Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

I was born in an era of typewriters, snail-mail letters, no mobile phones, no emails, no personal computers. I still write letters by (untidy) hand and send them through the post. I’ve a treasure trove of letters written to me over a lifetime stashed away in my kist, including a love note from my husband, typed on a typewriter on a phone message note about 25 years ago :-), and a wonderful letter from a stranger regarding my father’s death notice in the newspaper.

And a few years ago, I discovered the many letters and postcards I’d written to my youngest niece over the years after I emigrated adorned the inside of her cupboard doors – she’d kept them all. We both prize what people have taken the time to write with us in mind.

There is one letter, though, that really breaks my heart when I re-read it now. It’s from a boy who grew up in South Africa in the years just after Apartheid officially ended. His name is Freedom and, at the time that he wrote this letter, he was a child without very many worldly possessions at all, but he was loved, and was full of joy and hope. And, as his letter shows, he had a genuine appreciation for so very little. bb-lettersFreedom’s mum, widowed early in her marriage, worked beyond hard to give him a good education, and she had high hopes for his future. He is now a young man but, unfortunately, due to some nefarious influences and bad choices, his life isn’t turning out so well.

My 5 picks from this week’s photo challenge at The Daily Post:


For a moment,
they bob,

these dull black balloons,

tethered to the traffic lights
in stringtime contemplation,

hermetic thoughts
jostle and tangle,
in colourless mirror-image

to dream themselves red-hot
airships unleashed,

cerulean adventures
aloft a blue-moon day.


Wonderfully talented photographer Madelaine Cappuccio has teamed my poem ‘Pedestrian’ with one of her beautiful balloon photos over at her blog, Images by Madelaine Cappuccio.

Thanks, Madelaine 😀

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreaming

For me, dreaming is about possibilities, and none so wonderful as those brought by travel.

I became a xenophile at around the time I started school, and dreamt of going to live in exotic places, mostly Japan and rural China, and of flying off to wonderful cities, such as London, Tokyo,  Amsterdam and Marrakech. Years on, and living in a different country, I’m grateful that I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many parts of the world, and to have experienced incredible adventures and fascinating cultures as a result.

And the dreaming continues – I’ve yet to get to Japan or China 😀

To dream is to travel: to travel is to realize a dream

On these themes, a re-post of a poem I wrote a while ago –

Dreams of a Love Gourmand

He ate Suzi’s paella

and dreamed of Impanema,

of romance in Marbella

and Rio de Janeiro

He ate Fleur’s rindless blue,

his dreams were psychedelia,

he dreamt he was Theroux,

da Vinci and Ophelia

He drank Ping’s green absinthe

and dreamt he was a fairy

with eyes as green as minthe,

his wand, a blue canary

He ate Fang’s chou dofu,

her durian, then balut,

and napped as King Shi Chu

at war with King Canute

He ate Ann’s cherry duck,

nightmared of Gordon Ramsay,

who served confit of muck

with jus of some philandery

Then came Maeve’s Irish Stew,

no dreams his sleep disturbed

and as he woke he knew

his food of love’d been served


And for the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, Dreaming has a very special meaning – it encompasses beliefs about the origins of the earth, the stars and all living things, and the connections that exist between them, and is brought alive in wonderful stories, art and music. You can read more about the Dreaming and the Dreamtime here.

For more entries to this week’s photo challenge, see The Daily Post at WordPress.com

HooHoooo (or, as they say in French, Hou Hou) – for Gabrielle Bryden and Bénédicte Delachanal

A poem for friends Gabrielle Bryden (sublime poet and lover of owls), who is currently fighting the dreaded winter lurgy,
Bénédicte Delachanal (fabulous artist), who crafted these wonderfully funky owl paintings.

 The Comfort of Owls

From tsunami dreams
We bolt upright
And heart and breath
Race to the death
To drown out silence
Of dead hours
And throw us wide-eyed
To the night.

Then, faint, through darkness
Comes strange calm
To tension-wired
Synapse and bone,
The ebb and flow
Of delta waves,
Like a mother’s kiss,
Floats softly down
In owl’s low call,
Primal and deep,
Submersing us
In tides of sleep.


For more things owl, check out Owls on WordPress and YouTube.

Surface Tension

Dying –
it’s a little like that back there
“Get a tan, man!” – the beastie boys jeer,
white-raged, she’s facing off fear

Out here, the limits are none
her swirling strands of red-yellow-gold, spun
into halos burning bright as the sun,

jewelled auras for silent incantation,
reposed in peaceful contemplation
of fancies, unbound by vituperation

underwater, she is as fish,
swims human stark antithesis,
becomes her Aphrodite wish


Updated for Sideview’s weekend theme of Beauty

Desk Daydreams (inspired by the 4minutewriter)

Reduce waste, improve service levels

I’m sailing down the Mekong

implement LEAN techniques

lilt of Mandarin in my ears

reduce bottlenecks, manage cash flows

building schools in Vietnam

forecast seasonality peaks

to the sound of children’s cheers

filming critters in the Galapagos

giant tortoise and marine iguana

orangutans in Borneo

and Amazonian flora and fauna

dining in the Shanghai Bund

cycling through rural China

catching Tokyo no kabuki-za

and jazz in a New York diner

capturing Northern winter snows

ancient men in Parisian alleys

icebergs in Antarctica

vineyards in Chilean valleys


camping out on English moors


for some creative brooding


writing that novel in my head

but right now work’s intruding!

Read the 4minutewriter here

Poems that rhyme

I love my two grown nieces,
my man is just divine,
I like prose poetry pieces
but moreso, poems that rhyme.

I love to eat red meat
while quaffing fine red wine,
dark chocolate is a treat
but not like poems that rhyme.

I like to swim butt-nude
at night in summertime;
it elevates my mood
but so do poems that rhyme.

I’ve slept out in the Sinai
dived there in summertime
but nothing could be finer
than dreams of poems that rhyme

I like to read Steve Pinker,
Mark Baker is sublime,
I like a critical thinker
but mostly, poems that rhyme.

I know Lew Carroll’s poems by rote,
Will Shake’s a fave of mine,
ee cummings get my vote,
‘cos he wrote poems that rhyme.