Walking Western Port

One of the nice things about a term break is the chance to think and write and walk, to take some photos and take some time.

Here’s some shots of a short walk I did yesterday, along the mangrove-studded shoreline of Western Port Bay. Hopefully, there’s a poem coming along too at some point.

 

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Re-connecting: Walking in the Briars

Most of the year for me is spent split between working in Melbourne and getting down to the Mornington Peninsula on weekends.

So, one of the things I like most about the holidays is the chance to be in one place for a while, and re-connect with some of my favourite places like the Briars.

I’ve blogged about the Briars before (do a search if you like) but I never get sick of the place, and the way the creek defines it as well as its sense of history.

Today I did the longer 4k loop and also walked out via the new Harrap Creek track for the first time. I’ve captured some of the moments below, but one moment I didn’t capture was seeing a big red-bellied black snake asleep by the side of the track. The trouble is, once you’ve seen a snake on a walk, you see them everywhere, in every shadow, root, branch or piece of broken bark on the track or just off it. It tends to take the meditating mind off the poetry a bit. Though, it did make me think, ‘have I ever written a poem about a snake?’, like D.H. Lawrence did? Looking back, it seems I have only had one go at it, this poem that was published in *Eureka Street* in 2011. Maybe it’s time for another go?

Late Walk Along Jerusalem Inlet

Rows of trees knee-deep in bracken
trunks green with soft moss
all dead or dying
a shovel shaped pit
the sound of water
some Mirkwood path
to a wide green place
where a house was
all ruined
broken rocks and bricks,
beside the broken oak tree,
a non-allegorical snake.

Below: The view from the bird hide

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The prophetic sign: this was exactly the snake I saw half an hour after reading this sign.

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Signs of former use; old fence posts from when this was farmland.

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Common farmland birds poster in the bird hide

 

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The boardwalk

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Spring Paddock Dam

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Balcombe Creek

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Below: Balcombe Creek
Nice to see it flowing after a bit of rain this week.

Below: Spring Paddock Dam
Listen carefully for the frogs.

Stories everywhere; Poems too

Substitute the word ‘poem’ for ‘story’ in this article and video from Krissy Clark below and it equates pretty closely to how I think sometimes about my writing, and my poetry. In a way it’s a mapping of the place in poetry, maybe not on the grand scale in the way that Hardy or Yeats or Frost mapped their world, but my world, localised, specific and layered with meaning for me.

The stories here are factual histories: who lived here? what happened on this place in history? They are reminding us of the layers of meaning. My places are more imaginative or made-up or responsive to me. They normally aren’t about what happened here before (though I wrote a poems about the Aboriginal people who lived and ate mussels on what I thought of as ‘my’ beach) but about me passing through these places and responding to them.

I thought I could/should create an interactive map of my region; with clickable links to poems that focus on that particular moment. Maybe I will. Meanwhile, I very much like the ideas of the past in this project.

http://storieseverywhere.org/2012/01/05/the-vision-i-had-in-the-desert/

Place in the past

Around this time last year I blogged about a photographer who was juxtaposing images from the past on the exact same place today and I liked the idea, something about the placeness of place, the significance of the actual spot where this happened. You can read that post here

I was reminded of that post today when I saw this short video putting old photos of Anne Frank into the modern landscape, the same place, but subverting the idea in that the originals are coloured in that lovely hand-tinted looking way and the modern places are black and white.

The short film is by Jan Hovers who writes:

“Being a big fan of Retronautic time-travel, I remembered that I directed this video for Dutch television in 1992. I re-visited the exact spots where Otto Frank took pictures of his youngest daughter Anne Frank. I layed the photos over the current views. I filmed the contemporary spots in black & white and coloured the original photos, to underline the contrast between the colourful world of Anne before the war and the grey world after the war from which the Jewish young children (literally) had been torn. The video was structured around a poem written by a girl who was 15 in 1992.”

On the Road

Today’s AGE featured an article on the treasure trove of art, music and literary videos that you can find on youtube. I had a look at a few of them and this was my favourite; Jack Kerouac reading a kind of homage to On the Road one of my favourite books ever and reading it well, before it all went sad and pear-shaped.

You can read the AGE article HERE, but for some reason they’ve left out all the links to the movies, which were in the paper edition, and which is a little frustrating.  A quick search would probably find most of them.

My other favourites:

Nabokov discusses LOLITA

Plath reads from DADDY (audio only)