Turing true

Turing true

Chatting to tech support
I glibly key: Are you a bot?
remote assistance returns:
That’d be quite something!

Some day will that question
define an instance of class:
substratist[human, foolish, old].

I hesitate some cycles,
query not quite resolved.
Has he just passed the test,
have I already failed?


Blog of the month

Federation of Writers Scotland have a feature called ‘Blog of the month’, and I’m delighted that this month’s blog is Subjects, objects, verbs. FWS’s editor asked me this:

“… you have provided a brief note on the blog’s genesis, I wonder if you could expand that a bit – what your aim is in creating the blog, how do you hope it might affect readers?”

That’s an excellent shot across the bows, I thought! Straight to the heart of the matter – just what am I doing here, friends, and what are you getting out of it?

I had a long think, and tried to write a reply that was honest, and as b.s. free as I could manage. You can read my reply here…

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Obstinacy

Obstinacy

A tree shines brightly
near the Allt Glas-Doire,
by the coffin road.

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Call 0337

An odd source of inspiration. A one line help desk call made the first line of this poem. Just a wee bit o nonsense…

Call 0337:
About the printer on the first floor

The printer on the first floor in the main open space has no yellow.

It just doesn’t know how to quit.

The printer on the first floor in the main open space has no blue.

It’s always got a good word to say.

The printer on the first floor in the main open space has no red.

It’s true, I’ve never seen it lose the rag.

The printer on the first floor in the main open space has no black.

Really, I mean, doesn’t everyone have a dark side?

The printer on the first floor in the main open space has no paper.

Sorry – was this the last sheet?

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Walking out the words

Back in December I posted about The Curlew publishing one of my poems called ‘Horizoned’. Recently the editor got in touch with me to ask about using the poem for some teaching she is planning, and if I could record something about my motivation in making this kind of poem. I was delighted to do this of course, but I thought it might be fun to try to show something about what goes into some of my ‘wandering’ poems.

Really I wanted to take people on a wee walk, because there is something about being there (and getting there!) that is essentially important. An aspect of embodied poetry perhaps.

There’s a long tradition of walking poets – the Wordsworths and Bashō prominent among them. When I googled about the topic I found some fantastic work by Mike Collier of the University of Sunderland which is well worth a look.

Here is my wee piece, with a reading at the end. I tried to cover the questions of what and why seriously, but answering using images, sound and physical effort(!) as well as words. I hope the result is entertaining as well as informative…

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More posts about walking.

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Morning post

Morning post

hoarfrosted contours
time served by seasons
in another life
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a post by the road to Craigowl


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A friend recently suggested that many of the things I make have something of the spirit of the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi – had I had the term? I had, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant so I looked it up.

Wabi-sabi is a term rich with many layers of meaning, but could be summed up as an aesthetic celebrating the beauty in transience, impermanence, and imperfection. Well, yes, I thought, many of my photographs are about looking for beauty in moments embodying much of this.

I’ve been intending to do some more work with found audio for a while, and this post has a little sample. Ironically, it is just that – a post! In this case – a metal gate post beside the road up to Craigowl hill in the Sidlaws. I’ve often noticed that when the wind is in the right direction, this particular post has a lot to say. I suppose this is not surprising, the post is basically a meter high metal tube with a couple of holes placed rather like those on a flute.

As I set out on a windy afternoon to see if I could capture some of this sound, it did cross my mind that a slightly baleful, but (to my ears) resonant and interesting sound encountered only when the wind blows a certain way in a particular place in the middle of field usually occupied by at most some sheep or cattle was definitely a stab at finding a fairly transient and imperfect fragment of beauty: wabi-sabi.

Bashō on the Path to Hanging Bridge
by Hokusai

If there is a poet of the idea it must surely be the great seventeenth century traveller and haiku pioneer, Matsuo Bashō. A master whose work sometimes makes me think of photographic ways of seeing, although written long before the invention of photography.

The wind is mentioned often in Bashō’s haiku. Here is one to consider, with some alternative translations, perhaps while you listen the piece of sound I made (lower down) using the plaintive voice I heard calling from a post by the road to Craigowl.

 

蜘何と 音をなにと鳴 秋の風
Kumo nan to ne wo nani to naku aki no kaze
Matsuo Bashō

Spider, say again!
It’s so hard to hear your voice
in the autumn wind.

Spider, I say!
In what voice do you chirp?
An autumn wind
(Tr. Makoto Ueda)

Old spider! What is your 
song? How do you cry
to the autumn wind 
(Tr. Sam Hamill)

source: http://matsuobasho-wkd.blogspot.jp/

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More: A history of wabi-sabi (YouTube)

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