Category Archives: writing

Fall for A I

I started a dialogue with ChatGPT about a haiku for a picture with the morning sun streaming through a stand of gumtrees. But a system error occurred, and when we re-engaged, the following unfamiliar verse was offered instead of what we had been working on.
I’ve changed the first line (which was a bland ‘The autumn leaves fall’) to link the rustle of leaves to ‘whispering’, which opens line two. I added a title, removed unnecessary punctuation and changed any Caps to lower case. It’s quite a pleasing haiku. I don’t know who ChatGPT was doing it for, but here it is

autumn leaves rustle
whispering secrets of change
nature’s artistry

This unrelated photo of gumtrees is included for fun.

Perennial gum trees

Tastes like a dry sense of humour

Asahi (dry) beer is marketed in Australia as possessing karakuchi flavours, etc.  Presumably this is done with the intention of implying a taste too complex and/ or mysterious to describe in English.  

karakuchi! san
slick marketing speak for beer
a droll argument

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the translation, but check out the other suggested meanings for karakuchi at wordhippo.

Free transport to another state

bush is flung my way
a bit of Queensland in Vic
obverse odyssey

The Roth Hetherington Botanical Native Garden in Keysborough Victoria curates native bushland from each state in Australia, plus the Northern Territory.
Thank you City of Greater Dandenong

Culture cliff notes:
The word ‘transport’ is an historical reference to the transportation of criminals to Australia that laid a foundation for colonising the country. For me, that places a question mark over how we impose our will on the natural world.
The words ‘another state’ are used to imply the physical and metaphysical, and these remnant bushlands move me, speak to my spirit. A conflict? Nevermind.
Vic is short for Victoria, which is in the South and is temperate; Queensland is in the North and tropical/ sub-tropical.


this once naked tract
stripped to feed growth of our town
restored to heaven

Painting by Fred Williams

Fires ravaged the Dandenong ranges in 1967, including One Tree Hill.
One Tree Hill had been stripped of all but one tree in the nineteenth century to fuel European settlement.
(That single tree was used as a survey marker).
Fortunately the area was restored to native forest and has recovered from periodic bushfires.

Photo by DD today.

In praise of polyester

jacketed in black
invisible poly-clad
dee assumes new guise

I took a black double-breasted polyester/wool jacket with me to New Zealand. I bought it twenty five years ago when I was driving to work and realised that I was in jeans and T-shirt but heading into a management meeting.  It was only ever meant for a single use but it is seemingly indestructible and I respect that even if corporate livery consultants revile polyester.

I also love the way it confers the kind of anonymity that gets me in just about anywhere.
This photo shows my face reflected in the glass protecting a display of work at Auckland Art Gallery. It is by Maori designer Tuhirangi Blair who uses recycled materials to make unique pieces.

Napier to Gisborne, NZ, 6 January 2023

howling ginsberg trip
chas plucks Freedom from the beat
hybrid driver hip

* * Last night I listened to a programme about the Beat poets and decided to listen to ‘Howl’ on the demanding drive from Napier to Gisborne NZ for No. 1 son’s wedding. (Alex is there already). The reading, by Ginsberg, on YouTube dropped out after Part 2 due to lack of mobile network coverage, but No. 2 son who is with me went quietly through my mobile and selected ‘The Blue Yusef Lateef’ and soon ‘Freedom’ was ringing out its message. A great trip in a hybrid Toyota hire car, regardless of hip strain. And if like me you’ve never listened to Howl, maybe it’s time.

Melbourne’s fickle weather

Melbourne Au is often mocked for having ‘four seasons in a day’.

russet coloured leaves
protest melbourne's summer
confusing seasons

Summer officially starts today.

Even trees mock this city.

Inspired by ‘Bronzer mate’, which mocked people snorting an artificial skin tanning drug (illegally imported to Australia) to become ersatz Bronzed Aussies.

We built this city on mockery!

‘Lest we forget’ reflection

let’s not forget
the horror, the nightmare post trauma
abiding sacrifice

Culture note:
‘Lest we forget’ is the response to a reading on Remembrance Day and ANZAC day ceremonies in Australia, and elsewhere. It deeply troubled me as a teen that these sombre memorial services might be perceived as glorifying war rather than honouring veterans. In 2022, the world itself worries me far more.

Published 11am Std Eastern Time, Melbourne, Australia