January sky

After being ill and feeling sorry for myself for most of the week, I managed to get some fresh air yesterday. Took this photo from behind a fence by the way! There were lots of Highland cattle getting quite excited, no doubt because we had the dog with us, so I didn’t hang around. The woodland is mixed, mainly deciduous, but I used ash in the poem because originally there were lots, although most have been felled due to disease. Anyway, it’s good to be feeling better and taking an interest in things. Here’s to the restorative power of nature.

Temple

Trying not to feel sorry for myself as I sit here full of cold (again). Not Covid but I keep testing all the same! The most uplifting thing I can find to do is read some poems out of The British Haiku Society’s ‘Temple’ anthology. Here’s one I absolutely love:

And the unexpected image in this one caught me off guard:

Now, feet up, another Strepcil and more paracetamol…

Straw hat …

How this one resonates! It’s by Basho, in this neat collection below, translated by Lucien Stryk.

Well, the weather today is mild and breezy, and now everyone has eaten their fill and the washing up is done – well, almost – it’s time for a New Year’s walk. Off we go, over muddy fields again – my boots are still wet from yesterday but never mind.

All good wishes for 2022 and thanks for reading!

Congratulations!

Great to be able to congratulate my good friend and poetry pal, Marion New, on her poem, above, which was a runner up in Blithe Spirit’s Museum of Haiku Literature Award selected by Kate B. Hall. Once again, it just goes to show that there’s always room for a good moon poem, despite what the poetry gatekeepers might say. Well done Marion, and here’s to many more moon poems!

Presence

Lovely to be in Presence again – and this time with a haiku sequence (first ever). It’s entitled Horsehold which is the name of the little hamlet above Hebden Bridge that I’m so fond of. I won’t print the whole thing here because the magazine has only been out a couple of weeks, but here’s the first haiku in the sequence:

hill farm

the curlew’s long call

over the lambing shed

Sorry about the line spacing – not sure why it won’t single line space. Ah well. Now I’m counting down to the Christmas holidays when hopefully I’ll have time to read both Presence and Blithe Spirit – which arrived within days of each other. Here’s hoping for a relaxing Christmas break!

snowswirl

The full haiku was going to read:

the neighbour’s pine

wreathed in sky

snowswirl

However, too much text made the photo very busy so I plumped simply for snowswirl (with more than a nod to John Wills’ iconic poem:

rain in gusts

below the deadhead

troutswirl

(in Where the River Goes, edited by Alan Burns, Snapshot Press 2013).

I’m now hoping for a quick thaw – it’s been so cold this weekend!

ho

falling leaves

It was great to attend the British Haiku Society’s winter gathering yesterday, with members on zoom sharing photographs of a place that was special to them, along with an accompanying photograph. I’ve since turned mine (above) into a photo haiku so I could share it on the blog. The place is Hebden Bridge, or to be more specific, a tiny hamlet on the hills above the town. The photograph was taken about a month ago and shows the trees clinging to the hillside, just on the edge of the tree line really – there’s not a lot else after this wood but farm tracks and moorland. The soil is so thin it makes you wonder how the trees manage to cling on. Anyway, it was a fairly cold blustery walk that day, but beautiful all the same.

The BHS meeting also included a virtual ginko, using time lapse films to inspire us to write some haiku. This was a bit daunting as I suddenly felt under pressure to produce a poem that was worth sharing. However, I can highly recommend Daisuke Shimizu’s timelapse film of Fukushima if you want to do a virtual ginko of your own. And maybe a bit of pressure on the writing process is no bad thing. I managed to get three haiku from the session, none of them jaw-dropping, but I enjoyed the process. Here’s the only one I’ve processed, using a still from Shimizu’s film.

Image by Daisuke Shimizu