One Hundred and Ten Haiku (February – April 2015)


restless cat curls up
at last on the magic rug
bought in Marrakesh

*

hedge druid! she says –
no convocations
or dancing circles for me

*

in a gold-framed mirror:
the garden
and a friend

*

outside the night river
moves seawards to return
later moon-drenched

*

meeting a good old friend –
her face sheds all its years
as we talk

*

green woodpecker
nestled in the lawn
red head up and down

*

christmas day
not long after midnight –
wind down the chimney

*

one last patch of snow
where I sit to read
on the summer lawn

*

evening dark –
the thrumming of a cargo boat
under half a moon

*

sepulchral ballet
I move as dead men do
in dumb harmony

found in Russell Brand’s Revolution
– his 10k hike with the Marines

*

chimney pots
moon-etched
on a midnight lawn

*

the silence
of the moon
chiming midnight

*

first hours
of a day without a name
– hollow wind

*

so long ago –
making a bonfire of the old year
for my father

*

green curtains
shifting & crumpling
at the open night window

*

the flute-player
bidding farewell
with silvery notes

*
sleeplessness:
this night again I travel
far in time & space

*

roving wind
& rattling shutters –
night store

*

after the party
after the seagulls
the notion of oneness

(reading Plotinus)

*

beyond the images
of the temple sanctuary –
behold your self

(reading Plotinus)

*

proud soldiers
in a regimental photo
all now but dreams

*

then the night wind dropped
making an arrangement
with Erebos

*

Brahms’ First Symphony
the essence of my self
just before breakfast

*

dead of night pigeon
locked to the slenderest branch
bouncing in the gale

*

pheasant alarm call
cuts
night darkness in half

*

clock-tick in this room;
tock of clock in the next –
my night time

*

she grows great cucumbers
but never ever
looks up at the stars

*

gale-snapped willow branch
among autumn leaves
on a winter lawn

*

heron rising slowly
from back-field frost
at midday

*

blackbird
swooping down
past last year’s nests

*

remembering swifts
scything evening air
a million years ago

*

Three found in Henry Green: Blindness

sunlight
in the hallway – square
of yellow on the parquet

green shade on the table;
circle of light on books
& papers there

whistling gently
till the house
is full of shadows

*

ladybird
perambulating naked trees –
inside the windowpane

*

the old hall –
dust motes in sunbeams
Alois Haba

*

sparrow
at the swimming pool
peach-tree buds

For Alan Anapolsky

*

I spread my wings
and dance
to the sound of drums

For Alan Anapolsky

*

long train journey
at the end of a week
at the end of a life-time

*

this string quartet –
heard in another room
another time

*

ten thousand seagulls
follow the river seawards
just before sunset

*

moonlight
across the library floor
sinking to another level

*

field of snow –
the wandering trail stops
where the old horse stands

*

edge of the estuary mud
facing a silver sea
one gull

*

arrangement
of bare trees
round a winter field

*

crow awake betimes
shouting away
my dark inside

*

a windowful
of grey sky
& silver birch

*

sunrise –
HGWells illuminated
in the corridor bookcase

*

dog meetup
on the cold towpath
the humans talk nevertheless

*

a scurry of gulls
up from a black field
as the train passes by

*

two swans in a field
at the bend of a road –
otherwise grey

*

bonfire smoke
across a green field –
train windows all closed

*

train neighbour
with headphones
and St Vitus Dance

*

meeting
on the station concourse –
twenty yard grin

*

looking up from my book
– the woman who smiled
just an empty space

*

guest house bedroom –
closes in on me
like so many before

*
Three found in Henry Green – Pack My Bag

next to the house
a huge beech tree –
a million of spiders

night footsteps
falling with moonlit sound
on flagstones

no stars – earth
under steady rain
& cattle in lost fields
*

warm sunlight –
opening my eyes
to a sudden crush of rooks

*

carthorse with coat
trotting around
a green field centre

*

Four found in Henry Green: Caught

fathomless sea
in the shade of foothills
with hyacinths

stretch of water
& sails from the past –
boats fishing in the senses

through the iron gate –
a tangle of memories
binds us to life

owls in daylight
over hills & valleys
over her body’s white winter

*

the grandchildren –
loving them each note they play
of grandpa’s string duos

*

not at all deaf
but needing to fill the whole house
with preludes & fugues

*

another evening
and the chaffinches
address the silent rain

*

tumbling on a mud patch
my nose very close
to a clump of snowdrops

*

a few remaining teeth –
they must make do
for the next twenty years

*

cat moves away
across the carpet –
the latest log too buoyant

*

frost
sunrise
and the swoop of a pigeon

*

last pages
of my midnight reading –
outside the gale stops

*

heron
on the dyke-top
obliviously preening

*

not to be seen
unless you get up:
grandfather clock tick-tocking

*

drawing curtains
on a winter night –
a glimpse of summer seat

*

the slamming of doors –
sunrise in an old-fashioned
seaside guesthouse

*

the small night-wind
spills moon
all over the place

*

things of which
I have forgotten the name
define these dwindling days

*

three layers of quartz
trapped in flint
long centuries

*

end of day –
tumbling into the gap
between light & dark

*

stroking his beard:
thoughts leaping
the synapses

*

curtains drawn –
a sense of
evening containment

*

trying on a friend’s poems
for size & fit
– different footsteps

*

this chaffinch stops –
friend over the stream starts
& stops: thus all afternoon

*

across night-still fields
a one-note chant from
out of the seaflats

*

3am gut-rot –
seeking a comfortable space
to fit my self

*

before dawn
a back field pheasant flurry
sets off wood pigeons

*

why all the fuss?
when you’ve seen one eclipse
you’ve seen the lot

*

cat stretched
deep in sleep – paws
running somewhere fast in it

*

Five from Henry Green’s Loving

shaft of golden sun
lighting girls
through parted cloud

listening
through white-wrapped dimness –
the sound of a waltz

blindfolded
she swims towards
the young laughing girls

under a hedge
observing red fuschia bells
swinging without a note

blue heave of wave
between the donkey’s legs
the thundering ocean

*

this day
the flow of it even stranger
than the one before

*

the slamming
of mile-high metal doors
at the end of a dream

*

leaves & wind
in a wheelbarrow – the sweeper
abuses his broom

(Polanski: Ghost)

*

trusting
that the level clouds of sunrise
will yield up a haiku

*

climbing the climbing
dream-hill in expectation
of a long vista

*

a whole week of haiku
in the dull interstices
of this night

*

the squawking pheasant
lost in a hundred acres
of winter wheat

*

deliberately
close to my hand
on the arm of the chair – cat

*

half way through a sentence
what I’m saying suddenly
seems familiar

*

swooping
from far hedge to eave
woodpigeon house-building

*

high wind rinses night
through the guts… through daffodils
& down the chimney

*

cat in a dream
tail twitching
at something malevolent

*

time for the old News:
another bombing
another bit of lying

*

cat on my lap
intent on watching
Blade Runner yet again

*

Scan0062

11 thoughts on “One Hundred and Ten Haiku (February – April 2015)

  1. It’s always such a pleasure to read your haiku, Colin – they show you off in such a warm, intimate way, as the kind-hearted and sensitive person you most certainly are. Every bit as much as you most certainly are the fiery, passionate intellectual in your “globs” on politics, philosophy, and literature.

    “Onward!” to both the poet and the philosopher in you!

    Tom

    Like

      1. Tom – It occurred to me in the middle of the night (as these things do!) that the production of haiku comes from having so-called consciousness dance off into some other location. I know very well when I produce a haiku/senryu by what I might call ‘normal thinking process’ that it’s no good and I usually discard it.

        The whole issue is thrown into relief by the contents of a badly written book by a self-inflated person called Richard Gilbert who claims that haiku are in fact the product of ‘consciousness’; he does this to justify the modern Japanese movement of ‘gendai’ haiku. These usually turn out to be surreal – for me they are a hundred-odd years out of date; one can find their forebears in Dada poetry which was done for a specific and laudable reason.

        My own take on the production of haiku recognises the Japanese ‘satori’ experience but works with the 4th Way concept of ‘self-remembering’ – a bold moment of instantaneity: ‘this is me being me here and now’. This is ‘mindfulness’ ?

        I’ve probably said all this before! But there we go! Decrepitude setting in.

        Colin

        Like

  2. I’m sure you have said it before, and hopefully you’ll go right on saying it again and again! This topic of consciousness is so elusive, it’s always worth another visit. I very much like your phrase “a bold moment of instantaneity” – definitely captures an essential aspect of mindfulness.

    Tom

    PS – You seem to be much more productive in the middle of the night than I am. The best I manage to accomplish is feeding the cat to keep her quiet (if we’re lucky) for the rest of the night!

    Like

    1. Plein soleil sur ma tasse de thé :
      Je goûte la chaleur,
      Les fesses au frais.

      Un lac assourdi sous la chaleur.
      Midi au zénith –
      Le canard s’envole !

      Sur mon seuil se tient
      un potiron de trois ans –
      Droite dans ses bottes…

      Quiétude des toits en terrasse
      Où des cigognes
      ont posé leurs nids.

      *

      Dear Diane

      Wonderful to meet you!

      I had a go at translating your haiku:-

      sunlit teacup
      in a cool place
      I taste its heat

      noon lake
      deaf with heat
      a duck flies off

      My translations may be somewhat wayward – my French is 1954-mode remember! However the way I’ve done the above two in English provides what’s called a ‘pivot line’ – the middle line can connect nicely with either/both first & third lines!

      ‘deaf’ is also a transferred epithet – it’s the writer who’s deaf rather than the lake. Very neat! Sounds comes in for the reader with the duck flight.

      in my porch
      a three year old pumpkin
      competes with the boots

      peaceful roofs
      above the terrace where storks
      have made their nests

      I hope these two are more or less correct because I really like what I take to be the ‘haiku moment’ in each of them!

      Thanks for your haiku. The tussle has made Saturday afternoon much more real for me!

      By the way, I forgot to say that the plural of ‘haiku’ is ‘haiku’ though some pedants say it’s ‘haikai’…

      I’ll need to focus rather harder on your other poems!

      My ordinary email connection went down at the weekend!

      Best Wishes

      Colin

      Like

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