Monthly Archives: June 2022

looking at baby animals therapy

For the dVerse Haibun Monday prompt, “solstice

On Sunday I walked down to my neighbour’s place to see if her overdue new calf had been born. I dawdled and delayed, scared to look in case it was still-born. But there it was, a few hours old, already fluffy and staggering around uncertainly. And I cried and cried when I saw it. Great sobs bringing up the darkness of the last months, washed out in a flood of tears (and, inevitably, quite a lot of snot). God knows what the cow thought of me, sobbing hysterically next to her. But she looked me in the eye and lowed loudly. I don’t think it was sympathy, she just wanted this mad human away from her calf.
Yesterday I planted two apricot trees, with a bag of manure each. The winter sun, even on the second-shortest of days, was warm in the garden and lifted sweet tendrils of scent from the horse and cow manure. Sweet scent of manure, sharp scent of calendulas, a comforting twist of woodsmoke from the chimney. Sitting on the ground, I day-dreamed of apricots – sun warmed, juicy and tangy-sweet, the colour of winter sunsets.
Today, my neighbour left a bunch of flowers on the gate for me. On this shortest day of the year, I have flowers on my kitchen table, the hope of summer apricots, and a fluffy calf I can visit later when the sun comes out. And if it doesn’t come out, perhaps there will be rain for my apricot trees.

let’s start the new year
with the solstice, so that each
new day is brighter

cow and calf

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2004 – 2022

all those moments
when the inside didn’t match the outside
when no one looked closely enough to see
all those moments
when I couldn’t say just what I felt
when I said nothing instead
all those moments
when we were together
when I was so alone
all those moments
of trying to understand
of trying to be understood
all those moments
of wondering why I am here
of wondering whether I can bear to stay
all those moments
will be lost in time like tears in rain
will be over as the rope snaps taut

 

This was written for the dVerse “words of departure” prompt, and to help me process a death I’ve been struggling to come to terms with. I’ve been wanting to write something about it, and while when I first saw the prompt I didn’t think I’d be able to write to it, it actually tuned out to be a way to begin processing this. The prompt required the inclusion of a quote from a selection. I chose “all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain” from Bladerunner (one of my favourite films).        

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say it, spell it, say it again

For the dVerse Monday quadrille prompt “casting a poetic spell“:

 

Waist high and terrified
they approach the microphone
and await their word;
enunciated and exemplified.

We wait,
no one breathing,
as they say it,
spell it,
say it again.

Then sigh in shared sorrow
or breathe out in shared relief,
whoever’s child it is.

 

Years ago one of my sons made it to the NSW state spelling bee final. My proudest mum-moment was at the end of the regional finals when he got a second word after stuffing up a first, and then the only other remaining contestant stuffed hers and didn’t get a second chance.  He was declared the winner. And he went and told the judge that the other contestant should have had a second chance too. I know he reads my blog sometimes, and I hope he knows how proud he makes me, not just that day, but always. 

But on the whole I dislike spelling bees. The poor kids looked so tiny and so frightened, and it was painful watching any of them when they got a word wrong and their little faces crumpled no matter how stoic they tried to be.  I think every parent felt that, based on the collective sigh of sorrow whenever any child went out.  

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good things only #4: unexpected gifts

It’s been a while since I posted one of these, inspired by Sean’s series of “good things only”. And thank you to OM for the wellbeing pack. It was a lovely surprise.  🙂  This time a tanka series. 

 

I morning commute

there in the mirror –
see the falling yellow leaf
dancing gracefully
in a slipstream pirouette
lost already in passing

II rushing between meetings

in the corridor
between meetings she gives me
a wellbeing pack –
I give myself permission
not to overthink this gift.

III walking to school pickup

a wet tennis ball
dropped into my hand by a
stranger’s smiling dog,
waiting to share his joy in
green grass, blue sky, and the chase

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success couching (redux+)

This is a re-post from a year ago, with an update…

We’ll get us a success coach
to train up our success
he’ll pump us up with slogans
until we are the bestest.
He’ll elevate our excellence
right up to the sky!
And as the gas comes whooshing out
our excellence will fly! Continue reading

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a little empty space

This is written for the Tuesday dVerse prompt “women are people: invoking Amrita Pritam“. Thanks for a great prompt Punam, and especially for introducing me to Amrita Pritam’s work. 

I chose as my jumping off point her line from empty space:Look further on ahead, there between truth and falsehood, a little empty space.” 

What if I wrapped up my truth
in academic verbosity,
called it auto-ethnography,
and submitted it for your review?
Would it still get a rejection
on the grounds of misperceptions?
What if I edited it carefully,
removed the tell-tale markers
like all those excess hedges
and threw in more self-mentions?
Would it still require your corrections?

I never knew there was a line,
between your truth and mine,
until you showed it to me.
But I still don’t see why one side has to be
true and the other false.
Can’t we just blur out the line,
and allow a space between to meet
where no one has to be at fault?

 

I’ve had rants before about being a woman in physics/engineering, and how patronising colleagues can be – how they are (at best) oblivious to, or (worse) blatantly denying of the lived experiences of those who are not (middle-aged+ white) males.  So I won’t start another one of those.
But here is an interesting bit of research from one of my PhD students: there are quantifiable differences in the way (senior) men and women write in science, despite the
very strong genre conventions.  For example, women use more hedges (an explicitly taught genre norm) and more engagement markers, men use more boosters and self-mentions (despite these being officially frowned on in science). The differences are largest in physics… surprise, surprise.   

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