Friday, 30 September 2011
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
We were standing by the kitchen stove discussing [Spike's future]....... Spike formed a triangle with us, part of the conversation, standing, as he had just learned to do, on the ears of the wooden rabbit on the mantlepiece, when he joined the discourse, gave forth his opinion, sealed the argument.
'Hello!"he said, very suddenly, loudly, with astonishing clarity. Han and I stared, gaped. Then even louder 'Spike!' He was pleased with his effort. 'Spike. Spikey. Hello! Spikey? SPIKE. His voice was a voice so human as to be shocking.
A must read for bird lovers!
Corvus by Esther Woolfson published by Granta
Monday, 26 September 2011
Sunday, 25 September 2011
This is Bogs Bridge, a pedestrian bridge over the Water of Leith. This is a photo from last year. The bridge has since been repaired and you can see more recent photos here. It's near this bridge that the hornbeam trees grow that I am studying for the Tree Year Project.
and another bridge!
Saturday, 24 September 2011
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Despite measures such as surgically removing horns, poaching continues to be a huge problem for rhinos. In 2007 13 rhino were killed for their horns in South Africa. In 2010 the figure was 333. So far, in 2011, 291 rhino have been poached in South Africa. These figures are shocking and don't bode well for the future of that wonderful iconic animal in Africa (most rhinos in Africa are found in South Africa).
There are five species of rhinos across Africa and Asia and all of them are threatened with extinction. There are, for example, only 50 Javan rhinos left in the wild (and none of this species in captivity) making this the most endangered mammal species on earth.
By far the greatest threat to rhinos is the myth that their horns contain medicinal compounds. So this year's World Rhino Day is using that as its campaign theme. Rhino Conservation has a good article: Busting the Rhino Horn Medicine Myth with Science.
Alison Nicholls, a wildlife artist, has written an excellent post for World Rhino Day, which includes a beautiful painting of a rhino, you can see it here.
You can read a poem I wrote about rhinos here.
World Rhino Day celebrates these amazing animals and raises awareness about their plight and about the fact that their horns are not medicine.
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks which take you to other webpages where you can read more.
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
This is a quote from the entertaining introduction to iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About a collection by Luke Armstrong. There is only one poem about dolphins in the book:
Dolphins are clicking at us, but nobody
cares. We haven’t forgotten the past, they click. We just see
no need to keep it in the same desperation that obliges you
to recreate the ocean for us. We’re not idiots. We know this
isn’t the ocean. But we’re easy going.
From Something for the Dolphins to Click Home About
Luke is not primarily a nature poet or an environmentalist, but environmental concerns appear in several of his poems. Going with the Garbage takes a trip with household rubbish up to the garbage mountain where:
Maria and Rosa, Hernan and Jose, Julian and Julianita
spend their days, plucking bottles from hell,
and details the appalling life conditions of the people who scrape a living from collecting garbage (I recently saw Waste Land an inspiring documentary film about an art project involving a community of waste pickers, you can read my review here).
Luke's main preoccupation in his poetry is with human relationships and social justice, both of which he treats by turn with humour and with tenderness, often using imagery from the natural world:
Open a cocoon and you've
nearly found a butterfly
from Death in the Morning
He is also a poet of ideas, some poems seem to burst with the number of ideas in them and many of these seem to read like prose rather than poetry. One of these is iPoems, which after sharing lots of ideas, ends beautifully, with the idea of an infinite range of poetry being out there:
These are the elapsed poems that are always shuffling,
waiting for the right color of twilight to be seen suddenly
just before descending to night.
This is a very varied collection of poetry and well worth reading.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Monday, 19 September 2011
Dusk. Pipistrelle bats appear out of the gloom and flit round our heads and higher up above the trees, between the aqueduct and the viaduct. With bat detectors in our hands, the clicks of the two species of pipistrelles sound loudly against the gentle swirling of the river. We wonder where they roost, perhaps in the aqueduct or the viaduct or in the walls of the old converted school nearby? I hold my breath as the pipistrelles come closer and move away again.
Months later, mid-morning, I'm walking upstream from where we had been with the bat detectors. There's an intriguing old folly here, built from stone with a domed roof, lined with shells. It was built in the 18th Century as a Ladies Grotto, where the women of the party would rest, as the men went hunting through the extensive country estates round about. This particular day, I catch sight of a movement inside the darkness. A bat flutters round, close to the inside of the roof. I wonder how many others are in there, hiding in the cracks in the stonework.
Outskirts of Dumfries. Cluden Water.
After dusk. The swollen river swirls in white-flecked vortices. Daubenton's bats twist and turn low above the water. We try to watch them, but keep losing sight of them in the growing dark. We wander along the tree lined bank a little way to look for more bats. We stop in a clearing and look up into the dark grey sky above the trees. It is full of pipistrelles and a few larger bats too, which we don't recognise, but are probably not Daubenton's flying so high. Every so often one of the pipistrelles flies towards the trees, occasionally almost brushing past us, but just swerving away from us at the last moment. We walk back as dark descends, the air around us alive with bats chasing insects.
for Nature Notes
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Friday, 16 September 2011
Thursday, 15 September 2011
The yew berries are now out, they're such a lovely sight (though poisonous, so don't touch!).
Up above our heads, a group of house martins were twittering excitedly, they'll be leaving us soon. There were also a lot of what looked like chiffchaffs in the trees, they'll be going back to their wintering grounds soon too.
for Nature Notes
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Most Surprisingly Successful
There are lots of photos of beautiful places in Scotland (and beyond!) on this blog, so I fairly randomly chose this post about Corstorphine Hill in Edinburgh.
This might be this article on Reducing Plastic Use. It had a lot of hits and a few comments and was intended to be helpful, but I have no real way of knowing what people really find to be helpful!
By far the most popular post on Crafty Green Poet is Oil Spill Poetry which is a list of links to poetry about oil spills. This has had an amazing 1, 241 hits!
I find it interesting that although I often post on issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss, I don't seem to cause a huge amount of controversy to show itself in the comments section. This post Climate Change - Lifestyle Change is probably one of posts that gets closest to actually causing any real controversy.
Most Surprisingly Successful
This is difficult to judge, but I'll go for Winter Morning - a prose poem, which was written for (the now defunct) Poetry Thursday and unsurprisingly got quite a few comments (29) but even for a Poetry Thursday post it got a lot of hits (233).
Back when my blog was very young (6 years ago to be precise!) this post about Callanais in the Western Isles of Scotland received no comments.
Not sure about this one, I'm 'proud' of the fact that I've been blogging here for over five years and am happy with all my blog posts.
Bonus Category: Silliest
I thought I'd invent this category for this post about the Inner Life of our rabbit Anya.
I want to pass this on to the following seven bloggers, who've all been actively blogging for a while:
Pat at Weaver of Grass.
Annette at Dragon House of Yuen.
Michelle at Raspberry Rabbits.
Lucy of Out with Mo and Box Elder.
Alf of Day by Day (a new blog, which is an amalgamation of all his old blogs)
Selma in the City.
Deb of Stony Moss.
I'm interested to see what they'll all bring out of their archives! And feel free to join in even if you're not in the list!
Monday, 12 September 2011
As many readers of this blog know, I volunteer with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust. I patrol a section of the river every Monday and record the wildlife I see, pick litter and report on graffitti, pollution and vandalism. I also make friends with a lot of dog walkers and their pets.
Today's highlights were two excellent views of dippers (one of my favourite birds) and making friends with a very young black fluff ball of a dog (before I started this volunteering I wasn't really a dog person at all, which just goes to show volunteering can change you in unexpected ways!).
Other activities you can get involved with at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust include large scale litter picks, planting native species and dressing up as a pirate to help on the annual treasure hunt.
Conservation volunteering is great! Since getting involved with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, not only do I feel I'm doing my bit to protect an important part of the local landscape and wildlife habitat, but also: my plant identification skills have improved, I've met lots of new people (not to mention new dogs!) and my experience there has helped me get work as an adult education tutor with City of Edinburgh Council and the University of Edinburgh Office of Lifelong Learning. The trust are an excellent organisation to volunteer with - they treat volunteers very well and always have meaningful work for us to do and give us plenty of opportunities to get more involved with the trust, if that's what we're interested in. It's very worthwhile and I can definitely recommend it, if you're looking for conservation volunteering in Edinburgh.
For an American perspective on volunteering, Michelle of Rambling Woods has a good article here about how volunteers are helping nature to recover from Hurricane Irene.
Sunday, 11 September 2011
1. poetry related crafts (such as poetry collages. Annette suggested haiku on second-hand crockery and even made me a sample featuring one of my own haiku - isn't it lovely?
I'm not sure if this is something I will do myself though, as I have nowhere to store loads of crockery).
2. art and craft supplies (I've heard that Etsy is more of a sellers market these days and therefore more difficult to break into than it used to be. I figured selling supplies might be a popular move?
3. Items such as lavender bags, purses and cushion covers made from reclaimed fabric.
My own concerns are that a) the crafts I make aren't (mostly) good enough to sell and even if they are they will sell for low prices which would mean it might not be worth setting up the shop.
What do you think? Would anyone here buy any of these things (and please be honest!). Do you think setting up an Etsy Shop would be a good idea? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Friday, 9 September 2011
I was also delighted to hear recently that one of my pieces of short prose will feature at the Feast on the Bridge, which is this year, a celebration of sustainable fish, and takes place on 10 September as part of the Mayor's Thames Festival in London. (Which looks like a great event to go along to, if you're in or near London!)
Thursday, 8 September 2011
from The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Maureen Freely, published by Faber.
I think it's interesting to think about how places change. Here, for example, much as I mourn the loss of the meadows and woodlands, I wouldn't mourn the loss of exclusive hunting estates.
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks to other webpages where you can find out more.
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Monday, 5 September 2011
Edwin Morgan was Scotland's greatest poet, who died last year at the age of 90. He was an incredibly versatile poet and could move with great ease between sonnets and experimental form and subjects varying from tender love poems to science fiction, poems about the history of Scotland and a poem in the voice of the Loch Ness Monster.
New Selected Poems showcases the whole range of his talents. I love the surrealism of many of his poems, as in From the Video Box: 25 - an imagining of the televising of the world jigsaw finals:
.............But what I liked best
was the last shot of the completed sea
filling the screen; then the saw lines disappeared,
till almost imperceptibly the surface moved
Although he didn't write often about nature, Morgan did have a fine sense of the natural world, as shown in An Abandoned Culvert:
The daffodils sang shrill within the culvert.
Their almost acid notes amazed the darkness
and he could write a good campaigning environmental poem too as in The White Rhinoceros
which proves that poetry doesn't need to rant to make a campaigning point:
and the safety catches started to click in the thickets
for more. Run holy hide - take up your armour-
Run - white horn, tin clown, crown of rain woods
Morgan is best known perhaps for both his science fiction poetry and his love poetry. His science fiction poetry is very clever and often highly entertaining such as The First Men on Mercury, in which the voices of the earthlings and the Mercurians move closer and closer together, until they can barely be distinguished and eventually change still further so that the Mercurians are speaking English and the earthlings are speaking gibberish.
Morgan's love poetry is tender and often melancholy. Morgan came out as gay on his 70th birthday, you can read more about his sexuality and his love poetry in this excellent article on Aethelred the Unread, where you can also find Morgan's well known love poem Strawberries.
Edwin Morgan: New Selected Poems published by Carcanet
As ever. coloured text contains hyperlinks which take you to other webpages where you can find out more.
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Saturday, 3 September 2011
For Shadow Shot Sunday and Sunday Bridges