Friday, June 26, 2015

What Catty did...

I just spent a week at Rye - intending to finish the novel I'm currently working on. I was fired up and ready and - I got half way there. I was disappointed that I didn't forge further ahead, but on reflection I'm in a good place with the revision and proud of what I achieved.

I also did some freewriting, which I really enjoyed and discovered that my muse is Mary Poppins. Not Julie Andrews - but Mary Poppins. A governess who fixes everything with just the right balance of sternness and joyfulness. She carries a carpet bag. I've always wanted a carpet bag. What I don't like are her sudden disappearances - but what is her practical magic.

I tried to harness some of that practical magic for my other non-writing projects this week, too. I cut out some patterns and basted together the Merchant & Mills Bantam racer top. I like the aesthetics of Merchant and Mills and the fact that the patterns are simple but lend themselves to being altered. Just not sure that I'm quite good enough at sewing to alter them!

I also finished the back of my new cardigan - it's beautifully soft and I love the colours. I had hoped to finish the entire cardigan while I was away but I always plan too much and then, mid-week, have to acknowledge reality.

In between fighting and acknowledging reality, I also looked at the sea, found a cafe (Sacre Bleu) where I could eat fruit toast and practise my French and bought some bargains. The op shops and secondhand clothes shops on the Peninsula are treasure troves! (I confess, though, I also bought some new things - but they were bargains - and I really do mean bargains.)

Now, it's back home and I admit I feel a little despair already at the general lack of light in the house and the pile up of stuff. I can feel a trip to the op shop coming on but first I might do a bit of a clean-out of knitting things to see if I can tempt my knitting group.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Poem

The Life

What if my life was judged -
a Masterchef dish?
She had the same time as the others,
the recipe and access to the pantry.
There were some elements
            delicious -
and she led her team to victory
            (with help)
there was that one -
            but she came back
a thrilling combination, fragrant, nearly set.
            The dream?
(they all have those).
             Her disadvantage?
A heavy hand
or heart
a battle with the dish's hero?
Perhaps it (the life the cook the build)
lacked zest, bite or foundation?

Predictably the judges send me home
            wan wave for the camera
(but where was I all that time?)

Catherine Bateson, 2015

Want to gobble down more Tuesday poems? Head over here where Bill Sutton's poem, 'Sugarloaf hill' glances at the cycles of life and death. This week's Tuesday poem was curated by Tim Jones.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Found Poem

Early morning rain
the down-pipe chiming
out-of-time with birds
valiantly calling through mist.
The old dog's breathing meditation.
The kettle boiling and winter
creeping under the doors.

Check out the Tuesday Poem blog for the curated poem of the week. This week it's a poem from Naomi Guttman's novella in verse, The Banquet of Donny and Ari; scenes from an opera.  'Chernobyl Wedding, 1986' is a pantoum and the subtle word-shifts and repetition create a poem whose form which beautifully matches the rituals of the subject matter while still able to insert a chilling element of menace. Thanks to Eileen Moeller for posting this poem.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Tuesday Poem - 'Afterword' by Robyn Rowland


i.m. Seamus Heaney, April 13 1939 – August 30 2013

It was the week after your funeral mass.

Your poem Postscript was meandering through my memory,

with your government of the tongue, your message about voice,

unique sound of a poet come into themselves.

I was re-arriving, driving from Clifden,

the road you knew well, out

along the marbled spine of our peninsula,

jetlagged, neither here nor there.

Packed overgrowth from summer was so full

compared to the stark cold spring I left earlier in the year,

when you were reading and writing, knowing already

tomorrows are best left uncounted.

It was a soft day but no wind to blow the dust off a long trip,

no hurry in the low-slung sky,

a slight hush in the lightly wet wheels.

Air had been thoroughly soaked and a

county-full of spiders busy at work.

The land was hung as if for Christmas –

every tip of gorse branch, each dip of lavender heath,

every vacant space between the cups of fuchsia,

was glitter-strung. Thousands of webs, millions of drops,

netted a tinselled land, branches rising

as shimmering limbs from the bog,

or perhaps heaven had laid out a lacy crystal cloth

that angels at play dropped careless beneath long hugging clouds,

and the trees, reaching up, had torn it about themselves

in bliss at their lovely ornament.

Or maybe, for a small moment, the earth,

feeling aged beyond counting, had

webbed-over with wearied loss,

grown ancient at your death.

Robyn Rowland © from Line of Drift, Doire Press, Galway Ireland, 2015

Third generation Irish-Australian, Dr Robyn Rowland AO  has been reading and teaching in Ireland for 32 years.  A citizen of both countries, she lives in the two places equally.

Robyn has previously published ten books, seven of poetry, with two further books forthcoming in 2015: Line of drift, emerging from her life in both Ireland and Australia (Doire Press, Galway, Ireland) and This Intimate War. Gallipoli/Canakkale 1915 –  içli dışlı bir savaş. Gelibolu/Çanakkale 1915 (Australia and Turkey). The latter, based in historical research, represents the experience of both Australians and Ottoman Turks during that war. It is bi-lingual, with translations by Assoc Professor Dr Mehmet Ali Çelikel from Pamukkale University.

Line of Drift has just come out - congratulations, Robyn! You can purchase Line of Drift, (free postage!) Doire Press Galway at 

I've been taking part in the Iowa Writer's Centre online poetry MOOC - and the linebreaks in the current Tuesday Poem, 'Albert Park' by Alice Miller interest me. Have a look and see what you think - I agree with the guest editor, Saradha Koirala that they invite you to read the poem in different ways.

Phew! Good to be back at the blog....

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

No tuesday poem from me

I've been laid low, laid out and pulverised by a head cold. At certain times during the past week and a bit I've felt up to enjoying being sick in that slightly masochistic way one can, surrounded by gently cooling cups of fragrant herb teas and unread books, but I'm over it. I want robust coffee, curries and something strident and galvanising to read.

So, while we're waiting for the Muse to attack, leap over to the Tuesday Poem blog where you can read 'In Carbondale' by Cliff Fell, this week's featured poet curated by Harvey Molloy who writes great liner notes! Enjoy the poetic feast, my starvelings.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Poem


Why did the day break before it began?
The dream still fermenting, the sudden rain?
Then you, muttering behind the door
you jerked shut.

I walked around the man-made lake.
A cormorant dived, making the water dance.
I was not lonely as I pieced the day back;
         this corner of sky
         a piece of green bench
         that edge of dark wing.

Catherine Bateson, 14/04/2015

This poem was, partly, inspired by the first class of How Writers Write Poetry which is a Canvas MOOC from the International Writing Programme from the University of  Iowa. Robert Hass is one of the first group of poets to talk about 'Notebooking, Sketching, Drafting' which is Session One of the course. I had heard him before as I enrolled in this MOOC last year, as well. This year they seem to have added some poets and I so enjoyed it last year, I didn't mind hearing the sessions again. Hass suggests beginning a (two-line) poem with a question and then answering it. I'd been fussing around with this poem all afternoon, trying to make it work and going off on tangents. Finally, after watching the video, it came together.

I like questions. I try to use them in my everyday communications, too. They open up possibilities.

As does the featured Tuesday poem. This week it is Leilani Tamu with a powerful, plainsong poem, 'Aotearoa Runaway'. You can read an article  by Tamu here - and it is interesting to read this alongside the poem, not only because it talks about incidents in the poem but because it displays another side of Tamu's writing. 'Aotearoa Runaway' has been curated by Tulia Thompson, and she provides a  perceptive commentary. Please read it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Eek - behind!

I'm lagging behind with NaNoWriPo - two days with no poems. But I'm pretty philosophical about that. Here's the 7th poem - written on Wednesday 7th April.

Death's Mid-Wife

How we love David Attenborough.
He is god's voice. The dinosaurs,
woolly mammoth and moas
would reform instantly, grow hide
and feathers for his beaming approval
if only they could hear his rich wonder
at their very bones.
When I die, I want his voice
counting me out, death's perfect mid-wife,
delivering me back to mingle with the endlessly
marvellous earth.