ELEMENTAL: Challenge Your Camera # 12

The host for this challenge is Buddha Walks Into a Wine Bar:

Today, another guest theme from Marie at Hops Skips and Jumps, a challenge with some choices. Marie’s theme Elemental is based on the 4 classical elements from Ancient Greece in which it was believed that the universe was made up of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

So, make your choice, choose one element and post any number of photos, or decide on all elements and post one photo of each. Try to be creative with your camera, close up or distant, creative with the image the element alone or combined with other elements.

Self’s gallery is made up of pictures taken in: her backyard; one in Filoli Garden in Woodside; one in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland; and one in New Mexico. They contain all the four elements, even fire. The picture of a murky sun was taken on the day the San Mateo Complex Fires came close, close enough for smoky ash to fill the air, and for self to smell burning. The firefighters saved us, again, as they do every year.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Poetry Wednesday: Csilla Toldy

Because it is Saint Patrick’s Day, the poet is from NI: Csilla Toldy came over from Hungary, when there was still a Wall. We met in 2014, at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. The picture is of the lake.

Csilla was kind enough to allow me to post the whole poem. It’s from her collection Red Roots – Orange Sky (Belfast: Lapwing Publications, 2013)

Love in Paris

Arriving late at the wrong address
a stranger in the street,
Ali, offered her a bed. He lovingly
treated her wounded knee —
that she had fallen on
when searching the sky for the guiding star
at the green borders to Italy.

Her nerves frazzled
by the long march through the Alps
on pills of caffeine and amphetamine,
taken by the echoes of her throbbing heart
when face-searched
and feeling so lucky for not looking like any
one of the Red Brigade.

So grateful for a clean sheet
after a week in ditches with crows and crickets,
yet fearing horror dreams of her misconceptions
she fell into a black hole
to be woken up by sunlight
glinting on a tray of golden croissants
brought up by Ali.

Recently, Csilla has been focusing on films.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sunday Stills Photography Challenge: Your Best Black and White

Love discovering new photo challenges.

This one was particularly intriguing: the Sunday Stills Photography Challenge. Your Best Black-and-White Photos.

Self went searching through her archives and found a few that were not intentionally “black-and-white” but became so because of the shooting conditions — in most cases, gloomy weather.

Two of the pictures were taken on Caltrain headed north to San Francisco, one was taken on the train from London to Manchester, and the last picture was taken inside her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“Spores” Again

In P-1, the teachers tell, Heaven is up a winding stair. Hell is like falling off the Whitecliffs — down and down and down and down. Limbo is — somewhere between. Those lessons always give me the frights.

Self’s first Tyrone Guthrie Centre story. Written 2014, Annaghmakerrig and Dublin.

Where Self Dreams

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week: WINDOWS AND DOORS

Self-explanatory.

  • The house in California. Oh, her garden is wild.
  • Skylight, Oxford, UK: She wakes beneath this every morning that she is in Oxford. In November, the skies were astonishingly clear.
  • Cottage # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland: She does all her writing at this table.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 116: SYMMETRY

P. A. Moed explains the reasoning behind this week’s Challenge:

  • Architects in ancient lands, like Greece, Rome, China, and Egypt, experimented with form and balance.  They discovered that the human eye likes patterns and architectural features that are symmetrical.  That’s why a row of pillars or arches is pleasing to the eye.

In January, self canvassed South San Francisco and Millbrae for Elizabeth Warren. This was the canvassers’ meeting place, in South San Francisco. She chose this picture because of the enthusiasm for Warren, and the two armchairs.

Stumbled on this sculpture on London’s Canary Wharf, last November. Very “Handmaid’s Tale”!!!

Finally, trees of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland. It was October.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

SPORES

This story was published by decomP Magazine. Self began writing it during a residency at Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Weeks later, she found the ending in Dublin.

The boss was born Earthstar. He’d never look her way. His spores were meant to go else: to a Silverleaf. Or a Shag. Not K that smelled like wet rot. All scaly cap and throat gills. She belonged with other Common.

In this story of the future, there are Earthstars. Earthstars are permitted to mate with either Silverleafs or Shags. Any other pairing is out of the question.

K is a Common.

The inspiration for this story was a book about mushrooms. Morgan Cooke, who she met at TGC, made an audio recording. Must say, self got a big kick out of hearing her story read with an Irish accent. Many, many, many thanks to Morgan.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 102: A QUIET MOMENT

  • All around the world people are noticing that their cities and towns are quieter during the pandemic. They say that they can hear the birds in the morning instead of traffic and are more aware of nature’s presence. In quiet moments during the day, I can hear neighbors chatting as they walk past. Children’s voices mingle with the sounds of water sprinklers. It feels like we stepped back to a less hectic time when people stayed at home more.

A Quiet Moment, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 102, P. A. Moed

Last fall, self was in Ireland. What a different place the world was then!

During her visits to Ireland, she always finds calm and inspiration. These pictures reflect that mood.

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from a cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

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Just Outside IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Dublin

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This beautiful avenue leads from IMMA straight to . . . the Dublin Castle? It is a wonderful walk.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Poetry Saturday: Jackie Gorman

Met Jackie at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Self ordered her collection The Wounded Stork, as soon as she got home.

Oh, wondrous.

DSCN0450

Shorn

Pale blue eyes looking up,
I put nitroglycerine under your tongue,
as we watch the football and
hum Nessum Dorma.
I help you to shave or tie a Windsor Knot,
each time noticing the beige circle
on your cheek,
melanoma erased by radiotherapy.

In July, you planted a rosemary bush.
Covered in ancient toil and sweat,
I help you undress in the hallway.
Closing the bathroom door, seeing you bare,
all of you was vulnerable and shorn,
shivering like a frightened lamb.
My skin burnt silently and slowly.

You looked at me and
I write you a poem with naked eyes.


Jackie Gorman has been published in a number of journals including Poetry Ireland Review, The Lonely Crowd, The Honest Ulsterman and in anthologies such as The Windows Anthology. She was part of the 2017 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series, a national programme to profile and support emerging poets in Ireland.

Poetry Thursday: Csilla Toldy

Self met Csilla at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, which has introduced her to so many wonderful voices.

From the collection Red Roots — Orange Sky (Belfast: Lapwing Publications, 2013)

A FRAGMENT

In Parc de Luxembourg,
hiding under fallen leaves —
A fountain — messenger
from a sea of amber — Verdigris.

Its well-stone, formerly
Neptune’s set of teeth, now
water-pouring standstill
tossing threat for dragons.

In its far angle a more
Humanoid structure,
a spun-into-form world-element.
It longs, broods and hovers —

above all that is left.


Csilla Toldy was born in Hungary. She escaped from the socialist bloc through the green borders at the age of eighteen in 1981. She now lives in northern Ireland.

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