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Haiku

Haiku

I was criticised by someone on Twitter who told me that I should loosen up and ignore the 5/7/5 syllable ‘rule’. In one sense he is correct in saying that a syllable is not the equivalent of the Japanese mora. Even in English Haiku forms there are many variants. However, something about the form of the traditional Haiku appeals: the adherence to structure, the importance of the ‘cutting word’ and the seasonal reference.

I ‘wrote’ all of these out of doors. Nietzsche observed that “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” and while I offer no judgement as to their worth or otherwise, I certainly found them useful to invent in the moment, and so for me they worked as  ‘great thoughts’ in difficult times.

Contents

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Reflections

Spring

I

April: and the trees
Flap and flutter with the wings
of pigeons fucking.

II

Celandines are out.
In the fumes, I think of those
Bright buttery stars.

III

I hate Valentine’s.
But Magnolia buds swell,
Swaddled in soft down.

IV

I see a greening
In the tightly furled birch buds.
My tax bill is here.

Go to the Top

Summer

I

A hot day in June:
Confronted by pale orchids,
my pain is greater.

II

A tired aroma
of cheap fat barbecued meat.
Life in the city.

III

High Summer, rain falls
on sweet-scented Buddleia
This is without shame.

Buddleia flower

IV

Still so far away,
but so close: an honour guard
of tall hollyhocks

V

A grey shroud of dusk:
Fat pigeons grazing the lawn.
A thud of car doors.

VI

Goldfinches twitter,
The sun starts it’s slow descent
Behind tall grasses.

VII

Glancing up you see
The sky criss-crossed with contrails.
The city’s white web.

VIII

The cafés are full,
iPads and sharp pencils poised.
Elsewhere curlews call.

Go to the Top

Autumn

I

My footsteps fall hard.
Each sodden leaf in my path
Reminds me of loss.

II

I saw a Brimstone
In November. But it was
Just a leaf, falling.

III

In late Autumn light,
Each branch is dressed with bright shards,
And loss cuts deeply.

IV

A few flowers still,
Scattered by the river bank.
A dog rolls in leaves.

V

Hedgerows are weary
With great swags of Old Man’s Beard.
The earth calls for sleep.

Go to the Top

Winter

I

Which invidious
Part of us dreams of white cliffs
And the hum of bees?

II

Black fruit and lush green
Of Ivy in the cold sun.
This is what matters.

III

Slender willow twigs
Droop into the stream, or are
Blown like golden locks.

IV

Just a little sun
On a cold day – and small flies
Appear like magic.

V

After the market
Has gone, yellow grass straggles.
A twist of tinsel.

VI

Beginning again,
Pushing up through frozen ground.
It looks so easy.

Go to the Top

Reflections

I

How small things remind:
the smell of a wool carpet
to a lonely child.

II

My pillow mocks me.
I wrap myself round it but
it cannot reach out.

III

It is hard to feel
the deep yearning in my heart
for sacred places.

IV

It’s seven o’clock.
Dinner jackets and silk gowns
Gather to eat lies.

V

Another day goes.
Peaches and avocados
Belong to last year.

VI

As the dark settles
I begin to dread the night.
Yawning hollow hours.

VII

Dawn brings foolishness.
My black sea – was it so deep?
I reach out again.

VIII

I don’t often find
That poetry can quieten
The shrieking sirens.

IX

It’s Saturday night.
Loud voices spill from the bars.
But they can’t listen.

X

In the morning sun
They can’t see how I’m bleeding.
I chase my desire.

XI

I breathe a great breath
and swing the antique sabre.
Look how it glitters!

XII

They want me to fight
To don the rusty armour.
Once more, with feeling.

XIII

What is this sharp pain?
A memory of spun gold:
Her hair in the light.

XIV

Sick for what I’ve lost,
A sweet longing dwells inside.
I spurn all doctors.

XV

How a picture wounds,
Bringing back from long ago
A scent of ripe pears.

XVI

The gardens were closed,
I was robbed of many things.
Days of peace and light.

XVII

With a storm, a surge,
Things of the past are revealed.
My secret sadness.

XVIII

How much I would like
To see tall buildings fall, and
Gaze at distant hills.

XIX

The Tories: neck deep
In the blood of bribery,
And the stink of lies.

XX

The world will force you
To stay safely in the light.
But you need the dark.

Go to the Top

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