Monthly Archives: January 2022

no, we won’t “see what happens”

Another day,
another dollar,
another week,
the kids are taller,
another month,
my figure’s fuller,
another year,
my mind is duller.

And so they flow,
future to past,
this present instant
cannot last.

All these years,
my face can’t hide,
all these months,
can’t be defied
all these weeks,
soon put aside,
as all these days,
wash away with the tide.

But I’ll face each one
head high with pride,
and I’ll choose the path
down which I stride.

 

I’ve been thinking about aging a lot lately, because I’m spending a lot of time trying to sort things out for my parents who never did any planning beyond “we’ll see what happens”, which is my mother’s catch phrase.  That phrase has become such a trigger for me – I just want to slap anyone who says it now, and yell “no! take some responsibility for your life!”.  My parents have always been irresponsible. They’re truly dreadful role models. But brilliant cautionary examples.  Anyway, trying to sort things out for them now, from interstate, in a pandemic, is a nightmare. Not that it would be much easier if I was there – they simply have no records, no paperwork, no plans, no ideas…  And it’s made me think about where I want to be after I retire, and what happens when I can’t manage on my own anymore, advanced care directives, administrators and executors. It’s a bit depressing. But at least if my kids do want to slap me in 30 years, it won’t be because I’m just waiting to see what happens, but because of what I’ve chosen to do. I hope they want to slap me for blowing their inheritance on a sports car and a toy-boy and really expensive champagne.     

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one perfect moment (with fish)

Silver fish flashing,
a thousand bright darts rising
in a green-glass wave,
scattering, none touch, but the
wave pats my head in passing.

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The adventures of Beaky McBeaky and Baby Barry I

A collaboration with my daughter:

Beaky McBeaky was ever so cheeky,
his brother, Baby Barry, less so.
Through the coop, Beaky sneakied,
and right after him Barry followed.

As Soup cock-a-doodled,
and the Meepers were cheeping,
right up to the foodles
the naughty McBeakies were creeping.

With their beaks in the trough,
they ignored pecking order,
until Cream chased them off –
the great fluffy-knickered coop warder.

But Beaky McBeaky, always so sneaky,
just hid ‘hind the back of a stump,
when Cream looked away, ever so cheeky
out of hiding McBeakies did jump!

Beaky McBeaky ran straight to the trough,
his baby brother behind,
beaks down see them scoff
at the pecking order defied.

 

The McBeakies, Beaky and Baby Barry, are the most recently hatched chicks and the Meepers (Laveen, Altona and Little Big Fred) are the previous clutch. Cream is one of the hens and Soup (what’s in a name?) is one of the two remaining roosters.  

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pork scratchings

It’s wonderful to be a pig,
with snout to dig,
and tail to twitch
at flies that itch

Sun-snoozing here, a human comes
to rub my tum.
My attitude
shows gratitude –

I lift a leg and roll a bit,
Ah, there, that’s it!
Nothing can match
a belly scratch.

Written for the dVerse “minute poem” prompt.

Grace describes a minute poem:
“The Minute Poem is a 60 syllable verse form, one syllable for each second in a minute. The theme should be an event that is over and done completely, as in a minute. Since the dominant line is short the effect is likely humorous, whimsical or semi-serious. It was created by Verna Lee Hinegardner, once poet laureate of Arkansas.

The elements of the Minute Poem are:

1. narrative poetry.
2. a 12 line poem made up of 3 quatrains. (3 of 4-line stanzas)
3. syllabic, 8-4-4-4 8-4-4-4 8-4-4-4 (First line has 8 syllables of each stanza. Remaining lines has 4 syllables in each stanza)
4. rhymed, rhyme scheme of aabb ccdd eeff.
5. description of a finished event (preferably something done is 60 seconds).
6. is best suited to light verse, likely humorous, whimsical or semi-serious.”

Great prompt Grace – what a fun form!

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five red tulips in a white pot V

I’m revisiting my “five red tulips in a white pot” series to finish it, and in response to Tuesday’s dVerse prompt  “songs of unreason“.  The challenge is to use one of the specified lines from Jim Harrison as an epigraph. I chose: 

“After last night’s storm the tulip petals are strewn across the patio where they mortally fluttered.”- Church, Jim Harrison

 

The flame-filled cups have fallen
scattered and spilt
like drops of blood on the porch,
soon dried and scuffed away.
The Persian-green foliage,
bleached to palest straw,
was carried off
by the summer wind.
Now just the five pale bulbs remain,
safe-hidden for their nine month wait,
forgotten
in their russet-brown wrapping paper
soil-slumbering in the white pot.

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just one more

From a current and long past 30C summer day in Australia, a response to the dVerse quadrille prompt “shivering“:

 

Swaddled by the oven-breath air,
but shivering,
lips pale against sunburned skin,
we stare out to sea,
asking for “just one more”
“please, just one more”
as we watch the rollers
waiting for the perfect
XXX swell
XXXXXX rise
XXXXXXXXX curl
XXXXXXXXXXXX break
to carry us to shore.

 

When we went to the beach when I was a kid, which we did a lot, we’d stay in the water until we were freezing – which actually didn’t take that long in the cold waters off the south coast of Australia, even on the hottest day. My mother would have to yell at us to get out of the water because our lips were turning blue and she could see us shivering.  The water is a lot warmer along the east coast where I swim and body surf with my kids now, but they still usually have to be told to come out. 

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nightrise

Dusk is rising from the gullies,
gathering beneath the trees
lifting the last light up their trunks,
ripening it from gold to rose as it climbs.

To the east, the blue earth-shadow
like a distant sea overflowing the hills
slowly merges into the deepening sky.

To the west, the sun drops below the ridge,
the last day-light staining the clouds.

Stars appear in the indigo depths.

 

I am trying to walk every evening for at least half an hour, so I’m seeing a lot of sunsets at the moment (and hence also the high fraction of evening poems on the blog at the moment). And it’s occurred to me that night does not fall, at least not in the bush – it rises, flowing up from the valleys and gullies. It’s day that falls from the sky. 

The photo is from this evening’s walk, looking west. I should have taken one to the east as well – maybe tomorrow.  

Linking to dVerse OLN, I’m sorry to miss another live one… maybe next time I will set the alarm to join in, I just need to figure out the time difference.  

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evensong

For dVerse Tuesday poetics: the poet’s storehouse, celebrating National Thesaurus Day (US):

The clamour
of the hundred-member
froglet
kazoo-band
is punctuated
by the flatulent bellow
of the pobblebonk.

Their amphibious hubbub
rises from the damn
as an almost-solid layer of sound.

Above,
the dulcet tones of the carolling magpie
curl through the air
like a sweet fragrance.
He embellishes his song with each repetition,
creating variations,
adding overtones
harmonising
(impossibly)
with himself.

Kookaburra,
ever unimpressed,
and, indeed,
unimpressible,
chortles, chuckles,
and then explodes in full-throated,
full-bodied,
cackles –

silencing the frogs
and sending magpie home in a huff.

 

The challenge was to use a word from each of these lists:

   bellow; clink; drone; jingle; quiver;
   clamour; dissonant; rip-roaring; tempestuous; vociferous;
   dulcet: honeyed; poetic; sonorous; tonal;
   blabber; cackle; dribble; gurgle; seethe;
   beseech; chant; drawl; embellish; intone

So obviously the poem had to be about either my (droning, bellowing, dissonant, vociferous, blabbering, cackling…) kids, or the (other) local wildlife.  

I can’t post files, but here are links to the frog and bird songs mentioned if you want to hear them:
eastern sign bearing froglets (kazoo band)
pobblebonk
magpie – quite different in look and sound to norther hemisphere magpies.
kookaburra 

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no(w)where?

Our phone calls are become a travelogue:
last week she was at the beach,
on Monday she was visiting her son,
on Wednesday she was at work,
and today she’s in a restaurant waiting for lunch.
But she’s thinking of going home soon.

I don’t query or correct,
Why would I?
when her mind is giving her better stories
than the truth.

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Tanked II (haibun series)

If you’ve read my post Tanked, this picture of our new over-flow tank will be familiar. It’s 4m in diameter, weighs 400kg, and fell off the truck and tried to escape by rolling downhill into the dam when it was delivered. We stopped it, and rolled it back up to the house and tied it to a tree so it couldn’t get away.

Finally, after more than three weeks, and almost 100mm of rain (more than two months-worth in a normal year!) my husband decided it was time to move the tank into position. Now, in fairness, he had been waiting for the slab he made for it to dry, so it couldn’t have been moved a lot sooner.
But, as usual, he didn’t check the weather forecast. (A few years ago he started putting together our little timber yurt in the rain, after it had sat in pieces in the shed for months. It didn’t rain the whole time though – it started snowing just after we got the walls up. In late spring. The only day it snowed that year.)

These out-door projects –
Why does he always save them
for a rainy day?

So, on Saturday, in the drizzle, we all gathered outside to move the lawn ornament to its proper place so it could fulfill its proper function.
We rolled it, and carefully pushed it this way, then that way, to swivel it into the right direction. Sometimes we all pushed on the same side to roll it, sometimes we went to opposite sides and pushed in opposite directions (but not along the same line of action) to provide a couple moment to turn the tank. No, not the sort of couple moment other people have that involve sunsets and wine and holding hands. This is the sort of couple moment that happens to me in the pouring bloody rain with a bloody huge water tank that is in the wrong bloody place and potentially going to roll down a hill or into the house, and involves a lot of swearing. That sort of couple moment (the M = F d sort of couple moment).
Anyway, with a lot of force and some moments, the tank got past the corner of the roof without touching.

Just.

 

 

A miss is as good
as a mile, even if
its as close as this.

 

 

 

Now a bit more rolling along the side of the house, and the temporary removal of the clothes line (now in really heavy rain – I should have brought the washing in yesterday!) and the tank was half-way. And it was time to tip it over on to its base, because it needed to be slid from here.
The problem now was that the tank is 4m in diameter, so to make it tip over, we needed to be able to push at somewhat above 2m. And none of us are very tall.
So, husband stayed outside in the rain to look at the tank and think about forces and moments and leverage and friction, while the rest of went inside to dry out. Sometime later there was hammering and the sound of the electric drill.

This is the picture:
mechanical advantage
frames the solution.

He had built a timber frame, and pushed one edge under the tank using the crow-bar. Then he and the boys lifted….
“Slowly… slowly… I SAID SLOWLY!!!!”

… and the tank tipped over on to its base!

Now all we had to do was slide it down the hill about 30m to its final resting place on the concrete slab. Except the path was rocky, and there was a tree somewhat in the way with a steep drop down to the main tank not much more than 2m away from it.
So, we roped the tank to the tree, pulled the frame apart and turned the timber into rails, and slowly, slowly, with much adjustment, and tightening of the rope, we slid and swung the tank past the tree, until it was ready to drop the last few feet into the concrete slab.

A bit of adjustment to the rails, and some more pushing, and here it is!

With some ropes and boards, and child labour, almost anything is possible!

Waste not, to want not –
we’re ready to catch every
drop of rain that falls.

And, like a benediction on all our hard work, with the tank in place and ready to be filled, the sun came out!

 

 

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