Peacocks in Holland Park | a haiku

Majestic plumage
attracts the female peafowl
– watch and learn, human

I thought I’d have a bit of fun with this one. I love how it’s the male birds that are more colourful and pretty to show off to the female birds. Mr J did an awfully good job of spoiling me this birthday (I’m Taurean) – no lessons to learn there ūüėČ

This post is for Mrs Suvi who missed seeing them on her visit to Holland Park. I was walking there a few weeks back and took these photos.

Enjoy x

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#NaPoWriMo day 30 | The full list of translated poets for April 2016

I wanted to close my month of #NaPoWriMo2016 in a very personal way. This post:

  • comes full circle: I translate my first poem of the month into French
  • shares with you one of my most favourite poems that has been set to a French M√©lodie by several composers
  • lists all 30 poets in translation
  • adds a 31st poet and a brief discussion on Indigenous Australian languages

My first NaPoWriMo poem, translated into French

A l’aube bleu p√Ęle, ¬†
se dresse le cerf.  
Tacheté, il fonctionne bien.

It still has the crescent shape of the original lune I wrote here. I chose French, because I often sing in French and spent a few magical days in Paris the year before last where I fell in love with the language all over again.

Have a read of one of my favourite poems by Paul Verlaine that has been set to music by Gabriel Fauré, Reynaldo Hahn, and others. I adore the Hahn version; I sang it for my AMusA examination. Hauntingly beautiful. Mystical. Soaring. Magnifique!

The list of poets in translation

Each day, Maureen Thorson has given us a poet in translation. I thoroughly enjoyed discovering these poets from all over the globe. I want to be able to come back to them at my leisure¬†when I want to feel inspired, so I have collated them here in order. Please do go back to Maureen’s website for a blurb on each of these poets and links to more of their poems.

  1. Hiromi Ito РJapan
  2. Toeti Herati РIndonesia
  3. Kim Hyesoon РSouth Korea
  4. Nguyen Do РVietnam
  5. Jiang Hao РChina
  6. Ma Ei РBurma
  7. Vsevelod Nekrasov РRussia
  8. Banira Giri РNepal
  9. Mallika Sengupta РIndia
  10. Faiz Ahmed Faiz РPakistan
  11. Shakila Azizzada РAfghanistan
  12. Sureyya Aantmen РTurkey
  13. Alexis Stamatis РGreece
  14. Mohamed Metwalli РEgypt
  15. Euphrase Kezilahabi РTanzania
  16. Maxamed Ibraaahim Warsame Hadraawi РSomalia
  17. Fatiha Morchid РMorocco
  18. Tanella Boni -Cote d’Ivoire
  19. Isabella Motadinyane РSouth Africa
  20. Inger Christensen РDenmark
  21. Rosa Jamali РIran
  22. Halyna Krouk РUkraine
  23. Taja Kramberger РSlovenia
  24. Hasso Krull РEstonia
  25. Olli Heikkonen РFinland
  26. Maarten van der Graaff РNetherlands
  27. Luis Herndandez – Peru
  28. Marcio-Andre РBrazil
  29. Frank Etienne РHaiti
  30. Dolores Dorantes РMexico

Australian Indigenous languages

When I got to the end of list above, I couldn’t help but notice there was no one from Australia, my home country, and wonder why?¬†Sadly, in Australia ‘languages are disappearing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world’.

Australia is very much a monolingual country. This is despite the many people who have migrated there from other countries, speaking different languages, and importantly, the Indigenous people, who spoke about 250 different languages at the time of colonisation, which could be subdivided into over 600 different dialects. Years of government policies and practices aimed at assimilation of the Indigenous and migrants are responsible for this loss and have had a huge impact on Australian culture and identity.

In recent years, efforts have been made to recover and preserve Indigenous Australian languages. It is a difficult task as very few are still spoken today and fewer still are being learnt by children. Indigenous languages were an oral, not written, tradition. The written records we have are from varied and inconsistent sources, which makes it hard to determine how words were pronounced.

In addition to the links above, I recommend you have a look at some of the many poems available online by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, an Australian author, educator and political activist of the Noonuccal people. Her poems are in English, but are deeply rooted in the inflections and nuances of her culture; the subject matter is very political and poignant.

Thank you

It has been an absolute pleasure to join you all on this journey.

I’d love to learn more about you and your favourite poets and poems. Links and recommendations are most welcome in the comments.




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#NaPoWriMo Day 29 | I remember … the pleasure of reading as a child

I remember when I used to sit on the verandah and read
I remember that I’d wear short black shorts and an oversized white t-shirt
I remember I’d sit with my hair out, and sometimes it was salty from the beach
I remember peering over the blue and pink hydrangeas to the road beyond and watching the neighbours get into their cars and drive away for the day

I remember smelling the books before I read them, they were from the library and each looked different to the last
I remember the thrill of seeing a stained page, a dog-tagged corner, an underlined passage and knowing that someone had been there before me
I remember sitting for hours, pretending I wasn’t being called back into the house to clean my room or unstack the dishwasher
I remember the heat of the summer and the cold sweat that would gather under my pits when the novel got really intense and I just couldn’t put it down because I had to (I had to!) I had to find out what happened next

I remember the stack that I’d carry from the library of five or seven each time and the joy of choosing which to read first
I remember the guilt of knowing that some I would not read, some the cover and the blurb were enough, or the first few pages
I remember the joy of finding an author I loved and devouring all their work, visit after visit
I remember the pain of knowing that the library was missing a book in a set and not knowing how I would be able to live without it

I remember when reading turned to writing and the immense pleasure that was to be found as equally in a blank notebook as it was in one filled with the skilfully placed words of the published authors I admired


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#NaPoWriMo Day 28


Tea, paper and a pen are an expectant morning gift to the self
The kettle filled with fresh water whistles impatiently
What happens behind the bathroom door is none of your concern
Feet hit the floor gently, eyes searching for socks/slippers/thongs ‚Äď anything but the cold surface
Limbs stretch upwards and outwards, back arches, toes flex, calves flex
Anything to open my eyes: I scroll through emails, blogs, Twitter, Facebook,
I roll over and hug my heavy sleeping lover
The alarm goes off, belatedly as usual
I wake up to silence

Today’s prompt from Maureen¬†was to write a story backwards. She recommended not making it complicated ūüėČ

In my reading and writing I love time play – whether it’s about time travel, or a story that unfolds in a non-linear way, I love it just the same. Sarah Waters is a fascinating author known for this and I highly recommended her if you enjoyed this challenge.

Two days left!


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#Napowrimo day 27

The moth’s wings are pressed flat underneath the glass in the shape of a heart.
How did she slip ‘twixt the painting and the frame, it bulges at the top.
Did she spend much time trapped there, flying about? Or was she wedged quickly?
Was death swift? Merciful? Or did she watch on as we walked unaware?
Unaware of her quiet struggle, her slow ignominious death.
To be a moth on the wall, seeing what she saw, knowing what she knew …
Then to die like that, with no-one noticing, no-one caring … just gone?

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#Napowrimo Day 26

The Wild Rover has been stuck in my head all day long…No nay never… Thanks a lot Maureen. Sea Shanties were today’s prompt and I had fun trying to look up some I once sang back in Sydney at The Dock, Redfern. By ‘once’, I mean just the once, I loved it, but Monday night is a killer – I just want to sleep. Also, check out the 10 Manliest Sea Shanties¬†here.

I really enjoyed today’s poet in translation, Netherlands‚Äô Maarten van der Graaff. I loved the cultural references, the realism and the beats.

Anyway – back to Shanties – as much as I love Molly Malone, Bound for Botany Bay, Wild Rover, Spanish Ladies and more… you’d think I’d have been better equipped to hand today’s prompt….

Nope. Nada. Left it till the end of the day and it still doesn’t roll like it should. Stole a bit from Shakespeare that fit and even then? Ah well… So this is¬†part today’s prompt and part a film review. I think I was inspired by how van der Graaff would go off on a tangent. Enjoy.

Tonight I saw Eye in the Sky
Cry havoc and let slip
Fatal hellfire rained down from high
Cry havoc and let slip

Helen Mirren was firm and Alan Rickman poignant
The Americans direct and the Brits indecisive
The everyday, juxtaposed;
The distance, amplified.

Tonight I saw Eye in the Sky
Cry havoc and let slip
Someone orders the dogs of war
Cry havoc and let slip


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#napowrimo day 25

Never shall a young man, thrown into despair
By the release date of the next DC film,
Be thought to give a care

If the next Marvel film is running so late
Chris Evans can’t pass as an ageless Captain
or the Hulk loses weight.

That two households, both alike in dignity,
should spark such abiding faith, fierce loyalty
and gross indignity …

Today’s prompt was to mix the first lines of other poems into a poem about something else entirely. I started with an old favourite of mine … For Anne Gregory by William Butler Yeats:

‘NEVER shall a young man,
Thrown into despair
By those great honey-coloured
Ramparts at your ear,
Love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.’
‘But I can get a hair-dye
And set such colour there,
Brown, or black, or carrot,
That young men in despair
May love me for myself alone
And not my yellow hair.’
‘I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.’

I came to love this poem circuitously. The first stanza features in A. S. Byatt’s Possession¬†– which I highly recommend. It won the 1990 Man¬†Booker Prize.
You¬†might also notice a nod to another poet’s first lines – though they are from a play… not one of his sonnets ūüėČ I had a lot of fun with this one ūüôā Please forgive the lazy last rhyme, but it was that or settle for an almost rhyme – and I liked the dichotomy of it.
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#napowrimo day 24

Meet my three most favourite fancy words:

a myriad of bobby pins
fall into an inchoate pile
an ephemeral chore to tidy

This week’s prompt was a mix and match poem. Take fancy words and match them with every day words. I won’t make it any longer than this because I have had these three favourite words for a very long time now and I love them dearly. 

What are your favourite fancy words? 

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#napowrimo day 23

Okay – today is the sonnet prompt and I’m just way too intimidated by all the rules and possibly concussed for unrelated reasons … So I’m going off-prompt… Lune by word count …

Sweet sonnets, songs and serenades
Soothe the soft
And sensitive souls of sisters

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#NaPoWriMo Day 22


rivulets run in mazes across
the surface of the riverbank sand
air bubbles form, popping and sucking
two beady eyes, like red LEDs

a guttural croak from mouth unseen
the insect legs rubbing together
a ripple and flash of scales beneath
there’s more than eels in the lake says my
my dad

the current steers our wooden kayak
not fast, not straight, but slow and winding,
the weight of us rocks the timber boat,
disturbing a fairy-wren into
the sky

detergent floats as an oily foam
an upended glass bottle of beer
bobbing beside us, torn plastic bags,
drink cans and packets and plastic rings
our tears


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