So... after months of it being too cold for camping, off we went on Monday, up to Katarapko Creek near Berri. (Murray River, South Australia.) The first hot days and we chose them. It was seriously hot.
We were trying out our new camping set up, a camper caravan, all very nice, secondhand, excellent condition. etc. We hated it. Hated the little tenty beds. Didn't like cooking in it even for a cup of tea. Didn't like sitting in it. It was like a little house, but you don't go camping to be in a house, do you? We spent the whole time depressed about hating it and trying to smile politely and say, 'It isn't that bad', and so on. A comedy skit could have been written about what went wrong. Not to mention us tiptoeing around each other. We forgot to take the coffee pot. There are times when one shouldn't call one's loved one 'darling'.
I guess we aren't caravan people.
But then the sun lowered behind the trees and it cooled down. We got out the camping chairs, turned out backs on our bad investment, and sat by the river. Warm, calm, and exquisitely beautiful. Swallows, river hawks, pelicans, parrots. Water, reflections and the lowering sun painting everything gently.
We pulled the mattresses out into our screen tent and slept there, in cool, delicious air with a 360 degree view, and the night birds calling.
Spent a lovely morning, wandering and photographing, and only going into The Thing to boil a kettle. And then we packed up and came home because the day was going to be even hotter. And we had to get home to put The Thing on Gumtree.
The image above is called After Image. It is nearly two metres wide and standing in front of the real thing the eye is caught first by the black and then travels to the white. But as it does it carries an after image of the black in negative, ie. white. I was dealing with war at the time and this was about the long term effect on the psychs of people.
This next painting is called Little Bird and is about those displaced by war, those who become refugees. Australia treats refugees abysmally. It is shameful.
Although it was at the time of the first gulf war, it took me a while to realise that this series was dealing with war. I just felt deeply depressed. Gone, with this upsurge of war, was the vane hope that the will of the people would be respected. People protested in huge numbers. No one except a few leaders wanted war but we got it anyway. And look where it has led? Some of us could see that.
I really didn't understand what I was doing; painting weird black and white pictures, harsh and troubled. They had a lot of punch but really? They worried my mother. Normally she smiled politely at my non-representational abstracts, but these troubled her. It wasn't until I wrote the following poem that I understood these paintings with any depth.
painting with black
I paint with black
black to cover my sorrow
black to cover my shame
there is blood on the streets
there is blood on the faces of the children
there is blood on the Torah
there is blood on the Bible
there is blood on the Koran
there is blood
black the earth
black the sky
How horrific it is. And endless. Am I making you happy? No? Not me either. But here is a painting from the end of the series. It is called Dwelling. I think it is restful and hopeful. I think it is a simple shelter in the midst of need.
And I don't know how to do an emoji heart on this platform, but that is what I send you, Dear Viewers, a good healthy loving beating heart.
a head full of snot
gifted by my grandchildren
sharing the love
That's nearly a (so-called) traditional haiku. One syllable short on the last line. I could get it in there but... I'll rewrite it instead:
by my grandchildren
a head full of snot
How much better is that?
Normally at this point I would get rid of the first one, but sometimes it's good to remember process. I have haiku that have been through many changes, over years sometimes. Eventually they resolve. I hope.
Mind you I quite like 'sharing the love'. Maybe:
sharing the love
my grand son
his head full of snot
A couple of things wrong. Now the snot line seems too long and I prefer to use active verbs if I can in haiku so 'sharing' doesn't cut it. But I like how specific 'grandson' is.
shares his love
head full of snot
I'm happy with this last one. Even though the last line has more syllables than the middle, 'shares' has a long vowel, so the lines seem equal to me. Not that it matters.
What do you think?
I really like this image too. It has been waiting for airing for some time. Would it make a good haiga with the last haiku? Probably, but there is no way I would put the text onto the photo. The composition is too tight.
the flight of the wild swan
between earth and air
between life and fire
between transcendence and the fragile body
between the wild swan and the burnt man
between divine ecstasy and nuclear fall out
the royal swan of the soul floats on the cosmic ocean
despite the cosmic ocean being filled with blood
* * * * * * *
For Wednesday Sense Day, a little peak behind the scenes, a little more about this poem. Following is a journal entry written as I was leading up to the poem, with the intention of responding to the image above by Ervin Janek
* * * * * * *
'There is a figure that Dirk made when he was in year twelve. It’s the bust of a person whose flesh is melting from a nuclear bomb. I’m thinking about that sculpture because Ervin used it in a photo that I’m wanting to write about. The photo is called Flight of The Gander, named after one of Joseph Campbell’s books, Flight of The Wild Gander. In the photo a monk sits in contemplation or meditation next to Dirk’s melting head, and a gander is flying overhead.
'The Wild Gander is a symbol of paramahansa, literally ‘supreme swan’, it symbolizes spiritual discrimination. ‘The swan is equally at home on land and on water; similarly, the true sage is equally at home in the realms of matter and of spirit. To be in divine ecstasy and simultaneously to be actively wakeful is the paramahansa state; the 'royal swan' of the soul floats in the cosmic ocean.’
'But how, when beside you is a face melted by the heat of a nuclear explosion? How could the monk not be torn? Granted, we learn to live with the atrocities we see on the media everyday. We have to. But how can one possibly be in divine ecstasy?
'Perhaps, however, there is such a thing as transcendence. It would certainly beat depression. And in the end, what is the difference between one form of suffering and another? And what is it, when we are suddenly lifted by a sunset or a small bird, a child or a magnificent tree. What happens to our awareness of suffering?'
between earth and God --
the old man
You can see this image and others by Ervin Janek here.