Ten Years After

The series of radio and tv specials this week recalling the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2011 as the tenth anniversary of that terrible day draws near reminds me that this blog too is ten years old this month.

I started this poetry blog because I was fascinated with the internet thing and not confident that the static web site would draw readers in. I’m not sure there’s lots of readers here either, but I admit to another motive: to record for myself my own thinking and reflecting on writing and reading. That’s still my main reason for writing this.

The first entry was on September 8, 2001 and I announced it as:

thoughts, meditations, reflections; what’s going on with my writing and reading, an ongoing saga!

I’m pretty sure I didn’t think that I might be writing it ten years later. Ongoing indeed.  The first few posts were ‘walk’ posts, along the edge of Port Phillip Bay, labelling the driftwood, the shape of the waves and the weather. I had an idea for a poem too on the day of 9/11, as I wrote in my blog that night before going to bed not knowing what was going to happen overnight in NY:

Walked along Bird Rock beach this morning in the cold wind; early enough to be the first footprints for the day; choppy little waves and not a lot of beach but good to see the concrete remains of something (pier?) again unburied at the point. The foundations come and go irregularly. No seal sighted this morning, but I was thinking of trying to write a poem about that encounter a few weeks ago and the line ‘webbed hand’ kept coming to me. I thought of the Barry Lopez book I’ve been reading; “Arctic Dreams” and his encounters with nature.

Odd to find as well a balloon still inflated and jammed under the low bushes, then a green tennis ball floating in the shallows and finally an orange in the sand; these three round shapes in all the wind and sand and flat shapes of the world.

Walking up the steps I thought that the platforms (31 in all) would make a fine idea for a walk poem; but walking up to the road, or down to the beach? Each platform different and unique; like a stage in life or ascension (how many stages of the cross are there?) Then if it was platform would that be too railway-like an image? Could be a poem there though? 9/11/2001

It did become a poem. Much later. And the blog has morphed and ebbed and flowed as life and the energy you have for writing and reading ebbs and flows too. It is part diary, part journal, part reflection, part publicity, part reading log, part conversation. Probably not quite enough conversation. But that’s okay too.

Ten years later I’m still writing this. Still reading and trying to write poems. I still go down to Bird Rock Beach and walk that uneven edge that makes me limp along in the late yellow sunlight, with the bay and the birds and ideas coming ashore sometime like weathered green tennis balls.

And, as the days finally begin to shorten…

And, as the days finally begin to shorten a little and the first rain for some time comes, each swim in the bay seems like it might be the last. Last week I was snorkelling off Bird Rock and saw some garfish for the first time, swimming lightly, almost floating, near the surface, like miniature swordfish. Not sure if these sightings will ever make it into poems, but they’ve added to my understanding of the bay at the end of the street.

Swimming off Bird Rock

Don’t know if it’s quite poetry yet, but I’ve been doing some snorkelling lately, beginning when I hurt my arm and couldn’t surf. A couple of weeks ago I saw a large stingray swimming off Bird Rock Beach, and down at Mt Martha after that two Port Jackson sharks, lying on the bottom,with only their tails waving gently. One other time I swam into a giant school of silver fish over a foot long each one, streaming around me like silvery light. Last night, off Mills Beach near the river mouth, a big porcupine fish (I think they’re called Globe Fish) hiding in the weeds below me until I was right over it, then making a run for it.