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Richard Walker

Slowly slowly

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I'm not quite prepared.

So Snail you're the one I trust

To carry my cheque up the mountain.

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Richard Walker

Seed catalog haiku

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OK I give up. What kind of planet is this?

Please please send rain.

Or at least the seed catalogue.

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Richard Walker

Sitting pigeon

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 28 Apr 2015, 04:28

Last night I accidentally discovered "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch (reflecting on existence)."

I fell in love with the film at once. It's like a series of haiku - snapshots that try to capture the experience of being.

Haiku originated from an earlier tradition of collaborative poetic composition. One of the collaborators would produce a short opening verse - the Hokku - and the others would contribute stanzas one after another to build up a longer poem.

Later the Hokku evolved into a free-standing poetic form, roughly the Haiku as we know it today, but poets still often wrote a sequence of linked Haiku, classically as a travel diary.

"A Pigeon" is a series of loosely connect episodes, some quite fantastic, most deliberately banal, but all inviting us to consider who we are, who others are, and how we relate to one another. Each moves us in one way or another. Yet the situations are all absurd to a greater or lesser degree, which is perhaps true of real life. Many are surreal, and some monstrous.

Foregrounds are simple and actors deadpan, but each scene, like a poem, is ambiguous. It shows us a deeper background we hadn't noticed at first and often adds glimpses of an indifferent external world, sometimes seen through a window.

I've always been obsessed with the way all our small everyday experiences can join together to give us a sense of self and identity. Like Haiku, this film gives an emotional interpretation to this feeling of mine. You might say that all feelings are emotional but I don't think that's exactly correct.

 

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Richard Walker

Flowers My Mother Taught Me

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 27 Apr 2015, 02:29

The Marsh Marigold is another spring flower familiar from childhood.

The ones in the photo grow in the stream just across the road from my house, near a little brick bridge which you can see in the photograph.

The flower-name is in the great Oxford English Dictionary. Its earliest known occurrence is from 1578:

The small Celandyne, and the Braue Bassinet, or Marsh Marigold, do grow in moyst medowes.

(Lyte's translation from the original Dutch of Dodoens' Niewe Herball.)

 

 

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Richard Walker

I wandered lonely as a celandine

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One of my interests is wild flowers. Here a picture I took of celandines outside the front of my house. The celandine is one of my favorite flowers and there are hosts of them where I live.

Not a lot of people know that Wordsworth wrote a poem "The Lesser Celandine" about this flower. Personally I think it's rather dull and I can see why it's less well known than Wordsworth's other flower poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", alias "Daffodils".

Although the latter is one of the most famous poems in the English language it's never really attracted me. I much prefer Herrick's "To Daffodils"

Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
         You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
         Has not attain'd his noon.
                        Stay, stay,
                Until the hasting day
                        Has run
                But to the even-song;
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.

 

I think that's a beautiful evocation of the transitory nature of things.

 

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Richard Walker

New Moon Haiku

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Stopping on the bridge tonight.

New moon. New thoughts.

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Richard Walker

Marie Curie

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 23 Apr 2015, 00:46

Marie Curie. A person of extraordinary intelligence and courage. On the wall of the British Library is inscribed a quote

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.

I've passed it many times, and it always give me a little extra hope, because I am not very brave.

 

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Richard Walker

Calendar

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On my calendar

Three boats, 24 houses and 22 ducks.

Why doesn't it hang straight? (It doesn't)

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Richard Walker

Bumblebee Haiku

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 19 Apr 2015, 03:06

Bumblebee you said it was Spring.

I didn't listen.

Until today.

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Richard Walker

What does apathy feel like?

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 17 Apr 2015, 02:40

I'm endlessly fascinated by the relationship between brain function and our sense of self.

Many people who survive a stroke experience apathy. This is usually associated with depression, common amongst stroke survivors. But a minority may have suffered front brain damage that has affected emotional response. The loss may be severe.

In its most profound form, what would this apathy be like? Would it be loss of energy, motivation and interest in everyday life? Would it mean insensitivity to pleasure or pain? The word apathy was made up in the 18th century from the Greek for suffering and meant at first "without suffering", rather than lethargy, which is the way the word is often interpreted today.

It could be closer to the original 18th century sense. Perhaps it is far more than demotivation or joylessness.

Maybe you'd know about emotions intellectually, and even display them, but you'd be acting. Inside there would no emotional experience at all. Not even a gap; just nothing.

 

 

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Richard Walker

Why cross the road?

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Snail, how can I save you in this dark?

Conscience draws me back to help.

Prosper on the other side.

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Richard Walker

Birdsong

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Birdsong makes us happy. Why?

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Richard Walker

Riddle 2

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What form an upper and lower mountain range?

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Richard Walker

Riddle

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 10 Apr 2015, 23:23

What can carry a house up a mountain?

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Richard Walker

Stream Haiku

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 10 Apr 2015, 01:08

Stop! Go back

Listen again to the running stream.

Aren't you glad to hear it?

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Richard Walker

The Medium is the Message

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 9 Apr 2015, 01:22

A camera is like a human eye.

The basic plan

light from world --> focus --> image falls on sensors

But photography can work without any focusing. If we put refractors -- glass, resin, minerals and so on -- directly on film and expose it briefly to light, something will be recorded. In that case refractors have replaced the lens and it's them we are photographing.

So, literally, the medium is the message.

This can produce striking results. Visit the website of Alan Jaras for example.

This reminds me of an experiment I tried many years ago. Photographic plates preceded the film which came before digital cameras.

If you are not familiar with plates, they are just like film but on glass not plastic. Plates were the staple of photography until films came along and spoiled it.

Just as (and rightly) some still prefer film to digital, back then plates were still around, because some people preferred them.

What was the experiment? We put a couple of plates up on the roof, in a a plastic bag, and left them there a couple of months. Later, when we remembered, we fetched them down and developed them. In hope of what?

Cosmic rays. Some energetic particle that may have set off from a supernova billions of light years away and billions of years ago, could have arrived on our roof and created a record on our plates.

And one had.

No lens needed. The universe is on your rooftop.

 

 

 

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Richard Walker

Roman Frister

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 12 Apr 2015, 02:54

Roman Frister died recently.

He was a concentration camp survivor (then aged 15), later journalist, book author, and founder of a university school of journalism.

Frister's frank and harrowing tale of being in the camp describes a horrible moral dilemma.

Camp inmates had to wear the regulation cap for morning roll call. Anyone bareheaded was instantly shot. One night Frister's cap was stolen.

In the dark of the hut he found a cap that belonged to someone else. Next day he heard that person shot.

Frister lived with this and a half-century on wrote a memoir, whose title The Cap was taken from the incident.

I read the book, some years ago now, but it still haunts me.

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Richard Walker

Fishing

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 8 Apr 2015, 02:01

From its rock a cormorant

Watched the fishermen.

Thieves, thieves.

 

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Richard Walker

Dinosaur poets TM

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what is/are Poets

Can they die and emerge again

like Dinosaurians

?

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Richard Walker

Bullet marks

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So have you seen

Bullet marks on a wall?

And did it make you flinch?

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Richard Walker

A memory

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Do you remember in Greece,

we had that wobbly table,

and the waiter brought a melon rind?

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Richard Walker

No brainer

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Not a poem, or even a riddle.

What came first, the brain or the senses?

 

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Richard Walker

New rain Haiku

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The smell of new rain.

A time for reflection.

And no umbrellas please.

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Richard Walker

Raindrops in the stream

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Raindrops in the stream.

I'm with my father again

Trying to see a fish.

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Richard Walker

What's a poem

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Hands clasped behind me

I thought: a poem

Is a kind of snapshot.

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