Wearing vermilion

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All day I’ve noticed
folk wearing vermilion,
but still, since summer,
most of us have been wearing
this year’s fashion colour – black.

(Friday 13 March 2015)

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NOTES:

“Vermilion is a brilliant red or scarlet pigment originally made from the powdered mineral cinnabar, and is also the name of the resulting color. It was widely used in the art and decoration of Ancient Rome, in the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, in the paintings of the Renaissance, and in the art and lacquerware of China, where it is often called ‘Chinese Red’.” (Wikipedia)

See also: Pigments through the Ages

Verdigris

verdigris (09 March 2015)

verdigris (09 March 2015)

“Natural or artificially created coatings of verdigris is commonly used as a patina to protect copper or bronze objects, especially in architecture. … Until the 19th century, verdigris was the most vibrant green pigment available and was frequently used in painting.” (Wikipedia).

The corner plate pictured here protects the beautiful stonework of a doorway in Maginnity Street, Wellington.

Visiting the neighbours

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On the scented tree
four orange butterflies rest –
and now, six, seven …

(09 March 2015)


Some weeks ago, striped caterpillars stripped bare the swan plant one of my neighbours had planted. We thought the ravening gluttons must have been eaten by birds. Somewhere nearby, however, certain of their relatives must have survived, pupated, then hatched.

What’s in a name?

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After yesterday’s
rain, this morning’s air is sweet.
My neighbours have a
fragrant tree … and no, I don’t
know its botanical name.

(08 March 2015)


Tanka consist of five units (often treated as separate lines when romanized or translated) usually with the following pattern of on: 5-7-5-7-7.

The 5-7-5 is called the kami-no-ku (上の句 “upper phrase”), and the 7-7 is called the shimo-no-ku (下の句 “lower phrase”). (Wikipedia)

Full moon soon

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Pinned to autumn grey
the white disc has one soft edge …
two days still to go.

(06 March 2015)


In fact, 06 March 2015 is the night of the full moon. The observation underpinning the haiku took place two nights ago, but I have just finalised the text.

Dream sequence

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In a dream, lost, and
perplexed: hilly pathways, gates,
steps, gardens, doorways …

entrances denied
to me, barricades: all this
so familiar.

I stop. I wake up.
Was that me weeping? howling?
that another dream?

(Monday 02 March 2015)

Senryū #002: On the wheel

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What shape might this be?
forming itself from what clay?
spinning on what wheel?

(Friday 20 February 2015)

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NOTES:

There are notions which, unbidden, emerge from the subconscious … sometimes, fully formed. This senryū started out somewhat amorphous and malleable, but quickly conformed to the seventeen-syllable pattern, although it did not seem to be a haiku.

I now know what it is.

 

Senryū #001: Mystery of grace

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Mystery of
grace: the dirty truth is
irrelevant.

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NOTES:

The words of this poem were on my lips as I awoke this morning. I wrote them down, thinking of them as being in the haiku form. I did not know about senryū until I happened to read a post on another blog that included the word in its title. I am happy to have learned the distinction between the two forms.

“Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. Unlike haiku, senryū do not include a kireji (cutting word), and do not generally include a kigo, or season word” (Wikipedia: Senryū).

 

Harbinger

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Dawn. A south wind. Leaves
tap the glass. The rain drops in
monosyllables.

(15 February 2015)

 


Two mornings in a row, the leaves of the Cordyline banksii outside my window have awakened me early. Wellington’s summer has been fine and warm, so these few cool days, with their southerly air flow, seem like a harbinger of autumn.