Friday, May 27, 2005

Water Hyacinth

(With obvious apologies to Bob Orr)

Water Hyacinth 2
Originally uploaded by Adagio.

From you I learnt
to cover my heart.
My foolish heart
that had never
worn a hat.
even this
generous panama
fashioned from
the delicate fibres
of water hyacinth
trimmed with
similarly coloured silk
fails to wholly obscure
residues of the feeling
you first inspired.

January 2005


Originally uploaded by Adagio.

Skin speaks to skin.
No apologies.
I love these oiled and gentle hands.
Touch me.

By this I am known:
Late afternoon sun
And you return at
Intervals, like a child,
With shell or seed or smile,
From barefoot journeys

With native aversion to
Ceremony, you withdraw
And escaping,
Exercise your peculiar penchant
For ungoodbyes.


Sunday, May 22, 2005


I came upon a child of god
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm
I'm going to join in a rock and roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try and get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Joni Mitchell

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Comprehending The Incomprehensible

Originally uploaded by Adagio.

This appointment is random. Indiscriminate. Is it fair? The question makes about as much sense as Is blue hexagonal or square? It is a question with no answer. OK then, reasonable. Is it reasonable? But reason suggests rationale. Suggests a mind. Suggests thought. Implies conscious deliberation. Given that premise, would it not then follow that someone or something singled me out? Deliberately. Engineered the situation. A malevolent hand. From the safety of the universe's back row seats. Or, perhaps you prefer the notion of a benevolent father figure? A sort of divine vivisector. If that theory comforts you, good luck. Not me. Random appointment is easier to swallow. A bitter pill, as opposed to rat poison.

Whatever the theory, there's no doubt my journey is solo. An involuntary rebirth. No twin holding my hand. A birth canal lined with thorns.

In Watermelon Sugar

Late 70's. I remember: Opuawhanga. Cold, wet winter afternoon. Earl Grey tea. Raging fire. Welcome warmth. A cat or two. Me, Brett, Alice. Taking turns. Reading aloud. Richard Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar. Perfect fit for that era. Crazy stuff. Such fun.

Try it for size. The opening few paragraphs:

In Watermelon Sugar the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar. I'll tell you about it because I am here and you are distant.
Wherever you are, we must do the best we can. It is so far to travel, and we have nothing here to travel, except watermelon sugar. I hope this works out.
I live in a shack near iDEATH. I can see iDEATH out the window. It is beautiful. I can also see it with my eyes closed and touch it. Right now it is cold and turns like something in the hand of a child. I do not know what that thing could be.
There is a delicate balance in iDEATH. It suits us.
The shack is small but pleasing and comfortable as my life and made from pine, watermelon sugar and stones as just about everything here is.
Our lives we have carefully constructed from watermelon sugar and then travelled to the length of our dreams, along roads lined with pines and stones.
I have a bed, a chair, a table and a large chest that I keep my things in. I have a lantern that burns watermelontrout oil at night.
That is something else. I'll tell you about it later. I have a gentle life.
I go to the window and look out again. The sun is shining at the long edge of a cloud. It is Tuesday and the sun is golden.
I can see piney woods and the rivers that flow from those piney woods. The rivers are cold and clear and there are trout in the rivers.
Some of the rivers are only a few inches wide.
I know a river that is half-an-inch wide. I know because I measured it and sat beside it for a whole day. It started raining in the middle of the afternoon. We call everything a river here. We're that kind of people.
I can see fields of watermelons and the rivers that flow through them. There are many bridges in the piney woods and in the fields of watermelons. There is a bridge in front of this shack.
Some of the bridges are made of wood, old and stained silver like rain, and some of the bridges are made of stone gathered from a great distance and built in the order of that distance, and some of the bridges are made of watermelon sugar. I like those bridges best.
We make a great many things out of watermelon sugar here -- I'll tell you about it -- including this book being written near iDEATH.
All this will be gone into, travelled in watermelon sugar.

Richard Brautigan In Watermelon Sugar (first published 1968)

Your Catfish Friend

If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them."

Richard Brautigan

Friday, May 20, 2005

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Lithium Phos

Originally uploaded by Adagio.

Lithium Phos
Beryllium Metallicum
Erbium Phosphericum

Only The Garden

Camoin - The Port
Originally uploaded by Adagio.

So much time. To do, what? The previously accessible, inaccessible. Past occupations, shot down. Familiar home, changed. Strangers in and out. Continuously. Filling in time. Before what? Only the garden remains.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Of Night And Light And Half Light

Embroidered cloth
Originally uploaded by Adagio.

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Yeats 'Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven'

Friday, May 13, 2005

84 Charing Cross Road

Originally uploaded by Adagio.

Anne Bancroft and a young looking Anthony Hopkins come together in this 1987 film based on the book by Helene Hanff and stretching across two continents and two decades. Revolving around books and the love of books it features the growing transatlantic correspondence between a lively New York writer with a passion for English literature and a proper London bookseller. Excellent performances from a cast including the ubiqitous Judy Dench in a fairly minor role and looking just a tad younger too. Treat yourself. Highly recommended.


Donne Meditation
Originally uploaded by Adagio.

'...all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.'

John Donne

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Sun. Shy today. Hiding behind cloud. Peering out intermittently. Appearing not often enough.

The final capsicums, aubergines, chillies. Silverbeet, celery, parsley. Ongoing. Ongrowing. To come: lettuce, winter greens, beetroot, broccoli, a colourful array of flowers. Cornflowers, a must.

What is life?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Worlds Collide

Originally uploaded by Adagio.

Home? Disorienting. Now-familiar bed. Familiar avocadogreen room. Neither belonging with the other. Collision of two worlds. Me inbetween. Uncomfortable. Unavoidable help, an intrusion. No way of escape. Life changes forever. Change of mindset? Not yet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Originally uploaded by Adagio.

Flurries of movement in the fig tree;
waxeyes feasting on the last of the figs.
Gone, gulls encircling skies above Pt Chev;
reminder of the sea's proximity.
Again, tuis fussing amongst puriri leaves;
the taffetta rustling of feathers.
Luxuriant greens of an unplanned departure
transformed by autumnal hands.

Tonight, I sleep alone;
the once-ordinary becomes extraordinary.



Modigliani Caryatid
Originally uploaded by Adagio.

Assembling a narrative of my life, I note something of a biographical quality. In part, it is the tale of another. Expressing an objectivity available only to a watcher. A benign voyeur. Despite its fleeting nature, for that brief moment, when the face of the protagonist is separate from my own, there is reprieve. It is not an act of deliberate self-deception. More a defensive forgetting. Shade from an all-consuming sun. From the grave Freud might well be observing a valid illustration of his defence mechanisms theory.