a tanka sonnet — August 2

as sun leaves the wall
spider gets busy 
sowing sails and vacancies
scaled to her prey 
in hopper legs and fly husks 

how like this, this is— 
line on line and beauty
bent round purpose 
like a bonsai cypress 
framed by chicken wire 

and how wrapt we are
beguiled by gravity 
stuck, barely able 
to remember the door

Image: A favourite wall in Wollongong, rear of the Bridgestone Tyres outlet, McCabe Park. A bit of play with forms today (apols to any tanka purists, the syllable count doesn’t work either).

And for music this morning, here’s another piece from favourite US soul guitarist Shuggie Otis, Live in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) from 2014 (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 (!).

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)

3 haircuts tanka — July 10

my retro haircut
watched by a half-draped
beauty 
from another century 
— her weary smile

my usual haircut 
barber’s clippers buzz
at my neck
reminds me how you...
i stifle my pleasure

my standard haircut
for a few dollars
johnny pushes my hair
about as we chat  
— you don’t do that anymore 

Image: Two of the first female men’s barbers in Sydney, Miss Dolly House and her sister, c.1927 photographed by Sam Hood c/- State Library of NSW on Flickr. Yes, it’s time for my ‘short on the sides and leave a bit of length on top’ once more, so I was musing on haircuts, an oddly intimate necessity. After Jeanne Lupton, Eucalypt, 32, 2022.

And for music today, here’s some bluesy jazz from 1960 Chicago: the John Wright Trio with South Side Soul (Youtube) (maybe start with La Salle St After Dark (Youtube)

3 tanka — July 9

the mountain looms 
in massy grandeur
waterfalls, passes
avalanches (like a verb)
eucalypt fringed
uncomplaining 
mama in her lounge chair 
wind from coal loader
grit on the water glass
inhaler by the bedside
kids can’t sit still 
(undiagnosed synaptic noise)
Getaway® on tv 
he comes in heavy silence 
hands her the letter

Image: my photo of a lillium and rusty gal (galvanised iron). Getaway® is a long-running travel show on free-to-air TV.

And for music today here’s something to get you up and writing poetry on the dance floor: from Trinidad and Tobago the remarkable Calypso Rose with her 2016 album (her 22nd I think ! ) Far From Home (Youtube)

a daily tanka — July 8

Roger Federer

is back       his backhand

as if he’d never

is quicker       quiet genius

moves       like a dream      thru the crowd

Image: Country week tennis, White City, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. 1937. Photographer Sam Hood, c/- State Library of NSW on Flickr. This made perfect sense when I wrote this at 2am.

And for music this morning, here’s First Nations musician and composer Dr G. Yunupingu (commonly known as Gurummul) with the posthumous 2018 album Djarimirri – (Youtube) — The album was completed just weeks before his passing in July 2017 and presents traditional songs and harmonised chants from his traditional Yolngu life with orchestral arrangements. Stirring.

This poem was written on the land of the Wodi Wodi people who are the Aboriginal custodians of the Illawarra — and I pay my respects to Elders past and present.

a daily tanka — July 7

gulls bright in the storm
a squall rattles the coast
rain beats the glass beats
while we sip rosé, recall 
San Rémy, olives just like these 

Image: Vincent van Gogh, Olive trees with yellow sky and sun, San Rémy, 1889 c/- Wikimedia Commons. How delicious, lunch at a restaurant with views across the crashing seas and the oncoming storm.

Music this morning? In keeping with yesterday’s journey back to the seventies, here’s an early collab between English ambient guru Brian Eno and German tech duo Cluster – called Cluster & Eno from 1977 (Youtube).