Sunday, August 20, 2017

Zanzibar had lost his adventure spirit...

Zanzibar had lost his adventure spirit...
For some wintry days now, he had been unwell...
lacking the energy to move ...
He just wanted to sit...
in his favourite old rocking chair...
on his tiny verandah...
And stare at far horizons...

And sleep...

on one of these many days...
as he rocked away gently...
Zanzibar's eyes happened to drift down to the little rock garden near his doorway...
He stopped...

He had never noticed water gathering like a little pool round the rocks before...

And there was his little tortoise friend
eyeing him
as if sending bubble thoughts his way...

At last you notice me...
The beauty you seek and the inspiration for great thoughts
can be right here...
Your horizons begin 
right here

at home...

Zanzibar slowly smiled...
and saluted his little friend...

and suddenly
Zanzibar felt an exciting urge to plan

a fresh journey...

a journey
on water...

Happy (belated) Birthday Ray

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Zanzibar at the zoo...

Zanzibar had not wandered a zoo for a long time...
In fact, he was not so sure he had ever been to a zoo...
The thought of wild animals
was not one of has favourite visions...
But he thought he would give the zoo a try...

The zoo was crowded
with people...
school groups
Mums and prams
littered the wide expanse of lawn...
Zanzibar guessed
that's what people do at lunch-time...
just hang around and have a bite to eat...

But he moved on...
There were many diverging pathways...
one was thick with tall bamboo
The sign said tigers...
So tigers he would see...
He stared... he searched... and stared some more...
No tigers...
Zanzibar smiled...
This was how it should be...
Wild animals marking their own wild world
minus human intervention...
He had hope...

He took another pathway...
It was like wandering through a lush forest...
With glassed viewing areas by water...
And there was a pygmy hippo
quietly drinking...
It seemed the glass provided a barrier and a connection...
No bars...
No feeling of cages...
Again Zanzibar smiled...

He wandered on...
There were the cute meerkats
and lemurs
Romping around the rocks and greens of their world...
They seemed at peace...
Yet somehow
He had not found that magic spark he sought...
That was...
Until he saw the long-tailed furry beauty of
The colobus monkeys...

He watched their antics for a while...
One was on a post
teasing the other below
his long tail swishing and tickling the other's face...
The one below constantly tried to grab the tail
but the teaser whisked it out of reach every time...
Zanzibar felt a glow of happiness
Melting slowly and sweetly
Through his limbs...
They are content here...
No hunters seeking their fur...
No endangered habit
As in their original African home...
They have a chance to live
for as long as 30 years...
As they are meant to live...

One colobus monkey turned
And seemed to seek his eyes...
The deeply grooved face
The white beard...
The moment when the ancients

It was time to leave

Zanzibar once again passed the lawn crammed with people
And bustling with chatter...
But a flash of black and white caught his eye...
He turned
And near a pram
In a stream of sunlight
Was a child
Dancing around

In a cute
Black and white
Jump suit

Moral #1: All cages may not be cages...
Moral #2: Wisdom can be cloaked in magic...
Moral #3: Keep your eyes wide open...

Today I visited Melbourne Zoo.
I thought I would take you with me, knowing how much you loved animals.
The lion, notably was turned to his own world.
But he was there.

This may not be one of your original stories.
The memory details of those magical dreams are fading now.
But it has been written
in the spirit
of your Zanzibar...

Happy Birthday Ray

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Zanzibar had a secret yearning to paint... Part 2

Part 2

Finally, Zanzibar was ready to create his magnus opus...

He brushed the table with a nasturtium wash
The colour was pretty in the bottle
But somehow it changed
Seeped into the woods in parts
In others
The colours seemed to globulate and sheen

Zanzibar shrugged
And decided to continue

He thought he'd better outline his fantasy shapes and figures

He used a tiny paring knife
So he could control the black outline
But the knife seemed to have a bad habit of scratching into the wood
And dots of black seemed to appear in the wrong places

Zanzibar was a little frustrated by this time
He really wanted to use the beautiful colours he had made
So he used his pieces of bark and twigs
Trying to put the colour inside his black outline
But the black had not dried and seemed to wash into his colours
Worse still
Bits of bark and twigs were becoming stuck in the colour
Zanzibar tried to pinch them out
But only succeeded in leaving his own fingerprints behind

By this time
Zanzibar was feeling some rather grim rushes and waves of despair
In short
He felt depressed

Finally Zanzibar decided it was time to give up
The colour
The bark
The table
All seemed to have a mind of their own

Zanzibar headed forlornly to bed
It was late
Later than he realised
He had missed the sunset
He had missed tea
But that all seemed so irrelevant
So far away
He was just so tired
And so sad

Next morning
Zanzibar woke with the sunrise as usual
His friendly wren greeted him on his window-sill
Zanzibar smiled
But only for a fleeting moment
He knew he had to face the painting
On his breakfast table

He had to go out there sometime or other

Out Zanzibar went
Very slowly

Very slowly
He approached the table

And just gazed
And gazed

Before him was indeed a painting
But nothing like the one he thought he had created
A lot of the paint had seeped into the wood
But some had stayed
Creating magical outlines and shapes

Is that the face of the daughter of Neptune
Zanzibar wondered
Or is it really the face of Helen of Troy
But if I stand over here
It seems like a mermaid basking on rocks

In total bewilderment
Zanzibar walked round and round the table
Getting more and more excited at the fantasy puzzle unravelling before him

A cloud shape looked like coral looked like foam on the sea
Looked like a white-haired wizard
A window shape looked like a mirror containing a secret garden

Hunger at last overwhelmed Zanzibar
He was starving
Hurriedly he gathered any berries close to his doorway
And dashed back inside
He'd drink his coffee cold today
It did not matter
Somehow he had created something that really entranced him
And he was going to bask in the glory
Of his unbridled skill
The wonder
The magic
Of his unique artistry

Something beautiful had been created

And he felt very humble

Moral #1 - Don't try to copy another's imagination... You never will...
Moral #2 - I'd love to see Zanzibar's table... But I won't copy... Promise...

Happy Birthday Ray

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Zanzibar had a secret yearning to paint...Part 1

Pic by Gemma Wiseman ~ Picnik fractal of a rain riddled wooden table at a Mornington cafe

Part 1

For so long he had admired
Egyptian murals etching out
Daily life
Royal occasion
Star gazing
And he admired some of the newer expressions
Watery blends of unchartered hues
And even the stark black and whites of old rugged huts

But most of all
Zanzibar admired
The frustrated glimpses of inner minds and characters

Lost in ambling thought
Zanzibar had inadvertently been gazing fixedly
At the sole decoration in his tiny humble room
A sepia-toned print
Symbolising the character figures from Lord of the Rings

With a jolt
His focus captured the gruff bearded face of the central figure

Beneath the tall battered hat
Zanzibar could just make out
A kaleidoscope of well-weathered lines beneath piercing eyes
His right hand grasped a strong taut staff with authority
But his left hand rested protectively on the shoulder of a child
Another misty figure sat to his side at his feet
But before him lay
Sprawled tiny figures
Struck down in various antics of death
The partially shaped form of a scruffy mean crow looked on

The whole seemed to be captured in the framework of a cathedral-arched window
And that framed with a smaller series of fantastical vignettes

Zanzibar's eyes wandered back to the only colour in the print
A white-blue coloured sky
The bare substance of white-blue snowy peaks
And the bare touch of white-green grass in the foreground
The pale watery wash of colour
Framed in
Sepia tones
Leant a disturbing mystical dimension to the print

Zanzibar decided
That's what he would paint
Fantasy figures and faces
So no human might be offended
That Zanzibar had created a secret portrait of him

Zanzibar had much to do in preparation
Drying flowers
Pressing flowers
Soaking flowers in water
Storing a whole range of coloured liquids in separate jars
Easing sap from leaves
Gathering damp bark and twigs

There was just one problem
He had not quite mastered the art of making paper for canvas
So Zanzibar looked around his room for a possible alternative

The walls of his room were rough and textured
Zanzibar knew that he had no particular head for heights
So he did not want to stand for hours on a chair with his arm stretched upwards
He had no wish to claim the fame of Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci
(Who was it that painted the roof of the Sistine chapel anyway)
Zanzibar glanced at his own roof and shuddered
Too many cobwebs

At length
His eyes strayed to his old wooden table
Really it was quite a solid bench
Made a long time ago for him by a tribe of cannibals in the New Guinea highlands
But that's another story

The table would be ideal
A regular surface
And best of all
Zanzibar would need no particular gymnastic skills to complete the task...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dear Mr Woodcutterman...

Picnik Fractal with neon effect by Gemma Wiseman ~ A birdfeeder at Tyabb Antique Village, Mornington Peninsula

Dear Mr Woodcutterman,At this moment I feel a creative urge. You will be glad to know it has nothing to do with a secret yearning to paint. But that is another story which did somehow or other resolve itself. No, I wish now to do some creative project with wood. Perhaps, by now, you are getting the idea I have never worked in wood before. I did some painting on an old wooden table of mine - but that's that story I just mentioned. I would like to try, however, with a little help from you.

I would like you to select some very special wood for me. You see, I have in mind to build a bird-feeder. My forest birds often have trouble finding food in the chilly days of winter, and I would like to help them. The wood must hold warmth and reject cold. The wood must be easy for bird feet, but not too slippery in case the birds taste the unexpected experience of ice-skating. The wood must be an inviting colour. Magical, varied tones would be just the thing.

The roof will be a pointed cottage style, so the birds have a ledge on which to land and so that the food is protected from damp in the rainy season. Hopefully you will supply some extra off-cuts of wood so that the birds may even have some resting perches on the side.

The base of the bird-feeder will be surrounded by an eating ledge. I intend to attach some wind chimes to the base of the bird-feeder so that the birds may eat in musical calm.

The whole bird-feeder will be raised aloft on a staunch block of wood. This block of wood should be different - a detrrent to any animals who thoughtlessly wish to attack the birds.

Wood lengths? I have no idea really. Perhaps if I just say I would like a large bird-feeder. The roof should be high enough from the base to allow even the large forest birds to feel comfortable as they eat. I would like the block of wood to be as tall as a small tree. I would like the base to be wide enough to hold many birds on all sides.

Perhaps you could supply me with wood nails. I have failing eye-sight, so the nails must be easily seen. I don't have a hammer - I've had no need for one. Perhaps I could borrow one. Do you think I need a drill? That will be a problem. You see, my little cottage has no electrcity. Will the wood have to be sanded? My hands are old and gnarled and not as steady as they should be. Perhaps I may not even see well enough to do the sanding properly.

And, I just realised, I don't have a ladder. I will need a ladder to put the bird-feeder on the block of wood. I'm not quite sure how I could manage to do that all by myself.

My unsteady hands, my failing eyesight, my no head for heights...

Mr Woodcutterman...I think I have an idea.
Would you be so kind as to make the bird-feeder for me?
Bring it over to my cottage when you're finished, and I will hold your ladder steady while you put it up for me...

I do make beautiful honey-meade wine...If I could tempt you try some when you're done...

Waiting in magical hope...

20th April, 1998

Zanzibar had reached the ocean...

Picnik Fractal in neon effect by Gemma Wiseman ~ created from the surf at Gunnamatta, Mornington Peninsula

Zanzibar had reached the ocean...What a giant...
As far as Zanzibar could remember
There was no rival to its sheer power and strength
Waves cascading on waves
Sheer power and strength

Zanzibar seated himself upon the rock-cliff

His soul was rivetted to the spectacle before him
Rolling and changing waves
Grasping the shore
Trying to drag it out to watery depths
Pounding the rocks
Looking for clefts of weakness

Seagulls serenading the hunt for fish

Time slipped by

The sun setting
Creating a multi-coloured sheen upon the water

Zanzibar noticed a sudden break in the surface of the water

A dolphin swimming toward him
It's body a glistening grey
It's snout breaking the water
And laughing for any to hear

Upon the dolphin's head
There shone a star
With an unnatural glow

Zanzibar's interest was piqued

The dolphin came close to shore and spoke

Zanzibar had seen many different sights
But this was a bit unsettling
Hail magician
How brook the tides of human nature
said the dolphin

Zanzibar could not believe his ears
What a complex question coming from a dolphin
He did not know how to reply
So he sat there dumbstruck...
Does man still tempt the divine wrath of the gods
I was with you
But my heart could no longer restrain the the pains of mankind
I could not bear the pain of love for the soul anymore

The dolphin said this as he circled in the water
Always with one eye upon Zanzibar

Again Zanzibar found himself speechless
Here was a dolphin with a star that shone on its forehead
It spoke and questioned the higher aspirations of man

Zanzibar managed a wry smile and a few clumsy words
It's getting colder with the sun going down
I believe I will have to be going shortly

The dolphin came upright on its tail in the water

I command you to stay
I have not talked to any man for ten years
And I need to know what is happening

Zanzibar kept his wry smile in place
He did not take orders easily
And a fixed smile is better than sour words

But Zanzibar did manage to say politely
If you tell me your story
Then I will stay and listen

So the dolphin started telling Zanzibar
Of how he was once a young wizard
Who endured indescribable anguish
His greatest torment was the fevered mind and twisted soul of man
His greatest quest was to seek the temple of light

In the form of a young wizard he found the temple of light
And then...
He is a beautiful creature of the sea
A dolphin

And that is my story
Now answer my questions

Zanzibar really did smile this time
He would not be commanded
And never said he would answer any questions

Zanzibar of course had been to this temple of light too

From a small black velvet pouch
Zanzibar drew out his treasure
A temple of light crystal
He had learned how to use it in many ways
Especially as a measure of truth

The crystal leapt from Zanzibar's hands
And blended with the light on the dolphin's head

For a moment the dolphin shivered
And then a husky voice
Emerged from the dolphin

The wizard came to us
And a dragon to all he met
Changing him into a dolphin changed his personality
He is now kind
And tries to be understanding
His only quest is the ocean depths
He even seems to enjoy investigating new worlds
Do not hurt him
He is an innocent

The connecting light dissolved
And once again Zanzibar held the crystal in the palm of his hand

For a few moments
Zanzibar stared out to the blackening ocean waters
He seemed entranced by the sounds of the ocean swell
And perhaps the odd glimpse of white frothy foam

But then
He remembered the dolphin

The dolphin was no longer close to shore
But gambolling its way out to sea

Zanzibar waved
And smiled
And walked away...

Moral #1 ~ In each of us there is good
Sometimes it just needs a little charging
Moral #2 ~ Dolphins don't talk do they?

~ 25th September, 1997

Monday, April 12, 2010

Zanzibar met a man and a woman arguing...

Pic by Gemma Wiseman

On one of his many travels, Zanzibar met a man and a woman arguing.
Zanzibar walked up and smiled, and, with his flamboyant style, presented himself in front of the two.

Being known far and wide has its advantages. The two stopped arguing, and proceeded to request Zanzibar's help. Zanzibar was known far and wide for his help in solving problems - sometimes, in unusual ways! But that was expected, because Zanzibar was an unusual wizard.

The man and woman explained how the village by the ocean was a despicable place. The people dressed funny, spoke funny, and were dull.
We were just "discussing" what town to go to now.

Zanzibar smiled and said, "Come with me."

He took them through the pretty town to the ocean.
He set them down on the crest of a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Their emotions were suspended in the magnitude of the view.
Then Zanzibar began to speak.
"The ocean is alive. You can feel and see it. It's force is terrifying, while at the same time enchanting. You can see each individual wave. Each is different, unique; colours cascading into one another, until they meld with the body of the ocean."

With this, Zanzibar jumped up and grabbed the two.

"If I were to toss the two of you off the cliff into the ocean below, you would enter and become one with the waves; still individuals, but part of the waves.
If you could not adapt, you would sink and drown in the main body of the ocean.
In no way does it matter to the ocean if you sink or swim.
It really only matters to you to adapt to present circumstances, if you are wanting happiness.
Just to want happiness is not to know happiness."

With that, he tossed both into the ocean...
And walked away smiling...

Moral 1: Sink or swim
Moral 2: Happiness is learning to know happiness anywhere
Moral 3: Birds fly. Why the hell can't I?
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