Poems and Pictures

Reply Thu 16 Feb, 2006 09:07 pm
The Stonehenge photograph isn't one of mine. It's one of Steve Ullathorne's http://www.ullapix.com/
(It would make mine look like snap shots I suspect)
I'm not really sure how to get mine to the sight. They aren't on digital, although I now have a digital camera and could re-film them - get them onto my computer - but they have to be on a website don't they? I'll see what I can do.

Don't hold your breath - My photography's a bit like my haiku writing!


Blimey Aidan, I can be thick sometimes, - did you take these photographs up here? The one of the trees? The first one?
If you did, i hadn't realised.

(What an idiot. That's twice in 24 hrs - is that a forum record?)

Have you seen Richard Kraus' work? An English Forest?
Your trees remind me of that collection.
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Reply Fri 17 Feb, 2006 12:06 pm
Endy - I'm not much when it comes to technology - but I know that you can scan non-digital photos to transfer to them your hard drive, and then use a site like domaindlx to get a jpg and store them, ready to post here. My son helped me figure the whole thing out -( he's the joepatrick on the links to my photos- of course he put his name on them instead of mine Laughing ).

Yep, I took all the photos on this thread. The scenery and light around here are incredible, and I have a digital camera, so it's really hard to take a bad picture (although I manage to do it all the time). I was just looking today at a camera that can be both SLR and digital which I'd like so I'd be able to get a little more creative beyond pointing the camera and pushing a button. Here they're like five hundred pounds- a lot of money to me for something that's just a hobby - so since I'm gonna be in the US in April, I'm gonna wait and see what they cost over there before I do anything about it.

Don't disparage your haiku. You're a talented writer, so if your photos are anything like your writing, they're impressive.

I'll look at those photos you mentioned. I thought you took the Stonehenge one because of the people over to the right in the picture. It's really hard to get a distance shot of Stonehenge without people in them - I also liked it because it looks like it was taken toward evening, which would be a neat time to be there - fewer tourists, less traffic noise. I'd like to go there sometime either early in the morning or late in the evening, when the moon was just starting to rise and take a picture from the vantage point of the burial mounds.

Hope you had a good day - I gotta take my daughter to buy a birthday present for one of her friends (and we're gonna get fish and chips). Talk to you later - Aidan
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Reply Fri 17 Feb, 2006 09:07 pm
Fish and Chips?
Apparently invented here by Italians... or so I heard.
Have a good weekend. Smile

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Reply Mon 13 Mar, 2006 03:40 am

Memory (for my mother- Juanita)

It snowed again today.
Coldness given momentary form
Shards of intricate fragmented whiteness
made solid- tatted like lace- then discarded
to sift lazily through a steely sky.
Almost weightless, but not quite-
though as light as anything can be
while remaining subject to gravity,
down and down
it falls-

Like a dream.

It comes to rest in silken drifts-
covering black earth
and furring the limbs of trees.
An addition-it's at once substance and event-
satiny and as full of potential
as the flour my mother once sifted
into her cream colored mixing bowl.
She'd say, "Once, then twice to make it rise"
her voice- my light- soft
as the blanketing snow.
I still hear her.

Soon it will all be gone.

The earth will turn the slightest
fraction of another rotation carrying us
spinning towards Spring-and this newness,
will be replaced by another.
And I'll remember how when I was warm and waiting-
watching at the window in my mother's yellow kitchen-
I dreamt of following the fallen -descending
to the sleeping ground where I would lie-
cold and clean beneath an emptied sky,
arms spread, ready for flight-
all blank and pure possibility-
because I've always known that like magic and in time-

We must all disappear.
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Reply Wed 30 Aug, 2006 11:43 pm

Reading Lesson

She listens to him read to her.
His words in his language
a balm of color and tone,
like tumbling stones
amid ocean waves-
smoothed as
shells and sea glass.
She's washed clean by
his voice- a long seam
of blue-
a stream of agate and
chalcedony sky,
it flows over her-threading
itself through her veins
a cleansing river of water
and wind polishing
flesh and bone and singing
of birled wood and
burnished stone.

*I'm helping someone with their reading. This person has a very soothing and distinctive voice that I enjoy listening to- especially as he reads in his native language- it reminds me of what is beautiful in the world and makes me feel hopeful. That's what this poem is about.
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Reply Sun 5 Nov, 2006 04:11 pm
A Creationist's Dream

Eyes of clearest amber, resonating
of distance traveled, a history.
Face smooth and skinned as bark,
lined as a road map-
a record of the world's despair,
You came to me-your scent was night
your words a sonnet, your voice a song:
"You will follow this path until you come
to where the hills collect the wind and
heart and desire meet;
where all landscapes dream-desert, ocean, field and sky,
mountains, rock and bluest water streaming
woodland resting, dark and sleeping
where white birds on brown fields scatter
as all that lies fallow and barren,
is worried into furrows beneath spring's plow.
You will gather seeds to sow in lines like
shallow graves, sheltering summer's possibilities
from winged clouds of black starlings.
April's hope, unfurled, loosening and
green as a promise will be your gift;
dusk's forests beneath royal skies -
your fate and your redemption.
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Reply Mon 27 Nov, 2006 11:31 am
Called Home

She'd been the kind of child
who'd hear singing in her dreams
who'd lie in a beam of sunlight
on the floor and watch the shadows
on the back of her eyelids swell and erupt
like dark blooming flowers-
who'd smell cinnamon and see red-
who'd touch water and imagine her cells
luminous, clear, flowing-
a river set free.

So when she heard the angel speak
she was not surprised. It spoke to her
in her mother's voice-the voice she'd known
always, soft and perfectly attuned to her ear
there was no mistaking the message-it fell
sensibly like snow on a
windswept hill as perfectly in place as
the moon in black skies, traveling,
unwinding, melodious- like a silver song
among stars.
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Reply Mon 27 Nov, 2006 06:27 pm
Wow Aidan

It's powerful stuff

When I look through this thread I feel very honoured that you would
take time to comment on my ****

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Reply Wed 29 Nov, 2006 12:39 am
Thanks Endy. After an exchange with someone over the Israel/Palestine fiasco, I tried to take a page out of your book and write something a little more politically flavored.
I was imagining how a young girl (or what type of young girl) could become a suicide bomber.

I figured she'd have to be someone who felt and believed things fairly feverishly, and someone who had had otherwordly experiences that were comforting to her and not something she feared.

*Your stuff is not "****" by the way. Like I said, that last round you put in the death thread were really excellent (in my opinion).
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Reply Wed 6 Dec, 2006 10:40 pm
Hi Aidan

How are you?
Probably busy with Christmas coming?

Hope you're still out there taking lots of photographs!!

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Reply Wed 6 Dec, 2006 10:59 pm
Your poetry is moving- -beautiful.
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Reply Wed 6 Dec, 2006 11:37 pm
Hey Endy- I'm good. How about you?
I actually have not done one single thing to get ready for Christmas yet. That's kind of par for the course for me though. We don't focus a lot on presents in my family, so I'm one of those last minute Christmas shoppers, which would have worked okay if I was following my original plan and going home for Christmas because I wouldn't have to worry about posting any packages, but I've decided not to make the trip back as I only have a week off from work and it'd be too expensive and exhausting to fly there and back for a six day visit.
So I'm going to be a lot less creative and do gift certificates to amazon or something like that- but that's not so bad. Then people can get what they want. I know I always appreciate a gift certificate as a gift. (Although I am going to give certain key people who I know will enjoy it Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions CD-that's one of my favorite gifts I was given this year, so I figured I'd pass the joy on...)
How about you?

I have this infuriating inability to focus on more than one thing at a time. I'm not a very good multi-tasker, because I tend to throw myself totally into and immerse myself in whatever I'm most interested in at any one time. Right now it's my new job - which I'm happy to say I LOVE...so although I have lots of photographs I could post, I haven't been writing very much - so no poems to put with them. That's why I haven't been posting on original writing very much recently.
But as I said, my Christmas vacation starts December 21 and I'm actually very happy about staying here, baking, and just enjoying the special flavor of Christmas in England. I'll probably go to church at midnight on Christmas eve (I'm one of those once a year worshippers that regular church goers complain about). I'm able to take care of my own spiritual needs for the rest of the year, but I do find the music and candle-light and the magic of that story very beautiful, especially on that one night a year. And then as of boxing day, I'm just going to relax and maybe take some walks and more pictures and write. I'm looking forward to it.

What are your plans? Do you celebrate Christmas? Is this a time of year that you enjoy?

Thank you Edgar. I know you love Christmas, because I've read where you've said you do. What are some of the traditions, etc. that make it special for you?
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Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 06:02 am
Christmas was one of the few times of the year my mother was able to put something together for her children that actually illustrated how much she cared. Most of the time, she was too reserved to be demonstrative, but her efforts at Christmas time were extraordinary. Sometimes, she might afford us a gift worth perhaps two dollars. Under the trying circumstances, that was the equivelant of spending fifty to a hundred. Then, as I grew older and began reading Dickens, A Christmas Carol became my favorite story of all time. It is, I think, a lesson we could live by all year long. When my youngest brother acted like Scrooge to me one year, I wrote what I consider one of my best works, a tale set in the present, but grafted onto that story. It details how this character, who is my brother, gets confronted by the ghost of old Ebenezer. I reasoned that if I could not convert him in real life, I had the option to do so in a work of fiction. It is a magical time of year for me, and I love the fact that dreary winter can be converted into something so bright and cheery and full of possibilities.
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Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 01:17 pm
Edgar Blythe wrote:
It is a magical time of year for me, and I love the fact that dreary winter can be converted into something so bright and cheery and full of possibilities.

I know what you mean. And you've probably done for your children and grandchildren what your mother did for you, Edgar- just by being someone who enjoys the season and takes time out to really celebrate and honor old traditions and create new ones.

I hope your Christmas season is all that you hope for. We're putting up our tree this week-end - that's when it all gets underway for me.

By the way - I've been reading your Christmas poems and wanted to tell you that I've really been enjoying them. Have you ever posted your updated Scrooge story on a2k?
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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 04:02 am
Hi Aidan

I'm glad for you - your new job and everything. It's a great thing to have work that you enjoy doing.
I sincerely look forward to your next post here, and I'm sure it'll be worth waiting for.

As for Christmas, well… I just try and keep out of everyone's way. As you maybe know, I'm an agnostic. Do I believe in anything? Yes, I believe in the truth and the truth is - when it comes to gods -I just don't know.

But I will be buying a few small gifts this year. I have neighbour friends whose kids are still young, (their parents always say, "Get them stationary or art stuff," - so that's easy) and a couple of old friends to buy for (we always send each other books and yes, amazon is great).

I'm staying put this year (the open fire is too much to give up)!
In the past I've made the most of the Christmas celebrations in London - a bit like a gate-crasher, I suppose (basically drinking and partying every night) but I haven't done that for a few years now.

Christmas when I was a kid was always a problem. My 'guardian' tended to be at his most obnoxious around that time (I swear he simply hated to see anyone else having a good time) - so consequently this time of year is always a bit of a downer for me (even in the days when I was partying).

All the hype gets to me too. The shops are full of it from October onwards - but I do my buying on-line, or in my local village now, so at least I don't have to witness the greed.
It's funny - because even though I'm not a believer in God, it's Jesus that I think about this time of year - a socialist rebel who turned over the tax collectors tables in his rage at injustice.
What would he make of it all today?

I know it's a party stopper, and no one wants to hear it - but also I've been thinking about the children of Iraq, Palestine and other deeply traumatising places; countries in poverty where people are still dying from starvation; and I don't feel very much like celebrating.
People have the right to choose put all that to one side for a while -I suppose I'll do so myself to a certain extent - but the nativity makes me think of the middle east, of course.

I also think about the universe, nature, spirituality, that kind of thing. There is a feeling of 'closeness' to those I've lost at this time of year and a sense of nostalgia (for what, I have no idea).
I'll probably go for a walk on Christmas day. There will be no one about and there is always something to be found and brought home - the Earth is a generous soul.
I do think about the celebrations held here in Briton before the Roman's invaded - before Christianity - the Brits worshiped trees in those days - and I have to admit I like the idea of worshipping nature, of giving thanks to the earth, the planet, for the harvest.

Food wise, I'm looking forward to my Christmas pudding (which I'd eat all year round if I could)!
And I'm eating with neighbours on Boxing day (farmhouse cooking at its very best).

I'll probably get drunk, but that's okay - I'll be drinking to Peace on Earth and Good Will to All Men (and Women).

God, I hope so.

Sorry Aidan - I just realised I've been typing away for almost an hour thinking about it. I've written a 500 word essay!!

I just checked and actually its more like 580 words, so I'll shut-up now.

Hope you don't mind this being on your thread - if it's in the way feel free to get it deleted (no problems)… don't know why I should want to talk so much about Christmas - but I find that I do - never thought it would be the topic to inspire one of my longest 'conversations' on a2k!

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Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 11:25 am
Endy - Thanks for writing. I loved it. I think if any one aspect of Christmas can be enjoyed by everyone - regardless of belief or race or nationality-it's the spirit of sharing or giving that it inspires.
I agree with you, the commercialism of the whole season really bothers me. It's not what it's supposed to be about- for me anyway. My parents were and are devoutly Christian and there were six of us children - so presents were never the focus, as there were never very many presents to be had, anyway. Although at Christmas, my parents did try to get each of us at least one of our deepest heart's desires- something, even if it was just one thing- that was something we really, really wanted. I think that made opening gifts much more exciting than mowing through piles and piles of endless stuff that you didn't wouldn't appreciate or know what to do with anyway.
(I remember one year I got an AM radio and the next year I got a tape recorder - and I was so excited because I could tape songs off my radio by putting the microphone next to the radio speaker- I didn't have a record player or records yet. The first song I taped was "Rocket Man" by Elton John. I still have that tape cassette. I taped the dj introducing the song and everything- it's pretty wild to listen to it now- and I still remember my radio was white with neon pink and orange dials - it was the seventies).

Anyway - I do agree that England is such a special place to celebrate Christmas, because of its history of paganism, Roman occupation, and ancient landscapes. There really are remnants and ruins that bring to mind all different aspects of the season and its rites. And as you said, the trees are amazing. They do inspire worship in me.
Where I live, I can go up on a hill and if the moon is out, you can almost imagine you're in Bethlehem, with all the sheep dotting the hillsides and the almost perfect silence. I've never lived anywhere else where I've experienced anything quite like it.

My wish at Christmas is always that it will inspire hope and peace in the world. It's too bad that we've bastardized it to the extent that it inspires hate and derision by other peoples who watch us indulge in even more concentrated materialistic gluttony than usual. As if we need a special day to give us the incentive.
I try to keep it really simple - baking, music, lights and a few gifts to show love to those I care about. That attitude also allows me to bypass shopping - which is something I hate at any time of the year.
But I do love the different feeling that's in the air. A kind of mixture of excitement and peace - and that maybe as Edgar said, there are still possibilities. Maybe even the possibility that everything will be alright for all the world and everyone in it someday. One can hope...

Anyway - thanks for your contribution. I hope this Christmas brings you happinesses that will inspire good memories. You deserve them.

PS - I might get a little drunk too - not on Christmas- but on whatever night I do my baking. I just crank up the stereo, (I have my musical ritual- I always listen to the sound track to Godspell, a BB King Christmas cd my sister gave me, and John Lennon's Shaved Fish album), crack open a bottle of wine, and enjoy myself- many times all by myself (although sometimes my daughter helps me - and laughs at me). It's one of my favorite nights of the year. You gotta take your fun where you can find it - that's my motto.
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Reply Mon 11 Dec, 2006 06:57 am
A music system in the kitchen is a must for me too.
I'd never do any washing-up without it
(too true)

Cheers, Aidan


I hope you have a peaceful and very happy Christmas

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Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 06:24 am
Thanks so much Endy.
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Reply Sun 17 Dec, 2006 09:27 am

Childhood - Dreaming a Life

In my dream, we were back in that house
that I knew by heart
where days flowed like rivers
meandering slowly through
time and summery space-
each room a square and empty promise
of what might come to fill it.

Your voice sang to me

of sun that slanted down walls and
spilled across floors- pools of
warmth arced through shadows gathering
in dark, angled corners. Rays, beams,
parabolas of light and heat coursed through
the windows from which we watched.
We stood at the intersection and waited

and I knew we'd grow together

in my memories. It never seemed to rain.
Or if it did, only in short scattershot
bursts, the sky emptying quickly, drops
big and heavy as bullets darkening the
dust, and cooling the tarmac
where mica flecks had only lately glinted -
like hot, angry, prisms-awaiting cooling waters.

But that had been in summer

and when beckoned, we had walked through
the door, the grass fluid as water on our soles,
green above, below, around us- the curve
of the earth rising up to meet us as
we traversed that green- of leaf, of blade,
of streaming, lustrous, shimmering air -
and what the gods might grant us.

In wintry December - long months later-

I found my dreaming heart remembered the
distant prairie state of my birth where a
sad and endless truth I recognized transformed into
stretching earth and open sky-and vast swaths of
blank and visible boundlessness called me by my
name -a long-awaited reckoning, an invitation
to enter its dark house, through doors I had forgotten.

I entered gratefully because I knew

that you would still be there, waiting for me
in rooms still filled with sun, though all walls
and boundaries had disappeared - and I knew that
we would stand together and watch as love- grief-
loss- and longing-furnished those empty rooms
for us, adding shape and substance to what
had only ever been a cold and spare, clean peace - and the knowing

that it could be enough.
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Reply Tue 2 Jan, 2007 06:44 pm
I was touched by this poem

There seems to be a hell of a lot of strength in it - I admire that.
Cheers Aidan - peaceful new year
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