Three classic winter haiku set to snow-scenes on the Faluån, Dalarna

There’s a zen to nature photography and haiku that I’ve wanted to work with for quite a while. So here’s something from me which is rather new. Three snow scenes intended as small dialogues between classic winter haiku and my own photographs. The pictures were taken during last week’s snowy weather and they are of the Faluån – that’s the river that runs through Falun connecting Lakes Varpan and Runn in Dalarna, Sweden. The haiku come from a small website 12 Haiku That Reflect on Zen Buddhism.

There should be no need to say more – but comments and suggestions are welcome.

Trees – a picture and two poems

We will be missing two Poetry at Reddits occasions whilst we are away in Sweden: my contributions are here though.  There are two of WS Merwin’s poems and one of my pictures of Hogback’s trees.  All inspired by Beth Moon’s special book Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time – thank you Kate for the wonderful gift.

Twining Trees at Hogsback

Trees

I am looking at trees

they may be one of the things I will miss

most from the earth

though many of the ones I have seen

already I cannot remember

and though I seldom embrace the ones I see

and have never been able to speak

with one

I listen to them tenderly

their names have never touched them

they have stood round my sleep

and when it was forbidden to climb them

they have carried me in their branches

 

The picture I’ve chosen also reminds me of another of his poems, I think because of the way the trees twine around each other.

 

Separation

Your absence has gone through me

Like thread through a needle.

Everything I do is stitched with its color.

 

Looking forward to our next Reddits in October!

Cover Concept for ‘The Cull’

I’ve been working on some cover concepts for Harry Owen’s upcoming collection ‘The Cull: new and resurrected poems’.  It’s taken a while to get to the finished product but now both Harry and Amitabh Mitra, who’s publishing it through the Poets Printery, are very enthusiastic about this one.

The Cull: full cover

The basis for the cover is a picture of Harry taken in front of the fig tree in his Grahamstown garden.

Harry Owen

I wanted to show him literally embedded in nature – that reflects the subject of this collection of poems – and experimented with Adobe Photoshop Mix on my iPad. I selected a couple of pictures from earlier this year when I went to the Maasai Mara and superimposed them over him so that the textures mixed together. Amitabh had suggested that I used some red in the cover so I added a garish sunset as the final layer.

I mirrored the final image so that it could act as both the front and back covers and then added borders and text.

Covers front and back

Covers front and back

We had worked earlier with the same idea but using a landscape image for the front cover – that’s what’s shown in the slideshow here – but rejected that as the book will be in the standard portrait style with dimensions of 3 x 4.

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I really like the way the elephant’s trunk and tusk merge with Harry’s face in this one.  There’s plenty more animals too – giraffes, vultures and a hyena!

 

Hadedas and Catching Flies: two more haiku

The first of these haiku was written at home in the early morning. The second could have been anywhere.  I guess they should be called Hadedas and Catching Flies?

Hunched like nuns in the coral tree

They cackle at dawn

Hadedas

………..

Basking like a seal on warm black rocks

Mouth open, mind free

Catching flies

Two haiku: for summer and winter

It’s been one of the warmest, sunniest winter Julys that I can remember in the Eastern Cape.  Which perhaps inspired these two haiku:

Hail stones on a hot zinc roof

The young lovers kiss

Summer storm

………..

On the bay window of old mens’ smiles

A woodpecker taps

Winter sun

Maybe one day I’ll come up with Spring and Autumn to make the whole cycle?

Framing the Rhino Picture

Those of you who have been following the release of For Rhino in a Shrinking World will have already seen Sally Scott’s front cover picture – a powerful pastel drawing of a rhino regarding you through the bush.  I thought that it would make a special addition to our home so I bought it from her a couple of months ago.  Yesterday we took the rhino into town to Classic Framers and with Sophie’s collaboration we decided on the frame for it.  Here are a few quick pictures taken with my phone of the artist at work …. and the next thing, of course, will be to decide just where to hang it!