this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr

for the main blog of poetry, whimsy and maybe beauty, now

Sunday, 29 June 2008


I've been reading a few random blogs today while losing the battle with 'The laziness', as amyD terms it. Reading other people's personal stories is interesting. Many a biography has obviously sold on the principle. I wonder, though, when does the time comes for letting go? I am as prone as anyone else to blame others for any misfortune afflicting and influencing my life. I am also able to, I hope, award these blame-ees the complexity and confusion of thought, emotion and feeling that I too experience. Parents and teachers and peers and those in positions of authority within our personal lives, are not infallible gods, not fallible gods, in fact not gods at all, or if they are, they definitely have clay feet. True, especially when we are children, other children, but also adults, can have waspish tongues, perverted imaginations and no sense of empathy or sympathy whatsoever. As children, we lack the strength, maturity and perception to defend ourselves, and there is a tendency to internalise the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, rather than to take arms against a sea of troubles, or to put up a very visible shield at the least.

If our life has been made up of events that are far from the best, due to another's lack of judgement, forgetfulness, and sometimes sheer vindictiveness, then there is no need to forgive. Likewise, though, there is maybe no need to carry, one minute past the next, the hurt and pain caused by the actions. Recognising hurt is necessary for it to diminish, holding onto the hurt means that it probably will never do so. When we are children, things that strike multiple times, like a rattlesnake, secrete a poison into our bloodstreams. This might gain, rather than weaken, in toxicity when we are adolescents, depending upon our life experience, circumstances and way of looking at the world. By the time we are adults, the anti-venom may be difficult to locate. After all, the things we feel as children, the stories we tell ourselves and others tell us are hard not to view as truth, especially if we have been telling/listening to the same story all our lives.

But, as I go through my 40s without a roadmap, I know my parents didn't have one either. As I deal with emotions that swing erratically from one side of the pendulum to the other (and all the degrees inbetween), how do I know that they did not experience similar kinds of feelings and confusion when they were my age, and younger? My emotions often do not make me the most pleasant person to be around, and I hope not to inflict any shame or nastiness on loved ones, those I teach, or even random strangers, but I am not always successful. I hope that others see that I am more consistently good that consistently erratic, though this could be my own misconception. There are adults and children who should know better, but who will, perhaps, throughout their lives never know better. Who knows what makes them that way?

But for us to carry their toxin still, though it can be hard to locate and suck out, is not a healthy or happy way to live. True, the venom probably never so much leaves as it diffuses into a homeopathic remedy, applied after the event. Of course, for this to happen stages of acknowledgement and recognition have to be experienced. Nobody ever really leaves those stories behind, but they can be woven into a larger story, rather than being the story - a black thread that provides contrast and reminder, or a pastel thread, barely noticed against the others, an anomalous silver gradating between light and dark.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


Things are finally moving on Guantanamo , thank god, though it seems that Bush still doesn't think that people from other countries who are detained by his government should be given the same rights as the citizens of his country. Even if those people have issue with a country that is not the U.S. . It is a difficult situation it seems, as many (though definitely not all) of those detained appear to be very far from angels. Some of those released have gone on to wreak murder and mayhem, but not all, as seen by David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib . It can also be seen from those reports (though the neutrality of them is disputed - what do you expect, it's wikipedia!) that people who end up at Guantanamo are not necessarily of what is termed as sound mind, yet, when one also looks into well-documented reports of torture, the question of which comes first (the chicken or the egg?) has to be raised. "Results" gained by torture and deprivation should always be questioned, and use of such techniques by any country, and especially by countries which pride themselves on their democratic and humanitarian principles, should not be condoned.

For a comprehensive look at the issue, PBS's Frontline, The Torture Question is well worth seeking out. Though dealing with Abu Ghraib, it also looks at Guantanamo, and here is a lot of information in print form from the same documentary. Though it came out a few years ago, the issues addressed remain topical. Well, I know hypocrisy is enshrined in many a nations' constitution, but it is worth keeping in mind that if a government feels justified in using techniques of terror towards one group of people, there is no guarantee that it will not feel justified in applying it towards all people at some point in the future. And if the upholders of democracy gain government endorsement to use the tools and techniques favoured by many dictatorships and regimes, then the word democracy and everything it is purported to stand for certainly takes on a hollow ring.

Saturday, 21 June 2008


Things the mobile phone camera cannot capture:

  • full moon in the star-kissed sky,
  • flute and bossanova guitar playing El condor Pasa (under the star-kissed sky),
  • history of the buildings surrounding the barbeque where El condor Pasa is being played under the almost full moon star kissed-sky.

I wish it could. It's a good little phone. Takes some nice flower shots - and there is the shot above, taken at sunset, sun's rays streaking weathered wood. But, it could be an old building anywhere. Ambience is not apparent.

Even so. This is part of an old landowner family's property. Most of these kinds of properties have been transformed into museums; not many people live in them any more. But this family still does. The wife of the family married into the landowning family. She comes from an old sake brewing family. Once a year they open the house up as she has a beautiful garden. The roses are particularly famous. All the mobile phone pictures were blurry, so I won't post them. Other rooms are opened where art works are on display, and this year, for the first time, there were two concerts.

The property borders a lake which used to be part of the property, but which the family donated to the city. The photograph below (which is not of the property) is maybe a scene that people like to think is traditionally Japanese. And it is, but people just don't really live this way, due to lack of space, any more. It was only those who had money who used to live this way, too. This is a shot of a garden at a temple which google provided for me. So sorry original photo taker.

The reason for me posting it is that we were in a room (not tatami) that opened up onto the garden like this. Two guest musicians played the flute and guitar (bossanova style) to a contingent of locals. The area is a rural area, and so it may have been a room full of older Japanese farmers who were enjoying the bossanova in a traditional Japanese room which overlooked the garden and the lake. Some saw an anomoly, and to a degree there was. But the music and the room were beautiful and, as such, were invigorating to the spirit. Plus, some of the ladies in the audience were from my swimming club, and I know them as very interesting people. Not to say that farmers are not interesting, but it is not the view that is always held of them. One of the older ladies had in fact gone to Vienna with a music group she belongs to, to play the flute in a cathedral. Something I don't think I'll be doing in my life (don't know how to play a flute, for one).

Being foreign is often a lucky thing. Or a favoured foreigner. That and being a friend of a friend. My supervisor knows the owners of this property quite well, and they had invited her to a barbeque after the concert. As I attended the concert with her, I was invited too. Big yards, tall trees, places that date back more than a couple of hundred years, a full moon, and the musicians coming to join us afterwards. The owners of the property and their family and friends, urbane people with fluent English who had spent many years studying overseas, local people with fluent English and sophisticated ideas. However, Japanese was the language of choice, and so I just sat back and enjoyed the atmosphere for the most part,my boss translating anything very important or interesting as the need arose. Did I feel intimidated? Somewhat, but life is what it is.

Soon the older trees, which are tall enough to tower over that building in the first photo, will be knocked down, as will the old wall that skirts the property, as the road outside gets widened. The huge gate will remain, but will be moved back from the road. Though it does mean that the road will be safer, nobody wants to see the trees go. Japan does not value certain aspects of its heritage - or the officials in city hall don't. At this point of my life, I've been lucky to witness this little window, the shoji doors edged open to let in the sun.

Friday, 20 June 2008

monkey magic

I need a retreat, relief, from all the chattering monkeys in my mind. Will seriously look into them (one?) for my next extended vacation. A retreat, that is. My life is pretty much one of seclusion anyway, maybe I should delve into it a bit more deeply :)

Monday, 9 June 2008

and the days are not full enough

Well the lovely writer of the argument of her blog has left us bereft of poem and verse for a time stretching beyond an aeon - or seventeen days at least, which in blog world is an abandonment of nigh on 8 and a half years (note, if we consider one blog day is equivalent to half a human year, then the maths is correct-ish).

In her defence, she is feeling poorly and has had quite an exciting month, and may even have started a REAL LIFE. Still, our souls are crying out feed me so I hope that she doesn't mind if I step in and provide a few scant lines - which kind of rhyme - though the reflection she always provides us with may somewhat be amiss or missing.

I disagree with this guy's politics, though he was mad, but then, so are most dictators, not that he was one ( I don't tend to agree with the politics of dictators either, and don't let them use insanity as a defence - that was all I vaguely meant by the previous sentence). And there is always more to the story (from that reliable source, Wikipedia, lol).

But his poetry, or the few fragments I know, provide me with a glimpse, a scene painted and layered, which remains in mind's eye and fills with detail as I add to and evoke emotion from his very few words. Whether it is the emotion intended or not, I do not know. But he is able to encapsulate, as a poet should, that which is common to all of us in words uniquely his own.

And the days are not full enough

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
     Not shaking the grass

Ezra Pound

Maybe the argument of her blog's writer is having a life quite the opposite of the above, and maybe Ezra ended up spending some time incarcerated in an open cage because he didn't know how to quell the ticking of his mind by engaging in the physical as well as the ethereal, something I am more than guilty of as well. Though maybe if your friends and peers were Robert Frost, Yeats and Elizabeth Bishop, then such ethereality is more a calling in life than a call of madness, and therefore maybe more nourishing and enriching than tilling the soil (or soiling the till) and scrubbing the dirt from beneath your nails at the end of each day.
this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr