One Hundred Haiku (August 2014 – February 2015)

sometimes wishing
that God was real –
this temple to the spirit

(St Peter’s Colchester)

the light
through the arched window
green as the tree outside

digging deep
to find the roots
of summer bonfires

thrice starting to tell
his life story – three times
they return to theirs

four ceramic ducks
lined up on a window-sill –
my life museum

final words
under a canopy
of sunlit clematis

curtain in a breeze –
the long tide
flowing into night

speaking slowly
their daughter puts it
in words of one syllable

red leaves clattering
on the wall – seagull
crossing a silver sun

in a sunlit hallway
just sitting there

old bus ticket
from a slim wooden holder –
eloquent book-mark


birthday sunset
ten years old –
then as now

a gardenful
of moonlight – trees
bent into shadow

at the mention
of a favourite film
she reaches out her hand

grey morning
spent putting
new words on paper

moon moving across
house fronts –
obscure secrets

across the flatlands
stretching the eye
to cloud-fields

carved wooden angels
nave-ceiling-high a butterfly
swoops in sunlight

(There are 118 wooden angels on the nave ceiling
in St Wendreda’s church in March, Cambridgeshire, England)

my reflection
in the midnight window
looks at me reflecting

hotel babble
in the next room
blue sky & small clouds

on the cliff-top
just long enough
to count the seventh wave

leafy sunlight shadow
on shelves of books
many years old

notated in sprightly fashion –

(for Heather)

canada geese
cloud-cackling all the way
to the ex-beet field

through waiting-room
windows the sound of
autumn trees

meeting on a pathway
laughing bird
& night owl

(for Janet Davey)

hotel breakfast
facing a person
happy to talk about Plato

the words
in my book
fade into midnight

about to share that
my friend’s son quit the world today
I find I can’t

into the dark this night –
each one of us
our own candle

beautiful woman –
maggot starting off
inside her

half-blind man
wearing my cap
doesn’t notice


Three Haiku based on words
found in Camus’ A Happy Death

she buys
an orange canoe
to skim over the blue sea

matching the heart
against the slow pulse
of the sky

sky pinned
without a wrinkle
one horizon to the other


Eleven Haiku based on words
found in Lawrence Durrell’s Justine 

idling arm in arm
by the afternoon sea –
the debris of our lives

by the lily-pond
shading a candle
in the palm of one hand

face famished
by the inward light
of her terror

under the railway bridge
the lover awaits her man
mess of maggots

rain hisses down
the long windows –
dark eyes cool & amused

painter sitting
under the withered pear tree
in a shabby garden

her portrait
about to say what so far
has only reached the eyes

separated from
a forgotten evening
by centuries

yellow curtains
breathing tenderly against
the afternoon light

both dressed
in robes carved heavily
of moonlight

winter rain
crackling straw
amongst rocks

two heron
floating & floating
above the misty dyke

moon pheasant
disturbs deep midnight’s

seagulls by the thousand
flying upriver at dawn
past the red cows

his portrait
speaks words
jumbled with colour

sudden gale –
blasting round Orion & back
through broken clouds

even the lady
walking about

(For Allan Clews)

round every room


Five Haiku based on words
found in Lawrence Durrell’s Balthazar 

clicking of palms;
hooting of invisible
sea-going liners

the sensation
of walking about all night
on your eyeballs

by a kiss

deserted beach
searching for
fragments of regret

moon climbs houses
& minarets – the city
digs itself up from earth


Four Haiku based on words
found in Lawrence Durrell’s Mountolive

silver rain in the eye of
the dying sun

train rasps out
across desert to coast
– lightness of heart

feeling every word
of a book I suppose
I’ll never read again

to every word – to the grain
of thought

the unaccustomed smile
contains her mother’s
lilting voice

opening the window
to late night moonwind
& lately vagrant souls


across the river
western autumn trees
in sunrise

midnight planet
sliding through space –
a just perceptible hiss

dear dead friend – I no longer
send you my poems

(For James)

all those months
come and gone –
no bats in the evening now

yellow slip of a moon
just where the sun comes up –
owl in the copse

ancient couple
their dog looks too

calm river edge
seagull paddling with
a wobbly reflection

sounds of the great lake
ebbing in
from outer darkness

(Found in Lawrence Durrell’s Clea)

a street I knew well
in former times
quite empty now

lone punt
on a silver canal
lone fisherman

black fenland sod
newly turned –
the absence of summer

one sycamore leaf
falls in the public square
as if no one was there

behind the railings
a litter of leaves
& a tramp lighting up

midnight darkness
under the Plough
nothing much happening

twenty rooks move
to a taller tree
to get the sunrise

a babble
of bus-kids eager
for learning maybe

the orange & green
of sunset – mist rising
between dark trees

Five minutes & Three Haiku from
dipping randomly into 4 Quartets

from the deck
of the drumming liner
a widening furrow

a prayer at the shrine
on the promontory

another dawn
prepares for heat
and silence


in the other room
her wild gestures stop
when she notices my gaze

all that remains
of a warrior’s dreams –
the voice on a telephone

exactly midnight
opening the window
to let the moon’s owl in

on the bank a heron
stretching its neck – the day
dips towards evening

horizontal triptych:
blue evening sky fading
twiggy hedge blackness

mat cat rises to stretch
& becomes a tight ball again
– a log shifts


Six Haiku found in Arnold Bennett’s
Things that Have Interested Me

solitary fisherman
with a long rod on a dark rock
– seething waters

lighthouse keeper
tinkering at his house
like a suburban dweller

fisherman forlorn
in the rain with strange toes
sticking out of straw shoes

at the dance
fair simple creatures
in their best hotel frocks

ununiformed railway
officials unlock barriers
with magic keys

distant violin –
same tune over & over
secret city life

midnight again
slip of a moon
& loud purring

dream stairway
steeply up into cloud
nursing a live grenade

(On waking from a bit of a nightmare
19th December 2014)

a deskful
of unfinished business –
loud clocktick

the yellow armchair:
Respighi dancing anciently
in the next room

6 thoughts on “One Hundred Haiku (August 2014 – February 2015)

  1. The poems sent
    hidden jewels deep within
    mined in the reading

    peaceful past-time calms
    life led too fast for liking
    longed for pause received

    Thank you


  2. Great to have a new post from you, Colin! The lines that are sticking with me the most from this latest collection of your haiku – “each one of us our own candle”. Simple and profound, all at once.



  3. Tom – always nice to hear from you! Been a bit busy recently! I’ve two Globs on the go – one to do with our National Health Service inspired by a lying member of parliament which I intend to send to him and the other an analysis of a sense of total alienation that came over me just before Xmas. I’ve been collecting articles on each theme and just need some time/space to get down to writing.




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