My flute is being serviced and will be back in a few days and I miss it a lot. Having it around to play is the difference between feeling sad or happy and being sad or happy, which is to say, music is for me a bridge between feeling and being and then, most importantly, releasing. However, I also have a shakuhachi now which I got a few weeks ago. It is radically different, if not difficult. My technique has improved a little due to my lips not being distracted by the flute. I like walking and playing it, although it didn't come with a head basket. And now reading about it, it looks like I actually have a hotchiku!
Crickets are rehearsing and cicadas are waking which all makes for fine summer sounds. The wasp returns to last year's nest and seals the door with the dream of another year inside. Somewhere a spider mourns.
Here are some poems from lately.
What do I know
Only, if I
My heart's song
A poem for the morning birds,
Just wake up your ears!
The beauty of the dawn
Is not for the dreamers,
But the wakers.
Who knows the sky?
Not the cloud.
Cling not to mind.
There is something in the company of tall trees undiscovered in the circle of men. I like to be with the tall trees, I thought the other day while playing flute in the forest. Anyway, because I plugged in my scanner, here is one of my favourite compositions, represented for your reading pleasure.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). So good. Particularly I will recommend Dr Jack if you are in Canberra: http://www.aaom.com.au/
I had an interest in TCM for years but avoided treatment because the idea of the needles freaked me out. But, it really worked recently to rid me of a very serious flu and now I just find it so relaxing. I can see myself using it as a regular therapy like my chiropractor.
The Michael J Fox Show. For a fairly basic sitcom I liked this and I usually avoid such. I must have a big soft spot for the eponymous star from Back To The Future. Who doesn't?
Playing the flute - I have to remember how to make a video clip so I can put some music up here for you. On the weekend I went to play in my local park and ended up sitting in a tree. The lovely thing about that was the flock of tiny birds flitting from branch to branch of my temporary abode.
Then I found a tunnel, sort of drain thing, and playing into it was acoustically marvellous, splendiferous and mellifluous even. I want to play you the recording of that!
These are the things I have written in the last couple of months:
We have to eat impossibility for breakfast if we want to do amazing things in life.
Sometimes we have to eat impossible things for lunch and dinner too.
Be glad, be glad, be glad
With the dawn
I will bring
The ring of morning
Slip it on your finger
Marry all mourning to joy
And merry, merry make
Of this ferry of life
Whatever you will take
From strife's parade.
No thing be now writ
to make sense of
all the mystery
and the unseen
mystery yet to come
Love makes me gaze
long and with wonder
upon the ordinary
and know it
to be a miracle.
The difference between
you and me -
I can guarantee I
am a fool,
whereas you perhaps
only have your
a mountain know
it is not a hill?
This is the question
that fills me with
I believe in a love that will transform the universe, but what is to be transformed when love is the core of existence itself? Whence is the universe wanting? How can it be? It is I, I, I that requires transforming. Not that I would be do arrogant as to assume a universe, but I do know I exist. A fact so oddly surprising after all this time existing.
To spend a minute, an hour, a day, a night, a week, a month, a year, all the suns and moons of a life…these things have been spent…and I yearn to spend more, on a story just begun, a story without beginning, a story without end.
You can call it my story, but I will say this story belongs to love. It is a tale of beauty, told of duty and I will tell it again and again until I do not recognise myself.
As a child, just one glimpse of the sun filled my eyes and squeezed everything else out of me. Now I take suns and moons from my pockets and lay them on the table. You can choose one as your own for a time.
I am happy to lend it to you, for it is true all these gifts I have only borrowed from nature. And if I read the signs and wrought a scroll from symbols, it was only to challenge the disguise of seeming strife I borrowed the day I was born into this life.
This poetry gave me comfort and joy in all my darkest and brightest hours.
May it reward you too.
To read the words
of the thunder
in the clear sky,
To taste the rain
in the sun’s delight,
This is the pull
and the yearn
of the ever-turning
By meek signs
is revealed might,
This is the dream
of dignity I offer
I called the bird of midnight love,
Saying, “Rest upon my shoulder
And in your rest, I’ll build a nest
Afore I get one day older.”
I took the midnight for
my company true
And the song of the day
I laughingly slew.
The midnight takes for company
Who takes the day long
As a well forgotten song
To the flame of tomorrow’s gong.
Remember I said I was going to the Suitcase Rummage? It went really well. I sold about $60 worth of -maybe 20- postcards. Of course it cost half that for a stall and I spent $20 on food and have no idea what the materials were all worth, but it gave me joy. I discovered a certain talent/evil genius for sales too, so I would do it again with much more organisation. It was kind of fun to have a reason to just sit and observe the parade of people attending. At work people even bought some of the leftovers the next week and I promised to post an original to somebody which is below. I'm sure I have told the story of how snails all wake up and go for walks at the same time when the weather is right. I had this card for ages and then the great pilgrimage of snails occurred so it was definitely the perfect one to post at that point in time.
I have been playing lots of flute with nature lately, to be true to my poem.
In the past week I have played at Mt Ainslie, Pialligo Redwood Forrest, Lake Burley Griffin, and, of course, Haig Park. Focusing on trying to find the rhythm in nature is the best way to discover new melodies and I am better at playing softly for it.
The Pialligo Redwood Forest is a bit of an oddity. Only 3,000 of the original 122,000 trees planted in 1918 survived. You won't find older Redwoods in Australia, but, at 96 years old, they look tiny compared to the remaining giants of California. And they definitely feel out of their element in the Australian Summer. 'Play flute with many robins somewhat an elegy for missing fog,' is the note I wrote myself when there. For in their native clime, they rely, for much of their water requirements, on the quotidian visit of the North Pacific fog, silently invading the silence of their depths.
In the interest of science, I have transcribed this voice memo I recorded while leaving:
"The whole field is full of Orthoptera, I don't know if they are grasshoppers or what they are. They are probably like six centimetres long for the youngest ones, and the adults when they fly look about 12 or 13 cm and they have a very elongated mid-section, I suppose, I don't know, where the wings are attached and they look like little flying pterodactyls of something. Not little, they look like pterodactyls. But they are all yellow browny, sun burnt like the grass, so they are impossible to see, until they jump, and avoid your footstep. Some are a little slow, kind of groggy in the sun, they are hanging in the green grass, in clumps, having fun."
There you go. The BBC can certainly relax knowing a successor to David Attenborough is available when the time comes.
I am surprised I don't meet more people playing when I am playing flute. Surely there are still plagues of vermin that need charming over cliffs these days? Not that I have tried, but I'm willing to learn.
And that's the main thing.
Wandering in the park at sunset, playing with crickets, sometimes they stop, sometimes they start; I suppose they listen, but I have no idea what they say when I am gone.
I like it when they sing all the night through, but it's sad, as they must be the lonely ones; perfecting their song and waiting for the ear that hears in it a gong.
Here is the poem that came to see me at pink orange sunrise when I was playing in the park this morning.
Where I have
Met God at sunset
at least twice
As well as
type of people
all the day long through
of the pine trees
Wherein these conifers
Harvest mine ear
the sound of
And the thousand
of nature's perfection
you might say then
I hoist the flags
And fly the trumpets
Of this some
kind of other-
world of thought
Only the sound
of a flute remains
And I am
a new song
in the forrest
The tale of this poem of Valentine's Day 2014.
On opening night, the West Bank Festival (Feb 14-16, see map below) had a Bad! Slam! No! Biscuit! event on. This is Canberra's poetry slam; I'm not sure about the name, there are biscuits, sometimes, if you bring them I suppose. I was inspired to sit on my balcony and hear a music festival. I composed this poem and drew a frontspiece for my folio with the intention of performing it straight away. The slams are ususally held in the pub but I don't like it so much there. I was really excited to be able to perform in my element.
Normally you turn up, put your name in a hat and you get a go. I arrived just in time to learn it was a special team tournament for the Festival and I couldn't join in. However, I managed to talk my way onto the stage and be the warm up act. When I finished, people clapped and I bowed. Then the MC made me introduce myself which I had neglected to do. The resident barrista gave me 4 out of 5 which I was very happy with.
Also, a beautiful young lady offered me her chair, which obviously is about the best thing a poet can hope for in life, if not a bigger chair. She was in the tournament next and her team totally won. I was convinved of this from the outset to be sure. I heard eight different poems and they made me cry and laugh and smile and it was wonderful.
A grasshopper sat right in front of the stage during the show and the MC made a special announcement imploring the audience to take care lest they step upon it.
There were no reported injuries.
In summary, there should be more tents erected under trees in suburban parks for festivals where all variety of Orthoptera can be made to feel safe and welcome.
Chalkist - unknown
My musical highlights were:
Woo Hoo Revue of Melbourne
Perch Creek Family Jug Band of Perch Creek
See how easy it is to make a garden out of a palette with succulents. I saw this is in The Garden at Dickson. I have often looked at their collection of aeoniums getting too big for their pots and wondered what would become of them.
Somebody is decorating Canberra in their own way. There is a big love heart in the middle of the intersection where Northbourne meets Ipima.
Here is the footpath on Ijong St.
And the intersection of Ijong and Limestone.
Is it art? Who knows, but it is hard to disagree with the sentiments.
Here is a whole bunch of cards I have made for friends and colleagues. You can tell who they were for. Obviously each has a different feeling and the process and techniques involved are different. Hopefully there is some evolution in my design skills taking place.
This is a card in the sense it is a piece of matboard with a tree - because Sharon means forest.
The Zen approach. Wrote this with a pen, scanned and enlarged before sticking to matboard. It was my first time using my 6mm Pilot Calligraphy Pen which is big. It is fun learning to write with a new pen by practicing the alphabet. It makes you reflect on how you will write every letter. I found myself wondering if there is a special signwriting brush for calligraphy.
This is a decorated envelope for my old friend and pen pal Nick who I really must write to again.