Gifts

grape leafLast season’s grape vine leaves

Autumn, then winter, going, going, going …

blossomPlum blossom

Gone.

Spring is here with (in Dunedin) its bitter, nor’easterly winds. Straight up the harbour.

glasshouse heartsMemories of last summer; wax crayon love-hearts on our glasshouse.

glasshouse hearts closer Watery-sun enticements to take a wander up to our backyard and check on any winter damage done in the name of nature.

calendulaAmong winter detritus, encouraging signs of growth – promise of mid-summer orange – the calendula plants growing from seeds planted by our daughter in law before that branch of our family left again for Berlin.

glasshouse figure.JPGHowever, time outside these days is usually brief. It is still cold, despite the sunlight.

paperweight Indoors again and at my writing desk; a different kind of glass house – a paperweight which my friend Rose gave me for my fiftieth birthday (sixteen years ago now). Recently I wrote a poem about this paper weight, describing it and referring to our friendship that has lasted since high school days.

gift of glass

(for Rose)

This birthday gift from you,

this treasured,

marbled sphere with its containment

of magnified swirls;

rice-paddy-green, bower-bird-blue;

is an entire world I can hold

in one hand,

a glass sea frozen in motion

for various, irregular daubs

of indigo-and-dandelion,

saffron stretching to a red

dark as ink, to float in

like jelly fish, or fallen seaweed,

tumbling, jungle-hued.

Above this petrified ocean,

a gold-dusted flower spreads starfish

petal-wings; a lily worn to a skeleton

of filigreed sunlight.

Up close its centre

drawing me

into a clear, cyclonic bubble-eye,

a globe’s glass vortex

of cold fire,

of mouth-formed air, of captured,

twisted, braided, liquid sand.

I hold it, this paperweight gift

of glass. I weigh its measure

of fire, of memory

of a friendship first formed

back one school day

when on a cool patch of grass

we laughed at how easy it would be

to become friends

for life; surely

sensing even then everything

as it was – the heat

from the fiery core of this globed planet

on which we both stood and turned

and even now, keep on

standing, turning

under a golden, lily-sky spent

from the weight of sun.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

windowsill 2More gifts on the window-sill in the corner where my writing desk is these days. 

The mug I got from Mum’s when my brother, sister and I cleared her house out after her death. It reminds me of staying with her in the years before she died. When she was in her seventies (good years for her) and doing the rounds of antique shops with an eye for a bargain; or simply for things that took her eye. She was proud of this Palmy North second-hand shop find – this mug with its can-can dancer theme. It tickled her sense of humour, which always did border on the scandalous.

The hippo from sweet Jenny P. – isn’t he gorgeous? – also has a poem which I have published online in a previous post.

The Robert Coune photo of an old school-house, Tuatapere, Southland, is a present from Ann, who knows Tuatapere is where I was born.

windowsill arrangementThe faded Russian (babushka/matryoshka) nesting dolls, is a gift from my sister Lynley after an overseas trip back in the 1980’s.

And on a serendipitous note – this same sister is about to become a babushka for the third time, any minute now.