The other night son S in Japan Skype-d us Ayana's Japanese characters. He and E also told us what the name means - serenity and etiquette come into it, of course it's not as simple as that; translations seldom are. But anyway, I love the way it looks. We watched as E wrote it for us and then S held it up for us to see (you may be able to see us at the bottom of the screen - me with the camera taking a photo of the name!)
About six weeks or so ago now, the anthology 'Swings and Roundabouts' was released.
I love all Mark Smith's black and white photos in the book; the cover photo could so easily be of our two older sons; not only are the looks similar, but the body language as well - the confidence of the elder alongside the more diffident second-born.
Ably edited by Emma Neale, with photos by Mark Smith, 'Swings and Roundabouts' contains poems by some well-known overseas poets (such as Seamus Heaney, Fleur Adcock, Les Murray and Sharon Olds.) However, most of the poets included are New Zealanders.
The theme for the book is parenting, in its widest sense, and includes very readable poetry about all that is entailed in this role - the dilemmas, triumphs, crises, stresses, tensions, humour, warm fuzzies, contradictions, dramas ...
My poem in the book is 'all that' which is from 'made for weather' and is a poem about our youngest son leaving home.
The last to leave home, we’ll miss
his unwashed frying pan
thick with the amber lace of fried egg,
the abandoned, empty shoes looking helpless
and far too big for any son of ours.
His choice of adjectives; ‘wicked’ and ‘primo’;
the verb ‘gutted’, the phrase ‘pretty much sucks’.
The 4.00 a.m Sunday morning clank and creak
up the narrow hallway.
The toilet light left on all night, a blaring, lighthouse
-globe to guide moths through the peril
of open louvres. Yes, we’ll miss all that, plus
stretched out on the couch his crashed, sleeping body;
the tender snoring, his long, hairy legs
as sweet as baby pungas.
* pungas - a tree fern native to New Zealand with a characteristic 'hairy' trunk.
(After reading this poem, C's flatmate now calls him 'Punga'!)