Monday 30 July 2007

haiku - compare and contrast

stone glows bright
in the hour before sunset -
black sky behind.

I've posted another compare and contrast haiku on my Alter Ego blog here.
Compare and Contrast for One Deep Breath.

Another Gift Box

It's an open theme at Inspire Me Thursday this week so here's another gift box! It is again made from a papier mache strawberry punnet from The Cyrenians organic farm just outside Edinburgh. They're the best strawberries ever too. See my first strawberry punnet gift box here.

Sunday 29 July 2007

Things I don't Own

These are just some of the modern essentials we don't own and we manage to live a close approximation of a 21st Century life:

car (I can't even drive!)
tumble drier

food processor or anything similar
coffee grinder/percolator
bath (we only have room for a shower)
hairdrier or any kind of hair styling paraphenalia

mobile phone
make up
electric toothbrush

We do own:

a computer with printer
a radio/cassette/record/CD player
a tv, video player and DVD player (the tv and video are old)
a fridge, washing machine and cooker
an iron, but we don't use it very often.....
a camera
2 alarm clocks

too many books

What do you not own that people would expect you to own? What do you own but you could consider giving up to reduce your impact on the environment?

Blogging for Positive Global Change 2

Inland Empire Girl of Gathering Around the Table has nominated me for the Blogging for POsitive Global Change Award! I'm totally delighted of course, you can read her post about it here. This is the second time I've been nominated and you can read my nominations and more about the award here.

Saturday 28 July 2007


As many of you will know today is the day for Blogathon, the marathon blogging effort for charity. It all starts at 0600 Pacific Time today! Its not too late to choose to sponsor one of the participants!

Abby of A G33k Tragedy is interviewing me sometime during her Blogathon. You can read my interview and any of her other interesting posts (one post every 24 hours and we're promised poetry and art as well as a variety of other blog posts!) on her Blogathon blog.

OUr interview can be read here.

Friday 27 July 2007

Blogging for Positive Global Change Award

Marcia of Tumbled Words and MeeAugraphie has nominated me for the Blogging for Positive Global Change Award. You can read her post about the award here. I am very honoured and I was touched by what she said about me. Congratulations also to Marcia for being nominated herself.

The award was created by Deborah (site founder) and Francis, her regular contributor, at the site: Climate of Our Future. There is a more complete description of the award on their site, but in short they said: This award goes out to all of the Bloggers for Positive Global Change. It’s not limited to any specific ideologies, religions or philosophies. It puts a premium on human compassion and the desire to make the world a better place for all of us, without exception.

So I am honoured indeed! The participation rules are simple:
1. When you get tagged, write a post with links to up to 5 blogs that you think are trying to change the world in a positive way.

2. In your post, make sure you link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you’re tagging, so they know they’re now part of the meme.
4. Optional: Proudly display the “Bloggers For Positive Global Change” award badge with a link to the post that you write up.

Now I get to pass the tag on to bloggers I feel are making a conscious difference. Given that the award originates from an environmental blog and given that this blog is environmental in focus, my nominees are all bloggers who I feel are working towards making a real difference to the environment:

Olympia Dumpster Divers was started in 2006 by Ruby Re-Usable to promote the appreciation of art from recycled, reused, discarded, unwanted, unloved, tossed and found, pre- and post- consumer waste materials. Her blog is colourful and full of ideas for creative re-use.

Deb Gorr of Bee Creative is not only a very creative artist often inspired by the natural world but she is blogging about her attempts to reduce her carbon emissions to 90% of the average, proving just how much we can all do if we try.

Jacquie of Wild Ink loves wilderness and is intrigued and inspired by the little things in the world that aren't always expected or supposed to be there: crows, coyotes, weeds, graffiti art. She has blogged on reuseable art and how to help save songbirds.

These are three bloggers really making a difference and they'd be delighted to have you visit them!

Thursday 26 July 2007

The Phenomenon of Climate Change

Climate Change has at last become a headline issue, not just something that idealistic environmentalists talk about. But has it become noticed soon enough for us to address the issues it throws up? I think the recent catastrophic flooding in England demonstrate that the issue is already really serious. Will people be prepared to make the lifestyle changes they need to make to prevent the worst case scenarios? Will we be able to reduce our consumption of oil, rather than expecting that we can find a technological fix to magically allow us to continue to live our current unsustainable lifestyles?

Some people think that there is still scientific debate over whether Climate Change is a natural phenomenon or whether it is due to human activities. According to reports I've read, there is actually a scientific consensus that it's mostly due to our activities (I think the historic evidence of natural climate change would certainly allow for an element of the natural in the current situation, but a minor element). In my opinion though, whether climate change is a natural phenomenon or human made, the reduction of the world's oil supplies, means we most certainly need to find ways to reduce our consumption, eg to fly less frequently, use less plastics, drive less, use less electricity.

Phenomenon for Sunday Scribblings

Gift Box

The Cyrenians in Edinburgh (a charity working with homeless people) have had a good season with the strawberries from their organic farm. Their strawberries are packaged in these cute and environmentally friendly papier mache boxes which I'm now decorating to use as gift boxes.

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Forest Design for Goddess and Nymphs

Diana, the virgin goddess, is just an excuse
for naked young women discreetly
veiled by hanging creepers
walking with familiar panthers
watched by cheeky monkeys
and black and white birds

Young hunters, women and felines, curve
along with the undergrowth
blend, unthreatening, into design

black is hair is leaf is monkey tail
red is hair is branch is ground
gold is leaf is hunting panther

Stylised forest of fluid movement
shimmers with gold-leaf
with light and the humour
of the wee green car in the corner.

Inspired by this painting

(Unfortunately the picture doesn't seem to load on the linked page at the minute. Sorry about that. I don't know where else to find the painting. It's Diana and her Nymphs by Robert Burns and yes it does have a little green car in the corner!)

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Chasing the Muse

Rob Kistner recently posted on his blog about how he evokes his writing muse and invited other bloggers to share their thoughts on this. So here are some of my ideas:

I have a big box full of ideas, phrases that have come to me, unfinished poems, ideas for topics for poems. Whenever I am stuck for ideas or whenever I just want to let my ideas wash around my head a bit, I browse through this box.

I also have a big box of cuttings from magazines etc, interesting pictures, details from pictures etc. These are mostly to use in collage, but sometimes a picture or a completed collage inspires a poem.

Whenever I am out walking, whether in the built up areas of Edinburgh, or in the green parts of the city or somewhere else entirely, I try to pay attention to everything I see and make notes on things that strike me as interesting. Nature is a huge source of inspiration for me.

I try to write ideas down as and when they come to me. However I have found recently that thoughts can simmer in my mind for a few hours or even a couple of days and develop into the beginning of a poem.

I write a lot of haiku, some of them aren't very good but haiku offer an excellent way of capturing a moment and honing my observational skills.

I read a lot of poetry so that my mind is overflowing with it. This means I am thinking poetically and because I read so many different poets, I am not unduly influenced by any one.

Sunday 22 July 2007

Mail Art - Creative Envelope Re-use

For this month's GPP Street Team Crusade I'm sharing some ideas for creative envelope reuse rather than making anything that could qualify as Mail Art as such. The photos show envelopes that have been altered by having flaps repaired, old addresses covered up etc using cuttings from magazines etc. I often design my reused envelopes to match a homemade greetings card or homemade notepaper. If I'm sending someone a book through the post, the patterns or pictures on the envelope may well match the theme of the book.

Saturday 21 July 2007

Travel Journal

This collage put itself together out of a reused coporate folder (with the names of countries printed on it), a box of tea and photos from magazines. Then I realised I should have a travel journal for my holidays! So this will be the front cover. The journal will be made from thick recycled paper and held together with ribbon.

Friday 20 July 2007


Wicked is what we're doing to the earth. Destroying so much beauty, the haunting green forests and their worlds of colour, the deserts and their tough inhabitants that are so good at making something out of seemingly nothing. Destroying other creatures' homes and our own life support system. We are many and we need places to live, but why have we lost our understanding of our home, why can modern societies not live in harmony with the land and its other inhabitants? Progress is inevitable for a creature with a brain as big as ours and the ability to speak but why is progress so often destructive? Why have we lost the one-ness with nature that so many aboriginal cultures still retain? Why do we so misunderstand these aboriginal cultures so much that we call them primitive?

Wicked for Sunday Scribblings

I recently posted about the threat to flamingoes on Lake Natron here.

Thursday 19 July 2007

Today at lunchtime

A couple argue
Behind the open windows –
Birds sing in the park.

Monday 16 July 2007

Bodies of Water

Today we had a perfect summer evening so we walked over to Arthur's Seat. The path from the grassy field up to the road is lined with flowers, including large amounts of my favourite flower Viper's Bugloss. Once on the road we see several rabbits shining in the sun on the steep slopes and a fox gleaming orange as it slinks into the gorse. On the other side of the road, gorse covered cliffs fall down to Duddingston:

geese -
synchronised swimming
on the loch.

Round the corner there is another, smaller loch, with a swan's nest in the middle and adolescent mallards dabbling. The light is perfect, reddening towards evening:

above the loch -
gulls gather.

Bodies of Water for One Deep Breath.
There's another body of water on this blog here and another on my Alter Ego blog.

Sunday 15 July 2007

Lake Natron

alkaline lake
shimmers caustic heat -
flamingoes nest

Lake Natron , a soda lake in East Africa, is probably the most important breeding ground for the lesser flamingo. The flamingoes can tolerate the seeming inhospitable lake and they are safe from predators as nothing else can tolerate the conditions. However industrial soda ash mining is threatening the future of this most spectacular bird. Read more here.

Friday 13 July 2007

Green Hair

No I've not dyed my hair green! I like my hair the way it is, long and brown with a touch of auburn. No the green is environmentally friendly! Haircare is probably for a lot of women pretty environmentally damaging with all the chemicals in shampoos and conditioners, the electricity for the hairdryer. These things can be bad for the hair too.

I wash my hair when it needs it, if I washed it too much the ends would dry and break. I use Yaoh shampoo and conditioner, which are made from 99% pure natural ingredients and the couple of artificial ingredients in there don't include such baddies as parabens and sodium lauryl sulphate. I let my hair dry naturally, I haven't had a hairdryer for 20 years.

I cut my own hair and have never dyed it or had highlights. I would consider using henna when I go grey, but it would depend how I went grey, sometimes grey hair can look really beautiful. I will eventually wear my hair shorter, but that's several years in the future.

Hair for Sunday Scribblings

Monday 9 July 2007

haiku - birds

swallows dip
over the swollen river –
summer rain.

metallic blue
flash of a kingfisher –
peat brown river.

birds for One Deep Breath

Sunday 8 July 2007

Giveaway - Update

I've just put all the names in a hat to draw the winner for the First Ever Crafty Green Poet Giveaway to recieve a copy of Wisteria magazine for haiku, senryu and related forms, plus a copy of my tiny haiku collection. The winner is Clare! Congratulations, I'll post the package to you as soon as you let me know your address!

To see the winner of the first Alter Ego giveaway, go here.

PS Wisteria have accepted one of my haiku to be published in their January 2008 issue!

Thursday 5 July 2007

Country Poem meme

I've been tagged by Jone and Whirling Dervish for the country poem meme as originating on Poefrika. The rules: Take a country whose name begins with the last letter of your surname. The last letter of my surmane is N. So I chose Nicaragua.

When you're nice and ready, tell us about the capital city of the country; Managua is the capital.

Say how many inhabitants that country has: 5.7 million.

Read more about Nicaragua here.

Find and share with us a poem in English of not more than 20 lines from that country. If it's longer, cut it to twenty lines or less;

Eheu - Ramon Dario

I am a student of the clouds,
I think I can interpret
the confidences of the wind,
the earth and the sea -

A few vague confidences
about being and non-being,
and fragments of awareness
from today and yesterday.

I stopped and cried out,
As if in the midst of a desert,
And I thought the sun was dead,
And I burst into tears.

I have to admit I'm not sure whether this is the whole poem or a fragment. Dario died in 1916 so I'm not breaking copyright by posting this, even if it is the complete poem!

read more about Ramon Dario and the importance of poetry in Nicaragua here.

Tell us something you particularly like about the poem you've chosen: I love how the narrator is in touch with and deeply affected by nature.

Add a line anywhere in the poem (beginning, middle or end), and clearly show which line is yours to avoid confusion and/or ambiguity.
Sorry I'm not going to do this, I respect the original artist's integrity too much!

So now its over to you! If you want to join in, consider yourself tagged and leave a comment here so I can find your post!

Tuesday 3 July 2007

haiga - light

A collage of old magazine images and reused wrapping paper to illustrate a haiku. The haiku is one of those I posted for One Deep Breath earlier this week:

clouds across the sun -

shade and light patchwork

the fields.

Light for Inspire Me Thursday

Look who's using chip fat in their vehicles!

I really don't want to have to mention in this blog the name of the fast food company that has decided to start running their fleet on a mix of 85 percent used chip oil and 15% rapeseed oil but you can read more about it here.

Monday 2 July 2007

haiku - shadow and light

clouds across the sun -
shade and light patchwork
the fields


evening sun -
shadow trees across
the lawn

Shadow and Light for
One Deep Breath

Sunday 1 July 2007

Glentress Forest, Peebles

Glentress Forest is a Forestry Commission Forest in the Scottish Borders. It is best known as offering a fine selection of routes and activities for mountain bikers but it is also a great area to walk through. We visited yesterday while we were in Peebles. It was great to see a lot of older trees with their branches covered in lichens and mosses, and some dead trees being allowed to lie and become homes for lichens, mosses, other small plants and bugs that will help them to decompose. The Forest is involved in an interesting experiment with the University of Edinburgh, testing the forestry yield of continuous cover forestry. This system means that trees are selectively felled and replaced in small groups and the whole area remains with some tree cover all the time. It seems to be an environmentally friendly form of forestry for temperate climates and certainly Glentress Forest seems to offer a rich variety of habitats for wildlife.