Archive | June 2015

Bye Plane.

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 […]

Seal’s Up!


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.

She seeks The Sun… and finds Warmth

An old woman walked up a hillIMG_20150616_170439

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.

A Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Special

Say this city has ten million souls,

Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes…

— W.H. Auden

Some of the holes look less than live-able.

Some of the holes look less than live-able.

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.

Up close and colourful with a Kaifeng chrysanthemum!

Up close and colourful with a Kaifeng chrysanthemum!

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.

Jumbo the ju gwaa elephant presides over this garden.
Jumbo the ju gwaa elephant presides over this garden.
Chrysanthemum colour house.

Chrysanthemum colour house.

Weavers of the chrysanthemum structural framing at work.

Weavers of the chrysanthemum structural framing at work.

Back to the Future

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.