Friday, March 31, 2006

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The lure of ripe figs

An abundance of figs, in varying shades of ripeness, have bought little grey warblers (riroriro) out of hiding. To feast among the branches of the beautifully shaped tree host, generously serving up beakfuls of the sweetest fruit. Lush and delectable. Along with the dear little warbler, comes the gregarious myna. Also in abundance. Raucous, bolshy. The yellow-masked forager. Sharing the bounty with fellow avian chums. But not quietly. Starlings arrive. Subtly speckled and sleek. A quick feed and then off. Fantails (Piwakawaka), never still, flit from limb to limb. Not, I think, eating figs. Rather, they seem attracted to the small flying insects gathering around the over-ripe fruit. A tui, visiting in the semi-dawn, is heard before the blind is raised. It is assumed to be revelling in a solo gastronomic experience. Blackbirds, resident in this garden, have no choice but to share the figs they have been patiently watching mature for the past few months. A pair of thrushes, fellow co-inhabitants at this address, manage the influx of avian brethren by enjoying the fruit that drops to the ground. No competitors at that level other than god's mistake, the wily wasp.

Photograph/Common Myna

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blogging behind the bamboo curtain

Internet use has significant limitations for those operating out of China. A good friend of mine lives and works in China. She cannot access my blog, or any other Blogger blogs for that matter. To get around this, I make use of a Blogger facility that emails all my posts directly to her. And no, they are not sent again and again as I edit and re-edit. Earlier this week, she felt inspired to create her own blog. Was it possible? She asked me how to go about it. Naturally, I gave her the Blogger home URL. Explained that the process was easy. Well, that is, for those of us living in a part of the world more conducive to an activity such as this. As it transpires, while she can create a blog, she cannot view it. What kind of rationale dictates rules such as this? Stupid*. Bloody stupid. Consequently, I did some googling and then made several email enquiries to Blogger blogs written from behind the bamboo curtain. I received this email this morning:

You can access the pages for blogger in china, but you cannot access your own blog (I know, it's really weird). Unless you go through a website that blocks your cookies. The most popular is anonymouse -

If you put your blog address (or any address that is blocked in China) into that little website box, it will go there for you.

Sounds promising. Fingers crossed. Good luck Jacq.

* Stupid: euphemism for something far less benign.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Uncertain Space

Following on from this:


Exhibition Opening:
Thursday 1st June at 6pm
Exhibition Dates:
Friday 2nd June – Sunday 9th July
Corbans Estate Arts Centre

In this exhibition, three photographers explore the notion of uncertainty. None of us know what tomorrow, next week or next year will bring to our lives. In each of the photographers’ images, metaphors are used to illustrate various internal waiting spaces we may find ourselves in. Places that may not make sense and lead to uncertain outcomes. The disempowering quality of the waiting room, altered perception through image distortion, and the ‘space’ a physical disability can confine us to, are all themes to be explored in this exhibition.
(This exhibition has been scheduled as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography).

Photographer/Liz March

Friday, March 24, 2006

Rediscovering reading

Never, in a thousand years, could I have foreseen myself reading a book, online. I mean, books are tangible. Have pages. That you turn over. With fingers. Books have covers. Books have smells. Difficult to describe. But never forgotten Like the smell I so powerfully associate with the children’s section of the Remuera library. A familiar childhood haunt. So, that aside, here I am, reading EM Forster’s Howards End. Online. A long-confirmed reader, a booklover, reduced to audio books (unabridged) for eighteen months, is rediscovering the joy of reading. Through my own eyes. And discovering a genre, for too long ignored. The classics. It would seem that classic titles are the only ones available online. Expired copyright, I suspect. So classics it is. First up, the aforementioned Howards End. Thus far, I am enjoying it immensely.

NB. A note in defense of audio books: actually, they are rather good. An excellent narrator, actors for the most part, really brings a book to life. I recommend them. Especially enjoyable listened to from between the sheets.

Liberal ideas

Whenever I hear people talking about 'liberal ideas' I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfil its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions.

Photograph of Marc Chagall

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Your good maids are dusting the banisters

The affections are more reticent than the passions, and their expression more subtle. If she herself should ever fall in love with a man, she, like Helen, would proclaim it from the housetops, but as she loved only a sister she used the voiceless language of sympathy.........

"I shall ask no questions. I have it in Helen's writing that she and a man are in love. There is no question to ask as long as she keeps to that. All the rest isn't worth a straw. A long engagement if you like, but inquiries, questions, plans, lines of action - no, Aunt Juley, no."
Away she hurried, not beautiful, not supremely brilliant, but filled with something that took the place of both qualities - something best described as a profound vivacity, a continual and sincere response to all that she encountered in her path through life.
"If Helen had written the same to me about a shop assistant or a penniless clerk - "
"Dear Margaret, do come into the library and shut the door. Your good maids are dusting the banisters."
" - or if she had wanted to marry the man who calls for Carter Paterson, I should have said the same." Then, with one of those turns that convinced her aunt that she was not mad really, and convinced observers of another type that she was not a barren theorist, she added: "Though in the case of Carter Paterson I should want it to be a very long engagement indeed, I must say."

EM Forster Howards End

Like perfect teeth

I once believed a person could remain that self-same person even if they lost their bodily faculties. A fallacy exposed. How can I possibly credit that belief with any veracity now? I stand on altered ground. Experience has modified belief. The things we do define who we are. What I do, visibly expresses who I am. How can I wholly express who I am without the ability to do? This question begs another: Who, exactly, am I? The 'language' I once used to express myself has been thwarted in its flow. My 'vocabulary' has been largely reduced. In essence, I have been reduced. The accompanying sense of loss is immeasurable. Expressions of ‘me’, developed over a lifetime, have been forcibly and unjustifiably extracted. Like perfect teeth.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Can I just have one more moondance?

Well it's a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
You know the night's magic
Seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight
Seems to shine in your blush

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love?
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love?

Well I wanna make love to you tonight
I can't wait till the morning has come
And I know now the time is just right
And straight into my arms you will run
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure that you're never alone
There and then all my dreams will come true dear
There and then I will make you my own
And every time I touch you, you just tremble inside
And I know how much you want me that, you can't hide

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love?
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love?

Well it's a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
You know the night's magic
Seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight
Seems to shine in your blush

One more moondance with you
In the moonlight
On a magic night. . . .
There's a moonlight
On a magic night
Can't I just have one more dance
With you my love?

Van Morrison Moondance

Monday, March 20, 2006

Where the hell has my blog gone?

This morning's post is somewhat of an experiment. I deleted a post late yesterday afternoon and since then my blog page has assumed a completely and utterly blank appearance. My profile page is unaltered and still available. Along with the edit page, minus the one deliberately deleted post. Nothing strange there that I can see. Now I am worried. Blogger is such a complex beast. I shall email them but I imagine it will be days before I get a response. Weeks, maybe. So, if you can access my blog, please leave a comment or send an email and let me know. Cheers!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Anthem of My Youth

Recent writings at Secret Garden and Dharma Bums have inspired a spirit of nostalgia. Led me off down spirals of thought, long buried. Now reawakened. Rexroth’s Daughter’s musical reminiscences and ponderings made me think of my own early-mid teenage experiences of music. 1973/74. I feel privileged to have had at that time, as one of my two best friends, the friendship of a girl who had four older siblings (I am the eldest in my family). Johnny, her eldest brother, was somewhat of an eccentric music buff. With wonderfully eclectic tastes. It meant that I was exposed to albums my Pink Floyd generation might otherwise have denied me. Everything from JJ Cale, Traffic, Cream, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, through to The Moody Blues, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Amongst numerous other musicians. Any of which, heard now, produce intense stabs of welcome nostalgia. Although, through the ensuing years, it is Van Morrison who has constantly maintained the strongest position, in this regard. Moondance, the song, is probably the anthem of my youth.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

How to remain in control when you're not in control

Some days commence with the arrival of an unknown stranger. Unavoidable, but I never look forward to it. I sort of shut the real me down and switch to autopilot. Doesn’t eliminate the situation 100% though. Unfortunately, that is just not possible. I need to remain ‘present’, at least to some degree. Enough to be in control – paradoxical but true. Enough to say “do this and this and this, this way”. Enough to know when to smile, when to say “thankyou”, when to acknowledge a task well done. And enough to recognise when it’s all over, to switch myself back on again, to reoccupy my self, to breathe a huge sigh of relief.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Girl's Lament

In the years when we were
all children, this inclining
to be alone so much was gentle;
others' time passed fighting,
and one had one's faction,
one's near, one's far-off place,
a path, an animal, a picture.

And I still imagined, that life
would always keep providing
for one to dwell on things within,
Am I within myself not in what's greatest?
Shall what's mine no longer soothe
and understand me as a child?

Suddenly I'm as if cast out,
and this solitude surrounds me
as something vast and unbounded,
when my feeling, standing on the hills
of my breasts, cries out for wings
or for an end.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Artist/Da Vinci

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Peering into the pool

I lost all of my vanity
when I peered into the pool
I lost all of my innocence
When I fell in love with you

Ray LaMontagne Hannah

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Socrates issued(s) a challenge

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Socrates (Apology)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Reminded yet again of Goethe

Lying in bed this morning, I marvelled at the enigmatic human capacity to, on one plane, function with absolute competence, while, on another, managing the most simple and mundane tasks presents immense difficulty. Watching this phenomenon in the life of a profoundly loved other, elicits feelings of both compassion and frustration. But, surprise, no. I am too much aware of my own inconsistencies for that. Experiencing such an exhibition, from a third person perspective, forces me to reflect on my own inconsistencies anew. Reminds me yet again of Goethe’s words: Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine.

Virginia Woolf by Charles George Beresford

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Fit for a peasant

My neighbour has a German-made stonegrinder. She uses only organically grown grains and hand-makes all her family's bread. Real bread. Heavy. Chewy. Something to get one's teeth into. Yesterday afternoon she very pleasantly surprised me, as she does periodically, with a small wholemeal cob loaf. Sprinkled with sesame seed. What a treat. Having been a prolific bread baker for many years, but now reduced unwillingly to vicarious bread baking, I was delighted. Immediately, I scoffed several pieces with thin slices of the fenugreek cheese I have newly discovered. Great combination. Fit for a peasant.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A keg of beer and an accordion

I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell me what is happiness.......and then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the Desplaines River and I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their women and children and a keg of beer and an accordion.

Carl Sandburg

Artist/Paul Gauguin

Pockets of Colour Assuage Darkness

One of the many photographs being stockpiled for Liz's exhibition in June. Some in colour. Most black and white. Using a combination of Leica camera and a rather expensive digital thingy. I say 'thingy' because it's an altogether different beast from a proper camera. Along with PhotoShop you can play endless games with a digital image. Fun, but cheating really. Oh, and the subject of her photographic essay. Me, actually. Well, my life, to be more exact. You won't see my face. Apart from living so unique a life as to provide Liz with inspiration and a focus - oh, that's so funny, not - my contribution will be excerpts from my writing. The whole exercise adds a pocket of colour to an otherwise mostly black and white existence. I've also suggested a title: Through a glass, darkly. Fits in more ways than one.

(Apropos yesterday's comment, regarding fried green tomatoes: The verdict? Quite different to my expectations. Much softer. Less flavour. Certainly edible. Still, to be honest, I was rather nonplussed. Despite really wanting to like fried green tomatoes. After all, I loved the film. Oh well, at least I can now say I've been there, done that).

Photographer/Liz March