Friday, February 28, 2014

Creative February 28 - Ode to summer

Today is officially the last day of summer. An ode seemed the best way to say goodbye...


Spreading, sparkling, sunlit
Seduces me into her simmering haze
Until I rise
A glittering mote
Into her expansive golden arms
Her warm pulsating heart

It is easy to lose myself
All sense of identity lost
In the frenzied heart throb of a season
Where all things rise to greet the sun
In one unending exultation

Summer, queenly, majestic.
As though Spring, that debutante princess
having strutted her freshness
Of tender leaves and sprouting seedlings
has ripened into a delicious woman.
Who has wrested the secrets of life
From harsh Nature and
having won the battle wears her success
in medals of ripening fruit
lush dresses of deepening green
her hair adorned with flowers,
and tiaras of butterflies, bees and birds

And, brazen and wanton,
laughing at her celestial lover.

when Nature breaks the cold cruel curse
of winter and offers a blessing
a reward for patience
a medal for forbearance
pinned to Earth’s breast
throws upon it
a congratulatory cloak of verdancy.

The season of the cicada
who shedding its shell
Rises in the hundreds
Its ululating mating call
Frantic and fervid
The ultimate ode to summer


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Creative February 27 - My various selves

I glance at the mirror
on the way to the next chore.
Is that a stranger?
Forehead furrowed,
focussed face, grim,
a burdened Atlas.

Then I catch
the twinkle in the eye
the smile lurking at
the corner of the mouth.
As if caught out in the game.

A catch-me-if-you-can
grinning gamine
hiding behind a tired facade
breaks through.
A cheeky, intrepid sun.

I wonder then,
about my outward self,
the one that others see
that bears little likeness
to the inner me.
Montages that dwell,
and morph and grow
in others’ minds.

So varied, so unalike
as though in each of them
dwells a different me.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Creative February 26 - Bee buzz among blooms

bees serenade blooms
their seeds fall to earth
new life

blooms and bees
must speak a secret language
fragrance the key

They in bliss
in eternal dance of life
happy hours


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Creative February 25 - Revenge

(55-word flash fiction)


The boy had killed its mother. The spider waited for its chance to avenge. Finally, it saw him at the open window. It jumped, aiming for his face. Stunned, the boy lost his balance, fell backwards, hit his head against the bed-post and passed out. No one heard the thud. He bled to death.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Creative February 24 - Cicadas

cicadas screech
their ode to summer, the air
a wall of wail

Summer belongs to the cicadas!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Creative February 23 - Age


my mother fades, as though
time was an eraser, erasing
bits of her, slowly but surely.
desires, memories, abilities
fade in steadfast succession
leaving behind holes like 
she was the lead star in a poster
of a movie no longer playing.
the colours of her visage
once vibrant now fading,
its lines blurring, patchy in
parts, frayed at the edges.

I wonder how she feels about
this dying of summer, this
insidious takeover of autumn.
does she feel the sap’s steady
slow-down in her veins?

does she dread the night
that it might be her last?
does she mind turning into
just an echo of the melody.

your soul is indestructible,
they say. nothing is born
nor dies. maybe it’s my
mind that’s playing a trick.
conjuring up a movie where
there is nothing but light.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Creative February 22 - BW Begonia

The sun back-lighting the petals produced some interesting low-key shots!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Creative February 21 - The wrong bus

(flash fiction)

The wrong bus

She was late and therefore ran to the bus-stop. A bus was just pulling in and she glimpsed a ‘3’ at the end. ‘What luck!’ she thought, that she could catch the bus after all. She got in, swiped her card and was surprised to see that the bus had many empty seats. Usually she has to hunt for a free seat at the back of the bus. She plopped down into a window seat with the seat beside her empty, reached into her bag for her novel and started to read. She had a good half-hour before her stop arrived and she was at the climactic point in the novel.

When she looked at her watch, 20 minutes had passed. She glanced out the window and a stab of panic lanced her heart. The landscape outside was frighteningly unknown and the realisation came swiftly that she had caught the wrong bus. But just to confirm she turned to her neighbour, a man who had taken the seat sometime along the journey and whose seating she had barely noticed. “Which bus is this?” she whispered.

He looked up from his own book and looked at her, recognition flooding his eyes. “Marya?” a huge grin was already dimpling his face and his eyes were twinkling with light. The years melted right before her eyes and she was back in high school and dating Peter but things were not going good and they were breaking up and going their separate ways. And now here he was, looking at her as if he wanted badly to give her a hug.

A year later they are married. And whenever she starts to tell the story with “one day I got into the wrong bus ….” He interjects laughingly, ‘the right bus, say, the right bus.”


P.S. After I wrote this my mind said, ‘What’s the point, where’s the moral of the story?” My inner voice says, “the Universe is a playful place. Be playful.” Amen to that!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Creative February 20 - Mystic Illusion

Not really a mystical post unless you consider that all things are inherently mystical in nature. The name of this dahlia is Mystical Illusion and the pink out-of-focus flowers in the background are carnations.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Creative February 19 - Passion of Christ

(written as a collection of haiku)

from near and afar
they all came to hear you speak
tempestuous words

smouldering coals they fell
into hearts devoid of hope
setting them afire

little by little
there grew a conflagration
of souls impassioned

souls awakened
powerful force, rulers realised
they had you killed

but you unquenched
like a forest fire spread
your love blazing bright

from heart to heart
burning away the dross
leaving only love

showing us all
that to be Christ-like is
love, nothing but love


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Creative February 18 - The last tribesman

The last tribesman (flash fiction)

Boisa sat on the edge of the cliff and looked out at the ocean as the sun slowly crept up the horizon. It was as though a live painting was being created on the sky with colours snatched out of thin air. But his feeling of wonder was tinged by deep sadness. He knew he would die soon but the cause of his sorrow was not just the knowledge of personal mortality. All the wisdom his ancestors had acquired by living off the land and sea that had been passed down the line through generations, all the rituals unique to his tribe, the language his people had fashioned on their own, the culinary practices they had crafted around the bounty of nature, all of this would also be lost. Boisa was the last of his tribe.

It had occurred to him the previous night, as he lay in bed remembering his parents, his young wife who had died at childbirth and the rest of his tribe who had been wiped out one by one by some unknown disease, that there was no one left to carry out his funeral rites. There was no one left who knew how to respectfully transition his body back into the earth and administer his spirit’s return to the spirit world and conjoining with the spirits of his ancestors. It made his shiver and turn cold on the inside, the thought that his body would lie for an unknown number of days, unfound, pecked apart by birds of prey, ravished by maggots, his bones exposed, while his spirit roamed lost with no loving spirit to gently guide it back home.

He looked down at the churning surf, a long way below his feet, hurling itself against the rocks. His ancestors had always prayed to the sea, for the bounty of fish and crustaceans, to keep their huts safe from the wrath of the waves. The sea had been their provider and guardian angel. The sea was kind, he felt that in his bones. The sea was wise, he felt that in his spirit. It accepted all. He would be safe in its huge watery arms. It would know how to release his spirit from its embrace into the arms of his loved ones. The sea would be his final resting place.

When he looked down again, he felt a sense of peace. His decision was made. He would wash himself, paint his body and play the drum. Then, he would gather his spear and bow and arrows and dance as his tribe would for celebrations. The spirits of his ancestors, he was sure, would arrive on his thus calling. The leap into the depths would then be easy for they would be waiting to take him home.  

Inspired by a deeply saddening article in the Guardian, which said that four years ago the last member of a tribe called Bo in the Andamans died, rendering the tribe extinct.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Creative February 17 - Low-key flowers

I’m liking low-key so much, I’m shooting everything in low-key these days 


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Creative February 16 - Treasure

What do you treasure? What’s most important to you? 


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Creative February 15 - Sun-struck leaves

Evening sun striking flax leaves

Friday, February 14, 2014

Creative February 14 - Too busy for love

love came calling
I too busy with other things
it left orchids

Actually, that's not true. These orchids were given to me by the Hub last month for our anniversary. Today seemed the appropriate date to post its photo :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Creative February 13 - The edge

For today, flash fiction -

The edge

The two ducklings are friends, one slightly older than the other. They are not yet adults but are old enough to go paddling on their own, their mother having taught them to look for food.

One day the younger one, looking into the far distance over the river, says, “I wonder what lies beyond that.” The older, looking in the direction of his gaze, replies, “I too have been thinking about that and so asked my mother. She said it’s the ‘edge’ and we must go nowhere near it. Her voice sounded ominous”.

“But why? Why must we not go near it?” The younger is impatient in his curiosity.

“I’ve seen twigs and leaves disappear into it and when it rains, the sound it makes becomes louder, so the ‘edge’ must be a dangerous place.”

“Has anyone gone there?”

“No. Everyone just obeys the rules.”

“Let’s go and find out. Then we can come back and tell everyone stories of how it is beyond the edge.”

“I don’t think my mother will be very pleased if she finds out if we are planning such a thing.”

“Let’s not tell her, let’s not tell anyone.” The younger is very excited now.

“I’m not so sure. What if there’s something out there that makes that loud noise. It could eat us alive?”

“What if there isn’t? How are we going to know unless we find out?”

“You go find out and come back and tell me.”

The younger is a bit deflated. He can’t muster the courage to go alone and his friend’s decision seems final and so he decides to shelve his plan.

But his curiosity won’t give him any peace. Everyday, he takes breaks from his foraging to gaze longingly at the water bubbling and disappearing into the ‘edge’. “It must be going somewhere and wherever it’s going there will still be water and food. If no ducks live there, there might be even more food, so why did they make this silly rule?”

A few days later, it’s morning and all the ducks are out paddling and diving for food. The younger one slowly and imperceptibly moves closer and closer to the ‘edge’. His friend, not suspecting anything paddles along. When they are away from the others and quite close to the ‘edge’, the younger declares, “I’m going to the ‘edge’. I’m going to find out today what lies beyond.”

And before his friend can even react, he paddles furiously towards the ‘edge’. The water has picked up speed, as though it’s all excited too about going to the ‘edge’. It is now flowing faster than the youngster can paddle. He stops paddling and gives in to the flow, turning back to steal a look at his friend who is staring at him, beak agape.

When the duckling turns again, he is at the tip of the edge and the next instant he is over it. For one long wondrous moment, as though time has moved into slow-motion mode, he gazes at the river, gleaming in the morning sunlight, as it snakes its way through the valley. The mist embracing the sides of the hills are melting and snaking up towards the sky, wispy-fingered. In the long distance, sunlight is glinting off the windows of houses. Before he hits the rocks below and gets smashed to death, freefalling over the tumbling masses of water, just one thought takes over his entire being and fills it with lightness, ‘beyond the edge is such a magical place!”


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Creative February 12 - Agapanthus effects

Same flowers - different effect! (best viewed large)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Creative February 11 - The last bastion

It is with great sadness that I write this haibun -

A couple of weeks ago I watched a programme on TV featuring penguins. Penguins roost in colonies on the Antarctic ice and when they have young ones to feed, the adults make several trips to the sea everyday, catch krill, store them in a sac in their throat, trudge back to the colony and regurgitate it to feed the young ones. However, due to global warming and the receding ice cover in the Antarctic one penguin colony found itself very close to the sea. In a way it was good for the adults, they didn’t have to make long journeys over the ice, to and from the sea carrying food for the young ones. But, one day the ice under their colony melted. The adults could swim to safety but the young ones had not yet shed their fur coats, which had been keeping them warm. And immersed in water the fur acted like sponges, soaking up the water and pulling them down. Unable to swim, they drowned to death.

The melting ice
earth dropping under their feet
penguin death-trap

The penguins’ main source of food is krill that live in the hundreds of billions in the waters of the Antarctic. They feed on phytoplankton that blooms in the nutrient-rich, deep-water upwellings at the Antarctic Convergence during the 24-hour southern summer sunlight. Krill are also believed to be important in removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by eating carbon-rich food near the surface and excreting it when they sink to lower, colder water to escape predators. But, global warming and overfishing has reduced their numbers by as much as 80%. Whales, penguins, seals, albatrosses and petrels depend on krill. So one can only imagine the effect on these animal populations if their main source of food is depleted.

tiny crustacean
bears a heavy burden
keeper of balance

Antarctica was that pristine, virgin space which had so far remained untouched. But humans, driven by only one impulse: insatiable greed, after ravaging the rest of Earth, are all set to rape and plunder this final bastion, until more species of animals are pushed to the brink or beyond of extinction.

the greed of man
many tentacled hydra
everything devoured


Monday, February 10, 2014

Creative February 10 - Low-key selfie

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is to post a selfie.

I thought I'd give low-key photography a try ...

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Creative February 9 - The pear

I cut up a pear
an overripe pear
fetid-smelling and soft
and feed it to
the birds
the lemon tree
the earth

What a waste
my mind scolds
of food
of money
thinking in its pride
that the world exists
solely for my consumption

that trees
and fruits
and flowers
are there for my harvest
and enjoyment

but the earth knows
in her quiet way
that there is no
enjoyer nor enjoyed

that everything
returns to her

that nothing is born
or dies
only transformed


Saturday, February 08, 2014

Creative February 8 - Rain-kissed dahlias

It rained last night, breaking the long spell the sun had cast over us. Dark clouds rolled in last evening and distant drumrolls thundered. I slept to the sound of rain and woke up to the sound of rain. By mid-morning it had stopped. The air smelt freshly laundered. And also of green foliage and wet, satisfied earth. As though the earth was holding its breath in thirst and was now in a deep exhalation of contentment and joy. Everything was rain speckled, as though laden with gems. Photography was a double delight. These dahlias looked especially queenly, fitted out with raindrops.

Rain-kissed Dahlias (click on photo to view large)

Friday, February 07, 2014

Creative February 7 - The fruit of the earth

For today, a haibun.

One of the great joys of life for me is gardening. I have spent several happy hours this summer fussing over the flowers and planting and tending the veggie patch. Of course, weeding is painful, because democratically speaking, the weeds have as much right to grow as the veggies do, but it seems they like to overgrow and smother the rather more delicate domesticated plants. So, at the altar of self-survival, they have to be sacrificed. On the other hand, it is always with a sense of wonder that I watch the seeds put out shoots, then leaves, and grow and grow until flowers begin to appear among the masses of green.

nourished by water
and whisperings of earthworms
alchemy happens

And then the bees arrive. Busy little fellas. The elation I feel on the sight of all those flowers nodding in the breeze is further heightened by the buzz of tiny wings, flitting from bloom to bloom. Such a beautiful example of symbiosis. It fills me with awe, this wonderful dance of the elements, this magical alchemy wherein the sunshine, rain and generous helpings of sheep pellets, together call forth life sleeping within seeds. What was once possibility slowly takes form and shape and literally bears fruit.

it must be love
that turns earth into fruits, like
the kisses of bees

Needless to say, my joy is complete when I pick the beans, tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, chillies, blueberries and strawberries. The mandarin, lemon and pumpkin flowers are still being serenaded by those yellow and black striped busy buzzing super workers.

benevolent sun
seeds sprout in earth's womb, I reap
the fruit of the earth


Thursday, February 06, 2014

Creative February 6 - Daisy textured

I decided to try my hand at adding textures to images. Not entirely pleased with the result but learned a lot in the process.

Daisy with textured background (best viewed large)

And this is the original image -

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Creative February 5 - Bump-haiku

My friend delivers
bump turns into baby girl
twinkling angel eyes


because of the bumps
the brook babbles, murmurs, sings
songs of freedom


bump in the carpet
things tucked away forgotten
festering wounds


For NaHaiWriMo prompt - Bump

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Creative February 4 - Cadence – haiku

Lub dub lub dub
Eddy and swirl of blood flow
Life humming


Rain, fall lightly rain
The sound of falling petals
I, in fragrant thrall


Your voice on the phone
And the song in my heart
Exquisite duet


Stardust and darkness
The hum of the universe
Expanding worlds


For Haiku Heights prompt - Cadence

Monday, February 03, 2014

Create February 3 - The man at the funeral

THE MAN AT THE FUNERAL  (a short story)
She has just joined the funeral party and is standing at the fringe watching as the priest prays over the coffin and the family look on grave faced. Mr.Mills had been one of the founders of the small company in which she was an admin assistant and she had come out of respect not because she was required to. She had met him a couple of times at company meets and he had seemed kindly though astute. Once, when she had car trouble, it was raining heavily and no taxis could be found, he had given her a lift home and waited till she had safely entered her apartment before driving away.
She finds herself standing next to a young man who when she glances at him seems to be staring at the coffin bright-eyed, as though he was fighting back tears.
'That's unusual', she thinks. She had never seen him at the office and he was standing too far back to be family.
"Did you know him?" She asks softly, half turning her face towards him.
"He was my father,” he says simply and just as softly.
Her shocked, full-faced gaze at him is involuntary. Yes, he did have Mr.Wells eyes, clear blue and kindly, almost vulnerable.
"Then why are you here and not with the family?"
"He didn't know I was his son."
"Oh!" She is stunned out of speech. The priest's intonations weave in and out of the silence.
"And you knew all along? And chose to keep quiet?" Her curiosity finally forces her to speak.
"No, I found out only this morning." He pauses for a deep breath. "When my mother called and told me to look at the obituaries page for a Mr.Mills. Then she said 'he was your father'."
He takes two more deep breaths, the second coming out in a long sigh.
"That seemed strange because all these years I was told that my father had died in the Gulf War when I was still unborn. She said 'No, I lied. I met Mr.Mills when I had worked as a call girl for a brief period."
"But you could be the son of any one of her clients."
"Yes, I did ask. She said she had done it for a very brief time during her final year of college when she had run out of money. And she had had only one client who had taken a liking for her and had helped put her through college. After she graduated she got an office job and they didn't meet again, but meanwhile she had become pregnant with me."
"Couldn't she have married him, they probably liked each other?"
"He was already married."
"Oh!" She is thinking how life's a bitch sometimes.
"He could have at least supported your upkeep."

"Yes, but she didn't tell him about me because she was a call girl not his girlfriend and it was her mistake not his. If she had asked him, he would have probably given her money but he had just started a business and she didn't want to burden him with the consequence of her mistake."
She was quiet for a while, chewing upon this.
"Why didn't she tell you all this earlier?"
"She felt it would be better for my self-esteem to have a soldier for a father who died in a war than be an outcome of a mistake."
She nods to herself, thinking about the soundness of the logic. Sometimes a lie is certainly better than the brutal truth.
"Then why tell you now?"
"She somehow heard a few weeks ago that Mr.Mills .... my father's health was deteriorating, so she decides it's time to tell me, just in case I wanted to meet him. She was summoning the courage to tell me, waiting for the right time. She hadn't expected him to go so quickly."
He lets out a deep sigh, bumpy and broken.
"That must have been one power conversation you had this morning." She says trying to sound light.
"Yes, life changing it was."
The casket is now being lowered into the grave and it gives her a chilling thought.
"Did you get the chance to say goodbye?" She looks wildly from the casket to him and back and forth. “Maybe your should throw some earth into the grave, just to give you a sense of connection.”
“I was at the church service. Even though no one knew me, I went up and kissed him on the forehead.” His voice begins to crack. She moves closer and places a hand on his arm. “I wanted to hug him badly, this father I had but never had. I wanted him to fill up all the empty spaces in my life where a father should have been.”
She glances at him and again his eyes are bright with held-back tears.
They stand like that, quietly, till the grave is filled up and people begin to move away. Two strangers held together by something greater, more profound than either of them have experienced in their short lives.
She wonders why he had bared his heart to her, a total stranger. The secret must have been too overwhelming for him to bear alone. They continue to stand there till everyone’s gone. She pats him on his arm as if to say goodbye. There is now peace on his face as he continues to gaze at the mound of freshly moved earth.
“Your father may not have known you in flesh but his spirit will be with you. In a way, his death has brought him closer to you than his life would have.”
He turns to look at her and as though the thought has turned on a light switch within him, a smile slowly spreads across his face. It spreads and spreads until his entire being is filled with radiance.
As she walks towards her car, she is glad she followed her impulse to attend Mr.Mills’ funeral. 

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Creative February 2 - To bee or not to bee

Today's creative attempt is an haiga / haibun

The bees have been extra busy around the beam stalks and everytime I go into the veggie patch to pick some veggies or take photos, I find a few buzzing around the bean flowers. Quite unafraid of humans. They're very difficult to photograph, never alighting on a flower for more than a second, and all the bee photos I've got are blurry approximations of bees. Thanks to them, I've got a bumper crop of beans this year. We're going to be eating beans for a long while ....

I think I have a bee fetish :)

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Creative February - 1

Creation for February 1  

I have waited all summer for flowers to appear on this plant. Today I finally found one hidden behind the rather large, dramatic leaves. Rather a small but dainty flower for all the showy foliage


Creative February

January had come along and I had said to myself, 'I am going to post a creation daily on the blog, a photo or a poem or haiku, haiban, an insight, anything .... but something I had created that day'.

Well! January slipped by and from time to time my New Year resolution would surface and poke me in the ribs, but I would give it the royal ignore. Until February arrived. Not one to give up even though a month had passed, I decided to go ahead with my New Year resolution and so Creative February was born.

It's a bit of a cheat :) as February has only 28 days but I figured let me start with a nearer goal. So, come sun or cloud or stormy weather, I am challenging myself to post something creative daily for a whole month.

Three cheers to Creative February :)