Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Antarctica by Katherine Glenday


Sounding bells | 80 feet below the ice - Explorers Cove, New Harbor, Antarctica 2008
Katherine Glenday (with a little help from her friends!) Photograph by Shawn Harper


                                                  Our thoughts form us
                                                  And like the forams
                                                  And the caddis creatures
                                                  We live in our
                                                  Patterned habits

                                                  I can run with this
                                                  And do
                                                  Away from text and fact
                                                  And the common herded wayfare
                                                  Of thought and learned behaviour

                                                  It is too dense for me

                                                  I am overwhelmed already
                                                  And the truth of it
                                                  Scampers off somewhere
                                                  And snarls in the brambles
                                                  Beneath the woods
                                                  Of a forest of trees

                                                  I would rather drop my sounding bells
                                                  Below a frozen sea
                                                  And watch with my long distance heart
                                                  As my friends swim them down

                                                 To sing an angelus
                                                 On the ocean bed

                                                 Here all things are weighed
                                                 In the company of creatures
                                                 Who build their hearts on the sleeves
                                                 Of their houses.

                                                 Katherine Glenday

Katherine and I met at the age of eighteen as we embarked on a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. Our lives have been woven together in ways mundane, mysterious and magical ever since. During our 2008 season in Explorers Cove, Antarctica, scientist Sam Bowser and I traveled with a series of porcelain forms created by ceramic artists Christina Bryer and Katherine. (You can see some of these on my new, very-much-still-under-construction, website here - scroll down to the bottom of the Antarctica page).

Katherine lives in Kalk Bay, a quaint fishing village in Cape Town (SA). Last weekend she opened the doors of her home and studio to the public for an extensive retrospective - 30 years of her exquisite porcelain work. The words 'numinous' and 'luminous' come immediately to mind. She is an artist in light, her work at once grounded in the natural world and occupying a space that's 'beyond' form. Weightless. Metaphysical. It needs to be seen to be believed --- please visit Katherine's website, prepared to be moved, awed and - yes - altered.

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Janis Freegard
with Tuatara by Nola Borrell

Please click on the quill. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Who Learns My Lessons Complete? by Walt Whitman

CB | Light Calligraphy

                    Who learns my lesson complete?
                     Boss, journeyman, apprentice, churchman and atheist,
                     The stupid and the wise thinker, parents and offspring, merchant,
                     clerk, porter and customer,
                     Editor, author, artist, and schoolboy--draw nigh and commence;
                     It is no lesson--it lets down the bars to a good lesson,
                     And that to another, and every one to another still.
                     The great laws take and effuse without argument,
                     I am of the same style, for I am their friend,
                     I love them quits and quits, I do not halt and make salaams.
                     I lie abstracted and hear beautiful tales of things and the reasons
                     of things,
                     They are so beautiful I nudge myself to listen.
                     I cannot say to any person what I hear--I cannot say it to myself--
                     it is very wonderful.
                     It is no small matter, this round and delicious globe moving so
                     exactly in its orbit for ever and ever, without one jolt or
                     the untruth of a single second,
                     I do not think it was made in six days, nor in ten thousand years,
                     nor ten billions of years,
                     Nor plann'd and built one thing after another as an architect plans
                     and builds a house.
                     I do not think seventy years is the time of a man or woman,
                     Nor that seventy millions of years is the time of a man or woman,
                     Nor that years will ever stop the existence of me, or any one else.
                     Is it wonderful that I should be immortal? as every one is immortal;
                     I know it is wonderful, but my eyesight is equally wonderful, and
                     how I was conceived in my mother's womb is equally wonderful,
                     And pass'd from a babe in the creeping trance of a couple of
                     summers and winters to articulate and walk--all this is
                     equally wonderful.
                     And that my soul embraces you this hour, and we affect each other
                     without ever seeing each other, and never perhaps to see
                     each other, is every bit as wonderful.
                     And that I can think such thoughts as these is just as wonderful,
                     And that I can remind you, and you think them and know them to
                     be true, is just as wonderful.
                     And that the moon spins round the earth and on with the earth, is
                     equally wonderful,
                     And that they balance themselves with the sun and stars is equally

                     Walt Whitman

To read this week's Tuesday Poems, click on the quill then make your way down the list of poets on the Left-hand side of the TP page. Zireaux is this week's editor. Bonzai by Cecily Barnes begins -  

                     Who needs your stunted style, your tiny jewels
                     of thwarted art, to snatch a kite flown loose
                     or bad-thrown ball? Or your unsayable rules
                     of infinite pleasures unknown, delights abstruse,
                     to feel soft feathers, their talons' sponsal band? . . .

Zireaux's commentary is anything but stunted! He takes the reader on what I think you'll agree is a fair romp of personal disclosure.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Faithful Woman by Louise Marie Prochaska

Faithful Woman | CB | Charcoal and acrylic on paper & canvas 

                               FAITHFUL WOMAN
                                         (Proverbs 31: 10 - 31 for the Nineties)

                               When one meets a faithful woman,
                               the moment is an awakening. 

                               She has committed her heart
                               to goodness, and the world
                               has an unfailing friend. 

                               She develops her gifts with joy:
                               she empowers those around her. 

                               She will dance in response to song;
                               she will grieve in response to pain. 

                               She knows she is wounded
                               and needs healing;
                               She cannot do all things. 

                               Life, for her, has purpose and pattern,
                               yet she bows her head before its mystery.

                               She is sometimes feared
                               by men who meet her
                               until they discover and embrace
                               the woman within themselves. 

                               Louise Marie Prochaska SND

Christchurch-based Andrew M. Bell writes poetry, short fiction, plays, screenplays and short fiction.  Andrew is this week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub. He has chosen The Votive Angel by Moira Wairama. 

                               Thinking it’s the delivery pizza,
                               he opens the door
                               to The Votive Angel,
                               arrayed in slogan-splattered silks,
                               carrying her sword-sharp pen. . . 

News: TP curator Mary McCallum's new children's book, Dappled Annie and the Tigrish - beautifully illustrated by Annie Hayward - was launched by Jane Arthur (Ghecko Press) at the Wellington Writers Week. A pic of this must-have book followed by Jane's launch speech --- 

Launch speech for Dappled Annie and the Tigrish

"For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jane Arthur from Gecko Press.

For those of you who know me even a little bit, you’ll know I don’t do this. I don’t stand in front of crowds and talk. You’d usually find me at the back of the room in the corner quite happily invisible.

So the fact that I’m standing up here means that this book must be pretty special.

It’s a real honour that Mary asked me to launch Dappled Annie and the Tigrish, because I’m pretty sure she wrote it especially for me, even though she hadn’t met me yet.

This book is truly beautiful, and speaks to my inner child, who is eternally nine years old. I think Mary’s is too, which is why the character of Annie rings so true.

Nine is an important age. It’s the last year of being in single digits. Nine year olds still see things in fresh metaphors, like how when Annie spends time with her dad, “It felt like being wrapped up in a big blanket made of wind and grass and clicking cicadas.”

Nine’s the age when summers are still endless and full of adventure, and imaginations are free from timetables. It’s before you realise that summers merely mark the time between school years, and it’s before they become too short and too boring all at once.

But summer at nine felt exactly as it does for Annie, when time stretches on, and one event becomes “always”, like how her little brother Robbie “always seemed...to be chased by a bull”. Even with the characters of the hedges who are people – or should that be the people who are hedges – and the elusive tigrish (he’s like a tiger, but he’s not a tiger; he’s tigrish) – even with these elements, the book feels utterly true and authentic.

I recognise myself in Annie. Passages like “The quieter Annie was, the more she saw and heard – which suited her just fine.” I mean, that’s nine year old me! (It’s basically me, now.)

Dappled Annie interprets the world in a beautifully descriptive and evocative way. She makes connections between parts of her world with a child’s brilliant intuition. Fantails knit their nests, making the same sounds as Annie’s mother when she knits socks. Another connection I love, between Annie’s school life and her life in nature, is when the character of Mrs Hedge – an actual hedge – says “Ready”... “as if she were writing the word down with a very sharp pencil.”

The physical book is beautiful, too. Luke Kelly has done a perfect design job: we wanted something that looked and felt classic, but not old-fashioned. Annie Hayward’s illustrations are wonderful. There are four colour plates, like books in the olden days, which still excites us. And her line drawings at the start of each chapter turned out even better than we hoped. We used some of them on the endpapers of the hardback edition, and I can’t stop looking at them. (Unity has some of the hardbacks for sale here, as well as the paperback.)

Congratulations, Mary and Annie, for creating this magical world, for it now being forever part of my world, and for allowing it to be part of the world of some new, actual nine year olds. Thank you.*"