Spicing it up

Basil had finally arrived
in Arizona dreaming
of repeating Krakow nights
with his saffron love,
Garam Masala.

After leaving sunny Paris
they had spent thyme 
watching Tuscan sunsets
before mulling spices
into a mural of flavour 
for adding some Aleppo pepper
to their long awaited reunion.

Laced with dill,
pickled appetisers set
a savouring mood 
for their evening

Cumin, coriander paprika
zatar and mustard seeds
ensured the main meal
was saucy, spicy and hot.

Sea salt, lemon grass 
fennel and sesame seeds
added potentcy to the salad

Nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla
heightened their senses
throughout dessert.

By the end of the meal
they were ravenous
for the after dinner mints.

Merril set this week’s dVerse prompt for we poets to spice things up using at least three of twenty-five listed herbs, spices, flavors, and spice combinations. For a bit of fun, I chose to cook up something that used them all.

Good Things Only #16

OK, so it’s a beautiful morning. Cold, about 1 degree when I got up. Just a touch of frost. The grass is very green and I can’t see a cloud in a very blue and crisp winter sky. The air is sharp, crystal and the light breeze has a bite that penetrates. Nonetheless (I love that word), it is a beautiful morning with the stripped bare deciduous trees revealed in their all their steak naked glory and the evergreen indigenous trees contrastingly clad in their full, puffed up grey green winter coats. It is a beautiful morning. It is silent except for the gentle rustle of that surprisingly penetrating soft wind. Oh, and the always there hushed background tumbling sounds of water spilling and falling, running and spinning, turbulent and dashing over flat granite shelves into rocky hollows and against small stray boulders pushed along by the intermittent pressure waves of variable winter flows as they surge with irregularity down the creek. It is a beautiful morning.

Against the cold I am wearing my favourite jumper. There is no heater on, just the layers of clothes capped by this marvellously insulating and cosy thickness of wool are keeping me warm. Lovingly knitted by my loving wife, it only really gets a look at the world in winter. It is too warm most of the time for wear in other seasons. I think that is what makes it all the more special. The built in love and warmth reflect its specialised purpose.

It is big and old, enveloping, creamy and embossed. These days it is a little on the stretched, sagging and droopy side (giving it a 10 on the affection scale – which as everyone knows is the top score for a jumper). It sort of hangs around me rather than is worn by me. In fact it could be called an affectionate jumper. The first of its kind and a quality to be aspired to and emulated by all knitters who learn of it.

The crew neck now has a cute little “V” shape from under which diverse collars can peek. Otherwise the knitting has held its pattern for years, making it sort of tight and loose at the same time. I love the detail of its repetition. This jumper has character. Maybe it even is a character in its own right. Yes, i think that is right, it has become a character in the story of my life because I have an emotional attachment to this jumper. We belong together. And that’s the way I like it.

Storm wind

 
 Such a turbulent, pitiless, brutal battering.
 This powerful storm wind pushes relentlessly through 
 the defenceless trees of the creek.
 It lashes most at the isolated and vulnerable,
 stripping them bare of grey green winter cloaks, 
 whipping the fabric of canopies to ragged threads,
 blasting layers of protective cladding away into a roaring tempest.

 This scouring wind probes incessantly for weakness,
 fissures in the gnarly bark skins,
 cracks in the very bones of each noble specimen
 mercilessly exposing deficiencies
 as it flails and lays bare its victims 
 with neither remorse nor respite.

Over extended over and over, flawed limbs fail first
fracture, snap and drop.
Crowns too heavy with water shake and quiver.
Sodden feet lose their grip on the world. 
Once stately trunks twist, rock, waver, shudder 
and fall.
And the sound of the final defeat is an explosive crack,
the collapse a mighty crash,
and the thud at the end is dead.

For today’s dVerse poetics Sarah prompted us to think and write about the elements. I chose air/wind because I often find myself contemplating the fierceness of a storm’s breath as it can turn the tranquility of our peaceful riparian zone into a deadly maelstrom.

The Gambler

 
Precedence
is chance
The roll is a fast
chaotic dance

The die is cast
numbers spin
Will luck outlast
the spin I’m in?

The dotted faces
turn and prop
bounce and hop
My future turns
on fortune’s stop

Excitement
Anticipation
Fulfilment
or suffocation

Desperation
Indecision
High risk taking
recidivism

Bound for glory
is my folly
Wracked and ruined
that’s my story

Highs feed lows
on pure vainglory

Today’s dVerse prompt from Ingrid was for a subject of each poet’s choosing. This one came from a draft I had on gambling, a subject I have been trying to get my head around.

Juliet and Romeo

Juliet
is all slick and wet
her long hair in her eyes
she has been hit
by an idiot
drunk driving by 
bye bye

Romeo
roams idly by 
sees the girl on the ground
He looks at her 
quizzically 
then realises what he has found

Juliet
breathes in gasps
as blood pools under her back
She looks up sees Romeo
last look last love
as limbs go slack

Romeo’s
not much you know
but this time 
things are different
He wipes the hair from glazed eyes
and wonders where 
her life went

Juliet
rises above the scene
She watches Romeo
He cradles her head
gently in his lap
He whimpers out a moan

Romeo
struck by love’s full fist
his only love has gone
He whines he weeps
at his loss
Death into his soul creeps

Juliet 
bears final witness to 
Romeo’s last testament
“Did my heart truly love till now?”
he whispers
For the first time 
he knows what love meant
“Good night Good night”
“Thus with a kiss I too die”
He declares to her 
death pale face

Romeo 
bends his head down
tenderly brushes her cold lips 
with his own
he lets her head down 
lightly beside him
as he lies quietly beside her
takes her right hand
with his left

Romeo
from his pocket
retrieves a knife
meant for other men 
he eases the blade
between his ribs
it finds his broken heart
As blood pools under his back
his life is also gone

Juliet 
utters one last cry of grief
before she disappears
or was that one last cry of relief
in hope he reappears
for never was there a story of more woe 
than this of Juliet and her Romeo

Ingrid’s prompt for this week’s dVerse poetics was “Homage to the Bard.” I chose to write a poem approximately on the theme of Romeo and Juliet. https://dversepoets.com/2022/04/26/poetics-homage-to-the-bard/

Okra

Two women sit under a thatched roof 
supported by rafters
coarse wood brown
smiling and chatting together
Chickens scratch at the edge of their shelter
a bold shiny colourful rooster
a big shiny black hen

Their surroundings are a circular patch
dry dusty earth red
small mud brick dwellings
define a perimeter orange
The late autumn day is lit by a cold sun of
clean blue light

One woman sits above the other higher
she is perched
Her long thin legs hang over a shallow edge
a rug covered platform
She is the older in a thick faded purple
dress a pullover yellow
is topped with a scarf white around her neck
Her head is swaddled in a woollen wrap crimson
it frames a face sun
lit, weathered and aged by decades of labour

Spaces such as this
fields such as she can choose
to see at anytime
will forever be green and brown
She gazes pensively across
open communal space
She ponders her past with pleasure and regret
she speaks of things new
old, deep and trivial
Her arthritic hands clasped in a lap
of gratitude flesh
Her battered Nike sneakers peek out from
the long layers of fabric above grey and yellow
her face is calm
Her future as it will be

The younger sits cross legged
a woven mat under her strung tan
Together cultivating lines of okra
drying under sheltering eaves ragged
shadows of indigo host
hangings vertically in bright green
coloured lengths
unclasped necklaces ornaments
of metres adorn the space with a decorative
interior that creates a sense
coming festivity
The drying shed colours the day, the place
it’s people making
according to the crop
a pride of place for transient
prettiness and implications
security, work well done

Here for generations other
younger women have
sat for hours
days post harvest preparing
sustaining products of manual fieldwork
multi hued
for deep grey winter consumption
Her dress is brighter golds
magentas her hands are as yet
unaffected by the gnarly
growths destined by labour
She repeats centuries old weaving
patterns confidently efficiently unhurried
listening quietly thoughtfully respectfully

Tales of the past wash over her black and white
through her as water of life in delicate pastels
as hope as comfort
She knows here there are will be
still lessons to be gleaned
conversation the reflections of her elder
The younger a willing learner of
a quasi meditative state borne soft pink
by the methodical repetitious
nature of her work it is was as surely known
the best way for learning lessons
by the word of her people
successes and failures
myth legend
retelling that never ceases to inform
warm warn entertain and delight

There is comfort in the learning
a knowing that all the natural obstacles over
which there is little control life
will continue on on on
There is no question about how
time is to be spent
day by day this is dictated
by seasons culture necessity
green yellow brown grey

There is no concept of time ticking away
each day is known-quantity where
choice is limited but colour rich
life is sometimes unpredictable dangerous
set fluid simple
giving and taking with impunity
Time has no measure
life itself opaque

Two women commune as did
two before them
back it goes into the dark
blue of distance
where many women become every one
sitting together, stringing up green okra
another part of every year’s never ending
rainbow

The Tall Brown Woman in Green

They told me about her hair
before I met her.
It was green.
I thought it the best hair
I’d ever seen.
The fall of her locks
topped long flowing frocks
that ran neck to toe
as they swept the ground clean.

In bare feet
so she walked
or sashayed
I should say
her hair bounced away
like gentle waves of the sea.

In long flowing robes
from her head to her toes
luminous bright green
and shimmering a sheen,
she moved as one
supple, undulating dream.

Her hips that were square
rolled sensually there
under rippling fabric I deemed.
Her shoulders carried smoothly.
Her pose held beautifully.
Her skin smooth as polished gold.
Her head held proud,
and defiantly bold.

Her face was of grace
framed in fine green lace
at the edges of the green hood
folded around her neck.
From the dripping sleeves of her gown,
where long hands emerged brown,
slender fingers completed the scene.

Bright brown eyes
looked curiously around,
‘til she stopped,
tall and sure
image of a noble queen.
She had turned toward me.
I, the watcher was seen,
and I found myself bound
to the tall brown woman in green.

Australian Pipit

A common Australian terrestrial bird that spends most of its time on the ground for foraging and breeding. Prefers semi to open habitats. I often see them on rural tracks running the wheel ruts.

totem

I seek to find the tree
where and when I find it
I will know it for its role in my life
spirit connecting totem

white fella dreaming me
my original culture kit
equipped for consumption and strife
for directionless floating

missing address of life’s mystery
missing where I fit
cut from “other” as with a knife 
finished as animate factotum

I seek the key
in nature’s remit
to open the door of relief
to release my soul forgotten

I walk the bush incessantly
search nature’s bridge exquisite 
in enduring mortal grief 
to reveal immortal heart re-woken

where entity is true and free
where body and soul will sit
with cup and bowl I turn new leaf
full of love and hoping

Today Sanaa prompts we poets to write in the form of rimas dissolutas. In this form each stanza comprises of lines that end with a rhyme matching the corresponding line in ever other stanza. https://dversepoets.com/2022/01/04/poetics-exploring-the-realm-of-french-literature-first-stop-marseille/

5 Good Things Only #04

The Blues Brothers Soundtrack

1. The Blues Brothers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. If Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and The Blues Brothers can’t make you want to shake a tail feather – nothing can. Music makes my day, every day.

2. A fresh celery stick smeared with crunchy peanut butter along its middle. Groovy!

3. Watching seedlings grow in the greenhouse. I had forgotten how fascinating it is to plant a seed, check it regularly, see it emerge and leaf. Such an everyday occurrence and yet so incredible.

4. Taking the time to get informed and then complete a significant survey with objectivity. I am confident the Euroa underpass surpasses the overpass. The Euroa Connect volunteers have done a very professional job of campaigning accordingly.

5. Removing a scourge of our bushland – Blackberries. Here, and in many parts of Australia, there are no constraints on their growth. They can smother vast tracts of indigenous flora. This particular work has been four years in the making. It felt so good to finally start mulching these dead canes. Once this area along the Seven Creeks is revegetated it is going to look its natural self and amazing once again!

From this …..
To this.