An Ode to the Super (Blood) Moon by daintydora

I've tried to photograph the moon before, but she's elusive and mysterious and I don't understand the settings on my camera well enough. Moon, Scotland, Supermoon

Last night the moonlight shining into my room was so bright I had to get up and get my camera and try again.

It couldn't focus on the bright white of the moon at the same time as the street-light pollution, but I wanted the image to have some perspective.

Moon, Scotland, SupermoonMoon, Scotland, Supermoon Moon, Scotland, SupermoonMoon, Scotland, Supermoon

I quite like them, even the blurry ones. They echo the magic of the experience of the moon.

And although many people think it's nonsense, I often have a very heightened emotions and experiences - good and bad - at the time of the full moon.

I'm a woman so I'm ruled by the moon. I'm Pisces, the sign of the zodiac mostly associated with a 'sixth sense', and when it comes to life, and especially the moon, I thought this was particularly apt:

Pisces wants everything to be an epic romance movie and this makes them very open to wooing"

I'm feeling it already so I thought I'd write a poem to capture my #moonemotions:

An Ode to the Super Moon

I stare, fall, come undone, under the spell of your silent song...and then I remember: because I'll never forget I wear the moonlight inside my eyes."

Are you affected by the moon?

Read more about the Blood Moon Supermoon

Watch Nasa's Live Feed

And most importantly, watch out - these portents for the Super Blood Moon are scary!

The amplified nature of this moon may have you at your wits’ end, but there’s an essential depth to this lunation: Every one of us will be asked to feel deeply—the challenge is to remain rational and in control. Tidal patterns, animal behavior, and yes, total loonies will be stronger and seem much more bizarre with a perigee or “super” moon. Full moons have illuminating effects and can reveal information—especially about hidden aspects of ourselves and those closest to us.


Midweek Poetry: Autumn Leaves by daintydora

The changing of the season - slowly, turning, turning, colder, darker - demands the succinct brevity of a haiku poem today, on the date of the Autumn Equinox. Autumn Leaves

A green leaf turned red
blushing into autumn winds;
the wind that changed me.

Each season shows us its touch with so many wonderful moments and experiences. Lucid, wonderful moments, yet often so fleeting (the nature of life).

I love to celebrate the seasons and this is an ode to autumn, and this, and finally - some slightly poetic seasonal thoughts:

Bright sunshine and dandelions wild and stooping. Lights on behind curtains. Hand-knitted hats and new leather boots. Conversations visible in the breath of strangers. The moon blossoming to full as another month ushers us onwards towards our destiny. A wind of change.
And it's beautiful.


Midweek Poetry: I saw a white peacock by daintydora

Poetic pictures and a white peacock (or is it a pea-hen?), seen and experienced while visiting Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore, Italy. White Peacock, Isola Bella, Italy


I saw a white peacock pecking
in the grass. Pecking in the grass
and flouncing with wild flowers
cultivating a bright white
relief in the green.


I saw a white peacock
at Isola Bella, a place where
cherubs and urchins preen
mystical, majestic,
with clam shells and butterflies
and a unicorn up with the gods;
a sight for all to see.


When I saw the white peacock
he called to me
from behind the maze, beyond the pond
as the fountain spit gallantly
on and on, deliberate under the trees.


Fountain at Isola Bella, ItalyView from Isola Bella

Such a beautiful island, most befitting its name. The gardens were laid out over 10 levels and the colours of the flowers against the bright blue hues of Lake Maggiore and the backdrop of Stresa were a meditation for the eyes.

Garden at Isola BellaMazed Gardens, Isola Bella, Italy White Peacock, Isola Bella, Italy

Peacock-peekaboo! I feel honoured to have been in the company of a white peacock.


Midweek Poetry: Cadenabbia by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by daintydora

This time last week I was in Lake Como, staying just by the lake in Cadenabbia. Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, pool terrace

When I heard there was a poem written about this exact spot (aptly titled 'Cadenabbia', written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), I couldn't wait to look it up, and oh how glad I am that it exists.

The words and rhymes he chose perfectly describe my own experience, and while I won't reproduce the entire work here, my favourite lines are enough to transport me back to the gentle lull of my own experience:


I ask myself, Is this a dream? Will it all vanish into air? Is there a land of such supreme And perfect beauty anywhere?

Sweet vision!  Do not fade away; Linger, until my heart shall take Into itself the summer day, And all the beauty of the lake;

Linger until upon my brain Is stamped an image of the scene, Then fade into the air again, And be as if thou hadst not been.

Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, sun terraceView of the lake from Cadenabbia, Lake Como

Doesn't it make you want to jump on a plane?

See my Lake Como photo diary for more images of the lakes.


Midweek Poetry: Golden Eagle Soars by daintydora

This week's Midweek Poetry slot is another creative challenge and link-up with Karen my blog-buddy and #creativesister from Leaf & Petal. We each picked 5 random words, making 10 words to incorporate into a poem. They are:

Lens, Exquisite, Forgiven, Soar, Cat, White, Blancmange, Lush, Hedge, Blackbird

Golden Eagle Soars

Quite a challenge, but then creativity is never a challenge, really. You just go with something; follow a thought as it burrows down a particular rabbit hole.

Here goes:


The lens was hidden,
buried deep in the hedge
amidst green leaves and twigs and nests,
trained on the exquisite sight
of a Golden Eagle.


This was no common-or-garden blackbird
(though everyone loves a blackbird - right?)
- including next door's cat.


But this was a lush bird
with a wing-span too incredible to mention
and a prowess that preceded him and so
when he touched the sky - oh how
those wings could soar! High
up until you could be forgiven for thinking
you'd never seen him at all; his white
breast a fringe of blancmange
akin to clouds in delicate repose
where the lens can't reach - just a mirage;
an exquisite mirage.


But we got him from the hedge, captured
once, now, forever.


Words + birds = bird poetry. Oh how I love it.

Now read what Karen came up with.


Midweek Poetry: Jaybird, Songbird by daintydora

This isn't a new poem, but I thought I'd republish it here today. It is short and silly and it rhymes, so it's a perfect midweek pick-me-up.

Jaybird, Songbird sing for me: Midweek Poetry

Jaybird, Songbird,
brown-spotted Thrush.
Jaybird, Songbird -
night-time crush.
Jaybird, Songbird
oh how twee;
Jaybird, Songbird
sing for me.

These lines came to me as I walked home from work one night a few years ago, photographing the broken skeletons of leaves that lay in my path, and pondering a situation I was involved in that had become all-consuming, exhausting and miserable.

The rhythm of my steps seemed to beat out the words, and I was drawn to the idea of repetition as I found it comforting.

I suppose the idea of the birds singing sweetly in the trees - particularly the Songbird - and going about their business as the season changed from summer to autumn, felt uplifting and hopeful.

Possibilities everywhere, in the hedgerows and trees, in the sky, in my own back garden, in my head.

I have a lot of ideas for bird poems, both frivolous and dark.

Watch this space.

Midweek (Blackout) Poetry: Moscow Jet-setters by daintydora

Midweek blackout poetry inspired by Moscow and vodka and broken motorcycles and a shiny green (Fabergé) egg... Blackout Poetry: Moscow Jet-setters

Little whisper
a Russian eye.


power so intriguing;
empty waiting truth
smoke, vodka -
chilly city respect.


Moscow jet-setters
finally book-ended
with starry
nights and motorcycle


Disappointment playful;
Picasso's political glamour
in a cocktail
dress. Hollywood
fashion cred
in a shiny green egg.



Midweek Poetry: The House of White & Green by daintydora

July's creative challenge with my fabulous #blogsister Karen at Leaf & Petal is a slice of midweek poetry inspired by the following image: Midweek Poetry: White Walls, Green Door

It was my pick and not my usual style.

I think it appealed to me as it reflects back the beauty and simplicity of white, of clean and minimalist lines. And I love the colour green for all its connotations of vitality, leafy vegetables, purity, nature, the environment, and my minty green sewing machine.

The rough stones put me in mind of a beach-front home in a faraway rural town.

A beach cottage. Carefree days and clean living, refreshing sleep and walks along the beach on cold days when the wind punches you in the face so hard you can't breathe.

That was my starting point anyway. And then I played about with the words and came out with something altogether darker:


The House of White and Green


The house of white and green:
one window, one door
frames sealed tightly
perfect, pristine
concealing a chaos
that no-one will see.


Clean, sharp, stark
a lonely echo
at the end of the street,
prisms of light
beautiful, serene and
criss-cross patterns
of deep emerald green.


But -
behind those curtains,
frilly and white?
contrasting and bilious
in the bright morning light:
rigid white walls,
restrictively tight
no space to breathe
in the dark of the night.


White walls, green lines,
caged like a bird,
hanging precarious
at the edge of the world.


A lonely echo
perfect, pristine;
all tied together in
a beautiful dream.


Read Karen's poem in response to this image. And see what we did last month.

Having a creative buddy to share challenges with and spur each other on is great fun and highly motivating. What will we do next month?!


Midweek Poetry: 100 days of Haiku for the 100 day project by daintydora

I did it! We did it! So many people did it! Every day from 6th April - 14th July I wrote a haiku poem and posted it on Instagram for accountability using #100daysofhaiku.

It was just a small thing, a few lines, simple arrangements of words; frivolous noticings shot through with emotional outpourings in only 17 syllables each time: 5-7-5.

The 100 day project was dreamed up by Elle Luna and The Great Discontent.

The point was about fostering a habit and committing to yourself and your creativity, being vulnerable and doing it anyway. There's going to be #100day parties around the world!

I'm seriously struggling to pick a favourite but one of them is definitely from the giddy first days of the project, Day 9:


As time spins by in a whirlwind of action and doing and chatter and ideas, it seems particularly to resonate for me just now.

And I'm including yesterday's, handily written into my Mslexia writer's diary, because it was inspired by a true story which I plan to one day include in the novel (trilogy?) of my family 'saga':


What's been really special about the project is being aware of my surroundings each day and consciously thinking about my haiku-habit and what I will write about (other days, super-busy days, it's been a bit of a...last minute thing...)

But it's similar to the mindful writing exercise 'small stones' that my friend Vikki told me about last year. The idea being to always carry a notebook and write down the little things that you notice, the 'small stones' of your day.

As a writer, the small stones can often become big stones that could then become the ideas for a short story or a novel, or perhaps a tiny book. Who knows. But you don't want to lose those little pre-polished nuggets of stone because one day they could be gold.

And that's how I've come to think of my haiku - like panning for gold at the end of the day.

A writer and an alchemist in one. Stones, birds, time, emotions, thoughts, love.

I'll definitely do more haiku poetry. After a breather. And I'm going to put them all together into a handy haiku e-book to give away free. So there we go: a tiny book from a proud creative achievement.

Meanwhile, I didn't win the Synaesthesia Magazine poetry competition. But I was a finalist and that meant a lot. Congrats to the winner and runners up.

I'm not sad. Well I am a bit disappointed.

I'm just going to have to find more 'small stones' to spin into gold.


Midweek Poetry: Dandelion Wishes by daintydora

This month's poetry challenge and link-up with my #creativesister Karen at Leaf & Petal is inspired by the image below titled 'Dandelion Wishes'. Immediately I was transported to an ethereal place of wonder and intrigue in a wooded copse by a babbling river...

Dandelion Wishes


she blew slowly
sending tufts of fragile frond spinning up above her head.
a few near-transparent wisps


paused for a moment


meandering in her hair, then caught a ride on the breeze dancing up, up, higher up frothy and floating;
flower-clouds pirouetting
under the shade
of close-quarter trees...




a whispering rush rush and babble,
the river beckoned clear and cool
and the delicate fronds
leapt down to kiss it,
quickly consumed, submerged
carrying their delicate
dandelion wishes
out of the woods,


Read Karen's poem in response to 'Dandelion Wishes' and be inspired by her #100daysofpaper.

Check out my progress so far in my #100daysofhaiku

Read last month's creative challenge and link-up 'Where do lost streets go?'


Friday Diary: 75 days of haiku poems by daintydora

I started my #100daysofhaiku on 6th April - 75 days ago. It's gone slowly and it's gone quickly. (I love that in Japanese/Buddhist philosophy, opposites are always both true.) At times I've written a few in a day, other times I've struggled to come up with anything much at all and ended up with 17 syllables of silly. Other times I've been out and posted minutes - seconds - before midnight. I've written about some of my observations at various junctures/milestones along the way.

What I'm most proud of is that I've not missed a single day.

It feels like an achievement, however small, and something I'm proud of. A good habit. A daily observation of the world around me. Thoughts and feelings and experiences distilled into haiku poems.

And my enthusiasm is as high as ever as I enter the final quarter of this challenging project. I might just continue!

So here's my 75th haiku poem (which is also 'botaiku' because it has a garden/botanical theme):

Haiku poems: Day 75 of #100daysofhaiku

Weeds soar skyward-bound
vying for attention on
allotment fifteen".

Interestingly, when I scroll through my feed of haiku poems on Instagram, there seems to be a recurrence of themes such as: the moon, love, emotions, garden and ethereal, sad things.

I'm not sure what that says about me (apart from that I'm obsessed by the moon, am vivid (cliché?) when it comes to love, experience strong emotions, have recently started growing vegetables and am drawn to ethereal and sad things...)

But the accountability aspect of posting each day to Instagram has made the difference between success and waning motivation. Being accountable in this way - visually - amongst friends that are also taking part in their own 100 day projects - has made it fun to try to capture my words in new and innovative ways. I know that's not the total point, but I'm creative and I love to fully embrace the available options of sharing words on a visual platform.

I've used pen, pencil, post-it notes, my vintage typewriter, watercolours, tiny dots, coloured paper, words over images in magazines, digital images, Photoshop, a napkin, a postcard, and I've left a variety of these in public places.

I had an amazing idea to use my letter stencil quite early on, but so far its location has eluded me. There's still time.

Onwards to the next 25 days of #100daysofhaiku, and beyond.


Midweek Poetry: Tarot + Poetry = Tarot-etry by daintydora

I just read about this clever little poetry game via Alexandra Franzen's newsletter and this post. So I'm going to (poe)try and create Tarot-etry (see what I did there?!)

Earlier in the year I used the Druid Animal Oracle Deck to plot out my fortune for the year. June's card is the Earth Dragon:

'Earth Dragon' Animal Druid Animal Oracle Card

"Treasure of riches and potential unlocked. Beauty and power of the earth."

Auspicious. I like it.

And this about the Earth Dragon from Indigo Reading:

Once you contact your inner power and your own unique gifts the world becomes a far more beautiful place. Limitations and restrictions are lifted and you will find you can manifest all that you need because you at last understand that life has no limits, it is only humanity that creates them.

(I wonder if this means I'll win the Synaesthesia Magazine poetry competition?)

Scaled tail where treasures lurk;
the Earth Dragon's cloistered cavern.
Shaded emerald earth and ferns
form Celtic cross and chain,
pursuing daggers of riches
bronzed to gold
with the potential of their power.

It was a 5-minute effort. A fun game. A midweek Tarot-etry.

I love to experiment with words.


*Finalist* Synaesthesia Magazine Poetry Competition '15 by daintydora

It's been a super-creative week all round for this magpie, but the icing on the cake with a huge golden cherry on top (laced with Amaretto, Brandy and a soupçon of Schnapps) is being named as a finalist in the Synaesthesia Magazine Poetry Competition 2015. I entered a mini-anthology of five poems, deliberating for quite some time over my theme, which poems to send, the placement of the words, the formatting.

My words on paper, written down, typed up, and now chosen anonymously to be one of only six finalists by the editors Carlotta and Annabelle, the final decision resting with guest judge Mark Cugini.

All at once I feel delighted, honoured, excited, nervous, special - chosen. But also like I'm already a winner for making this list. It means a lot to have my work recognised and the hours I spend alone honing my words to have stood out, made an impression to the point of being "read and re-read".

The criteria for the poems was exciting in itself:

We’re looking for collections with thought, honesty and power. We’ll look for lines and images we’ve never read before. We’re looking to be slammed hard by a wall of shit-hot poetic brilliance; something you know deserves attention, affection and an audience looking to be blown to smithereens. Blow our senses – we don’t mind the mess.

OK. Yes! Fingers crossed for the big-reveal in July.

I wish my five fellow finalists good luck and will let fate do the rest.

Sunlight shining on the beach

Midweek Poetry: Distorted Visions in Haiku by daintydora

I don't set out to be melancholy, but sometimes that's what comes out. I love light, bright, vivid, happy, colouful things - of course I do - but I also respect the 'dark days' of monochrome when tear-misted thoughts twist inwards like the black knife of night.

And you need to be creative when every new day demands a haiku poem before lights out. So.

Day 59/100 #100daysofhaiku:

Day 59/100 Distorted Visions Haiku

Distorted visions
play in magnified prisms
blurring tears away."

Follow my progress through The Great Discontent's 100 day project (#the100dayproject) on Instagram.


Midweek Poetry: Verdant Love Thieves by daintydora

It's more of a stream-of-consciousness collection of words today. Words that came to me describing some of the things that I've thought or felt or seen or done, and that spilled out beautifully onto the page of my little red notebook, and that I wanted to share because... well just because:

Leaves & trees & parks & gardens & flowers burgeoning from upcycled planters: tyres & Belfast sinks & old cracked toilets... Herbs grown on sunlit windowsills & chillies in teapots & a watering can filled with just-blush-bloomed roses, perched by the back door. The back door that takes me to the path that weaves through the untamed forest at the bottom of my HEART & into the thickets of deep-rooted woodland that is YOUR heart until we grow together like weeds: young, green, verdant LOVE thieves."

DerelictionAbandoned Belfast sink Upcycled Toilet Pan Planter


50 days of Haiku by daintydora

So, a whole 50 days of haiku...

50 days of haiku - figs, quinces, plums, pears

Halfway through. I can't believe it. I'm impressed with myself.

Creating a 5-7-5 haiku poem each day has really become a habit; words twisted into a semblance of order but with no rhyme or reason (though I still throw in some rhyme now and then. I can't help myself.)

Today, Day 50 of my #100daysofhaiku journey (shared every day without fail on Instagram), I've delved deep into the evocations of hot summer in a faraway finca in the hills of Italy or maybe Spain. A delicious remembering of all that nature provides, of the richness of the earth and also of language:

Figs, quinces, plums, pears
seductive fresh finca fayre
intense night flavours."

Taste those succulent pears and feel the juice run down your face and sticky your hands.

Draw your eyes over the lush green swathe of trees and plants and flowers laid out before you, watch day slip into night where a new menu of seductions await, and know, really know: this is living, this is the true essence of life, this is the nitty-gritty pleasure of it all.

I welcome the illusions, allusions, thoughts, ideas, images, simile and metaphor that swarm into my consciousness for the next 50 days.

Thanks so much to The Great Discontent and Elle Luna for devising this amazing challenge.


Midweek Poetry: Where do lost streets go? by daintydora

Lost streets, lost streets. Streets don't get lost though...do they? This month's challenge with the lovely Karen from Leaf & Petal is inspired by the following poetry prompt that was posted on Mslexia for National Poetry Writing Month:

Write a poem which answers this question: ‘Where do lost streets go?’ In your poem use at least five items from the following list: piano, mirror, armchair, ten pound note, labyrinth, last, shadow, pelican, song, cheeseburger, watching, hope, dark, shape, fog, invention, figure of eight, elastic-band, elbow room.
Thanks to Penelope Shuttle, regular Poetry School tutor

Where do lost streets go?

I loved trying to weave in the words in the list, and easily managed more than the suggested five. 'Cheeseburger' however was a bridge (street?) too far.

This challenge really got me thinking about real streets that have disappeared - through demolition or falling into the sea or a river, or just deserted now because of a natural (or unnatural) diaspora. Intriguing.

My first line was inspired by the Pet Shop Boys hit Where the streets have no name:


Where the streets have no name
they all but disappear,
fall off the map like elastic
bands down a drain.
The shape of a once-loved street,
its kerbs and currencies and the eddies of its nature
hang like a fog some distance from the ground
like displaced armchairs
rocking back and forth
untethered to bricks or cement
rotting in a labyrinth;
secret stitches in time.
But I'm watching as the street I used to know,
that street so familiar in sight and sound and smell
folds into itself
a figure-of-eight fantasy
concertinaed like a pack of cards,
just shadow in a mirror.
Then: the sound of a piano
carried on the breeze
fuzzy, distant, soon to be silenced.
I imagine a cosy scene
sash windows open to the eve
on that still-alive street
where houses and their driveways
still have elbow room to breathe.
I focus my attention
drift towards it,
that melancholy sound
rippling in the dusk-tinged air
and my heart filled simply
with the song of hope.

Read Karen's response to this poetry prompt.

Last month's challenge was a poem and collage inspired by the theme 'The Voyage'.



Midweek (Garden) Poetry: Weeding, digging, dreaming by daintydora

I seem to have been very inspired by my little garden space of late. Of nature in general and greenery and seedlings and bees and plants and herbs and flowers. And I wanted to type this first example of garden poetry on my typewriter and put it in a frame. It's on grainy grey paper, framed in white with just my few simple words inside:

Midweek poetry: weeding, digging, dreaming


Standing in my garden
weeding, digging, dreaming...
of you.
Planting seeds that only
the sun and the worms
can see
and wondering when
you'll be back
home again
with me.

It's silly and sentimental but sweet. And sometimes that's OK.

To see my daily forays into Haiku poetry, view the visuals on Instagram.


One + Four = Life: seedlings, sewing, flowers & poetry by daintydora

I've not been blogging as much as I normally do, because I've been enjoying lots of offline time and time spent outside. And I thought I was too late to join in with Pip's One + Four = Life this week (ideally suited to a Sunday afternoon's reflection), but it turns out I'm not, so here goes:

Seeds growing in an old record player!


Shown here are tomato plants and coriander shoots after just 3.5 weeks. Nature astounds me every time. I think the vintage record player box I am using for them must have a lovely mellow beat helping things along!

Last week I also planted: verbena for tea and another tray of spinach and some broad beans in window-sill pots.

Beautiful bunch of flowers


My husband bought me these beautiful flowers as a little midweek treat. I think I might try and draw/paint them. The colours are gorgeous together and really cheer me every time I see them. I love the natural foliage too. Green, green, green with peach and red and lilac and yellow. Spring days. And it was nine years on Friday since we got engaged.

Day 32 of 100 Haiku poem

Haiku poetry:

Today's haiku is still to be done, but my favourite from last week is this one from Day 32/100 that I wrote on a napkin and left in a bar.

The Great Discontent's 100 day project is really working for me and it feels great to say I'm already up to day 36 (today) and haven't missed one yet.

Work in progress: Orange Floral Hairband

Floral Hairband:

I started making another little floral hairband for myself, which I discuss on my creative blog, Dainty Dora's Inspiration Emporium. So much fun to be had with florals!

This week I also built a hammock, myself, and it felt great. I couldn't quite work out how the ropes were supposed to go, but I felt the 'happy' of building something with my hands, quietly, confidently, immersed in the simple process of it. (I also got that sense from building a make-shift raised bed in the garden from old bricks.)

And I made soup with leeks, carrots, sweet potato and parsnips and tons of garlic. And baked my favourite soda bread. I also disinfected the drains but no-one really wants to know about that so I'll stop right there.

It means so much to me to document my life, through the photographs I take on my phone and with my camera, and also through writing - personal journalling, blogging, calendars, notes, cards, postcards, scrapbooking. But it's also great to get out there and live it first.

Here's to another week of creative pursuits and growing and sewing and words channeling through me from everywhere into somewhere and something and One + Four = Life.