Tag Archives: gardening

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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what to plant in autumn

I planted the mice
all in a neat row,
and this year I reap
what last year I sowed.
Now gnawing of seeds
bids me understand
that again time for planting
of mice is at hand.
So I lay out my traps,
with a morsel of cheese,
tomorrow I’ll plant them
below the snow-peas.
And I hope that this year
– a change would be nice –
I’ll harvest some peas
instead of just mice.

Things to plant in autumn in the southern tablelands: peas, broad beans, broccoli, spinach, mice. 

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a stutter in the seasons

Summer refuses to depart,
though the sun’s daily arc
now starts well north of east
and ends far short west.
Reluctant to leave,
though the lights are dimmed
she drags out another encore.

And this hesitation confuses:
only half-way to winter
but beneath the soil
barely-rested bulbs
raise their new green spires
like a scattering of uncertain applause
through last season’s still green foliage.

This succession of Indian summers, in which
any colder day seems a transient glitch, is
a stutter in the seasons –
so summer plays again and again.

But the sun cannot be fooled –
he rises and inscribes
an autumnal arc across the sky.

 

Some years ago a friend visiting from Sydney asked “do you get many sunsets here?”, to which I gave the obvious answer “yes, every day”. But I guess they’re more noticeable here – the kitchen window faces west, towards a long ridge, and he was looking out that window at the sunset when he asked. The point along the ridge where the sun sinks changes with the seasons, like a sundial calendar.  So even though it feels like summer at the moment, the point where the sun is going down is well to the north now of where the summer sun sinks. In the southern hemisphere the sun heads north for the winter, not south.  🙂  

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oinklet (an oinky sparrowlet)

It’s been a while since I’ve written a poem about my pig, so here in oinky sparrowlet for the Thursday dVerse prompt “Poetry form: Sparrowlet“:

 

My piggy-wig, my darling girl,
your tail with such a sweetling curl,
in the garden you snoutly dig,
and roughly little plants you hurl,
then break the birdbath as you swig,
my darling girl, my piggy wig.

He saw the mess, the angry man,
he wonders what on earth we can
do with such an awful pig-pest –
he’s thinking of the frying pan
and how to send you to your rest!
The angry man, he saw the mess!

Oh, run and hide, or bacon be,
He knows the truth, so while you’re free,
gallop, gallop before you’re fried,
and served with toast and egg, crisply
browned, with brown sauce. My piggy, flee,
or bacon be! Oh run and hide!

 

A sparrrowlet has 6-line stanzas, 8 syllables per line, rhyme scheme (as explained by Grace):

RRRA, RRRB
xxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxa
RRRB, RRRA 

with the two halves of the first line repeated but swapped in the last line. 

Thanks Grace! This was a fun form to play with. 

 

 

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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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Good things only #3 / sevenling (roses)

Finally the teaching-year is done for me, with just graduation to go next week.   So I’m hoping to find more time for reading and writing now.

It’s been a challenging year, and the last few months in particular have been difficult. So here is a floral pick-me-up, for myself and anyone else who needs to stop and smell the roses.

1.  The lilies are just starting to bloom! First the Asiatics, but soon the Orientals and trumpets will be blooming too!

2. Hearts-ease – also known as Johnny-jump-ups or violas – are in bloom in all sorts of unexpected places. These first snuck into my garden ten years ago as stow-aways in a pot of something else, and they’ve spread to come up year after year in pots and bathtubs and garden beds. Continue reading

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in the moonlight of other nights

For the dVerse “in the light of other days” prompt, a request to share a memory, recent or past.  This is a little of both, and the possum shown in the pictures here, that I took last night, may well have been the baby of an earlier season’s “poss”.

Poss has come visiting again.

Caught in the torchlight
she runs up a post
only to discover her way blocked.

Was there no roof here last time she visited?
Or has she forgotten?

Memory is a fickle friend,
hers and mine.

Continue reading

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five red tulips in a white pot IV

Holding aloft their fiery cups,
flames they have caught
drop
by
drop
day
by
day
as they fall from the sun,
they are full now,
filled to overflowing,
their bowls brimming
and their petals saturated.
And yet still they are insatiable,
glowing like greedy coals
that are not dimmed by the sunlight
but fed by it.

Fourth in the “five red tulips in a white pot series” – and yes, there are only four tulips in flower. One was eaten by something. But 80% is pretty good. 

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five red tulips in a white pot III

How can I describe
these whorls that have risen from the soil?
Somewhere between green and blue,
cyan, teal-green…? Or… yes… Persian-green,
this name so apt for the colour of tulip leaves,
that mountain flower Continue reading

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transformers

For the dVerse prompt “creepies and crawlies“, a sonnet about slaters:

When the sun is up and the birds about
you can find them, if you know where they creep
into the crevices, all flattened out –
the slate-grey slaters, all huddled in sleep. Continue reading

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