This gallery contains 2 photos.
The shadow passed directly overhead, no prior notice. No wing-beats or engines, just the temporary darkening of the sun. I squinted upwards. The return of the dinosaurs? Haast’s Eagle rebuilt from stem cells, on a maiden voyage to the coast? Hardly. Just a plane. But right then, as I stood on the sand– stick in […]
The beach is a friend of the morning:
Each a sheet in the sea of the sun.
The seal pup is playing the mouth
Of the river that swallows the sea.
The seal pup is playing for fun:
He’s not in this business for food,
There’s a wave at the bay that he’s chasing,
The woman is waving away
The rise of the tide is dawning,
The sun rose the previous morning,
The seal pup is playing the tides,
And the woman is playing for time.
The seal is after a fish
That spins away from the mouth
The seal gives up the chase,
The woman is walking south.
The woman is cooking tea
In a caravan by the sea.
The fish is in the pan
And the seals are sailing south.
The river is widest at the mouth,
Where it turns towards the south.
The river is a silver ribbon
In a sea of silver-black.
The woman is a sea of mourning,
A sea of grief and salty tears
In the shadow of the morning
She shall not look back.
An old woman walked up a hill
She wished for sun and a view of the sea.
At the top of the hill was a seat in the sun.
The surf curled frothily below,
Her toes curled with pleasure.
The Sun eased the spasms in her back.
She thought herself young,
Or old ahead of her years.
She went down the hill quite content.
Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes…
— W.H. Auden
Auden may well have been describing Kaifeng with those words: a small city of some 10 million souls, east-central Henan Province, Yellow River country, P.R. C. One of seven ancient cities, once among the capitals of China, Kaifeng has its fair share of holes, of brokenness and poverty but also much of brightness and beauty. The provincial flower is the “ju gwaa” or Chrysanthemum, a flower native to Asia.
The annual Chrysanthemum Festival is one noticeable brightening of the yearly calendar. The streets are decked out with blooms of pink, yellow, purple and red. The businesses put out their potted specimens for display, and the city parks hold celebrations of floral cheer. There is much liveliness; less of the glum grey blocks and smoggy, sloping skies.
Here’s to a sustained absence– a year’s ‘holiday’ in which much was explored
Continents crossed, countries traveled and toured and remembered.
(Some half forgotten, to make space, shall we say).
,A series of photos spanning space and time, not the full truth
Nor a lie; neither a complete record, a far cry.
Snapshots of people moving in a far-from perfect world–
The smog of China; a rough-shod street in Rome–
But for all its imperfections, a perfect place of storm.
For all the impending doom, the threats of near disaster
There is still much of tranquility, beauty, repose.
Somewhere in South America, the deep-end of Patagonia
A wheel came unstuck; a back broke, the camera froze.
Back to bed, and back to the future–
I see slowly. The things once familiar, now new.