Friday, December 31, 2004

for the New Year


dove footprints on
lawn’s yellow topdressing
green shoots showing through

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Guest - Jill Jones on the Tsunami disaster

I am shocked into silence by the tsunami disaster which has taken so many lives, and wrecked so many others. I've tried to write about it but nothing of any value has come together. Jill Jones, Australian poet and friend who lives in Sydney, posted this compilation poem to a list we are both on. With her permission, I post it here. It is very powerful. (Jill has also posted it to her blog which is called Ruby Street and is on my blogroll.)


Water has taken away my family. - Mother, what's happened? I saw you
yesterday and now you're here. You're not dead, you've gone to another
village. Please come back. - We hope the funds allocated for the
people won't be lost to corruption. - It came just like a river.
People were running here and there. They couldn't decide where to go.
- My son is crying for his mother. I think this is her. I recognise
her hand, but I'm not sure. - There just aren't enough body bags.

We thought it was the end of the world. … The water was as high as a
coconut palm. … It was all over in 25 minutes. That's all. How can that
be ... such devastation. - Children in emergency wards were killed.
Soldier patients suffering from malaria helped to evacuate other
patients. - I need baby food as well ... no aid has come to us yet.
- No contact makes us fearful. We're trying to send helicopters there.
- Where is the military? They're just taking care of their families.
There is no war in Aceh now, why don't they help pick up the bodies in
the street?

This was the only thing we could do. It was a desperate solution. The
bodies were rotting. We gave them a decent burial. - Police told us
to come and have a look at this collection of ID cards. - We met in
university. Is this the fate that we hoped for? My darling, you were
the only hope for me.

Dead: they are dead, my cousins, their children, many of my husband's
family. There are too many funerals, he has to stay to help them. -
She went under a car, it just went over the top of her. I just got
picked up and chucked against a wall. I was a lucky one: we cheated
death. - Then all of a sudden we saw what looked like a wave surge
into the garden ... at one point I had to scramble up bamboo trees to
avoid the rising water.

I hope and pray that we can at least find their bodies so that we can
see them one last time and give them a decent burial. - Information
reaching here suggests facilities at Kalpakkam nuclear station may have
been affected by the tidal waves. - We don't have confirmed data … -
The TV, everything gone. - I've got calls from people down south who
need clothes to bury their dead. They have none.

- Wednesday 29 December 2004

Those quoted, in order:
- Anbalakhan, who lost her husband, son and two daughters in the
wrecked village of Karambambari, Tamil Nadu
- a woman at a grave site, Tamil Nadu
- Indonesian House Speaker, Agung Laksono
- Rajith Ekanayake, a security guard at the P&J City shopping centre,
- Bejkhajorn Saithong, searching for his wife on Khao Lak beach
- Lieutenant-Colonel Budi Santoso, Banda Aceh

- Sofyan Halim, Banda Aceh
- Citra Nurhayat, a nurse in a Banda Aceh hospital
- Nurhayati, who has only had bananas to feed her 3-month-old baby
since Sunday, Banda Aceh
- Djoko Sumaryono, Indonesian government official, says of Simeulue
- Indra Utama, community leader in Banda Aceh

- Venerable Baddegama Samitha, a Buddhist monk and former
parliamentarian, at funeral of Queen of the Sea train wreck victims
near Galle
- Premasiri Jayasinghe, Colombo
- a young man at the site of the Queen of the Sea train wreck near Galle

- Mrs Seeli Packianathan, returning from Sri Lanka, at Sydney Airport
- Les Boardman, returning from Phuket, at Sydney Airport
- Joyce Evans, of Melbourne, in Sri Lanka

- Kolanda Velu, from Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu
- spokesman, Indian Prime Minister's office
- Indonesian Vice-President Yusuf Kalla, in Medan city
- Roshan Perera, at the Catholic church in Mattakkuliya, Colombo
- Kusum Athukorala, local aid worker, Mattakkuliya, Colombo

Jill Jones

Sunday, December 26, 2004

THYLAZINE #10/04 ISSN-1444-1594
Australian Arts and Literature on Landscape and Animals
Cover: Earth, Wind & Water by Kerry Reed-Gilbert, 2001.
 Posted by Hello

More poems to see at Thylazine!

One of my best Christmas presents was the news that some of my poems are posted at Thylazine, the online magazine edited by Coral Hull ... Go to

Hope you go and check out my poems, and all the mag. It's always a far reaching and spirited read.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Postcard from Toodyay

The mouse, the nest. Tiny things in a big landscape. I focus on these, some emotional scaling going. I am peering out of myself like a snail tentatively coming out of its shell. The trees rise high beside me, the valley lies low before me. I puzzle at the nest, its position here on the verandah, clinging to a creeper. The little birds that flit between the verandah shrubs have gone. It is the beginning of summer yet not hot enough to have quieted them.

In the middle of the kitchen floor, a tiny mouse looks up at me. My eyes at first think it is the shadow of a dropped utensil. Then I see it, a little brown mouse, very clean. He turns, looks at me and doesn’t scare. He stands his ground, the kitchen floor. After all, where else would a hungry mouse like to go? The TV is of little interest, and the bed would be nice – but after dinner. Perhaps he has tried the laundry before – bad memories hang on his tongue. The study could be a last resort – a page or two if all else is lost. But his ground is now at the heart of things – biscuits and a jug of cream, crumbs on the counter with raspberry jam. So sweet. He looks at me as I am philosophizing about his existence. He watches. I don’t move. Then he walks, unhurriedly, to the foot of the row of cupboards built into the wall and disappears.

… and this, the morning after, I am still carrying him. He has eaten and rested, and now looks to eat and rest again. I take my to-be-eaten-before-breakfast-standing-up pill and philosophize.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

This is Hispirits Christmas tree. I'll be coming and going from a bush 'hideaway' for the next couple of weeks, so Merry Christmas to you all. Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Red Poppies renga - complete!

Red Poppies
A summer kasen renga written by Andrew Burke, Jen Crawford, Louise Waller, Lawrence Upton, Kristin Hannaford, Jennifer Compton, Heather Matthew, Jill Jones and Anie Locke. From 24 November to 11 December, 2004.

red poppies
lean into steam
off the wet path

in the fernery
fingers press sweating glass

fierce heat fades
evening twilight glows
a pink line

a fly stumbles
at a water glob

folding clothes
she drinks dark coffee
moon observes

the grasses seeding
green fruit swells above

midnight light
on watered garden
goat dung smells

four pink peonies a gift
sheets need washing

love - a red petal
her tattoo

forked over
the compost steams

a worm
the uneaten meat
a grey hair

the peopled world spins
cars stall in traffic

moon bright as frost
field of white goat skulls
intruder light

postcards from annapurna
clouds of breath hover

before dawn
we dread the heat
promised to us

a darkening sky
rain splatters fresh hay

green light
on the cherry blossom
a morning squabble

a fat bud cracks open
rising rivers roar

‘present for you, Gran!’
red eucalypt from
council tree butchers

colour wrinkles through clean wood
beneath the peeling bark

compose lists
to gather sparrows
seeds on lawn

so much to organise
too much to say

starfish legs
synchronised swimming
summer ladies' lunch

salt water in the harbour
obeys the distant moon

stand off shore to sniff
wet weather

the station wagon starts slowly
its old dry cough

tyres bald from travel
home, a bed

fluttering wings of
a blind white moth

faint crescent
between the hospital
and heavy clouds

in Carlton leaves blow
a red and gold dawn

hope? dust.
accumulating soil
green augmentation

girl running fingers through hair
a tongue over teeth, lipstick

shaking with fatigue
she searches for her glasses
she can't see them

empties out her bag feeling
a fathomless sea rising

a breeze spills
into the valley
jacaranda carpet

equinoctial petals fall
onto the bloomin' pages

Friday, December 10, 2004

Jill Jones, Sydney poet, to be heard on Poetica - Radio National, 3 pm, Saturday 18 December 2004 Posted by Hello

Jill Jones on Poetica

Screens, Jets, Heaven - The Poetry of Jill Jones on ABC Radio National's Poetica, 3pm Saturday 18 December 2004

“Jill Jones' poetry is both juicy and intimate. But underneath its lovely Sydney tang of sun and harbour is a dark destabilising smell of trouble.” Dorothy Porter

Jill Jones is a Sydney poet and writer. Her work has been published extensively in Australia and in journals in New Zealand, Canada, the USA and the UK as well as on-line. Some of her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Cantonese and Polish.

In the program she talks about her influences and her work and reads from the collection.

Sound engineer: Roi Huberman
Produced and directed by Libby Douglas

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I have fallen in love with this typist from Ron Silliman's blog. Today he is talking about typing and writing poems ... and such. The machine is such a big influence on how we write now! Read about Ron's thoughts at  Posted by Hello

I've been playing with the 'fun effects' button in Kodak Easy Share - and this is a cartoon version of my 'author' shot. Thought it might make an interesting cover for a Selected Poems. Whaddya think?  Posted by Hello

Minimalist Christmas tree at Cino To Go! Posted by Hello

Saturday morning cafe stop at Cino To Go in Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley. Posted by Hello

Friday, December 03, 2004

Three Poets at Minase

In the first moon of 1488 three of the greatest masters of linked-verse, Sogi (1421-1502), Shohaku (1443-1527), and Socho (1448-1532) met at Minase, a village between Kyoto and Osaka. As part of an observance at the shrine, which stood on the site of the Minase Palace of the Emperor Gotoba, they composed one hundred verses, of which 50 are here translated.
The art of linked-verse was an extremely demanding one. Generally three or more poets took part, composing alternate verses of 5,7,5 syllables and 7,7 syllables. Many rules had to be observed exactly: for example, if spring or autumn were mentioned in one verse, the following two to four verses also had to mention it. However, it was not necessary that the actual words ‘spring’ or ‘autumn’ be used; many natural phenomena, such as mist, blossoms, or singing birds, stood for spring, while others, such as fog, the moon, or chirping crickets, stood for autumn.
Beyond the technical difficulties imposed by the rules of linked-verse were the major consideration of keeping the level so high that it would not run the risk of resembling a mere game, and the problem of making each ‘link’ fit smoothly into the chain. Any three links taken from a sequence should produce two complete poems. Thus:

Except for you
Whom could I ever love,
Never surfeiting?

Nothing remotely suggests
The charms of her appearance.

Even plants and trees
Share in the bitter grief
Of the ancient capital.

Except for you
Whom could I ever love,
Never surfeiting?
Nothing remotely suggests
The charms of her appearance.

Nothing remotely suggests
The charms of her appearance.
Even plants and trees
Share in the bitter grief
Of the ancient capital.

Here we have two poems of entirely different meaning linked together: the first concerns a lover’s delight in his mistress, the second the grief of the poet over the destruction of the capital.
This kind of multiple stream of consciousness is a uniquely Japanese literary development, and was fostered in part by the ambiguity of the Japanese language, which permits many varieties of word play and is extremely free in the use of pronouns.

The above text from pp. 300-301 ‘Anthology of Japanese Literature’, introduced and compiled by Donald Keene, Penguin Classics, 1968.

I give you this as further information. However, it does not all apply to our renga because ours is a summer kasen renga and has a different pattern.

The text is then shown, with a commentary on each stanza as it goes. It is a very useful piece to read if you are trying to understand the traditional aims of renga.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

something I read

is sculpture,
is painting.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Snapshot for December 1

Today started at Trigg's Island
having coffee by the sea. A welcome break
from one too many deaths, a love
that can't become. We walked the sands
and climbed the rocks, my white
bare feet feeling every serrated edge,
massaging back-up through the body
that remembered being sixteen
and climbing this reef after
singing "Sloop John B" or somesuch
to a slavish guitar by bonfire-light
beneath the moon.
she brought red rose petals
for us to throw onto the waves,
a farewell and welcome for
our souls and the dearly departed.
I told a distinctly Catholic joke,
then a Marxist one to balance
the ledger. Her mobile rang
and a child needed his Mum.
We put our shoes back on,
my holey socks, and kissed.
Life distracts us from death.
I hit the road and went to
the Monastery for sustenance,
prayed another rosary of sorts
and crapped in the monk's crapper.
Two Asian cooks without English
prepared lunch. Outside
in the sun of the first day of summer
I taught two youngsters how to sms,
then drove home smugly,
messaging them at the lights.
Life, death - we are often on amber.

Renga information

Just reading my own blog today, (that's like talking to yourself, I suppose), I noticed that people may not know what the following poem is all about. It is a linked form of poetry from Japan, called either a renga or a renku, depending on how formal you are. There is a wonderful website by William Higgenson where all is explained in lots of articles and some examples. But this renga is from members of an email list I am on, called poneme and run by Jennifer Crawford. We started it recently and it will go 36 stanzas by the end, so we're a little over half way at 19 stanzas. The idea is to make a poem out of five lines, and for the next poet to use the last stanza and make a different poem out of it as a part of five lines. Some work better than others, and some will work best when the whole renga is finished, but it is a delight to participate in as it grows.

The names of the participants, in order of appearance, are: Andrew Burke, Jen Crawford, Louise Waller, Lawrence Upton, Kristin Hannaford, Jennifer Compton, Heather Matthew, Jill Jones and Anie Locke.