Rock Signs

simonhlilly

Preseli Meditations (Rock Signs)

Eye
Is a palindrome,
As is
Sees.
Voices distant
Speak in tongues
From cracks in rock
Split open by light.

Split open
By light
A heaven swing
Through star roads.
A cloud hymn
And the sing of insects.

The sing of insects
Deep in winter.
Sunlight clicks
Its fingers.
One door opens.
Another closes.

Another closes
Creeps seeps
Through the
Butter of time,
The honey of space.
Dressed in bones
They come
Rolling down
With news
From heaven.

From heaven
Fingers prise
The smallest chink.
An eye blinks
The mirror
Cracked becomes
A door.
Backwards the
Paths lead
Backwards to
The beginning.

2016/06/img_2085.jpg

View original post

If you hear a voice within you …

painted pole (11 January 2015)

painted pole (11 January 2015)

There are times – yes, you know them, you have them, too – when the world clicks into a new position and nothing can ever be quite the same again. Or maybe it isn’t the world that goes ‘click’. Maybe it’s something that happens in the mind, as a response to or a consequence of one’s experiences. Okay, I need to be specific.

For more than three years I have been professing that I’m writing a novel. It’s not the first I’ve attempted – my personal history is littered with the wreckage of those failed projects. My previous major writing effort – ‘clinically obese’ might be an appropriate diagnosis – boasted double the planned word-count, and it was only halfway through when eventually abandoned.

In recent days I’ve been looking back over the text which purports to be the stuff of the ‘new’ novel (working title: You Wouldn’t Dare). The opening scene I wrote on ‘day one’ is delicious, delectable. I’m really keen to continue. But aside from a few promising scenes, very little of the rest of it will find itself in the final draft.

So what’s clicked? what’s shifted? It’s something I’m still fathoming. In the meantime Vincent van Gogh’s advice is pertinent:

“If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint … and that voice will be silenced.”

 

 

 

Gingko gold

gingko, Lambton Quay (05 June 2015)

gingko, Lambton Quay (05 June 2015)

After a simple lunch of donburi chicken from Wasabi Sushi in the James Cook Arcade, I returned to Lambton Quay and found myself standing under a canopy of gingko gold.

The photograph below – taken a little further down the street – is exactly thirteen months old. Click on it for a look at the piece I posted on 08 May 2014.

autumn reflection (05 May 2014)

autumn reflection (05 May 2014)

Conversation with a painter

found art (22 April 2015)

found art (22 April 2015)

The man up the ladder turns to see what I’m up to.

“It’s okay, I’m not photographing you,” I say, hoping to reassure him.

He’s puzzled. “Why would you photograph a wall that hasn’t been painted?”

“Because it’s art,” I assert, taking a second shot for good measure.

“S’pose you’re right,” he ventures, with a half-smile.


PS: The Boon Brothers know their café is cool. Located in the ground floor of the Opera House, it’s called Crumpet. Lately, the gracious old lady’s been undergoing a facelift.

 

Ancestral lanterns

lanterns (12 February 2015)

Ancestral lanterns (12 February 2015)

A week before this year’s Chinese New Year (19 February 2015), I noticed these red lanterns hanging outside the Ancestral restaurant in Courtenay Place, Wellington. I was glad I stopped to photograph them: they were gone again following day.

“Although some people decorate their houses several days before the festival, most people do it at New Year’s Eve. Houses are decorated with red lanterns, red couplets, New Year paintings, and red lanterns. 2015 is the year of the goat, so goat images will appear” (China Highlights: Activities for New Year’s Eve).

“Six is the number of strokes that comprise the character 羊, the forthcoming [Chinese] lunar year’s name. Pronounced yang, the character can mean either sheep or goat” (The Guardian).

In late May 2011, Wellington’s grandest Chinese restaurant emerged “in all its sinister elegance”. Ancestral is aptly located at the heart of Courtenay Place, the capital’s erstwhile Chinatown.

“Allistar Cox, designer of Matterhorn, has brought his characteristic style to this multi-million-dollar extravaganza – restaurant, garden bar, whisky bar, private dining room and takeaway outlet – using satin-finished dark wood to good effect with hard, thinly padded Chinese-style banquettes,” wrote David Burton in Cuisine issue #149 | Wednesday, 30 November, 2011

“If the opium poppy logo, gold leaf letterhead, doormen and heavy curtains partly screening out the dark interior all convey the impression of a triad-owned outpost from 1930s Shanghai, then this is fully intended,” explains Burton, who goes on to describe the garden bar out the back: “old brick walls also exude the ambience of the era.”

Mixed media collage

Two shots here, separated by about six months. A fascination with corrugated iron is the most obvious visual connection, but there are aspects of an aesthetic which some might identify as grunge – although I am not really a fan of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, or other grunge bands. Look at the work of New Zealand sculptor, Jeff Thomson, and you might get some insight into the fascination.

mixed media (29 August 2014)

mixed media (29 August 2014)

mixed media (07 February 2015)

mixed media (07 February 2015)

Roughed-up road

roughed-up road (16 January 2015)

roughed-up road (16 January 2015)

“Weather conditions are optimal for road works at this time of year,” wrote Katie Chapman in the Dominion Post on 10 January 2015, “with a host of road resurfacing projects planned this month [January]. Boulcott St had been the focus this week with work on a section of Lambton Quay due to begin this weekend.”

The piece of “roughed-up road” shown here was photographed on Lambton Quay, Wellington, on 16 January.

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

painted pole (11 January 2015)

painted pole (11 January 2015)

A year ago – almost to the day – I opened a new document and gave it this name, but did no writing in it. My intention, if I recall correctly, had been to use Samuel Beckett’s words (from Worstward Ho) as the seed of something. Since then, the draft has seen the light of day more than once – but with no demonstrable result.

Along the way, I’ve written and photographed … and, from time to time, published. You might have noticed that this is my first post for the New Year … and that I’ve put nothing up since before Christmas. So Beckett’s text is apt. As ever.

Perhaps, I told myself, today, a new WordPress theme will inspire me. Well, yes … having tried a couple, I concluded that the old stuff looked awful in the new themes. So I’ve reverted to the old Tarski.

“Unchanged? Sudden back unchanged? Yes. Say yes. Each time unchanged. Somehow unchanged. Till no. Till say no. Sudden back changed. Somehow changed. Each time somehow changed.”  (Samuel Beckett, in Worstward Ho)

During the past twenty-four hours, I’ve been considering that |cross-ties| is fundamentally – or, at least, primarily – a photo-blog. And the photos I seem to like best are like this one. So that’s it … for now.

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” (ibid)

“Samuel Beckett is sui generis … He has given a voice to the decrepit and maimed and inarticulate, men and women at the end of their tether, past pose or pretense, past claim of meaningful existence. He seems to say that only there and then, as metabolism lowers, amid God’s paucity, not his plenty, can the core of the human condition be approached … Yet his musical cadences, his wrought and precise sentences, cannot help but stave off the void … Like salamanders we survive in his fire.” (Richard Ellman)


NOTES:

Worstward Ho is a prose piece by Samuel Beckett. Its title is a parody of Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho!. Written in English in 1983, it is the penultimate novella by Beckett. Together with Company and Ill Seen Ill Said, it was collected in the volume Nohow On in 1989 (Wikipedia: Worstward Ho [stub]).

Colin Greenslaw has done an elaborated version of Worstward Ho (interpolated with what he calls ‘expansions’ of the original text), which can be found on the Samuel Beckett On-line Resources and Links Pages.

On the Empire of Lights web-site is a ‘picture series’ which photographer Tobias M Schiel has titled “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” (Samuel Beckett). Very good.

Out beyond

rumi out beyond.

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing
and right-doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

(Rūmī)

It seems to me there is so much clamour in the world today. So many urgent cries; so many fervent voices clamouring to be heard. So much talk about justice and injustice, rights and wrongs. Our ears overflow with claims and counter-claims; we can no longer be sure who to believe, who to trust.

When the world-weary soul lies down in the grass of Rūmī’s field, “the world is too full to talk about.” Ah! The bliss of silence.


Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, also known as Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Balḫī or Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi, but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, was a 13th century Persian (Tādjīk) poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. (GoodReads)

 

Spring cleaning

Posted on 12 September, the first of the two haiku presented here was my attempt at reconstructing the verse I believed I had written on 08 September, on a piece of paper I had subsequently misplaced. Having now (on 13 September) rediscovered the original, I am amused to see how poorly my memory had served me.

Brushed by tree branches
the moon, clear and bright, escapes
the billowing clouds.

Brushed by tree branches
another full moon, bright and
clear among the clouds.

(11 September 2014)