Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Australian Spiders: Orange-Legged Swift Spider (Supunna picta, family Corinnidae)

So, this 1-inch/3-centimetre long spider was sitting on my kitchen wall - probably trying to get out of the rain. It's not deadly, with a bite that can cause mild local pain, redness and swelling. I've also seen it called a 'bug-mimicking swift spider', 'wasp-mimicking spider', and 'tribal mask spider'.

When they move, they're rather difficult to photograph.

Sites used to find out what spider this was include:

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Cinquain Challenge: Form 6—The Crown Cinquain

This week, we’re looking at yet another form of cinquain—the Crown Cinquain. Again, it uses either a Crapsey Form 1 or a Crapsey Form 2 as a base, but this time it has five cinquain verses linked together to form a single large poem that is 25-lines long.

For those of you who are new to this series, a cinquain is a five-line poem that has a set number of syllables (or word types) per line. Sometimes the title of a cinquain acts as a sixth line. Cinquains were invented by Adelaide Crapsey was an American poet who was inspired by the rules of Japanese poetry to create her own poetical form, the cinquain.

Here’s an example, inspired by thoughts of a magical world:

The fey
Glittering bright
Form gems on ancient trees
Brightening the forest giants
Flee from their light
Flee from their laughter,
The gleam of their smiles, their laughter
Their swords
The woods
Are protected
Defended by fierceness
That terrifies despite its size
An inch
A foot
Three feet at most
Capricious, but loyal
Caring for their homes, their treasures
Their joys
They dance
To celebrate
To mark another day
To mark the seasons, the solstice

If you tilt the poem on its side, you can see why it is called a crown.

Why don’t you give it a try? Try writing at least one reverse cinquain for each day of the week. They don’t take a lot of time, but they can be a bit tricky. Here’s one way you might want to approach them:
  • Decide on a topic;
  • Think of words, phrases, feelings and ideas that relate to your topic and work out the order you want to express those things in;
  • Work out how to express each idea in the right number of syllables for the line it’s on;
  • Write your cinquain;
  • Check there are the right number of syllables on each line; and
  • Centre the poem on your page.
Or you can just write them as you go, letting inspiration take you where it will, but remember to check your syllables and centre your poem at the end.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Australian Birds: Straw-necked Ibis

It's amazing what comes wandering up to the back fence. These guys were quite happily foraging for insects until I started taking photographs, and then they became rapidly shy.