Goodbye

I have decided not to continue posting words and pictures.

My thanks to all who visited my site during these five months. I am particularly grateful to those of you who left ‘likes’. I especially appreciate the many kind comments.

The real worlds beckons, and so I must leave.

Thank you and goodbye.

Max

with austere beauty,

makes individual voice universal.

“Reading what I have just written I now believe …” Louise stopped there. It sounded like an acceptance speech. She paused. Uncertain. Indecisive. Isn’t that line one of those clichés that the creative writing class teacher tells their student to avoid? “Yes, I think it might be.” She answered herself. It takes confidence to write. They say that too. But Louse wasn’t confident. She wavered. Anxious. Alone. She thought so long and hard about it all that her eyes got too misty to see the page she was reading. Chaotic. Confusing. “Don’t listen to me; my heart’s been broken. I don’t see anything objectively.” She paused again. “When I speak passionately, that’s when I’m least to be trusted.” “My strengths?” Intelligence. Powers of language. Insight. Louise, skeptical outsider, knows they are valueless. She doesn’t want to be an untrustworthy speaker. She knows she is invisible.

Lillian at dVerse https://dversepoets.com/2020/12/07/some-prosery-cheer/#jp-carousel-20969 for today’s Prosery Monday has chosen as prompt: ‘Reading what I have just written I now believe’
This is the first line from Louise Glück’s poem ‘Afterward’. I so like Ms Glück’s work.

Lillian says “WOW! Doesn’t that statement come to mind sometimes when words just flow out of you and you stop, read them and think, where did that come from?
That says it all, really.


Who says poetry doesn’t pay? Wikipedia says the prize money for 2020 is 10 million SEK. Really? That’s 896,410.00 Pound sterling!

Take a look at the other responses to Lillian’s prompt here: https://www.blenza.com/linkies/links.php?owner=dversepoets&postid=04Dec2020&meme=13019

Giff challenge: Bored on a Blue Day

Bored on a blue day
tail flicker
that fly won’t live much longer.

This week I am still learning how to make giffs. My challenge is to:
* make each giff an integral part of a very short story.
* each story has a one hour time limit for both picture and words
* create a different feel for each story.
* keep them to twenty frames or less.

Watch for the blink! I think it’s my favourite bit of this giff. Maybe double the number of frames would give the fly a more natural movement. I may try a series of more completed giffs in the future.

Let me know what you think.

Wallpaper 7: But Is It ART?

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.

Andy Warhol.

Well, I did it. I have stuck to second task. This week I have been really getting into wallpaper art. And poetry. I’ve read so many inspirational and awe inspiring examples of the wordsmith art.

But what is Art? In the eye of the beholder? You know what you like? What do the Authorities say?
Wikipedia is a bit prosaic:
Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts, expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power’.

The Oxford Dictionary covers a few more bases:

I noticed most of you like to have a picture or two alongside your verbal art. Mostly it’s art by other people. I know how inspirational others art can be. One of the first poems I read by Goff James took me down the road to finish an art work I began years ago. https://maxjoyart.wordpress.com/2020/07/19/perchance-to-dream-fishes/. Goff is a poet who also makes his own art.

Would you like to make your own art too? Anybody can. My complicated work can take a long time but simple things can be quicker and, frankly, just as visually successful. Let me invite you into the process of making your own digital collage.
As I make today’s image I’ll write a ‘how to make your own art’ post. It may take a few days before you see it. An insight into my creative process may help you make your own images.

How to express a thought through visual art? I start in my head. Think about your subject. If you are an intellectual butterfly like me, then this part is a joy. Just let your brain free-range. Really it’s the same process as stream of consciousness writing, but for image making.

The arts were the turf of the Greek god Apollo. I’ve been revisiting Homer, so he’s been in my head a lot. Perhaps Apollo has guided my hand this week, so I’d like to give him some time out. He’s a hard worker. Seven days a week flying his light giving chariot. Always on the same route. Must get a bit dull. He only gets nights off. After all that daylight and serious responsibility wouldn’t you want to go some place dark, let off some steam? Bet he likes the nightlife, baby. I’ll take him dancing.

First image that pops into my head is a dance style. What kind? Slow dancing, breakdancing, bootscooting. Nope, not glittery enough, not Alpha enough. Apollo, he the MAN, he gotta SHINE. The boy can’t help himself.

I think he’d like to get down and boogie. Find a dance floor. But which one? What else but the perfect pop culture icon dance floor from Saturday Night Fever. I found the very floor here on the Arthur Murray dance studio site. It sold at auction for one point two million dollars. https://www.arthurmurraylive.com/blog/million-dollar-dance-floor

In these covid times the Arthur Murray sites talks about the benefits of digital dance lessons. Who’d have thought it? Check it out here: https://www.arthurmurraylive.com/blog/10-ways-digital-dance-lessons-make-you-better. I might do some dancing myself later.

Now for the man himself today I’m using an iteration of the Belvedere Apollo. Trim him up, paste him on the dance floor, add some natty shorts. No John Travolta suit for Apollo, dress codes have changed since the seventies. With that bod Apollo is sticking with surf wear.

That’s all there is to it! So go ahead, express yourself. My next post will give you the tools. Before then why no think about the kind of image you’d like to make to pair with your verbal art?

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

Oscar Wilde.



Wallpaper 6: I Wonder Where the Birdies is?

Spring is sprung
the flowers riz
I wonder where
the birdies is.

Australia was colonised in the 18th C. But there was an Australasian sulphur crested cockatoo in Sicily the early 13th C. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II owned it. A well travelled bird.
Here’s the illustration in the De Arte Venandi cum Avibus of 1241-1248.

The cocky was a gift from al-Malik Muhammad al-Kamil, Kurdish sultan of the Egyptian Ayyubid dynasty.

True story. [i]

Not everyone is charmed by budgerigars.

[i] Dalton, Heather; Salo, Jukka; Niemela, Pekka and Orma, Simo. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen’s Australasian cockatoo: Symbol of detente between East and West and evidence of the Ayyubids’ global reach [online]. Parergon, Vol. 35, No. 1, June 2018: [35]-60. Availability: <https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=649258641527441;res=IELAPA&gt; ISSN: 0313-6221. [cited 15 Aug 20].

Wallpaper 5: What was the First Ever Question in Literature?

Day five of my wallpaper challenge pays homage to that ancient storyteller Homer, revered for thousands of years. In the first paragraph of the Iliad he asks the First Literary Question:

So, which one of the gods was it who impelled the two to fight with each other in strife?


Who made them do it? That is the very the first question in the very first recorded piece of literary art in the whole history of us. Totally mind boggling that the same question is still being asked thousands of years later. It’s a variation on ‘the dog ate my homework’ excuse for bad behaviour.

Anger, goddess, sing it, of Achilles, son of Peleus –  disastrous anger that made countless pains for the Achaeans, and many steadfast lives it drove down to Hādēs, heroes’ lives, but their bodies it made prizes for dogs and for all birds, and the Will of Zeus was reaching its fulfillment – sing starting from the point where the two – I now see it – first had a falling out, engaging in strife … So, which one of the gods was it who impelled the two to fight with each other in strife? It was Apollo the son of Leto and of Zeus.

My favourite Apollo is in the centre of The Archibald Memorial Fountain in Sydney, Australia. It was intended as a war memorial to commemorate the association of Australian and French troops in World War One.

Homer has his narrator ask the question of a goddess. A muse, a goddess of infallible memory. It’s a terrific structural device. Homer’s epic poetry has an unbroken line all the way from him, or whatever version of ‘him’ you accept, to us. It was not something lost then re-found. Totally mind boggling that Homer’s Iliad is still being read and discussed thousands of years later.

I first read Homer way back during the Gulf War. Another thrift shop find in the days I thought I should read ‘proper literature’. It hooked me on the first paragraph. I loved it passionately and still do.

Anger, Goddess sing it …

Makes my spine tingle every time.

Harvard’s EdX course The Ancient Greek Hero, known to all as HeroesX has just started its current iteration, number fourteen. It’s a online MOOC. I recommend it. You can participate for free. Although you can pay and get a certificate.
Here’s the blurb:
Discover the literature and heroes of ancient Greece through the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, the tragedies of Sophocles, the dialogues of Plato, and more. Explore what it means to be human today by studying what it meant to be a hero in ancient Greek times.
Link here:
https://www.mooc-list.com/course/ancient-greek-hero-edx

This poem was my reaction to my first exposure to HeroesX.

Voice of The Goddess

Anger
Goddess
Sing

Anger – I get angry
Me, one among the multitude
We all get the anger

Goddess – Her swan song.
The time of men is coming
yet still it is She
alone in the cosmos
whose voice holds power

Sing – the hora is upon us
so three makes
Kleos
Sing, Goddess, sing
Sing to Me.

I’ll be going again this time round. I have some questions about Ulysses. If you have covid time on your hands I can think of no better way to use it.

Tell me, Oh Muse …

Wallpaper 4: Would you like a nice cup of tea?

Day four of my wallpaper challenge may be the Biggest Questions of all time.

Don’t we all know that sinking feeling that only a good cup of tea can dispel?

Tea, Ma’am?

Queen Mary is amused.

The Cup That Cheers

While you have a cuppa check out my slide show of a few famous tea drinkers.

Here’s an alternative viewpoint. I’m a bit pressed for time today, so these are two wallpapers I prepared earlier.

Wallpaper 3: More Questions Than You Can Poke a Stick At.

Day three of my wallpaper challenge. This artwork also has a clear section to the left for files. Revisiting Rousseau’s tigers yesterday reminded me the the great romantic storyteller William Blake. Blake asked A Very Big Question.

Did he who made the lamb make thee?

This poem is pretty much all questions. Or is it just the same question asked in different words?

Mrs Gonzales said, to the 5th form girls studying Blake, ‘You know you can go to the State Library and read this in a book that Blake wrote and painted himself.’ A seventeen year old enchanted by the Romantic poets, off I went at the end of the week as soon as school was out.

They sat me down in a paper and leather scented reading room, replaced my grey school gloves with white cotton archivists ones. I’m surprised they left me alone. I guess they knew a neat little schoolgirl wearing that grey uniform with its hat, gloves and turned down socks would never misbehave in public. Hell hath no fury like a Headmistress spurned.

I was in awe. Good poetry still has that effect on me. I remember that book as clear as a bell. Clearer, really, as I’m starting to go a bit deaf. It was a long time ago. I believed I was holding in my hands something Blake had made himself. His hand on the paintbrush making each mark, his fingers holding the paper where mine held it. Actually, remembering the illustrations it was probably the 1826 printed edition. I could check in the catalogue to find out, but I won’t. To me Blake made that book himself just for me.

‘Do you work with fear and trembling?’ ‘Yes, indeed,’ was the reply. ‘Then,’ said Blake, ‘you’ll do.’ William Blake to Samuel Palmer. Saturday, October 9, 1824.[i]

An almost contemporary opinion is often enlightening. In any era an opinion by someone named Algernon must always be taken seriously. Especially if that opinion is dedicated to Rossetti. Heavy hitters or what? Algernon Charles Swinburne, too, had a question:

‘I found so much unsaid, so much unseen, that a question soon rose before me of simple alternatives: to do nothing, or to do much.’

You can read Algernon’s answer to his own question about Blake:
https://archive.org/details/williamblakecrit00swinrich/page/n11/mode/2up

Blake questioned himself throughout the creative process. Algernon again:
Here also is that most famous of Blake’s lyrics, The Tiger; a poem beyond praise for its fervent beauty and vigour of music. It appears by the MS. that this was written with some pains; the cancels and various readings bear marks of frequent rehandling. One of the latter is worth transcription for its own excellence and also in proof of the artist’s real care for details, which his rapid instinctive way of work has induced some to disbelieve in.

“Burnt in distant deeps or skies
The cruel fire of thine eyes?
Could heart descend or wings aspire?[16]
What the hand dare seize the fire?”

I had to include Algernon’s Footnote 16.
Could God bring down his heart to the making of a thing so deadly and strong? or could any lesser dæmonic force of nature take to itself wings and fly high enough to assume power equal to such a creation? Could spiritual force so far descend or material force so far aspire? Or, when the very stars, and all the armed children of heaven, the “helmed cherubim” that guide and the “sworded seraphim” that guard their several planets, wept for pity and fear at sight of this new force of monstrous matter seen in the deepest night as a fire of menace to man

“Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?”

We may add another cancelled reading to show how delicately the poem has been perfected; although by an oversight of the writer’s most copies hitherto have retained some trace of the rough first draught, neglecting in one line a change necessary to save the sense as well as to complete the sentence.

“And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet

Could fetch it from the furnace deep
And in thy horrid ribs dare steep?
In what clay and in what mould
Were thine eyes of fury rolled?”

Having cancelled this stanza or sketched ghost of a stanza, Blake in his hurry of rejection did not at once remember to alter the last line of the preceding one; leaving thus a stone of some size and slipperiness for editorial feet to trip upon, until the recovery of that nobler reading

“What dread hand framed thy dread feet?”

Nor was this little “rock of offence” cleared from the channel of the poem even by the editor of 1827, who was yet not afraid of laying hand upon the text. So grave a flaw in so short and so great a lyric was well worth the pains of removing and is yet worth the pains of accounting for; on which ground this note must be of value to all who take in verse with eye and ear instead of touching it merely with eyelash and finger-tip in the manner of sand-blind students.

Stern words, Algernon!

Would you like to hear it read to you?
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/21177/mp3/21177-02.mp3

If you have time on your ears, try this BBC radio play. I’m listening while I make this post. So good so far. It has begun very Alice-like. https://archive.org/details/thetygerhuntbylaviniamurray
The Tyger Hunt By Lavinia Murray
Today is a special day. With a runaway tiger on the loose, young William is out with his sketch pad to capture the magic of a truly enchanting yet absurd afternoon.
A day in the life of the young William Blake, broadcast as part of the Blake season marking the 250th anniversary of his birth
.’

Perhaps you would prefer to be the hand that forms that fearful symmetry? You can use your own hands to make this cut-out tiger. Or you can get some Young Person of your acquaintance to make it.
The black and white version won’t waste your colour ink. You can colour it in yourself, Just do blue eyes a pink nose and feet for a white tiger. Endless creative possibilities.

It’s your own stab at the question:

What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


[i] https://www.gutenberg.org/files/60448/60448-h/60448-h.htm

Wallpaper 1: A Caterpillar asks a Big Question.

This week I am focusing on collage. My self-set task is one collage a day that you can use as wallpaper. I’ve decided my theme will be the Big Questions. I’ll try and stick with my favourite literature. Today is Lewis Carroll’s inimitable Alice.

I like fonts and collect interesting ones. I wonder if it will improve my writing to use Lewis Carroll’s handwriting? Try it out for yourself. Here are two fonts. The first is his handwriting. The second is some natty wing dings based on Carrolls doodles and sketches.
https://www.fontspace.com/lewiscarroll-font-f4492

Seven Day Challenge 4: Window on the Soul

She has Fallen a Long Way

Oh do be quiet
no-one is
interested in what you will say

What are you doing
haiku blog
end of the conversation for now

The window’s broad view
gaze pen poised
happy in the house love built for me

No Ted to husband
my thoughts here
yet she died pining in his shadow


This week I have set my self a challenge to visually interpret one Haiku each day. I’m told that setting an achievable goal is a good thing.

Day four of my personal hiaku words and picture challenge is again inspired by dVerse. https://dversepoets.com/2020/08/04/poetics-looking-out-the-window/
This time the words and picture are all mine A few blogs back there was talk about haiku used in sequence to tell a story. So that’s what I’ve done. My title is a quote from Sylvia Plath’s The Moon and the Yew Tree.
My broad window view is on the edge of an Australian mountain plateau. No spring here yet. We are hoping for snow in a few days time. I am happy and snug in the home my partner and I built together.
To quote today’s host fellow Australian Peter:
Poets have been using windows as inspiration for ages (a Google search gives over 67 million matches to the words ‘poem’ ‘window’). Supposedly, during the winter of 1960, when poet Sylvia Plath was stuck with writer’s block, her then husband Ted Hughes suggested she write about the view out her window. The masterpiece The Moon and the Yew Tree is the result.
Peter instructions for today:
· Take a photo of the view out your window
· Write a poem about it – what do you see, what’s missing, what don’t you see when you look out the window?  what’s changed since this time last year?
· Include a link back to dVerse in your post.
· Post your poem along with the photo on your blog.

Have a read of the other interesting responses here: https://www.blenza.com/linkies/links.php?owner=dversepoets&postid=31Jul2020&meme=12476

Seven Day Challenge 3: dVersity Haibun

Tourists in shiny puffy coats, seeking famous Saihō-ji’s Koke-dera green mosses, rush by the little bamboo ticket office. ‘Koke-dera?’ on the move shouted at the Ticket Ladies. The Ladies give back narrow eyes, gently straighten pink kimono. No bow, no eye contact, delicate fingers gesture up the steep hill. Thirty dollars entry it must be worth the walk. I’m the only one off the train who stops at this emerald gem. Tiny, exquisite Gio-ji. Eight hundred years of moss, bamboo and maples growing quietly, relentlessly. Model for my own modest garden eight thousand kilometres south. Flaming fallen maple leaves scarlet against my own green moss has been my birthday marker for fourty years. Here on this significant decade birthday pink ume snow, cherry buds and bright winter green are my compensation. Years of dreaming and saving to be here, now. Only three dollars entrance.
The Ladies keep a close eye on the white paper umbrella just inside the gate. Beneath gaudy pink struts the very first of the early spring peonies sit breathtaking in the moss. White paper, Schiaparelli pink, moss green. I stop breathing for a moment. Bashō may have stood here under my very footfalls reflecting on a broken-hearted beauty retiring from her lover’s rejection.
How reluctantly
the bee emerges from the deep
within the peony
The temple fundraising committee anticipate that such astonishing beauty laid naked must surely entice the paying customers. All winter the ladies anticipate that strident pink. Stopped at the bamboo gate, I am the bee. Camera in hand, I gaze a little too long. Stern fingers tap the price placard. Entrance price barked in a rough tone. Startled, ‘Yes’ I bark back in the same tone. I hand over the correct coins, beaming the joy of pink and green from my green occidental eyes into their dark oriental ones. Raucous laughter, teeth showing, loud, surprised into unlady-like mirth. ‘Hai’ – yes – bark back all the Ladies grinning. The emphatic, strident Japanese tone that says ‘You see the world my way.’
‘What’s this?’ laughed Father
Determined
‘Digging to China.’ Small hand waves fan.

This week I have set my self a challenge to visually interpret one Haiku each day. I’m told that setting an achievable goal is a good thing.

Today I am combining my seven day goal with a dVerse challenge. Kim’s challenge is a birthday haibun. https://dversepoets.com/2020/08/03/haibun-monday-birthday/ This is my first haibun. I had to look up what it was.
The diversity of the creative responses to a single prompt always amazes me. As does the speed at which that others can create. Have a read here: https://www.blenza.com/linkies/links.php?owner=dversepoets&postid=28Jul2020&meme=12489

Seven Day Challenge 2: Snow Ponies

This week I have set my self a challenge to visually interpret one Haiku each day. I’m told that setting an achievable goal is a good thing.

Today Bashō and I reflect on morning.
It is snowing in the mountains just south of here. The cold front is expected to reach us by Sunday. Here in the Southern hemisphere the Antarctic weather patterns drive their icy winter lows north toward us.
The Antarctic images in my collage were taken during the Heroic Age of exploration. Frank Hurley took the pioneering colour image of a tabular iceberg. As he headed south to his undying glory Robert Falcon Scott photographed Apsley Cherry-Garrard holding Michael the pony.
Scott’s pack ponies were more than just transport. In his diary Scott got quite poetic about them:

Saturday, December 9 l9ll.
The ponies have been shot
They have done wonderfully well
Yet it is hard to have to kill them so early

Despite their wonderful work the ponies were appreciated in another important role.

Monday, December 4. Camp 30. The ponies marched splendidly to-day, crossing the deep snow in the undulations without difficulty The dogs are simply splendid, but came in wanting food, so we had to sacrifice poor little Michael, who, like the rest, had lots of fat on him. All the tents are consuming pony flesh and thoroughly enjoying it.

Sentimentalism went just so far.