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This sign seems a little incongruous planted in the middle of a flower bed with no grass close by. “Don’t pick the flowers” might be more suitable, but I guess the Council’s resources are limited.

Of grass there isn’t any sign
so this instruction seems hard line

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Death of a Queen

Our poetry group was invited this week to write an acrostic poem about the death of the Queen. This was my effort:

Quietly we absorb
Unwelcome news
Everybody in
England and elsewhere
Now seems

Emotional and is
Looking back
Into her life
Zeal for duty
An obvious attribute
But she also showed
Empathy and love
Towards those within
Her realm

Time now for
Her heir to
Engage differently

Succession may evoke
Expressions of revolt
Conversations about a republic
Other ways to lead
Not hereditary but rather
Democratic

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Push to reset the world is the message on a button where the Promenade crosses Colombo Street. I’d noticed it several times as I pushed the button, then, as traffic had stopped, I needed to cross and didn’t have time to take a photo.

Today I remembered to take the photo before I pushed the button.

I discovered that the sticker is [produced by spaceutopian.com, and that the Great Reset is an economic plan drawn up by the World Economic Forum in response to the Covid19 pandemic. Their aim is to facilitate rebuilding from the global Covid19 crisis in a way which prioritises sustainable development. This sticker is the only one I’ve seen, Have you seen any more in other areas?

For a reset from the recent sombre mood I recommend this roundup of lighter moments from the Queen’s funeral. It made me laugh out loud.

The reset is a noble aim
but will the end turn out the same?

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Comma?

Chris Finlayson has written a book Yes, Minister: An insider’s account of the John Key years. I don’t intend to read his book, but I’ve enjoyed reading about it in the Listener. I heard him on The Panel recently when he referred to Hamilton as Dullsville. It’s eight years since I’ve been to Hamilton, but I don’t think their wonderful public gardens could be considered dull.

One thing that interested me was that Chris issued a ten page grammar memo to his Parliamentary staff, which, among other things, forbade the use of the Oxford comma. For those unfamiliar with the term, this is the use of a comma before and in a list of three or more items.

I don’t remember ever being taught about this comma. To me it just seems natural to use it for any list, and there are times when the meaning could be unclear without it. What do you think?

The meaning may be out of reach
without this vital part of speech

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If you were given a sealed envelope that contained the date and time of your death, would you open it? My first instinct is to say “no”, but as I get older, I wonder . . . . Knowing when I would die might be a powerful incentive to clear clutter and “leave all fair”. Certainly if I had a terminal illness I might prefer to know when my life would end.

When my first daughter was born my mother, who had a keen interest in esoteric matters, offered to have her horoscope professionally cast, but I declined. I would have been tempted to believe whatever was foretold, and I didn’t want that knowledge.

Would you open such an envelope?

I’d rather not know up ahead
the date and time when I’ll be dead

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I’ve been thinking about the Winter Solstice and Mātariki.

For decades we’ve celebrated
the southern seasons
a small group swimming
against the European tide
reclaiming ancient traditions
Christmas at midwinter
Easter in springtime
Halloween at April’s end
with harvest gathered
and plants withered

Solstice and equinox
reflect our own seasons
in contrast to those
of another hemisphere
midwinter is the time
to reflect and remember
to contemplate renewal

Now we have Mātariki
a new public festival
in sync with nature’s cycles
gifted by takata whenua
to pākehā in Aotearoa
we spend the darkest time
waiting for stars to appear
celebration of a winter New Year
linked to universal knowledge
delights my pagan soul 

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As part of Seaweek the WEA offered a workshop called Watercolour Whales and other Wonderful Sea Creatures. with local artist Sarah Greig. I’ve previously admired Sarah’s designs and liked the fact the workshop blurb said no experience was necessary and all materials were included.

In a well-ventilated hall six students each had plenty of space and we were given pens, brushes, and a selection of paints and papers.

I lack confidence in drawing, and was very pleased that we were given pictures to copy or trace. I chose birds rather than fish or whales and was able to complete several small works during the hour and a half.

My watercolour efforts

Sarah discussed materials and where they can be obtained which was useful information. While I don’t expect to pursue watercolouring I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was satisfied with what I produced. My creativity tends to be expressed through words rather than pictures, and it was good to try something different for a change. I wonder how my readers express their creativity?

I found it fun to re-acquaint
myself with watercolour paint

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Then and Now

Today marks sixteen years since I first posted on this blog. Then we were preparing for our first big O.E., a trip to England where we would be re-united with the daughters we hadn’t seen for several years. There were many wonderful experiences in store, and life seemed good.

Now life seems full of threats – it’s almost like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War in Ukraine; Conspiracy theorists camped in Cranmer Square; Omicron advancing; Climate Crisis.

Sometimes it seems the only thing to do is to stop listening to the news, enjoy a sunny day, potter in the garden, stroke the cat, read a novel, and have confidence we will still be here in another sixteen years.

Be grateful for all that we’ve got
stay positive – no matter what.

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Hitting the Heart

My task this week is to write something around the theme of “heart”. This morning’s news inspired this Fibonacci poem:

We
wear
masks to
beat virus.
Hospitals struggle.
Police tell protestors to “move,
move, move” a chilling reminder of the Springbok Tour.
Russians kill Ukraine civilians.
Floods in Australia.
All of this
affects
my
heart

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A collage session with a group of friends was creative and satisfying. Among the pile of magazines supplied for cutting out was an old frankie magazine. I hadn’t seen one of these for several years and had forgotten how inspiring they could be. I was captivated by a series of pictures of women with bird heads, and ended up putting them all around my collage.

I thought I might buy a copy of frankie and was pleased to find the supermarket sells them. At $15.95 it was definitely an extravagance, but we all need treats. It may be just as well the magazine is published only six times a year.

There are articles about art, life, and many other things, as well as fascinating extra lift-outs. It’s published in Australia on sustainably produced paper with acknowledgement of the Traditional Owners of the land on which they work, and it’s relevant to Aotearoa as well. I’m rationing it, and so far have read only the first few pages, most of which are advertisements. However these are written in an attractive chatty way which makes them seem less pretentious than advertisements in some other publications (e.g. Avenues which I find to be a waste of time).

The target audience is obviously people younger than me, but I shall enjoy luxuriating in that different perspective. Have you met frankie?

For something different from routine
I recommend this magazine

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