Friday, October 28, 2011

This Fragile Earth iii

The ground - the world over - weeps, seeps and shakes.

Oh Turkey. . . _/\_  Thailand. _/\_ Bangkok. 

Closer to home, on the news tonight we learned that engineers hoping to be able to tack and brace Christchurch cathedral have concluded it will need to be dismantled, pared back to basics and rebuilt - 'a marriage between the old and the new'. Remarkably - triumphantly - part of Christchurch's CBD is to be opened to the public for trading tomorrow; the first time since the earthquake struck the city on 22 February. I am humbled by the community's tenacity and courage.

Oil from the stricken Rena is still seeping into the ocean off the coast of Tauranga. Too tongue-tied to write about this when the container ship ran aground on the Astrolabe reef in the Bay of Plenty a week or ten days ago, I turned to my drawing board instead. . . Pamela of Shroedinger's Tabby wrote a moving tribute to the sea birds impacted by this environmental disaster. 

And the sea? How it murmurs. How it murmurs. . . 
Charcoal & Pastel on Paper - CB - October 2011

Forgive me my absence; I'm not sure where or what I'm up to as far as blogging goes these days. There's so much going on here, work- and other- wise. . . I do hope you are all well and finding your way(s) forward during these ordinary, extraordinary days. L, C xo

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Tread Lightly






























Tracking III - Ink, acrylic & pencil on a gessoed plywood crate lid - CB

For more Tuesday Poems, please click on the quill. Tim Jones is this week's editor with a poem titled The Force of Things by Majella Cullinane - 

"Your breaths
     are the quivering feathers
     of birds. . . "

Saturday, October 15, 2011

All Colour Depends on Light

These fragile candle-bearing porcelain vessels live on the mantle*piece in my bedroom; they were made by artist and dear friend Katherine Glenday. Katherine lives in Cape Town; we'll be working together on various collaborative projects (a porcelain flotilla?) when I return to South Africa for a month or two this coming December/January. . .

And don't you love the word 'mantle'? Like every grain of sand, it contains the universe. . . 

*mantel |ˈmantl| (also mantle)nounmantelpiece or mantelshelf.ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: specialized use of mantle .mantle 1 |ˈmantl| |ˈmøn(t)l| |ˈmant(ə)l|nouna loose sleeveless cloak or shawl, worn esp. by women.• figurative covering of a specified sort the houses were covered with a thick mantle of snow.• (also gas mantle) a fragile mesh cover fixed around a gas jet, kerosene wick, etc., to give an incandescent light when heated.• Ornithology a bird's back, scapulars, and wing coverts, esp. when of a distinctive color.• Zoology an outer or enclosing layer of tissue, esp. (in mollusks, cirripedes, and brachiopods) a fold of skin enclosing the viscera and secreting the substance that produces the important role or responsibility that passes from one person to another the second son has now assumed his father's mantle. [ORIGIN: with allusion to the passing of Elijah's cloak (mantle) to Elisha (2 Kings 2:13).]Geology the region of the earth's interior between the crust and the core, believed to consist of hot, dense silicate rocks (mainly peridotite).• the corresponding part of another planetary body the lunar mantle.

This weekend I hope to post word re; the environmental nightmare that's pummeling our North Island coastline. . . Our hearts are in our mouths. Meantime, please love the waters - wherever in the world you are - love the waters and light candles. . . ? Thank you xo. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Poem - The Conjugation of the Paramecium by Muriel Rukeyser

The Conjugation of the Paramecium*
This has nothing
to do with

The species
is continued
as so many are
(among the smaller creatures)
by fission

(and this species
is very small
next in order to
the amoeba, the beginning one)

The paramecium
achieves, then,
by dividing

But when
the paramecium
desires renewal
strength another joy
this is what
the paramecium does:

The paramecium
lies down beside
another paramecium

Slowly inexplicably
the exchange
takes place
in which
some bits
of the nucleus of each
are exchanged

for some bits
of the nucleus
of the other

This is called
the conjugation of the paramecium.
Muriel Rukeyser

*paramecium |ˌparəˈmē sh (ē)əm; -sēəm|noun Zoology - a single-celled freshwater animal that has a characteristic slipper-like shape and is covered with cilia. • Genus Paramecium, phylum Ciliophora, kingdom Protista.ORIGIN mid 18th cent.modern Latin, from Greek paramēkēs ‘oval,’ from para- ‘against’ +mēkos ‘length.’

Helle Jorgensen

Whilst on the subject of sea creatures, please follow the links below. . . Helle Jorgensen is a master in the art of crocheting what most of us would consider the impossibly complex. . . (recovered plastic bags become yarn out of which Helle crochets elaborate sea creatures. . . see Echino below)

For more Tuesday Poems, please clink (I mean, click) on the quill. Janis Freegard is this week's editor on the TP hub with Vivienne Plumb's prose poem 128 Abel Street.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


It's been a Big Week. (When is a week not big these days, I ask you?) Suffice to say, this morning's quiet is welcome after a run of higgeldy-piggedly days and a night of unexpected shenanigans. I'm home alone for the first time in ages and was woken from deep sleep at midnight - outside, the leer of sirens, throbbing truck engines and loud shouting. A sojourn into the garden (don't you love being outdoors at night; bare feet on damp grass; stars ablaze in the deep, deep dark?) revealed a blazing fire on the scrubby footpath just below my house. Thankfully, the fire service was there, taking charge with their fire-quenching hoses and a certain boisterous efficiency.

I stood under the arch of my old wooden side-gate, watching proceedings from the hedge, a safe distance away. The patterns created by the luminous stripes on the firemen's jacket's took me back to my walk along the beach at Aramoana this time last week. There was plenty of evidence of 'boisterous efficiency' there, too - nature's artistry everywhere I looked; her handwriting authoritative; her rhythms lyrical, playful, insistent. I never cease to be surprised by her tenderness and force, by the beauty she offers up even in things fragmented or worn. I was struck then - as I am in this moment - by the way nothing is ever lost, every thing we encounter seems to be an echo-expression of some other thing that precedes it or postdates it. Everything's in a state of forming and reforming. . . even when it may seem otherwise? 

This sea lettuce (as weightless and soft as a damp silk handkerchief) particularly entrances me - how is it possible that flotsam so light can leave so determined a track in its wake? It looks to me as though it seized a moment when no one was looking, careened across the sand and skidded to a halt a split second before I happened upon it. (Sitting there quietly - innocence personified - you'd think we don't know it has willpower and wheels secreted below its green skirt? Ice and mushrooms play these tricks on us, too - have you ever seen a frozen wave form, or caught a mushroom in the act of rising up out of the earth?). 

Sea lettuce skedaddles

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Too Many Names by Pablo Neruda

          Too Many Names

            Mondays are meshed with Tuesdays
            and the week with the whole year.
            Time cannot be cut
            with your weary scissors,
            and all the names of the day
            are washed out by the waters of night.

            No one can claim the name of Pedro,
            nobody is Rosa or Maria,
            all of us are dust or sand,
            all of us are rain under rain.
            They have spoken to me of Venezuelas,
            of Chiles and of Paraguays;
            I have no idea what they are saying.
            I know only the skin of the earth
            and I know it is without a name.

            When I lived amongst the roots
            they pleased me more than flowers did,
            and when I spoke to a stone
            it rang like a bell.

            It is so long, the spring
            which goes on all winter.
            Time lost its shoes.
            A year is four centuries.

            When I sleep every night,
            what am I called or not called?
            And when I wake, who am I
            if I was not while I slept?

           This means to say that scarcely
           have we landed into life
           than we come as if new-born;
           let us not fill our mouths
           with so many faltering names,
           with so many sad formallities,
           with so many pompous letters,
           with so much of yours and mine,
           with so much of signing of papers.

           I have a mind to confuse things,
           unite them, bring them to birth,
           mix them up, undress them,
           until the light of the world
           has the oneness of the ocean,
           a generous, vast wholeness,
           a crepitant fragrance.

           Pablo Neruda

One Ocean, One People - Oil on paper - CB

For more Tuesday Poems please click on the quill.