Monthly Archives: November 2010

there is a poet in all of us…

Santorini Haiku poetic challenge

In keeping with Haiku tradition… I think the less said the better. All we need is an image and the winning poem. Take a moment to enjoy & let your minds fly !



I think the true beauty of all poetry…but especially Haiku, lies in the power of the verse to act as a launching pad for one’s imagination. The real pleasure begins where the words end… and your mind starts to paint images inside your head.

It is very hard to experience the “power of less” in a more evocative way than a Haiku verse. Three lines can set your mind off to a wondrous adventure… if only you will let it. It’s not what the poem says so much… it’s what it makes you imagine. That’s where the power is.

I think this poem by Lenita Kannis (Sydney) does that…it fuels the spirit and propels your mind to imagine & explore. The “mood” of the image above I think compliments the beautiful verse nicely….thank you Lenita !

Thank you to all of you for sending the many poems that you did. I hope you had as much pleasure writing them as I had reading them. I really hope that this has made all of you realise that there is a poet inside all of us. I also hope that the elegant art form of Haiku teaches us all that less IS more… that a few beautiful words are more than enough to express even the most complex of feelings & thoughts. I hope you enjoyed  ; )

Congratulations Lenita…. an exquisite hand painted Christmas apron from Aegean Designs is headed your way !

PS: it was brought to my attention today that there have been Google ads appearing at the end of posts in this blog (they do not appear on my end – only on the reader side) . These were not placed there by myself and it turns out it was done by WordPress  without notification to the blog owners… something I find totally unacceptable and really quite pathetic. I will be “working” with them to remove them asap…but in the meantime please ignore the rubbish that appears at the end of each post.

moments in time…that’s what it’s all about

That’s all we have you know… that’s what it’s about…. just moments in time.  Everything we experience is a moment in time. Our finest moments… our worst moments… our boring and sublime moments. They are all tiny segments of the continuum of life. Every photograph… every memorable song… every great holiday… every unforgettable meeting…. they are all moments in time. We see a thousand faces a day… but occasionally we turn and glance at a face… a seemingly extraordinary face… looking at us. Its a split second glance… which can sometimes lead to eternal love or a lasting memory. A split second in time… an unforgettable moment.

The human brain is an amazing instrument… so amazing that we have not even scratched the surface of it’s potential. Through all of our senses it captures and stores these moments in time. It has them neatly tucked away and when the right stimulus comes along… it serves us with a “vivid memory” that can be so powerful…at times so overwhelming… that we feel like we are experiencing that “moment in time” all over again. It can make you smile… it can make you frown… it can make you sad… or it can make your day. It is one of the most powerful forces known.

But for the brain to capture and store… it needs to feel that it is “worth capturing”… that it is indeed a special moment. This will only happen if we are open to appreciating these moments… if we are allowing ourselves the sheer pleasure of savouring the special moments.  In most cases we are so damned busy “planning” and “scheming” that we forget to enjoy the moment. We forget that right now is all we have. The future hasn’t happened and yet and the past is history. Right now is what it’s about… and unless you have the presence of mind to realise that… the right now will also become history. Nothing but a blurred memory because we didn’t take the time to enjoy it as it was happening…in real time. We didn’t seize the moment.

Not understanding the moments in time concept has many negative derivatives.  The worst of these is the ultimate torture…. the dreaded “if only”. If only I had spoken to her/him… if only I had “gone for it” instead of hesitating… if only I had tried…if only I had stopped long enough to enjoy it. The list is endless… and only because we didn’t have the presence of mind to understand the “moment”. That fleeting moment in time which held so much promise… if we  had only “grabbed it” and made it ours.

I vividly remember the night following my first glance of my island home. Following the morning inspection and subsequent discussions… I drove into Oia that evening and took photos of the village then came down to the empty house and just sat on the roof. Glanced out across the caldera and the distant lights of the other villages. It was summer so the heat made all the distant lights flicker like a Christmas tree. I remember thinking to myself  “this is what it will be like”. This is what it will feel like to sit out here with a glass of wine and just relax….
It was a moment in time… but one that I stopped long enough to soak up. It burned in my memory… and I often called on it during the seemingly endless running around when trying to finalise the purchase of the house. That “moment in time” became the anchor… it was my  “end in mind”.

Now it’s different… but I am no less sensitive to “moments”. My sense of presence is acute… and I try very hard to not let familiarity dull my senses. I still glance at my morning view as if it’s the first time… and will more often than not run in to get my camera for a shot like this:

I shot this with morning coffee today. I’ve taken this photo a thousand times…
but I will never take this view for granted.

This afternoon the view… as always… was different again. Most people that live
here would not even look at this twice… I prefer to see it as if it’s the first time !

this is the view I saw from my roof… just try to imagine it at night
with the distant village lights flickering…an unforgettable moment for me…
an inspiring moment !

The moment you realise that it’s all about moments in time… you start to see things differently. You appreciate the moment… you realise that it IS a fleeting moment and you may never see/experience it again. You stop assuming about life… that things will still be there later, or the next day or the next year.
They might… but YOU might not.

As always this is not intended to be a lecture… it’s just a cave dweller thinking out loud. It’s nothing new to any of you. But I do believe it’s worthwhile reminding ourselves… “appreciating moments in time… that’s what it’s all about” !

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I hope that many of you are busy writing your Haiku poems. I am looking for some inspiring words about the island…words from those of you that have visited and feel in love with it… or those of you that have fallen in love  from a distance. What is it… what do you feel…what do you dream about… what does Santorini mean to you. I want to read words that capture the spirit..the very essence… the true meaning of Santorini to you !

Trust me when I tell you that the prize will make you the envy of all your friends and family at Christmas. have had quite a few emails asking for more time… seems that putting three lines together IS a lot harder that writing pages lolol…
funny that ; )))

Entries now close this Thursday 25th Nov (was going to be Wed but I usually post on a Thursday so you get an extra day ). Try your best and have fun with it.
Let your imagination free… there is a poet in all of us!!

poetic challenge…

There were elections held on the island…

the people have voted…

their choices noted…

it’s the dawn of a new era !

Thankfully the “right” choices were made… and we will be working hard to make positive changes on this magical island. We will be looking for improvements internally… but also ways to promote to the world. The Haiku poetry you were asked to write may just inspire a great message to be sent out to the world.

Please share your poetic talents and your self-expression on what you believe is the magical essence of Santorini…in a Haiku poem ( a three line poem made up of a fixed number of words  per line… 5-7-5 respectively). We hope that your inspired words will be used to inspire millions of people around the world to visit and experience this unique island.

We will extend the deadline to Wednesday 24th  as per the request of a number of people…it seems writing three “inspired” lines takes some serious thinking ; )

The winning entry will receive a very special hand-painted Christmas apron from
Aegean Designs.

Please forward your entry to aegeandesigns [at] ymail dot com

More blog-goodness tomorrow night ; )  ~~~~

An elegant life…

“I saw the angel in the marble
and carved…until
I set him free”

this is the exquisitely elegant way in which Michelangelo described the unbelievably complex way in which he created his masterpiece sculptures. You could surely write 600 pages on the topic… but you could never explain it better than that.

The sheer beauty in his words stems from the simple structure of the message. There is no need to say more… he intuitively knows that where his words stop… human imagination begins. Our minds interpret his statement and create the visual imagery that is required to fully comprehend his meaning. His words allow our brains to do what they uniquely do… to “imagine” and “find” meaning.

I thought about this quote from the genius artist today while explaining my very favorite form of poetry….. the incredibly elegant Japanese art of Haiku. It is based on the most simple of concepts… that of using a limited number of phrases & syllables, to convey a poetic message. The result is a micro-poem which, whilst short on words, is ultra rich in meaning. Now there… is a concept we can all learn from. Using only a tiny handful of carefully selected words, to convey a message that you could write pages about. It is the ultimate art of refined expression… of poetic minimalism… the elimination of the unnecessary… the carving of the marble to “let the angel free” !

Seen superficially Haiku it is a “quick” form of writing poetry… but of course nothing could be further from the truth. It is infinitely harder to say something meaningfully in just three lines…than it is to write three pages. Every word has to be chosen very carefully and placed in the right order for maximum meaning and context. It is the reduction of many words…down to those core words that express the very essence of the poetic message.  It is  p u r i t y of expression.

But for me… the true value of Haiku lies beyond the poetry. It is in the metaphor that I see hidden within it. Haiku the concept… when applied to life… is the search for life’s essential elements. The pure core of your life’s meaning. Those handful of things that are really all you need to exist in a meaningful and satisfying way. It is the doing away of all the clutter, meaningless possessions, redundant rituals and mind-numbing information that we accumulate in our lives. It is also about the frivolous ways we waste our time/days/years. If the number of words allowed in Haiku represented the number of years we had on this earth I suspect we would look at life a lot differently. If the number of lines allowed in Haiku (three) represented the number of people we were allowed to be friends with during our lives… we would certainly chose a lot more carefully than we do now. If the number of  syllables allowed in Haiku represented the number of choices we were allowed to make in our lives… we would “certainly” make wiser choices, with a lot more thought going into each and every one of them.

But the one idea that I love the most is this… what if, instead of being allowed 200 pages to write your life story… you were only allowed three lines. What words would you use… and how would you condense everything to 17 or so syllables? Would it not make you seriously think about your life, what’s important to you and the words you would use to describe your very essence of being? And would it not be a fantastic thing to teach children to do while they are still at school? Pass to them the discipline of refining their future existence to its core values. To seek to understand  and learn to beautifully & succinctly express their purety of purpose.

I think that leading a meaningful life “is” about making great choices. Its about thinking and understanding, refining and finding your pure essence. It is about writing your own carefully crafted formula… the all encompassing equation that will lead you to a satisfying, simplified, purposeful and “complete” life. A life without meaningless clutter and unnecessary baggage. An elegant life. Not saying that mine is… but I will keep trying…

The Haiku concept also applies to our environment… our own ecosystems that we all occupy around the world. What if the same principles applied there? If the same care was taken to make our choices and to select what is the most appropriate ways to represent the interests… the very essence of our environments? How would our choices be different?

This church is perched on one of the most spectacular parts of Oia. It has been there for centuries and rebuild several times following earthquakes. If this was a “typical” resort area… a typical developer such as WEDONTGIVEAFLYINGF@&#ABOUTYOURPRETTYVILLAGE Co would come along and get permission to build a 5star hotel on that very spot. But how would Oia look as a result of such a decision? What would happen to the essence of Oia if an elaborate hotel was to replace this simple but meaningful landmark? What would happen to the unrivaled elegance and authenticity of Oia? Needless to say it would be shattered…

So as you can see… something as seemingly simple as writing short poems, can hold many lessons for all of us. If you take the time to read into Haiku you will understand the understated elegance of this form of poetry. You will learn to appreciate how important choices are… and the beautiful results that can be produced when we apply simple principles of discipline to our expression. Like Bonsai… Haiku has many lessons when we apply it as a life metaphor. It is a wonderful art form and one which you can practice anywhere…at any time. All you need to do is apply your imagination in a disciplined way.

It may change your life ; )
– read more below…

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To help you experience the pleasures of Haiku we will be running a competition over the next seven days. To enter… all you have to do is write a Haiku poem on what you believe to be the “essence” or “spirit” of Santorini. Even if you have never been here… you can write a poem based on what Santorini means to you and/or how it is represented in your imagination. It is about writing three lines that express the very essence of the island.

The poems should be in the traditional Haiku format. For more information on that you can start by reading here:   “The best Haiku ever”

You can also google “haiku” and read more about the art form as well as find many examples of poems. But please try to be as original and creative as you can.

It’s really very very simple… and apart from the fun you will have writing it…
the prize is worth the effort

The winner will be announced on Monday 22 November and will win one of Allison’s special Christmas handpainted aprons from Aegean Designs:

These are professional quality- full length cotton aprons made in Greece and are all hand painted by Allison and valued at 65euro each. This is one of two designs that are released every Xmas in very limited numbers (20 only – half of which have already been pre-ordered … more details on the Aegean Designs online catalogue to be posted on Tuesday).

All entries are to be emailed to:
aegeandesigns [at] ymail [dot] com

and addressed  ” Santorini Haiku”

Looking forward to reading your wonderful words  ; ))

the mellow season…

Autumn is a funny season… instead of the frantic pace of the more vibrant spring… autumn is much more mellow. The pace is easier and nature seems to be in no hurry. Everything seems to move in a slower motion to early spring. Even the leaves take their time to slowly change their colours and then…fall patiently. There is no hurry in autumn. Even the weather seems in no hurry to suddenly change. One day it’s cloudy… the next day it’s sunny again. The special autumn sunshine has inspired many a wordsmith and many a verse has been written about the stillness of autumn.

“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”
–   Elizabeth Lawrence

On my small island autumn is a favourite season for many reasons… not the least of which is the “light”. There is no better time of the year to take photographs in my opinion. The light is soft…gentle. It makes the scenery seem serene… at ease.

“O suns and skies and clouds of June,
and flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather”

But autumn can also be moody… bright sunshine can give way to dark clouds.. rolling in like a thick blanket. The scenery it creates here is beyond words.
Even Rex had to sit in quiet contemplation !

The steps to Ammoudi are no longer filled with tourists… only the village dogs.

The sunset restaurants are still busy… but the pace is different. people linger all afternoon instead “running” to catch the sunset. There is no hurry in autumn.

This bride and her groom would have been trampled on if this was August… but it’s not. It’s October… and they can relax. Although if you notice the difference in clothing between the bride and the gent with the jacket you would know that this bride probably wishes it was August…

The very next morning the colours were very different again… but no less sublime. The dark skies a reminder that the season of change is upon us. A welcome change from the unrelenting heat of summer and the seemingly infinite number of tourist buses. Autumn takes care of all that… in a gentle and seemingly effortless way. The mellow season has it’s own way..with everything & every one!

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For those of you interested in seeing a sample range from Aegean Designs please search for “ad shop” on Facebook and send us a friend request… mentioning you are a blog reader. We will  give you access as soon as possible and would love your feedback. More on this in Thursday’s post. Wave from Oia ~~~~~