Wednesday, 22 November 2017

First build your nest

1. Consult blueprints.

2. Choose suitable site. In this case, a broad leaved fruit tree.  Select position on west side of tree in hollow of high boughs, keeping a weather eye on the large black & white cat who patrols the area seeking whom he may devour.

Nest retrieved intact during pruning 22nd November undamaged -
survived storm with 136 km  gusts and other inclement weather

 3. Collect and place suitable materials in hollow in following order:
  (i) moss to line the concealment hollow
  (ii) mud for placing on top of moss to provide firm secure base
  (iii) plastic bag for placing on top of mud for insulation, waterproofing and warmth
  (iv) grass, straw, small twigs and moss for walls
  (v) continue building until walls of nest are of suitable thickness.

Nest inverted - showing details of construction 

Bird's eye view of interior 

Cross section showing materials - L at bottom - R at top

Not one fluffy feather. Did the builders build more than one before the choice of abode was made?

Or was it the cat . . .  . . .    

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Boulevard Calendar

This morning I bought my 2018 calendar from one of the homeless on  the streets of the city. 

The seller, who must have a badge conspicuously displayed to show he is not a member of the so-called beggar mafia, is allowed to keep 50% of the calendar's price. The same rule applies regarding the fortnightly Augustine newspapers. 

There are many bogus beggars who mysteriously materialize at this time of goodwill. 

I like to think that a homeless person rescued the dog on the cover (or vice-versa). 

The dog in the poem in the post below might need a new home in the near future.  

It's more ethical to buy a calendar from a friendly Augustine salesperson, than from an uninterested assistant filing her nails in a brand name outlet selling cheerful seasonal products churned out in faraway sweatshops, is it not?   

Santa's elves get little reward. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Christmas Past and Present in Cafe Espresso

A cameo gift to give
would be a dog

for Christmas . . .

      The speakers in the corners
with plaintive strains

       'I sit and watch as tears go by . . '

cut in on present
coffee thoughts

Christmas in the selfies 
-  and the poetry

in the simple songs

I listen to
the table

next to me

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Augmented Reality

The town

is up-gearing for Christmas

-  born in the stars we shall die on earth

   consumers reloaded

with special offers

and seasonal devotions -

augmented with amalgams

of self-worth reality

rushing stupid

from the office parties

into the closed museum bars -

tuesday is someone's day of rest

engineered by god

and the world  -

- a temporary exchange of ways -

as for those poets

when they went on too long

they merely licked their quills

and              made them           longer

long as Pinocchio's nose

and   longer

maybe long as a Joycean pub crawl

or a museum guide's

preamble -

O my god they are following me

and my dedication to verisimilitude -

I'm  standing  with my pencil

poised  before a very small Rubens

- a man who is an expert in the art of overwhelming -

it's hardly a seminal work -

         I think I'll slip the leash

and find the quite room

where the works

I like best

are hiding away

from from the madding

Rubens crowd -

   Jan Massys'  Merry Company 

   Reymerswale's  Money Changers 

   Hoogstraten's  Old Man at the Window

to name but three  -

before I fly
         to the Seven Stars  

to cut my goulash of beef 

with a spoon.

Merry Company - Jan Massys

Money Changers - Marinus Van Reymerswale

Old Man at the Window - Samuel Van Hoogstraten

Italy out!

   Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei  

Italia 0 - 0 Svezia

Azzurri fuori dal coppa mondiale di calcio 2018

Friday, 10 November 2017

Fighting for King and Country.

Tomorrow, 11th November 2017, exactly 99 years will have elapsed since the official end of the so-called Great War, a war in which the British people, including both my grandfathers found themselves literally in no man's land in the bloody carnage known as the Battle of the Somme.

There were many other battles equally horrifying or worse, and men of many nations perished. These men were known simply as cannon fodder.

A cynic might say that the Great War was so-called as a tribute to the 'great' profits made by the military industrial financial complex - 'the war racket' as Major General Smedley Butler terms it.

The fact is that the Great War never really ended. Today the locations and the euphemisms are different.

Not to worry. The money is rolling in.

Lest we forget.

Apropos my cartoon:

Iraq was a fiasco. Mission Accomplished was a joke. But out of it all there did come eventually a glimmer of sanity. It was Obama's last act, his release of Chelsea Manning.

Now, where to next?

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Raven

When autumn fogs
and industrial smogs

Cloak the graves
and the graveyard walls

When the leaves 
are fallen and the world is grey 

The raven's call 
doth winter hail

Monday, 6 November 2017

Learning to read Roald Dahl in Italian

Personggi italini is bilingual and contains 18 biographies ranging from Poppea to Anna Magnani

So far, I've worked my way through the first six chapters - just finished Amerigo Vespucci and about to start on Lucrezia Borgia. 

When I get stuck, which is often the case at this early stage, I glance at the German pages and although they are not literal translations they invariably point me in the right direction. 

And so it is that I work my way through an Italian book.

Attenti alle streghe!

My copy of Roald Dahl's Le streghe is beyond my compass at the moment. It is not a bilingual edition. 

But one fine day, before the daffodils reappear, I will certainly manage to read it. 

And on that day I will be so much the wiser and so much the wickeder.

Formula 86  e la metamorfosi! will be mine. 


You have been warned!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Mini-Poem* Fallen Leaves

Fallen Leaves 

by the wayside 

and kicked around 

*Today's inspiration source: 'Magnon's Meanderings'. 

Bonjour Cro!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Russian Pavilion and Others at the Venice Biennale

The Russians always put on a good show. No question about it. Don't go in without your camera.

Leaving Russia I made my way to the US where I spent maybe 10 minutes.

As I was exiting the US Pavilion it was almost midday. I was suddenly approached by an eager young man who said he was a guide and would be available at 12 o'clock to take visitors around the exhibition and explain things.

To tell the truth I hadn't been able to find anything in the US Pavilion worth photographing. Perhaps I should have accepted the young man's offer. I might have had better luck.

Here's the exterior of the US Pavilion. As you can see it wasn't exactly busy here. But the sunlight and the fallen leaves of autumn made a fine scene. Hence the photo.

I remember one time they had a damaged iron girder said to be from one of the 9/11 Twin Towers as an exhibit. It was on the ground where the brown leaves are lying in today's photograph.

A nearby pavilion lured me in. I was caught by the huge peace symbol at the front door! Hungary is ever popular with Biennale visitors.

The rainbow made from coloured glass was a hit. I had to wait patiently for the right photo.

A collection of hundreds of small paintings (approx. 3" x 4") by hundreds of Canadian artists pleased me greatly. They were displayed in a couple of small rooms off Campo San Stefano. I leave you with two of my favourites:

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

haiku universe: halloween haiku acceptance

Published today at haiku universe - 

The fading ghost 

By the window 

Dribbling pumpkin soup 

Take it or leave. They took it! Thank you haiku universe. 

 I enjoy this haiku because it can be appreciated in two ways, one being comic and the other gloomy, and yet both fitting well to the subject.

The halloween haiku contest is limited to a period of 24 hours and one haiku is published by haiku universe every hour. There's a link in my sidebar.

The above haiku is in the unfolding list of 25 at number 4.

Here's an haiku I've composed for the Addams Family:

                                            "Something creepy's in the air,  dad."

"Be quiet, son. 

                  And eat  your ghoul ash."

Make merry and enjoy the day! 

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Crossing the Bridge

I have nothing to say at the moment. 
- William Carlos Williams
The Great American Novel

In questo momento non ho niente da dire.
- William Carlos Williams
 Il grande romanzo americano

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Jan Fabre's Glass Skull and Bone Woodpecker

Jan Fabre is internationally renowned for his wonderful bone and glass sculptures. 

I was ruined for choice when I found myself in the Jan Fabre Bone and Glass exhibition in Venezia. The exhibits were all magnifico

From several dozen examples, I selected Fabre's Skull and Woodpecker sculpture for  my 'takeaway' photograph. 

I think perhaps the woodpecker is looking inside the skull for the world's last remaining insect. The idea is not so far fetched as you might think.   A recent study showing that Germany's insect population has fallen by 75% is now yesterday's news. 

News gone and forgotten by the glass skull population, those who happened to notice the relevant paragraph at the foot of page 13 or 22 or some such number over their breakfast or coffee. 

If the Germans have sprayed a certain controversial pesticide over 45% of their land, as was mentioned on the radio the other day, that might explain it.*

The fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal will be on the front pages again and again. Hollywood deserves more newsprint than naked woodpeckers looking for non-existent insects inside brainless glass skulls. 

Michaelangelo Pistoletto's exhibition on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore is titled One and One makes Three. 

From Pistoletto's small leaflet here is part of a quote that could be applied to the woodpecker and skull:

". . La combinazione di due unita da vita a una terza unita distinta e inedita . . "

". . The combination of two units gives life to a third unit distinct and original . . "

one bony woodpecker 

one skull in glass

 life to a third 

*A few years ago in connection with the well-known plight of the bees the Minister for the Environment was asked to reveal how many tons of the most controversial insecticide had been sprayed in Austria in a particular year. His reply: "I can't say because it's a state secret."  There are now reports of traces of the same insecticide which is suspected of being carcinogenic being found in beer!!! Aren't politicians wonderful?

There's currently a photo I took of Pistoletto's Venus with Rags at Poet-in-Residence (28.10.2017). Link in links column >>>

Sunday, 22 October 2017

UFO in Venice. Alien Reveals Secrets of Free Energy. Stock Market Falls. Religious Leaders Pray for Peace.

These AMAZING pictures are from a UFO Researcher



Saturday, 21 October 2017

A taste of Damien Hirst at Punta Della Dogana

The Damien Hirst exhibition here and at palazzo grassi (until 3rd December 2017) is called Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable.  I can honestly say I was overwhelmed.

The Shield of Achilles (Gold, silver) (114 x 112.5 x 7 cm)

I was almost overwhelmed at the Punta Della Dogana when I saw the 7 meters 13 centimeters tall bronze The Warrior and the Bear but later when I visited palazzo grassi and stood in wonderment before the monumental painted resin creation of the headless 18 meters 22 centimeters tall Demon with Bowl (a monster which overpowered even the high and airy atrium) I have to confess that  I was more than overwhelmed.

I realized then how the ancient peoples must have  felt during their uncertain times (war, famine, pestilence, flood, earthquake, mass population movement, confusion of languages and so on) when their over-dimensional monuments to their various gods and deities failed them.

Luckily before entering palazzo grassi, where my camera hand was to be soon gripped by a kind of psychological paralysis, I had taken some photos at the Punta Della Dogana.

palazzo grassi - Head of a Demon (Bronze)

All the following are to be seen at Punta Della Dogana -

Skull of a Unicorn (Gold, silver) 

Golden Monkey (Black granite) 

Sphinx (Bronze) 

Hydra and Kali (Bronze) (5m39 x 6m12 x 2m44)

The Warrior and the Bear (detail) (Bronze)

The Warrior and the Bear
(7m13 x 2m60 x2m03)

(Red marble, grey agate, gold leaf)

Guess who? 

Exhibition Entrance 
Other exhibits include: 
Metamorphosis, Calendar Stone, Proteus, Skull of a Cyclops, Bacchus, Giant Nautilus Shell, Hermaphrodite, Andromeda and the Sea Monster, the Severed Head of Medusa, a scale model of the vessel 'Unbelievable' . . . 

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Tempest / La Tempesta

Full fathom five thy father lies; 
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change 
Into something rich and strange.

Giu cinque braccia giace tuo padre. 
Le sue ossa ormai son corallo,
e perle gli occhi son gia.
Di lui quanto mai puo perire
un mutamento marino subisce
in ricca cosa, in cosa strana. 

REXIT NEWS: William Shakespeare Cloned! BREXIT NEWS: Camil

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Postcards from Venezia

Hanging out in Venice

6 of the best! (The original)

The naval ship Amerigo Vespucci

Biennale Pavilion (USA)

Biennale Pavilion (GERMANY)

Biennale Pavilion (KOREA)

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Il grande romanzo americano

Venice, just the other day.

 I'm attempting to read The Great American Novel by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) in two languages. In Italian it's called Il grande romanzo americano. 

Chapter 1 is 'The Fog' - 'Nebbia'.

 There was plenty of fog in Venice. Four days running I was roused from my slumbers by deep throated foghorns.  

Here's a picture of the fog on the Grand Canal - Canal Grande.  

William Carlos Williams peers into the fog and notes that history is blurred. 

On television (Rai 1) this morning it was said that Italian is 4th most popular language currently being studied in the world. I find that I'm not surprised to learn this.

Italian is a magical and charming language which conjures up images of romantic places like Firenze, Venezia and Napoli, and happy Italian people.

L'italiano e una lingua romanza basto sul dialetto toscana principalmente quello fiorentino.