Friday 29 February 2008
The photos in this exhibition are all in black and white which adds to the sense of travelling back in time and also seems to add to the grandeur of the scenery. The landscapes are stunning,mostly from Yosemite but also from other areas of the USA. Adams seemed always to capture moments of wonderfully beautiful light or spectacular storms, the rising moon or the eclipsed sun. The rivers almost leap out of his photos. As well as landscapes there are a lot of almost abstract photos of trees, where the texture of the bark or the shape of the branches becomes the focus of the photo. Other photos feature parts of machinery or buildings. But it is the photos of landscapes and trees that are most magnificent and also demonstrate Adams' keen interest in the environment, for which he was a tireless campaigner.
Showing with this exhibition was a small exhibition of the black and white landscape photography of Lindsay Robertson, a Scottish photographer. His photos are stunning too. I really like how he had taken photos of some of the same areas in the USA as had Adams (showing the same view from different points in time). Sometimes his photos are in reply to Adams, for instance whereas Adams had taken a photo of the Golden Gate in San Francisco before the building of the famous bridge, Robertson had taken a photo of the Sound of Sleat before the Skye Road bridge had been built. In these cases, it is interesting to go back in time to see the landscape unspoiled by the bridges, though both bridges are themselves beautiful. It was interesting too how in Robertson's exhibition photos of the USA were displayed next to photos of Scotland. Our scenery may be on a much smaller scale, but its just as spectacular in its own way.
Ansel Adams: Celebration of Genius and The Landscape Photography of Lindsay Robertson
until 19 April at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Time Machine for Sunday Scribblings
Thursday 28 February 2008
The little Cessna flies low
over the socked in snowfields
It's a late spring silent spring
makes discreet reference to Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring. But Ferlinghetti also has a light touch, in Populist Manifesto, he nods at Allen Ginsberg's Howl (which he published) with these lines:
We have seen the best minds of our generation
destroyed by boredom at poetry readings.
I can't imagine anyone being destroyed by boredom at Ferlinghetti's readings!
Wednesday 27 February 2008
photo taken by my partner in Orkney September 2007 (click on it to see the fossils)
A Scribbled Message for Totally Optional Prompts
Tuesday 26 February 2008
Na at Shadows and Clouds (Italy)
Polona at Crows and Daisies (Slovenia)
Paul at Gingatao (Australia)
Clare at Clare's Sunflower Sky (USA)
Rethabile at Poefrika (France)
Monday 25 February 2008
Chasing around the clouds.
The ancients would respect such an omen in the skies,
A message from a god who speaks a language
We now refuse the time to understand or even recognise.
Time was even the rainbow meant something –
A grave covenant with a listening world in awe.
Now only the astronomers stop and stare,
Look up in delight to analyse and compare
And add this phenomenon to their lists.
Under the spinning, sparkling, shimmering lights,
Mothers hurry children onward home
And stop them staring at the sky.
But the children somehow understand
This power of the heavens reaching out,
Demanding their time to be still and watch.
They know it will be fish fingers again tomorrow,
But mother of pearl clouds not for twenty years.
Previously published in Acumen
Sunday 24 February 2008
Saturday 23 February 2008
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.
previously published in Curlew magazine
unneeded(?) puzzle pieces for Weekend Wordsmith
Friday 22 February 2008
Thursday 21 February 2008
1. World Falls written by Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls - my favourite all round band, who I saw in concert three times last time they were in Scotland several years ago. World Falls is from their 1990 album Nomads, Indians, Saints:
I've slept in rainy canyon lands, cold drenched to my skin.
I always wake to find a face to calm these troubled lands
This world falls on me with dreams of immortality
Everywhere I turn all the beauty that keeps shaking me.
2. Celestial Horses by Bruce Cockburn, he's a great activist musician, whose song When a Tree Falls helped to shape my environmental conscience when I was a teenager. Celestial Horses comes from his 2002 Album You've Never Seen Anything and the lyrics are among his most poetic:
Tomorrow may be a hissing blowtorch
may be a silken sky shaken by the wind
that whirls in the wake of those whispering horses
But there's always a pillar of cloud on the valley's rim
There's darkness in the canyon
3. Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen. This is one of the many songs from Cohen that poetically links the personal and the poetical, one minute this is a song for dying love, the next its a warning on the state of the world:
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking. Everybody knows that the captain lied.
Everybody got this broken feeling like their father or their dog just died.
4. Crescent Moon by Cowboy Junkies from their 1993 album Pale Sun Crescent Moon.
Out among the fields gently hipped
beneath the corn
Assiniboine bones beneath the Highway
he stood there and he thought of home.
A finger traces the path of a satellite.
You're drawn to a distant copse of trees.
A voice as sweet as Mare's Tail
clings to the prairie breeze.
5. Birds by Aztec Camera from their very poetic 1993 album Dreamland:
I take a winter coat and walk the square
the people gather
and the birds they scare concrete and clay
conspire to cage me there
among the lost boys down in the streets
i see the trees grow bare
broken and battered in the thinning air
the birds are scattered in my footsteps there
I now tag gromit at Goss with Gromit (because she asked me to!) and Rethabile - and you! Join in if you want to and if you do, remember to leave a link in the comments here so I can come and read your answers!
Wednesday 20 February 2008
the almost full moon
as it rose
to redden later
but from our window
all we could see
Total Lunar Eclipse, 21 February 2008
edited on 21 February, I wrote this poem on 20 February, thinking I'd missed the eclipse but I'd got the date wrong. As it was though the situation turned out to be as predicted in my poem!
Monday 18 February 2008
in a noisy, dusty room -
cheap student labour.
counting all the plants
in a square metre of grass -
surrounded by cows
taking soil samples
to the lab to count earthworms -
rucksack full of dirt.
bad jobs for Mad Kanes Haiku Prompt.
Saturday 16 February 2008
Friday 15 February 2008
Thursday 14 February 2008
Wednesday 13 February 2008
Tuesday 12 February 2008
The workshops at Waste Innovations have been cancelled again. No new dates I'm afraid!
February 2009 - writing workshop at Vogrie Country Park, Midlothian. Date to be confirmed and details to follow!
Monday 11 February 2008
Sunday 10 February 2008
d) Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen - the Bunnymen!
e) The theme tune to the Teletubbies - lots of giant rabbits in teletubby land!
2. Favourite toys
a) my cardboard tunnel, I loved to sit in it!
b) small cardboard tubes to chew and throw around
c) old pillowcases to chew
d) a plastic figurine of the lion king
e) pine cones to chew and throw around
3. Favourite food
a) dandelions, dandelions, dandelions!
4. Favourite activities
a) posing and looking beautiful
b) running round the flat
c) binkying (the bunny dance of joy)
5. Bad habits
a) chewing books (but I thought Banana Yoshimoto was a new kind of banana treat!),
b) digging in the corner of the living room (here I am looking guilty!)
c) my naughtiest moment ever was when I chewed a new organic cotton sheet - but it tasted so good and Crafty Green Poet always says how good it is to eat organic!
d) chewing carpets
e) I was too adorable to have more than 4 bad habits...
Now I tag Hugo at Yowlyy's Bunnies, Needles and Books, any or all or the rabbits who live with Rabbits' Guy and BunnyLady at A Houseful of Rabbits, any or all of the pets who live with Inland Empire Girl at Gathering Round the Table and Padma who lives with na at Shadows and Clouds. Plus anyone else who has a pet that wants to take part...
Saturday 9 February 2008
Friday 8 February 2008
I'm also hoping to deliver a series of poetry workshops in March and April for Waste Innovations, an eco-company in Edinburgh, I'll post more about that here when I've got more details.
I'm also delighted that Gautami awarded me the Excellent Blog Award, very honoured, thanks Gautami.
Thursday 7 February 2008
Wednesday 6 February 2008
' "...nature is not at peace. She's like a mother whose son is in the grips of some calamity that's forcing him to abandon her. ...she's in a state of alarm, pressing her ear against every outcropping in the air. And so many strange sounds that we take for the creaking of a branch or the whisper of a leaf innocently falling onto a windowsill, well they're nothing other than her scratchings at the door of our cramped and contorted reasonings, her way of begging us not to abandon her..." '
The book is also beautifully translated from the Italian by Henry Martin. It flows much better than do many other translations from Italian that I've read.
Tuesday 5 February 2008
Monday 4 February 2008
My heart is stretched out over this land,
pegged down with sharp stakes of brittle roots,
parched dry by the oppressive heat
of this rainy season without rain.
Women with the desert in their eyes,
heavy laden, trample the ground, my soul,
their dresses, bright splashes of colour,
their laughter gurgling like springs.
Eagles with cunning in their bills,
claw the shrinking lake, my ebbing blood,
scratching for small fish – usipa, utaka, *
rage against the dying of the lake.
Monkeys, baboons, in hillside starvation,
break garden fences, come looking for food,
join herds of goats to steal the crops,
pull braids and ribbons from my hair.
Up in the mountains, thunder lurks
and deep, dark grumblings underground.
Dry packed earth and blistered skin
wait for rain’s sweet, wet relief.
Previously published in Candelabrum and in my pamphlet Bougainvillea Dancing
See another poem including clothes over on Over Forty Shades, my Alter Ego blog, here.
Clothes for Read Write Poem
Sunday 3 February 2008
is my favourite colour
the colour of fields, of the trees
in my parents' suburban garden
I was too scared to climb
though I liked to draw them
a skill useful in college Botany
though what I learned outside class
was as interesting as the lessons
so when I taught biology in Malawi
I also lead wildlife walks
and directed a play
when I returned to the UK
I joined a local drama group
and realised I couldn't act
but I could write so wrote a play
then found poetry suited me better
so that's what I did
between volunteering and looking for
work, which was a harder search
than it should have been
then finding work in fact the biggest
disappointment in my life
though it pays enough
for me to buy all the second hand
books I want to fill
the shelves of the flat
that I share with the love of my life
and the ghost of our rabbit
and where I can be crafty and green!
The Unskilled Poet challenged me with the 10 for 10 meme - write ten verses about yourself and then challenge 10 other bloggers! So there's my attempt and I tag:
Jo (Florescence), Rethabile (Poefrika), Clare (Clare's Sunflower Sky), Brian (Truth is Freedom), Rose (Live and Laugh), Gautami (Rooted), Deb and Whirling Dervish (Stoney Moss), Abzdragon (A G33k Tragedy), Mike (Word Anger) and you! And don't worry, if you don't want to, you can pass...
Friday 1 February 2008
Ten signs a book is written by me
1. It has an appealing cover design, featuring images from the natural world
2. It is produced using recycled papers
3. It is illustrated
4. It contains a fair amount of writing about the natural world or on environmental themes
5. It deals with issues but doesn't rant
6. It is accessible but thought provoking
7. It is mostly poetry
8. Most of the pieces are short
9. There is the occasional surreal or weird piece to change the flow
10. It will probably be sold only at poetry readings and independent bookshops like Wordpower Books in Edinburgh
And if you want to see what a book by me really looks like, I think there are a couple of copies of my old pamphlet Bougainvillea Dancing left to buy here.
How about you? What would a book by you look like? If you answer the questions, come back and let me know so I can see your answers!