Bnw challenge

I did a black and white challenge on Facebook and really enjoyed it, so I’m posting them here. The instructions were ‘Seven days. Seven bnw photos of your life. No humans, no explanations.

Oops, there’s one missing, I can’t find it. Ho humm.

Anyone else done this? I enjoyed it so much that I will probably continue!

Woman Playing Fife (poem)

Emerging from brooding sea
she has grown feet and is dancing.

What are feet for if not dancing?
She is like a child who cannot just walk
but must skip or run.

Such lightness of being,
it is not yet time for sorrows.
It is not yet time for cares.

She has not been betrayed
nor yet betrayed herself
and so she twirls

twirls faster and faster
faster and faster
until she flies.

Image by Ervin Janek, the poem was written for the image as part of our ongoing collaboration. More of his extraordinary work can be seen here

A Silkie is a mermaid-like creature who, according to Norse myths, can take off her seal costume to walk/dance on land. Best if she doesn’t stay on land too long though, because she will dry out, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have written about them before and you can read that poem here.


paint, country, poems


grasses shushing the voices of ancestors

spinifex dot painting country

intricate memory of blood splatter lichen

* * * * *

how can one walk the earth of Australia and not think
of the people who have gone before

the crags sing of them
the water wells salty with tears
the earth is red as the blood that was shed upon it

* * * * *

  • Country: In Aboriginal English, a person’s land, sea, sky, rivers, sites, seasons, plants and animals; place of heritage, belonging and spirituality; is called ‘Country’. (Source: Glossary of Indigenous Australian Terms, Australian Museum, Link.

More of my writing on aboriginal issues here. More of my haiku on this blog under categories here and on my old blog here. Feel free to have a browse.

‘spinifex dot painting country’ was first published in Journeys, an anthology published by Haiku Bindii, a local Adelaide Japanese poetry group. I don’t think they have any more copies but I have a few. If you are interested contact me here, and I can get one into the mail for you.

baked blackberries, anyone?

IMG_5647IMG_5677IMG_5615IMG_5665 IMG_5690Beginnings of regrowth —
things with tubers: bracken, blackberries, reeds,
pink and rusty new leaves sprout on the smaller blue gums,
some small fleshy seedlings poke through.

Kookaburras on and on about something. Us?
Blue wrens — small, dainty, fragile.
Where did they go when that firestorm raged?

After My New Haiku Hero(ine): Chiyo-ni

winter-garlicblackberry bush
the truth is it has more vigour
than me

compost turning
all the little critters
burrow back down

winter —
shrivelled vines but still
bitter red tomatoes

kitchen garden in a garlic head — winter

late night
the old wood stove

winter night
space is completely filled
with magpies’ song

These were inspired by Chiyo-ni. Here are some of her haiku

the frog observes
the clouds

lies within the listener—
a cuckoo’s call

again the women
come to the fields
with unkempt hair

morning glory –
the truth is
the flower hates people

moonflowers —
the beauty
of hidden things

How good are they! She was a Japanese poet of the Edo period and is widely regarded as one of the greatest female haiku poets.

to quote  Kuheli’s at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai: ‘She showed a childhood gift for poetry and had already gained fame for her haiku while she was still a teenager. Her early haiku were influenced by Basho and his students, though … she developed her own unique style. … Her verses were mostly dealing with nature.  In later period of her life, around 1755 Chiyo-ni became a Buddhist nun.’

ed. and trans, with notes by Patricia Donegan & Yoshie Isibashi
Tuttle Publishing, 1998:

‘Basho’s style of haiku was formulated by others over the years. His well known fundamentals usually include: sabi (detached loneliness), wabi (poverty of spirit), hosomi (slenderness, sparseness), shiori (tenderness), sokkyo (spontaneity), makoto (sincerity), fuga (elegance), karumi (simplicity), kyakkan byosha (objectivity), and shiZen to hitotsu ni naru (oneness with nature).’

‘Yet, the most important thing about Chiyo-ni’s haiku, which epitomizes her being true to Basho’s style, is how she actually lived the Way of Haikai, or fuga no michi (the way of refinement in one’s own life and art). With the emphasis on poetry as a way of life, poetry could be a source of awakening.’

‘Chiyo-ni was a master at making connections, by being open and carefully observing the ordinary things around her, especially in nature. Her observation was simple and clear, yet at the same time unique, with its feminine imagery that was delicate and sensual. The most important thing to her was honoring the sacredness of everyday life.’

So much to soak up. I’m inspired.


In the end my father died of pain when my siblings and I were turning him to change his sheets. I was holding his wrists and I felt his pulse stop. The breath went out of him and his gaunt face released its tension and pain. He was suddenly at peace, suddenly relaxed and beautiful, his face like the face of a holy figure. Not a single one of us were saying, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” as Dylan Thomas urged his father. Our father had fought and he had lost.

into the room
with the late yellow light
voices of children