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SusanDolphinDelaney

Healing and Empowerment for Women

Category Archives: Poetry

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Sunday our parched region experienced an all day rain. I walked in it for an hour at dawn, and again after church. This rose caught my eye as I hunted for micropuddles in old downtown Plano, TX.

Micropuddles fascinate me. They exist in liminal space: at the threshold of a new experience. They contain shining truths and epiphanies.

I hover over each one and imagine diving into another universe.

Join me!

This micropuddle shone in an old stone sidewalk:

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I found this micropuddle in a magnolia leaf:

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This one was on top of a rock wall:

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These lovely geometric shapes formed in a brick sidewalk:

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This oval shimmered in stone steps near a wall fountain silenced by the drought:

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And finally, a micropuddle shining in stone stairs dating to Plano pioneer times.

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I started doing photography as a girl. Dad was a medical photographer at George Washington University Medical School in DC. We had a darkroom in our basement. Every third week, I’d get to go to work with him on Saturdays and I had access to his lab at the med school.

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Here I am with my grandfather and my b’uncle Joe. You can see one of my first cameras around my neck.

In high school I was Photography Editor of the yearbook. I shot and printed half of the photos. I was a great photo processor. I could make my negatives sing.

Tragically, my dad got very sick when I was a junior in high school. He never was able to work again. Somehow the loss of my dad as I knew him got all mixed up with photography and I laid down my camera for decades.

When I got an iPhone in 2005 I began to take photos with it. I didn’t photo finish them at all. I didn’t even crop them.

These last few months I have begun to photo finish my iPhone photos. I have used iPhoto to work on several hundred of my photos. I have been most interested in adjusting photos that I might use to illustrate my haiku. I am an active participant in 3 Facebook forums that have daily prompts for haiku (2) or tanka (1). Tanka are five line poems.

Something clicked in me yesterday. I suddenly had the knowing and body feel that my photofinishing was just what I had been doing from age 7 to age 17. It all clicked.

I still have a lot to learn. And I must learn to use the new camera I bought a month ago. I pulled out the manual for it today. (No one ever accused me of rushing into things!)

I went to the Dallas Arboretum today and took a hundred photos. And photo finished them after I got home.

I still have a lot to learn.

A lot.

Seriously.

All of my previous work was with black and white photos….

Here are a few of the photos I made today:

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This one is a star magnolia. I am crazy about “tulip magnolias”.

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This one is a Professor Einstein daffodil.

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This one is a beautiful silvery-blue foliage plant spilling over the edge of a container.

I’ve started and ended this post with cherry blossoms, two kinds.

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I hope you like my photos!

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Ever since I was a girl I have been fascinated by the art of Japan.

I have done Japanese flower arranging, ikebana. I am also an internationally known and published haiku poet.

A few years ago, I took up painting enso, circles, with sumi paint. I bought wonderful, flat porcelain trays of the sumi ink at the gift shop at Nepenthe, in Big Sur, CA. I drew a number of enso to illustrate some of my haiku. Yesterday, I photographed the enso.

The one above, one of my favorites, is made by dipping the soft rabbit’s hair brush into both metallic gold and metallic silver and then brushing the circle in one breath.

I find it meaningful that haiku are also one breath poems.

Both art forms remind us that we have only the now. To live in the now.

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I painted this one to illustrate a poem about peeling an orange.

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This one will illustrate poems about the sun.

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And this one the moon.

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This one was drawn to illustrate the moon rising behind pine trees, but this morning I used it to illustrate this haiku: lipstick on his collar/ thunder/ rattles the bedsprings.

I hope you like my enso!

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This weekend I gave a talk to my haiku friends about my jewelry making design process. I compared the moment when I “see” (feel) a haiku moment to the moment when I KNOW that I am going to make a piece of polymer clay jewelry. As I prepared for the talk I realized that the moments were essentially similar.

In both Haiku Moments and Design Moments I have a deep visceral sensation. I connect with a reality outside of time. I am flooded with a pervasive sense of calm. I sense the presence of the numinous, the sacred. I am in a reverberating silence. The spiritual restlessness that called me is stilled. The splits that plague ordinary time are stilled. Thought, feeling and body sensation are one.

I showed about 40 pieces of my Polymer Clay Jewelry and shared a haiku that “went” with the jewelry, in one of its dimensions.

Traditionally, a Haiga is a photo or a painting which is presented with a haiku. In this case the haiku is presented with a piece of jewelry which was inspired by the same sort of process as the haiku moment was.

I was sitting next to the current Haiku Society of America President, an old friend. When I finished my presentation he said that he wished I had gone on for another hour, talking about my pieces and passing them around.

Today I learned that a former President of HSA, who was sitting across the wide table from me, had turned to his left and said to another haiku friend, “She should do a book of these”.

I am not ready to write another book, but I did create a Pinterest board with about 40 of my jewelry pieces paired with haiku.

I hope you will visit:

http://www.pinterest.com/susanddelaney/jewelry-haiga/

It will probably only take 3-5 minutes to see them all.

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I just got back from my 17th annual Haiku Hot Springs (Arkansas) meeting. I’ve only missed one, and I attended that one by sending in my presentation by VCR!

One of the talks this year was by my good friend, Christine Spindel. She spoke about her lifelong love affair with ferns.

Over dinner she challenged me to make polymer clay ferns. 

So I did! I made a fern fossil. I made irregular layers of opaque black clay, semi-translucent black clay and a shale colored (green-y black) clay. I rolled them together, made them flatter and cut and stacked them a few times. I impressed the top with a fern and trimmed away the edges with a flexible blade, imitating chisel marks. I brushed the top with pearl mica, then rubbed most of it away.

I am going to string it on a black cord and mail it to Christine. It will look wonderful with her snow white hair!

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Some time back I acquired three Yellow Submarine tee shirts from Threadless. I actually started with just one, but got such positive reactions to wearing it that I ordered another two when they went on sale.

Wherever I go people smile and comment about the shirt. Recently, however, they have started singing when they see it.

A few weeks back, on my trip to DC, I was browsing the gift shop of the National Gallery of Art. A super-preppy guy, a clerk in the store, likely a summer intern, saw my tee shirt and burst into song!

The next day, I was wearing another of them and was moving through the security checkpoint at the airport. The guy who had just x-rayed my bags saw my tee shirt and started singing, “We all live in a Yellow Submarine”.  Immediately, the woman behind me in line started singing it, too. We three sang it all the way through.

The funniest reaction I ever had to the shirt came in Hot Springs Arkansas. I’d just finished a hike along the “Promenade” in Hot Springs National Park (where I got a half dozen grins and comments about the shirt) and went downstairs to meet my haiku friends for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Only one friend had arrived. He looked at my shirt and started naming all of the gray submarines. Turns out he was a submariner when he was in the Navy. He DIDN’T EVEN SEE the yellow one!

I finally understood the Threadless name for the tee: Know Your Submarines.

BTW, I took the picture after I finished knitting a “brain” hat. I’m wearing it in the photo….

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This year I found myself aching with happiness over the coming of spring. I knew just which yards  had daffodils and where all of the peach trees are. I followed the progress of the Bradford pear buds and of the cherry trees in the medians near my home and office.

Before this year, I thought that I had decorated for the seasons for my daughter. As I watched the daffodils sprout, the buds swell and then bloom I realized that I had a deep-seated need to know the seasons and their unfolding, to follow this unfolding and to enjoy it.

The Japanese have 72 five-day seasons. They are geniuses at observing this unfolding. I once accepted the challenge of a haiku poet who was a visiting scholar at Harvard to create a calendar of 72 five-day seasons for North Texas, where I live. It took me three years to get it right.

It took me until this year to understand how deeply I needed  to observe the 72 five-day seasons.

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