similes

don’t you just love how along a line
                        there’s a word that signifies
                        a lit fuse spitting in a milk bottle

watch out reader          stand away

this poem is about to        l a  u   n    c      h
into some parallels            unexpected               revelatory              (or dull) 

fresh takes on the familiar: car-crash, swan, a vase falling floorward 

do it
I'm so ready 
to be arrested by 
outré ways 
of looking 
at water
-birds &c.

Image: c/- Rijksmuseum on wikimedia commons. One of a pair of porcelain swans are small versions of the famous large porcelain birds from the Meissen porcelain factory. From 1749 onwards, the successful Paris dealer Lazare Duvaux had several pairs of similar swans fashioned into candelabra. This pair may have come from his shop. A bit of silliness inspired partly by Marianne Moore’s poem ‘No Swan so Fine‘ and this amazing construction.

And for music this morning, here’s West African (Burkina Faso) singer song-writer Amadou Balake (1944 – 2014) with Taximen (dedicated to all those drivers out there making their way through the streets of Ouagadougou ) (Youtube)

tanka — 23 July

i wrote poetry
in the morning     bright
dew on tranquil lawns

— it’s afternoon already
and i’m re-writing    still

Image: Night Scene, from Camping at Culburra, NSW 1937, Max Dupain and Olive Cotton, c/- State Library of NSW on Flickr.

And for music this morning, here’s American jazz dada-ist composer Raymond Scott (1908-1994) with some soothing sounds for baby vol 1 . (Youtube). Maybe start with Sleepy Time (Youtube) Yes, there’s another two volumes (!).

tanka on the first wattle bloom — July 22

still frost rules...           

(tho
rumour is 
that spring’s
been sussing rentals
hereabouts: 
house-cat 
sea-views
garden 
needing 
tlc )

Image: a coastal wattle (Acacia sophorae) on this morning’s walk. And in the Dharawal calendar (on whose unceded land this tanka was composed with respect) we are just entering time of Wiritjiribin – cold and windy time when the lyrebirds’ calls ring out through the bushland as he builds his dancing mounds to attract his potential mates.

And for music this morning, here’s Soviet-Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin with Unsent Love Letters (uncollected on Youtube but start here)

sonnet on a still life

after Dressing table self portrait, Margaret Olley, 1982

there are days — when the levity of dogs
the fridge motor, the pol air chopper 
says there’s no quiet to be had

but for this moment to which you return
again and again, your familiars —
blooms, a fan of feathers
ovals and angles turned so the light

that lines your dressing table
leads to the morning over your shoulder
then descends into blue, blue shadow
— your cardigan, your face is awash

you stare at the sun specular in glass
and antelopes on a black lacquered box
lost to us now, but leaping still

Image: (detail) Dressing table self portrait, Margaret Olley, 1982. A poem after Australian painter Margaret Olley‘s (1923-2011) 1982 painting which is here. Olley painted several versions of this scene over a painting career of nearly sixty years during which she focussed on colour and still life.

And for music today, in keeping with the retro funk from yesterday – here’s London based electronic producers Jungle with their May 2022 EP Goodtimes/Problemz (youtubers)

tanka on Cameron Smith’s victory at the British Open, 17 July 2022

every morning
my usual breakfast
cereal, fruit
and eighteen wild swans
lifting over the water

Image: Tho it’s still winter, the bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is blooming here in the suburbs. A piece in tribute to the mullet haircut of Cameron Smith, professional golfer who recently won the British Open. In case you missed it, here’s a patronising piece on Cameron from the Daily Mail – ‘you can take the boy out of Brisbane, but you can’t take Brisbane out of the boy…’

And for all those suffering in the heat, here’s some very cool retro R&B soul from New York band Nuyorican Soul with their self-titled 1997 album Nuyorican Soul (Youtubers).

a found tanka — 14 July

stopped i await
her coming in the night
what a treasure
she watches me. I say: 
‘was it you?’       and she answers... 

A found tanka after Russian romantic poet Anna Akhmatova and her ars poetica poem, The Muse (1924) in belated celebration of her birthday on June 23 1889.

This daily tanka is taking a short break to catch up on some housekeeping and wander by still pools. Back in a little while.

For music this morning, here’s Portuguese fado-iste Anna Moura with her fabulously successful album Desfado (Youtube)

predictive text tanka — July 13

thistle wind up here 
thistle and thunder the park 
with sun sun shining 
already bell park near me 
I can see ringingly

Image: my image of a park near me with the thistle wind blowing. Some days you need to let the computer do what it wants…

And for music this morning, Transfigurations, recent work from five Canadian composers — Alexandre Grogg, François Vallières, Marjan Mozetich, Caroline Lizotte, and Kelly-Marie Murphy. (Sorry youtubers- looks like the whole album isn’t there yet – this search resulted in most tracks – you can also search on the composers’ names)

Here’s the promotional video of Transfigurations – and if you’re interested, here’s a piece about La Folia – the tune which underlies Alexandre Grogg’s variations, the first three tracks of Transfigurations.

at the club tanka — July 12

at the club
expanse of 80s carpet
we joke about 
my funeral — 'no poets
they’ll kill the vibe'

at the bistro
shared pud + icecream 
rosettes – how quickly
the glaciers retreat
to a moraine of crumbs 

the roast and two wines
for the woman dining 
alone by the window 
— one for him long gone
remains untouched

Image: Decorative wall, The City Diggers Club, Wollongong. Diggers refers to Australian soldiers. The club still has some commemorative functions along with the poker machines and bistro.

And for music this morning, here’s US composer and vocalist Caroline Shaw with percussion group Sō with their album Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part (Youtube). Maybe start with Lay All Your Love on Me (a halting interpretation of that ABBA song) (Youtube)