican living in Paris yet unable to speak French (this is a transparent excuse to shoot the film mostly in English, to give it a better chance of success in English speaking countries). His main characteristic is his inability to differentiate between reality and dream. This is where the craft inspiration comes in. His dreams take place in a wonderful world of cities made from cardboard tubes where felt boats sail across seas made from re-used cellophane sweet wrappers......

Monday 19 February 2007

Spicy Fibs!

The challenge on One Deep Breath this week is to write fibs about spices. Here are my three:

herbs and yes, spices
for a clear conscience as you cook
on your
to add as you cook.
The freshest spice you'll ever find.
pepper gives
fire and extra bite.
Watch all your senses set alight!

Sunday 18 February 2007

Journalling the Everyday! GPP Street Team

This month's Challenge on GPP Street Team is to make journal pages for the 'Everyday'. I'm made a small journal from a junk mail brochure - what can get more everyday than that! The front is covered with re-used wrapping paper and inside there are pages for various aspects of my 'everyday life', using photos and lettering from magazines, publicity materials along with my own drawings.

The topics here are technology (using mostly the page from the original publicity brochure and reflecting our recent frustrations with broadband technology!), our pet rabbit, green lifestyle (listing some of the ways we can green our lifestyle, plus a photo of a local bus), nature (with a drawing of the pied wagtail, one of my favourite urban birds and one I've seen increasingly frequently over the past few weeks),
poetry (with one of my own poems and an illustration) and Edinburgh, the city we live in. Over on my Alter Ego blog are the photos for the journal pages on love, cinema, languages and clubbing. Missing pages (ie I've not done them) are on work, clothes and reading).

Saturday 17 February 2007

Cammo Country Park

Cammo Country Park is one of several 'country parks' in and around Edinburgh. It is a nice area of woodland and open grassland, with an interesting selection of birds. We try to visit it regularly, but always go sometime in late February for the snowdrops, that cover large areas of the park at this time of year:
walled garden
full of snowdrops -
winter sunshine.
The other joy of Cammo at this time of year is the birdsong that tumbles from every branch:
robin's wistful song
and great tit's stridents calls -
the end of winter.

Friday 16 February 2007

The Roaches Have No King by Daniel Ewan Weiss

This is a brilliant book, sometimes hilarious, sometimes gross and always intelligent and clever. The basic plot is that cockroaches take over an apartment and try to manipulate the human inhabitants into making life better for them, the cockroaches. The fact that the story is narrated from the point of view of a cockroach gives the author plenty of opportunity to make observations on evolution, ecology and human civilisation from a distinctly non-human viewpoint. I love the way that each roach has a life philosophy drawn from the book he or she was eating through when growing up! Its certainly a thought provoking book as well as very entertaining, but not for the faint hearted!

Winter Morning - a prose poem

Pink wisps of cloud pass overhead against the cold blue sky that stretches to the horizon where the sun struggles over the hills in a blaze of orange. Frost sparkles in pale sunlight on black branches that rise starkly from the trees that shelter the first snowdrops, their white heads bowed gently. A blackbird flies up from the path to land on a branch where it throws its head back and opens its orange beak. Blissful shivering melodies against the chill quiet of the day.

Prose poetry for Poetry Thursday

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Think Before You Buy Flowers for Your Valentine

You could be helping to destroy the ecological balance and communities around what was once one of Kenya's most beautiful lakes:


If you buy flowers, try to make sure they've been grown closer to home. For some ideas for fairtrade Valentines Gifts, please visit here.

Warm Heart of Africa

Inspire Me Thursday this week asks for art inspired by hearts, to mark Valentines Day. I was stuck for a while, caught between the sugary sweet of romance and the goriness of heart surgery. I quickly remembered my years in Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa and put together this piece. The photo is of the Primary School in Malindi, the village where I lived for two years - education is after all at the heart of Malawi's development. The background is from a chocolate box (a subtle hint of romance there!) and the letters are cut out of a magazine.

Monday 12 February 2007

Haiku - Shelter

dark sky glowers
over endless heather -
one white-washed cottage.
woven nest of sticks,
covered with lichen and moss -
four small eggs.
Shelter for One Deep Breath.

Sunday 11 February 2007

Decorated frame

I've finally got round to doing some more frames! I had bought several plain wooden frames and mirrors from a second hand shop, with the intention of decorating them, but have been slow to get round to it. (The labels on new Blogger that show Crafty Green Poet is more Green Poet than Crafty anything helped to motivate me here!). I've just glued patterns from a catalogue onto the plain wood, varnished it and and it looks quite nice. A pretty way to brighten up a plain frame!

Thursday 8 February 2007

Changing Seasons

first snowdrop -
the hope of spring
in winter.
this winter
brightened every day
with blossom.
Changes for Poetry Thursday.

Wednesday 7 February 2007

Playlist - Environmental Songs

Inspired partly by GeL's Tuesday Afternoon Tunes Idea and partly by an archive prompt from GPP Street Team, here is a list of 5 of the best environmental songs I could think of, with each artist being limited to one track.
1. World Falls - Indigo Girls
2. Timburetza Lingua - Ani di Franco
3. Giving it All Away - Hothouse Flowers
4. If a Tree Falls - Bruce Cockburn
5. Twyford Down - Galliano.
What are your favourite songs about the environment? I'll be doing future playlists in the future, specific environmental and related themes on this blog (There'll be some horses galloping along very soon, for example!) and other themes on my Alter Ego blog.

Tuesday 6 February 2007

Fabulous Freecycle.....

I still really prefer to give things to charity because I like the thought of my things going straight to people in need or money being raised from my unwanted things to help a charity's vital work. Plus, it's easier to put small things in a bag and take them to the nearest charity shop, rather than make arrangements for pick up. But, for those awkward things that the charities 'can't pass on to their clients' or 'can't sell' in their shops (for us this has recently included some really nice shelving) Freecycle is fab! Advertise your things and people want them! Your junk finds a new home! Everyone's happy!

Monday 5 February 2007

Haiku - Twilight, Dusk

sunset fades
to a memory -
blackbird song.
rising moon caught
in empty black branches -
blue velvet sky.
dusk haunts
the garden -
after sunset -
Dusk / twilight for One Deep Breath

Thursday 1 February 2007

Proof of Spring in February

Let hope be the sound of blackbird song
pre-dawn when it still feels like winter

Let joy be crocuses, glowing yellow
against snow under empty trees

and if geese overhead are heralds
bringing Spring on their frosted wings

then when squirrel drinks from melt-water
in the crook of an old oak tree

it is proof that Spring will return
like a deer to the bluebell woods.

Proofs for Poetry Thursday.

Can we prove love? Find out on my Alter Ego blog here.