Finding Maxine

I am the photo
in my life
with small fits
of amnesia, hands
under the upturned stone.
Lost.

– And found
An earlier photo
made all the difference.

My past evades
like a fly-swatter.
Childhood, in cereal boxes,
and my fourteen lost children
call.

Here the Missing Photos:-
One seventh wedding
A man going over a cliff
Uncle Arthur and the prize peacock
The world in a hot air balloon

At the mirror.
You little fool, I can live
– without you.

I am looking for the photo that would make all the difference in my life. It’s very small and subject to fits of amnesia, turning up in poker hands, grocery carts, under the unturned stone. The photo shows me at the lost and found looking for an earlier photo, the one that would have made all the difference then. My past evades me like a politician. Wielding a fly-swatter, it destroys my collection of cereal boxes, my childhood lived close to the breakfast table. Only that photo can help me locate my fourteen lost children, who look just like me. When I call the Bureau of Missing Persons, they say, “Try the Bureau of Missing Photos.” They have a fine collection. Here’s one of Calvin Coolidge’s seventh wedding. Here’s one of a man going over a cliff on a dogsled. Here’s my Uncle Arthur the night he bought the prize peacock. O photo! End your tour of the world in a hot air balloon. Resign your job at the mirror-testing laboratory. Come home to me, you little fool, before I find I can live without you.

Found style poetry takes existing texts and refashions them, reorders them, and presents them as poems. I derived this one from Maxine Chernoff’s  “Lost and Found” prose poem for my Poetics prompt: Lost poems and Found poetry

I-spy with lil’ old Ricoh

Autumn brings some colourful visuals to my local walk so I dug out my decade-old, battered, pocketable Ricoh CX3 and went rambling. The camera is still taking good enough shots, if unremarkable, and I’m sentimentally fond of it too. (there is a new Ricoh on the block -just out is the GR IIIx camera – I’m counting my pennies!)

I like to revise my knowledge of flora and fauna and first up is a recognizable donkey from a neighbouring field. He seeks attention from every passing walker

When I was a child, parents would buy I-Spy pocket books, with pictures and descriptions as to what to look out for in our everyday world. It made us observant and knowledgeable without any awareness of being educated. Now I suppose we would purchase a plant ID app like Picture This since the above fading foliage does not ring any bells with me.

A gallery of native plants with their edible fruits:

Since I’ve become more countrified, my interest in foraging has increased. I’ve only ever associated crab apples (Malus sylvestris) with a kind of jelly jam but both flowers and leaves are edible as teas. The berries of Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) are not just for the birds! High in Vitamin C, they can be eaten raw or made into sauces and jams. As a natural product, they also help promote heart health. And I’d always assumed the tomato-like fruit of the Guelder rose (Viburnum opulis) were poisonous, but quite the contrary. Eastern Europeans consume them raw like cranberries or cooked into pies and jams and sauces

Aka Crampberry, the bark of Guelder is used as a natural medicine for such eponymous ailments

This tall, invasive stranger in our midst is beloved by bees at the expense of native nectar offering plants. Architecturally striking but these seedpods of Himalayan Balsam are ripening in readiness for further invasion.

When the seed pods mature, they explode when touched, scattering the seed up to 7m away. Seeds are also spread by water and they may remain viable for up to two years.

We are encouraged to go ‘Balsam bashing’ in June to remove these plants before flowering (they pull out easily)…but foragers recommend them to eat! Leaves and flowers added to salads whilst the seeds can also be eaten – try a Himalayan Balsam and Fennel seed cracker recipe

Seemingly in tune with Autumn’s colour changes but the browning of these oaks are actually signs of fungal leaf spot. The undersides of the foliage are covered in oak spangle galls produced by the larva of the tiny wasp with a long name ~ Neuroterus quercusbaccarum! Fortunately neither problem is fatal to these trees unlike the recent outbreaks of Acute Oak decline.

Fun Fact: Cecidology is the study of galls produced on trees and plants by fungi, insects, or mites and in Britain we have a dedicated organization to ID and record just such home-grown galls.


Back home, I gave the Lumix G6, with 30mm lens, a brief airing so as not to be outdone by its stablemate

silver-backed autumn leaves of the white poplar which inspired my recent attempt at a Cadralor poem
and even this ageing hydrangea bloom cannot help but reach up for a look in the mirror
And lest it appear as though I'm a font of knowledge, here are some useful links I refer to: 
~ Cameras: Ricoh GR IIIX 
~ Cecidology UK:  British Plant Gall Society
~ Foraging UK: EatWeeds; Wild Food UK
~ Trees UK: The Woodland Trust

A third October

For Martin: 21.2.38 – 07.10.18

It’s here again, the gold leaf season.
Amongst the dispossessed of poplar
and willow, silver collects.

A river in full spate. Fish and fly
act out their hunger games.
Below reeled lines, the keep nets fill.

Greying hair, black ink. She writes
his name and weaves half-rhymes
round labyrinth.

Heron, hunched and dull
like an old consort. A sudden flight.
Water draws rings round emptiness.

Colours seep from the end of day.
Pen and rod, a handful of leaves
my direction, home, without you.

Björn has chosen as our Meeting the Bar challenge: The Cadralor - a five stanza poem of equal lines, each a stand alone visual which come together in the final with a sense of yearning [see here]