Rosemary Nissen-Wade: Aussie poet and teacher of metaphysics – a personal view
My bestie nicknamed me SnakyPoet on her blog, and I liked it. (It began as
'the poet of the serpentine Northern Rivers' and became more and more abbreviated.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

HAIKU AROMA by Terry Dalfrano

(My Goodreads review. I gave it 4 stars.)

This is a well-produced paperback of three-line verses in a bilingual edition, Italian and English. Terry asked me and some others for advice on the English, as it is his second language, and has kindly acknowledged our help. 

The English of the final version is on the whole excellent, though at times slightly imperfect – but not to the detriment of either poetics or meaning. It is more as if it were spoken with a trace of foreign accent, which lends its own charm. I wish I could read the Italian, as I'm sure it would be very beautiful. The English verses are beautiful enough in their own right to convince me of that.

Haiku Aroma is a good title, suggesting that the poems are redolent of haiku rather than claiming they adhere strictly to that form. In brevity, directness and structure they are haiku-like. In subject matter, and the frequent use of metaphor, they are more reminiscent of another Japanese form, the romantic five-line tanka.

They are passionate love poems, arranged in seasonal sequences – the seasons themselves working as metaphors for the stages of the relationship. When I considered the pieces individually while the work was in preparation, I didn't fully appreciate how beautifully the finished volume would tell the story of this relationship, its waxing and waning through various phases. (The moon is often a symbol of the beloved.) Though each poem can stand alone, it is rewarding to read the book as a whole, from start to finish.

He has a delicate touch: erotic without being vulgar; romantic without being mawkish. For example:

the sun flares
on your amber skin 
hurry up night

quietly falls the night
soft silk veils
drop at your feet

come my moon
make the tide rise
inside me

Each section is introduced with a one-line title; these too are exquisite small poems.

The appropriately suggestive cover illustration is a close-up of a stapella flower, held in the palm of a hand.

The book is available from Amazon, both as paperback and ebook.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Oops! And Now, After All, We Are Two

There she is, the new love of my life – the cat I said I wasn't going to get. Her name is Selene, after the Greek moon goddess. You can read all about the way it came about, and the unique challenges she poses, over at my Cronewyze blog. (Posted there because there are some mystical aspects to her arrival in my life.)

So what's my excuse for changing my mind? Quite a few! 

Perfect freedom and self-indulgence pall after a while. And she needed a home. And a dear friend would have been very upset if I hadn't been able to take her. 

What about the cost? (Remember I thought the lack of feline expenses would help stretch the pension?)

Well, she's only one cat, not two as I had in the past. She is neither a kitten nor elderly – just seven weeks short of her eighth birthday – so hopefully won't need specialised food nor expensive veterinary treatments. 

Also, she seems to be an indoor cat. So far, anyway, she has shown no inclination whatsoever to go outside, though at her last home she did occasionally. The vets tell me that as she has lived to this age without getting sick, if she is to be an indoor cat she will not need vaccinating. After a couple of treatments to be on the safe side, she won't need worming or de-fleaing any more, either. 

Until / unless she gives me further notice, I am very happy for her to be an indoor cat. No fights with the bully-boy cat down the road. No bird carcases proudly dragged in for display on the kitchen floor. Little chance of getting a tick. No chance of getting hit by a car.  No danger of snake bite. OK, so she won't be able to keep the mice down, but that's all right as long as they stay outside. And if they do get inside, I guess she will deal with them after all.

She is to live on raw food to keep her teeth and kidneys healthy, and I have just discovered I can get the kind the vet recommended very cheaply from the local butcher. The biggest expense will be kitty litter, and after a bit of experimenting I have now found one which lasts 3 weeks, is odour controlled and relatively dust free. It's more expensive than some, but if it really lasts that long will work out the same.

I also had a chat to my doctor about dropping my podiatry treatments. Yes, I was getting a Medicare refund but there was still some initial outlay each time, and a portion un-refunded. Some time back, the doctor had reasons to want my feet scrutinised regularly, but we've now ascertained what is going on with them and what to do about it. Things are pretty well under control, and I am quite capable of cutting my own toenails and filing my own corns. So there's a saving to offset the cost of kitty litter! 

I did say I would be worried about being able to care for a new cat properly as I aged. This one, at nearly eight, is already mature. If she lives another 10 years or so, I'm still planning to be around long enough to take good care of her. And what a good incentive to stay healthy!