Tag Archives: morning ritual

I’ve been draggin around from the end of your coat for two weeks

Brainy – The National

Well actually, it’s been about five weeks, but whose counting! And again, this Lost Shark is setting sail for southern waters, this time Sydney for a few days r&r, then Terrigal for the 4th annual Pacific Rim Haiku Conference. Things may be sporadic here for the week, so I hope the sun is shining on you in your part of the world, or the rain falling if you need it. Until soon…

                                          morning ritual
                                          gargling in tune
                                          with the crows

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Poet’s Breakfast #3 – Rowan Donovan

Ease into your morning and enjoy the breakfast ritual of Rowan Donovan. Pour the tea, sit back and taste this toasted life…

Part One:   A Slice of Toasted Life. 

The Japanese call it, “asa- gohan”. Morning Rice. The French, “un petit dejeuner.” Me? I call it, “breakfast”. A morning ritual I’ve prescribed to and haven’t changed in years. 

In the small working space of my loved kitchen, morning after morning, I take the same paced side step shuffles. Two steps to the right. Open top draw. One pace to the left. Put the butter knife down. Half turn pirouette. Open fridge door. I could do it with my eyes shut. Take out the marmalade jam. The same big bowled green cup I have used forever. A mismatched saucer. A family heirloom if we weren’t so dysfunctional. And from the freezer of my fridge, two frozen slices of my favourite bread. Without one there is no other. There are lessons to be learnt here. Enlightenment can be found in the everyday mundane.

My bread of choice is Burgers Soy-Lin. Simply stated, it’s the best bread in the world. Period. Packed with natural goodness ie, calcium, iron, folate, phytoestrogens, omega and high fibre, I have been eating it forever. If I didn’t start every day with my two slices of Burgen, I could never be consoled.

My Sunbeam toaster has to be seen to be believed. It’s a retro relic from a time when toasters were toasters and not décor accessory items. Its slots take two slices. Only two. The toasting dial is permanently set on three. It would be tantamount to challenging me to a do or die duel to change that setting! And it roasts my toast to cooked perfection.

 

toasted-slice-of-life

 

Strangely though, I’m a “cold toast” man. The secret is in leaving the toasted slices for that little bit longer after the pop up has popped. Just long enough to absorb a tad more radiant energy before taking the prized slices out to cool and dry.  This is where it gets tricky. We want toasted crunch. We don’t want limp. Toast ain’t toast if it’s limp. Know what I mean?

Of course what one dresses one’s toast with is a personal statement of intent. A homage to bourgeois indulgence. Like, “let them eat toast!” A zen like simplicity. I use a concoction that is neither butter nor margarine. I don’t know what it is. Just that it’s spreadable and fifty percent less fat. Last but not least, a final coating of Breakfast Marmalade. A generic brand. Thirty five per cent fruit. Made in Poland. Sold at Woolies.

Indeed, like the archer who aims at his true self, so too perfect toast. Perfection after all, is approachable.

Osu!
                                                
                                                     Summer breakfast
                                                     burnt toast
                                                     and one more cup of tea      

To be continued   –   Part Two:  Chado

About Rowan:

Rowan Donovan was born in 1952 in Hawera, New Zealand. He started performing his poetry around Brisbane at various venues in 2001, often working collaboratively with good friend and Brisbane poet Graham Nunn. He continues to showcase his work to audiences whenever the opportunity presents itself. He is proud to be a founding member of Brisbane’s longest running poetry/spoken word event Speedpoets and to have served for five years on the Queensland Poetry Festival management committee.

To purchase a copy of Rowan’s book ‘The Lateness of Goodnight’ contact him at rdono22(at)eq.edu.au

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Poet’s Breakfast with Chris Mansell

This Lost Shark has always been fascinated by the concept of the Poet’s Breakfast, seeing that the majority of poets I know are not really what you would call ‘morning people’. So I thought it would be interesting to ask people to write about their morning rituals, the importance of place and other such things; to explore the time and space of breakfast through the eyes of many poets.

First up I asked Chris Mansell:

 

This poet’s breakfast
 
I’m not very good with food. I don’t pay attention to it much and then, when I do, I desire it with a salacious passion which is – unedifying. Breakfast is not one of the times of peak desire. There are other things that need doing in the morning: looking at the light; wrenching your consciousness from the flights of dreams and back to the solid world. Breaking the continuity of the night is not something that can be done lightly. The day seems an intrusion and it takes a while to get used to the idea. The magpies are carolling and the traffic is going past. Light is filling my bedroom because I leave the curtains open so that I can see the moon and stars from my bed in the night.
 
The exchange of the deep interiority of the night to the inconvenience of the day has to be carefully negotiated. The depth of consciousness that is the night’s gift can be held for a while, sometimes even taken to the desk. Poems ease the transition. Take one, first thing, on rising.
 
Breakfast is always solitary and this is the best. People who want to disturb the flow the universe with chatter of any kind are not to be trusted in the morning. I’m polite and certainly not a morning grump. I want the expansiveness of day but the mind of night. My intimates are quiet first thing because they too have learnt the habit of morning reflection. We smile happily at each other and don’t talk. It is calm.

Chris Mansell

This picture shows where I sit. I’m not sitting there in the picture because I’m taking the photograph (obviously) and I’m ashamed to admit that the book on the table is a book of short stories – not a book of poems, although morning is for poems. I’m likely to give up this position and wander away with a cup of tea into my nearby study and stare into the deep eye of the computer. I’m still unbrushed and ill-fed – where I always intend to do something small before I shower, eat etc although it might be 11 am or 2 pm before hunger sends me rampaging off to eat breakfast at the table, like a grown up.
 
Of course many days and many mornings are defined by someone else – I have to be here or there at the behest of some organisation or another. Then breakfast is a duty because I know I’ll run out of energy and other people have timetables that don’t allow a natural appetite at 11 am/2 pm. Then I sit with tea and cereal in a comfortable chair and listen to Fran Kelly on ABC radio telling me with her amiable earnestness what is happening in the day. The transition is fast and consciousness becomes thin – as is appropriate for a day spent outside of the study. On these days, I read prose.
 
 
 
Short bio:

Chris Mansell has written six books of poetry and a number of other smaller collections. Recent collections include Love Poems (Kardoorair, 2006), The Fickle Brat (text + audio CD) (Interactive Digital) and Mortifications & Lies which Kardoorair Press published in 2005. Chris Mansell has worked with many writers throughout Australia Council mentorship program as well as teaching writing in both university and non-university settings. A prize-winning poet in her own right, she has won the Queensland Premier’s Award and been short-listed for both the national Book Council Award and the NSW Premier’s Award among other things.
 
Links:

www.chrismansell.com
www.presspress.com.au
www.blusterhead.com

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