Haiku & Senryu

Click to see my Haikats.

This page collects my tweeted haiku, from December 16, 2009 until whenever I last updated, oldest first and newest at the bottom. If you want to cut the preamble and related links, scroll down.

I’ve always written poetry, but I first started writing haiku in Wales over 20 years ago. Maybe there was something about the combination of mountains and sea, ancient stone and cloud-veiled skies, towns not that dissimilar to the ones I knew as a child but speaking another language altogether. Whatever it was, I wrote my first haiku sitting in the shade on white sand in a tiny, deserted cove below the Portmeirion headland, and I’ve been writing them ever since.

I started to use haiku in my creative writing workshops because it’s easy to learn and fast to write, but challenging to write well. This led to my learning more about haiku and related forms, and of course to writing more. Senryu, by the way, are haiku-form poems about human nature: looking inwards rather than outwards, moments realised internally rather than observed. They are often ironic or comic.

As with most creative practices, the more I do, the better it works. I see more poems in everyday life – things glimpsed while out walking or half-overheard, sounds and even smells turn themselves into haiku, either on the spot in my notebook, seemingly without effort, or later, with much recasting. Thanks to the power of the subconscious, which never stops working, I sometimes wake with a haiku in my head.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with ‘found haiku’, looking at Shakespeare’s plays and identifying sequences that make haiku. I allow myself a little editing but no new words or structural re-arrangement. Like everything else he wrote, Shakespeare’s haiku are compelling, and they’ve inspired me to start a series of haiku based on his works.

Others have used haiku for a huge range of purposes. There are even, as The Times newspaper noted, public information haiku. These may be lacking in poetic inspiration, but they demonstrate the flexibility and immediacy that are among haiku’s best qualities.

Late in 2009 we had heavy snow. The strange beauty of my familiar domestic landscape inspired more haiku. I’d just set up a Twitter account, so I started tweeting my haiku, alongside snippets of information about Japan, anime, manga, history, crafts – things that interest me or catch my attention. I got positive reactions, and found many more resources, including an international haiku network based in Akita, in the North of Japan. Steve and I have been there and found it both beautiful and welcoming, and we have a dear friend who works there. The Akita International Haiku Network welcomes anyone interested in haiku and regularly publishes new haiku in Japanese and English, as well as information about haiku around the world.

There are a couple of haiku links on my blogroll if you’d like to explore further. The English-language edition of Japan’s Mainichi newspaper also welcomes and critiques submissions from haikuists around the world. You might also like to check out, and contribute to, AnimeMangaHaiku, an irregular blog that does just what it says on the label.

So here are my tweeted haiku. You can share them wherever  you like, provided you keep to the terms of my CC3 license set out here.

First snows of winter -/ Sudden, delicate, perfect/ As a child’s laughter

Silver birch lances/ Against skies of ice and flame –/ A winter sunset

Ghosts of dead lovers/ Keep tryst at midwinter, as/ Snowflakes are dancing

Snow falling on cedars;/ Frozen lips, frozen fingers/ Warm with your kisses

In snowbound silence/ My heart beats so loud, the trees/ Must know my feelings.

At year’s end, I may/ Look back, but must go forward/ Into spring’s changes.

A blaze of berries/ Glowing through greengold ivy/ Warms a wintry heart.

After snow comes rain:/ hearts frozen dead by winter/ drown in spring’s promise

Spring shoots from cold ground,/ Shyly, like a welcome guest/ Arriving early

Moonlight silvers snow./ The first plum blossom opens/ as Kyoto sleeps.

White mountains recede/ Into mist, into distance -/ Remembering dreams

Green shoots from cold earth/ Life goes on, however cold/ rain or cloudy sky

While winter blusters,/ Spring signs soft sweet promises/ With snowdrop kisses.

High above the moon,/ Red and very bright, Mars shines/ In the winter night.

To be or not to:/ Betrayal, murder, revenge -/ a bleak midwinter (inspired by Shakespeare)

Dance in white satin/ While your sisters are sleeping,/ First snowdrop of spring.

Daffodils that come/ Before the swallow dares and/ Take March with beauty (found in Shakespeare)

Daffodils that dare/ Winds swallows cannot fly, and/ Make cold March golden (inspired by Shakespeare)

While I was sleeping/ You left snow white hyacinths,/ Their fragrance woke me.

By my computer,/ Your hyacinths deliver/ Sweet springtime kisses.

Feisty greenfinches/ Dart among bushes, daring/ Knife-edged spring breezes

Bone dry stems stand tall/ Amid new growth – skeletons/ At spring’s waking-feast.

Peach moon still shining/ As the morning star rises/ To welcome the spring (This was my birthday haiku.)

Sheets of antique rose/ Damson pillows, softgold light –/ Spring prepares for sleep. (In honour of a wonderful sunset.)

Silence howls and shrieks/ Muffling life’s small echoes, like/ Distant radio

Frost-glazed grass, new shoots/ Crisp-edged, lace-ruffled: winter/ Still smokes spring’s first breaths

Far away in space/ Heedless winter sunsets burn/ Molten gold, ice-cold.

Daffodil army/ Annihilating winter/ With blasts of sunlight

Nine goose arrow flies/ Silent towards summer’s heart,/ Air sings its passage.

Clouds feather and flame/ Like the wings of archangels/ Folded round the earth.

Alchemy of rain -/ Spring greens and colours, turning/ Clouds into rainbows

Daffodils package/ Sunshine to feed the senses/ On bitter spring days

Blue air, green water,/ Red fired earth – life flashes in/ A kingfisher flight

Pale yellow tulips/ Honouring my flowerbeds/ Like golden trophies

Scraps of fallen sky/ Springing like a present from/ The untended earth

Daisies like a charm/ Chanted by the morning on/ Dew-encrusted grass

Drowse on warm green grass,/ Sleepy children, while you can -/ Night comes, summer ends. (For Carl Macek)

April in London -/ A drift of wind-blown blossom/ Lands in Ueno.

Pale tulips whisper/ Quiet elegance amid/ Hectic daffodils

Dark before dawning/ A night bird’s solo glitters/ Like the morning star

Dreaming in haiku -/ Fragments of life dissolving/ Like mist in sunlight

Twisted and fading/ Old tulip petals, silky/ As baby’s kisses

Fingers black with earth,/ Serene and proud, my mother/ Planting the summer

Calligraphy in/ Clear blue air: freeflying swifts/ Inscribing summer

Roadside resistance/ Sumptuous scraps of scarlet/ Trailblazing summer

Cloths of silverweb/Heaped with shards of diamond/Breakfast for the sun

Children always run/ As if they know already/ We have little time

Bluebell alchemy/  Transmuting spring green into/  Perfect summer blue

Waist-high in cool grass/ Wading silk-feathered, jewelled/ Torrents of summer

Singing like sirens/ Under waves of sunkissed grass/ Chorus of crickets

Shock of summer rain/  Focusses the world again/  Shimmer to sparkle

Tokyo and Houston/ Blossoming corpse flowers/ Attract summer flies

High summer Sundays:/ Early mornings fresh and bright/  Shining with promise

Cricket fiddles fret/ In bone-dead grass; I long to hear/ The drums of thunder

still grey heron on/ still green pond, quiet, serene/ poised for the kill

Turtles bask along/ A treetrunk sunk in sunbeams/ Content together

sleek silver pike and/ grey herons ignore the sign/ that says ‘no fishing’

Deadheading flowers/ I cannot cut the brown husks/ Where ladybirds rest

A red-grey morning/ Ash blots out summer, spreading/ Into memory (65 years after Nagasaki)

Hiroshima birds/ sing sweet as cool rain in/ demon-blasted trees (65 years after Hiroshima)

Dawn in late summer/ Painting skies, clouds, houses/ Cotton-candy pink

Haiku: the heart/  responding to miracles -/ Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch

The taste of summer/ Strawberries, red, ripe, sweet/ As lovers’ hearts

All I made today/ will fade before this perfect/ rosy-gold sunset

red as drying blood/ black-veined, sulphur-edged/ fresh-fallen leaf

Between the frames/ smiling ghosts play hide and seek/ with veils of light (for Satoshi Kon)

On the garden path/ a chill wind from the shadows/ kisses you goodbye

Dark on the stair/ The kettle sings a welcome/ The day wakes slowly

you wave goodbye/ ghost-white flowers glow/ lighting your path

Life is balance/ when her feet tire, she walks/ upon strong hands

Late growing fruit/ racing to ripen, as days/ shorten and chill

Glowing chalk on/ storm grey slate, the track/ of a westbound jet

Sycamore sisters/ ahead of the fashion/ gold amid green

Unprovoked attack!/ Clouds blast out razor-edged/ lances and arrows

A mean little wind/ kisses cold as the geese call/ from gathering cloud

Luminous sky/ Enamelled, incandescent/ With night’s last dream

When I fly away/ Do I really leave you? Is/ parting illusion?

Gaze into water/ is reality above/ or at your feet?

A cricket chorus/ great drifts of stars, the moon,/ and Georgia heat.

A lover’s tears/ slice the heart like diamonds/ mine are just water

This bleak morning/ of rain and windchill/ warmed by your smile

Cold before dawn/ music threading the darkness/ a waking dream

under a pale sun/ a fat brown spider eating/ gossamer wings

icy transparent/  blue wrapped with pink cloud ribbons/ a dark gift within

today in the park/ a man with a dog like yours/ and suddenly, tears

days are shorter now/  we breathe veils of vapour/  on chilling air

Spider on the glass/ tiny octonaut afloat/ in evening light

the unbreakable rule/ of haiku: all rules are breakable./ You thought it was easy?

So many women/ living inside me with her/ the girl I was.

colours of music/ chromatics dance spirals as/ the wind plays the trees

striped predator/ in thickets of silver steel/ strong as hunger

unexpected rain -/ a thousand umbrellas bloom/ cheering the city

incendiary/ orange, blood red, sharp lemon -/ showers of fire

double rainbow/  bright ribbons hold back cloud/  the sky smiles twice

Life is a dream./ Death is another: see,/ The doors are open.

Green canopy/ Now golden river, soon/ Dark fertile earth

nights are longer now/ more time to hear you sleeping/ warmed in your arms

Inside my window/  Winter’s first chill damp breath/ Misting the pane

Folded wings, skimming/ the water’s surface: grasses/ feather its edge

Rivers of leaves/ bright gold in the lamplight/ crackle underfoot

Where does it come from,/  The power that arcs between/  Monster, creator?

As the cold bites/ I shrink beside the fire/ Dreaming like a cat

Sitting on the bus/ Rain and leaves falling/ My hand in yours

haiku en francais/ comme baiser en francais, on fait/ seulement qu’on sent

Remembrance: as cold,/ As proud, as pure, as tragic/ As tears in rain (for Remembrance Day)

A mighty wind/ Scours the streets of London/ Screaming “Remember!” (for Remembrance Day)

That wind’s as wild/ As a child in a tantrum/ Kicking up leaves

Ballet of leaves/ Like a chorus of swans/ Whirling on the wind

Pure birdsong trill/ Crystal-clear, ice-cold in/ The pale blue air

Love is not feeling/ love is behaviour, love/ is something we do.

Chill before dawn/ eating hot noodles, my breath/ fighting the steam

White-rimmed leaves/ Line icy paths, lace-veiled/ Like Jack Frost fangirls.

The sky so blue, sun/ So bright – hard to believe/ How cold it is

You walk into snow/ And suddenly London is/ Transformed to Edo.

Whirling white like/ Walking inside a snowglobe/ Tilted by the wind

Outside the darkness/ And the snow falling – inside/ Firelight and warmth

Black night, white blanket/ Deep as dreams, quiet as sleep/ Tranquil as death

Winter makes etchings/ Burr-edged white traceries/ On glass, on water

Winter writes poems/ On leaves, grasses, puddles/ With a frozen pen

After snow the frost/ Hard and cold as bare boards/ Under soft quilts

A blaze of roses/ Crumbling to ash as darkness/ Steals the blue cold

Magpies go courting/ On bitter frosty mornings/ In graphic detail

Gossamer wrappings/ Frostveil, mistveil, ice/ Shrouding the world

A time of magic/ when the child’s heart awakes/ in everyone

Overhead sunshine/ Underfoot black glass/ Fills every hollow

Pale winter sun/ Beyond this lens of air/ You burn so fiercely

This winter cold/ A tiny distant echo/ Of deepest space

Each thing its moment/ Snowflakes spin and sparkle then/ Melt into nothing

What if the new year/ were constantly renewed/ in each new moment?

Outside the fireworks/ Only this perfect moment/ Midnight in your arms

White frost, grey mist/ A pair of magpies courting/ Stark against the sky

Fog spreads like smoke/ A silent creeping menace/ From an old movie

In this quiet glade/ where squirrels play and birds sing/ the year does not end (for AIHN New Year Festival 2011)

We mark an ending:/ pine cones fall on snow, plum trees/ prepare to blossom (for AIHN New Year Festival 2011)

You too are sunlight/ not because of your faces/ but in your hearts

This beach tonight/ Is kissed by the same ocean/ Where all life began

Freeway at sunset/ Thousands of lives in transit/ Into the darkness

One pure clear note/ a bird sings in the darkness/ as you walk away

Under this grey sky/On this dark windswept road/ Recalling sunlight

Even in raw winds/ Even on leafless branches/ Birds make their nests

For one night only/ The ocean shimmers like/ This moon-dappled sky

This moon-dappled sky/ Shimmers like the ocean/ For one night only

Under this huge sky/ Holding hands in the darkness/ I feel warm and strong

So dark this morning/ The rain makes noisy kisses/ On your umbrella

One pure clear note/ A bird sings in the darkness/ As you walk away

Fear ghosts because/ Remembering what was lost/ The heart rends itself

This chilly morning/ The screen’s glow beckons/ Like a cave fire

Meltwater jewel/ From the heart’s tip, herald of/ Diamond torrents

What poets should do/ when inspiration fails/ is watch, and wait

Grey skies, grey stones/ Even out of the wind’s way/ A lingering chill

Clawing from the grave/ Tiny green fingers carry/ Life into the light

The world seems too harsh/ To nurture such fragile joy/ As the first snowdrops

The first green shoots/ Tremble and shiver, feeling/ The blade in the wind

Little green flames/ Life sends its tiny fires/ Through the cold dark earth

New life breaks the waves/ Of an earthen ocean/ The year’s tide turns

Rat wind, weasel wind/ Cutting through my jacket like/ Chill shining blades

Such a cold morning/  Like a child to its mother/  I cling to the hearth

All night the wind howls/ somewhere a shutter rattles/ you lie unmoving

All night the foxes scream/ Fur ripples against fur/ I wish you were here

Look at the magpies/ Not noticing the cold winds/ Searching for a mate

May the sun be warm/ and the stars shine long and bright/ on this happy day (for CF)

Neither one of us/ Would feel the raw east winds/ If you would say yes

Hurrying and fretting/ Most of us forget to look/ Overhead, stars dance

Welcome the crocus/ one tiny flame can brighten/ a million hearts

Phoenix in the flames/ Fragile draughts of fragrant bloom/ Burn a path for spring

Darling Valentine/ Every day you make me/ eternal springtime

Darling Valentine/ the roses that you bring me/ open forever

Darling Valentine/ I don’t need perfection/ All I need is love

Silver scarves of frost/ Like cobweb gowns abandoned/ By virgin vampires

So sunny today/ As if the world woke up with/ A smile on its face

Sound like water/ running over cool pale stones/ birdsong in darkness

When we are long gone/ pale sunbeams will fight the chill/ along the river

Thin rains, bladed winds /February afternoons /Cut like sharpened tongues

Eerie earthchill scent/ Ghosts of snowborn hyacinths/ Drift in forever

Near perfect quiet/ Everything’s possible/ Newborn in dreams

Like bladed winds/ Scouring the world with thornlash/ My sisters’ anger

Last year’s kisses/ blossom anew and sweetly/ as snowdrops open

Plan and plant for spring:/ Small creatures’ winter hungers/ Scrabble up your dreams.

Pigeons poised/ like ridge tiles on a rooftop/ dark against the dawn

There is more in sea/ And sunset and forest than/ In gods and heroes

Pale lilies unfurl/ Their rich bronze pollen/ Dusting my desktop

Great lilies open/ their mighty trumpets blaring/ a fragrant fanfare

Pink, plum, crimson, blush, / Satin-cool and velvet-soft, / My birthday bouquet

Winter-cold compost / Sparkles like chocolate flakes / Spilt from the freezer

Clouds into flowers / Transmutation via / Alchemy of rain

March in St. James’s / Massed daffodil ranks await / Spring’s command to bloom

White on grey the swans / Sweep across cloud-marbled sky / Each cry a promise

the scent of coldfire / the feel of silken water / the taste of lilies

Soft ice cold drizzle / City lights splinter rainbows / Jewels dance tonight

Secret of being / Bloom wherever planted like / That golden crocus

Nights still snuggle-cold / days bright and clear, blue-gold / best time of year

Sudden morning mist / parting lovers enshrouded / in pearly clouds

Clouds as white / as doves in flight / into the sunset

Every life / Heaven’s calligraphy / written on earth

Dreaming of life / the bird sleeps in the egg / a soul in waiting

That patch of purple / An Emperor’s garments / Flower in the grass

Around the corner / quiet, green, profound, / the heart of London

Horse chestnut candles / burnt out, petals fallen / a faded carpet

Darting and looping / swallows like hiragana / rhyming summer

Sun,wind, rain – / Beautiful children / Dancing together

Bluebell, campion, / Forget-me-not, daisy – / Lyrics of spring

Like fresh-sprung water / from grassy hollows, bluebells / bathe the breeze in spring

One true rapture / every day the world ends / and then is reborn

Quiet as church / Beautiful as art / Nature as worship

Bridal confetti / creamy white petals / fall on the grass

Leaves rustling / a sound like scouring / high wind skycleaning

Flying home to you / leaving friends far away / behind the clouds

Blood red cherries / bright as rubies, shining with / an inner fire

The sky blushes / As the sun steals a kiss / In a warm twilight

Evening dreams / pillowed on soft grass / under cloud quilts

Diamond eyed / Tsuruga dragons glitter / Because of the sun

Twenty-two years on / Red poppies blaze defiance / Fragile, bold, honest

The Muse didn’t show / she’s bone idle anyway / just start without her

Polite, hesitant, / a quiet little rain / like a shy guest

A little rain – / Flowers look brighter, softer, / Everything kind

Sun-warmed stone / People moving slowly / End of the day

too tired to rhyme / but poems come crowding in / like birds to water

we are worlds apart / but we can build bridges / across space and time

Fabulous terrors / ragged-winged, inky-black / a murder of crows

The act of being / Hard to master, and even / Harder to follow

last night a poem / danced on the verge of sleep / this morning vanished

grasses turn golden / their virgin green gone / with summer’s kisses

warm winds scatter / next summer’s poppies amid / dandelion gold

a tiny insect / darts by on wings of gauze / fragile as delight

behind night clouds / the sky a bright and calm / ocean of space

poets and cooks / don’t invent ingredients / words and rice exist / but they are not yet / poems or sushi (my first tanka @A-Kon 22)

tiny green damsons / shaken from their branches / scatter the alley

Like a coronet / a circle of butterflies / above the roses

After the heat / birdsong in the darkness like / the kiss of rain

Only two notes / But hearing that bird sing / Makes sunshine brighter

like shreds of paper / fluttering on warm breezes / butterfly, poppy

the grass is singing / without a wind, the crickets / make hot sweet music

bees drunk on nectar / lurch from flower to flower / summer festival

pretty butterflies / girls in flowerbright dresses / cluster on the grass

Weaving between trees / Flying low, fast and fluid / Slalom-crazy crow

Tiny gold lanterns / Light the way to treasure – / Tomato flowers

Humid afternoon / Lemon honey scented wind / Kisses me coolly

Punky goth boyteen / Lying on the shaded grass / Lost in a comic

cool as springwater / the soft breeze caresses / like a shy lover

Choosing the sweeter – / Passionfruit or flower – / Impossible task

Lying on warm grass / I wasted the afternoon / Watching flowers dance

chattering squirrels / gossip about the prospects /for this year’s nuts

Now the swallows fly / Looping between earth and sky / Weaving the clouds

Beside the pathway / Those little pink wild flowers / walk back to childhood

Glossy cherries / Glowing like rubies, shining / Like new-spilt blood

With the butterflies / On the doorstep at daybreak / Waving goodbye

Reaching for the sun / Long cool green and gold fingers / Ripening beans

lances of rain / fierce as flamenco / clack on the tarmac

Darkness overhead / but on the far horizon / a bright patch of blue

Spider in the grass / Stringing harps of silverweb / For the wind to play

Ancient carving / In a peaceful garden / echoes of conquest

A flight of swallows / each wingbeat a lesson / in how to let go

The peace of trees / Life renews itself for me / In shade and silence

Disorderly grass / newly shorn and underlined / with rows of lost blades

glowing like a rose / petals scattered pink on blue / evening dyed sky

distant grey towers / made insubstantial by / colours of sunset

dyeing the blue sky / with colour so intense it / seeps in through the blinds

Green and fragrant / Beauty sheltering behind / A veil of rain

Distance is nothing / time and space have no meaning / in the heart’s kingdom

Earth pants and trembles / an old man at the bath-house/ shaking in the heat

Fine shining threads / of sunshine and kindness stitch / the day together

You sound so quiet / half a world away until / tomorrow morning

fragile wings shimmer / web glistens in the sunlight / the spider watches

Honey gold moon / Almost close enough to touch / What would it taste like?

Night too hot for sleep / The music of raindrops / Cooling the new day

Hot pink, pale lilac / flower petals fade across / a spectrum of grace

Sunflower showers / they droop in heavy rain / but they still shine

The sky is clearing / A veil of mist hangs low / The sun teases

fading petals limp / as washworn silk fluttering / in their last breeze

London is burning / its lovely vanities / forging its steel

Fires of London / Raging in the heart of us / Envy anger greed

Hope out of Hackney / create don’t incinerate / London’s new mantra

Squealing police cars / scurry across Newham like / kids fleeing looted shops

boys who stand back for / old people on buses are/ massing in hoodies

Kids whose worst crime was / weed and loud music are / picking up housebricks

Slippery slopes are / by definition so / hard to climb again

Chain reaction / Devastating streets and lives / city as a bomb

passionflower / tendrils beaten down by rain / grasps something lower

those cheeky sunbeams / jostling like roughneck boys / make the apples blush

I have never worn / Red velvet luscious as / Those petunias

Every second / Changes the colours washing / This endless heaven

hot heavy darkness / the rain falls so sweetly / like stolen kisses

Islands of white cloud / In an ocean of blue / Shining like dreams

Butterfly kisses / You brush my cheeks with petals / Blue as the summer

Cool and deep / Your rain coloured eyes / In the endless heat

scattered on the sky / shredded clouds like feathers / heaven’s cats at play

ghost-child still lingers / in the sunlit blue morning / late-setting moon

shrine of the dawn / scraps of white cloud carry / prayers to heaven

you are this sunshine / this air that surrounds me / entirely you

at Fukushima / sunflowers clean the air / we have polluted

whatever happens / life in and of itself is / so beautiful

a new-laid egg – / rounded, speckled, warm, perfect – / new life in my hand

Every moment / In the headlong rush of days / A firefly cage

No day is ever / exactly like another / this applies to loss

Pink cloud petals / Drifting on the early light / Late cherry blossom

The stormy season / Nothing is safe or certain / And we are fragile

Clotted grey cloud / Thickening the stormy sky / Whipping up trouble

A hot grey morning / As if the sky were holding / All the world’s tears

#waystogetoffphone / turn it off, write a poem, / just do some living

What is art about? / Idea, skill, outcome, or / The artist’s working?

chilly this morning / the warmth of a teacup / a welcome embrace

clear bright morning / pastel cold transparency / a long dark coming

Dawn and clear sky / How does it look to loaches / Deep under water?

Chrysalis tatters / Hang like discarded dresses / Beauty outmoded

Does the moth ever / In dreaming remember / Chrysalis shelter? (Some say haiku shouldn’t rhyme. I say why not?)

Life stirs and stretches / Beautiful wings, destroying / Different beauty

Goodbye hot blue days / Now gentle winds scoop leaf-fall / Into damp pillows

Winds like ice-cream / A sweet and tender chilling / Diamonds come later

If I could not see / I would still know autumn by / Its gentle crispness

All castles crumble / a heartbeat from disaster / is where we live (for 3/11 and 9/11)

trees in a high wind / our ageing bodies battle / time’s rushing torrent

Roar about, shriek, / Slam doors, scatter leaves – Nature / In a teenage strop

A cat in repose / Entirely in the now / Nearing Nirvana

thin streaks of high cloud / like scratches from the skycat / bleeding in the dawn

six a.m. – the sky / blushing like a schoolgirl at / morning’s first shy kiss

teasing down my skin / dawn cold sheathes its talons like / a playful kitten

colder this morning / the soft dew slides down inside / my rainy window

plane so high and tiny / tangled in the spiderweb / across my window

The world ends always / But when leaves colour and fall / We realise it

Softer than kisses / Soaking through my skin like love / Warm rain chills later

A sudden torrent / sky heavy and black with rain / darkness comes early

Google memory / Your house, the roads we wandered, / Even your grave

Caught on a cobweb / A dead leaf flutters – flag of / A conquered season

Curve of the inlet / Shining like a silver curl / Across dawn’s pillow

Mothlike stars whirl by / Circling around my head / Pollen-heavy night

soft whirring sounds / pigeons in the nest or / time running away?

dark in East London / screams in the alley, scuffles – / two foxes fighting

falling leaves look / beautiful as drunken dreams / in shimmering heat

basking lizard-like / on the sunwarmed wall of time / the ageing year

Giants pass away / All things pass away, but still / New flowers open (for Steve Jobs)

And another one for Steve: Life is as fleeting / As riches, fame, memory, / But your work may last.

Red russet copper / A lick of sulphur yellow / Never green again

I did not notice / Jewels on the plum tree till / One fell on my head

Nature makes poems / Of each passing moment but / Poets can’t keep up

Blind amid wonder / Atoms dance like angels while / We look for the pin

Wish I could capture / The poems Nature lives as / I try to write one

High wind in London / Tears the parting calls of geese / Into soft tatters

Spider’s web in sun / A rainbow bridge, the gate / Of life and death

The wind blows poems / Into my heart like leaf-fall / From the furthest tree

Cold on the doorstep / Tiny spider-steps shiver / Across my bare toes

Chalk white on clear blue / setting moon says “just one more / quick game of hopscotch”

Half moon this morning / Like a girl’s bare rump in the / Deep blue sea of sky

That cold inbound wind / Brings rainclouds, brings seagulls / Fleeing in vain

A mackerel sky / Grey and silver cloudscales on / Morning’s sleek cold side

Mellow afternoon / Sky still blue, leaves still green, but / Small chills in the wind

Surrounding me like / light like air like water, you / are chills on my skin

Indescribably / Awake, each whirling atom / Focused on the light

Cloud-marbled sky, young / Sun behind the greyness like / An old man’s young heart

Damp earth, shining sky / Trails of high cloud like icevines / On heaven’s window

The point of living / Not living forever but / Living in the now

the cold arrives in / clouds of soft grey and jewels / of liquid silver

gentle tears of dawn / greyfeathered pigeon / murmurs in the rain

drawing back the blind / on darkness that still blankets / the reluctant dawn

Outside the rain / Wet leaves pave the roads / Inside just we two

Frost patches on grass / Like sleeping ghosts, exhausted / By a night’s haunting

Tiny green spider / Shining like milky jade on / My new-painted fence

So many years / From girl into woman but / Always my friend (for Barbara’s birthday)

moon in a mistveil / smiling like a woman with / a lovely secret

woken by birdsong / I listen to your breathing / warm in the darkness

in the early dark / rain scrabbles at the door like / a drunk wanting in

Watching the valley / Fill up with cloud and shadow / Before darkness fell

The rocket’s bright wake / Draws every eye. No-one / Watches it falling.

A gang of squirrels / Rumbling and tumbling over / Scraps from a burger

Chusonji aflame / Nine hundred years prayer / For ultimate grace

Two sleek fat magpies / Picking over new-shorn ground / Looking for treasure

Southbound geese inscribe / Dark curves on massing clouds / A farewell message

Eleventh hour / Day month year forever / Remembering heroes Remembrance Day 2011

Heroes died for this: / If everyone is not / Free, no-one can be Remembrance Day 2011

out of cloud and fog / grey geese scurry overhead / scolding “late, late, late!”

When we forget them / Those who achieved our peace / Then we betray it Remembrance Sunday 2011

Veils of high thin cloud / Like frosted morning breathing/ Chilling the sunbeams

Sunshine this morning / Pale and soft but welcome as / A guest’s small gift

festival cooking / cinnamon and allspice are / the taste of your skin

The moonlight shimmers / Through freezing air like music / Heard across distance

The smell of nutmeg / My mother in the kitchen/ Baking my childhood

This season’s colours / Ochre and russet and gold / Fresh every time

Lamplight in the mist / Like that ring around the moon / All three of us cold

Like tears in rain or / Tears in lace, the mist reveals / Spiderweb secrets

Walking through wet air / Heavy with mist and lamplight / Dew chilling my feet

Fly the highest wind / Through the deepest dark, and there / Find love and laughter.  RIP Anne McCaffrey

The lamplight dances / Like a girl at a party / Down the foggy road

taste a child’s winter: / England’s hot chestnuts, Japan’s / hot sweet potatoes

Wind from the marshes / Cold as clarity after / Long days of mistmurk

Squirrel and magpies / Interspecies warfare / At my bird feeder

Diamond diva / First frost dripping with dazzle / Fashionably late

Ginger, cinnamon / Colours of flavour alive / Delicious hair

Fragile slivermoon / Melts into misty dark like / Snow on a child’s tongue

moon smudged by mist / like a yellow chalk scrawl on / the witches’ pavement

Piercingly clear / birdsong in the morning air / bright as frostsparkle

Frost-jewelled cobweb / Far lovelier than any / Poem I can write

Whenever I think / “There will be no more sunshine” / Someone smiles at me

Every second / Poems of real beauty / Pass by unnoticed

Lost magpie feather / Hides blue-green sheen as vibrant / As a beetle’s wing

When I fly in dreams / amid soaring birdangels / I see you with them

The icy blue sky / Cold clarity this morning / After wine’s warm night

when we lose track of / the pulse of seasons, we find / we have lost ourselves

we lead the lifedance / for a little while, less time / than dinosaurs ruled

My wish for this world / a quiet night, a new dawn / ordinary life

haiku hiding / in the forests of dreaming / dances with leaves

The sky’s clear smile / Hides teeth like sharpened razors / Fangs of the north wind

On the verge of sleep / I let go my poem’s hand / and it danced away

The sky’s clear smile / Hides teeth like sharpened razors / Fangs of the north wind

Air over ice / The darkness pours smoothly / From a chilled sky

The lamplight dances / Glittering in the cold mist / On my early road

Camembert moon / ripe and oozing in the dawn / already half gone

Half moon, clear sky / Icy blue, pearly glow / Warming chill morning

How many poems / Exist in this moment for / All who can see them?

On the cold air / My breath a pathway for / The newborn moment

Cold as the wind / Half under skysheets, the moon / Goes back to sleep

Everyone has / poems inside, but mostly / keeps them in cages

Waiting, hoping / The sun will rise again / Dark of the year

that bird’s morning song / bright and cold as the blue air / freezing my ankles

Amid the bustle / Of buy sell eat drink work / Consider true gifts: / Sunrise, new light, warmth / Of human kindness (Christmas tanka)

Thick-spun spidersilk / Soft as kisses, strong as steel, / Protecting new life

Pale sun, green fence / Distant footfall on the path / The coming year

Life as a maze / Each breath a doorway to / Amazing worlds

Perky magpies / Twittering goodwill to all / This frosty morning

The year is not / Ours, only the moment: / All we have and know

Dawn waiting for birth / The world holds its breath / As new life begins

Dawn, quiet street / First-footing after revels / Sleek-suited crow

Cold, dark and windy / it hardly seems like morning / but for your smile

Only half a moon / More than enough for lovers / To make a dream

rain falling hard / like machine-gun fire / mowing down morning

clear shining song / showers icepetals on / clear morning sky

that freezing sky / has colours as tender as / high summer silks

Jellyfish moving / Through stormseas, a shoal / Of bright umbrellas

A wild wet gust / Umbrellas blow outward / Swaying windflowers

Never such colours / Cold rose and blue and golden / Clouds enfolding dawn

Flight in formation / Magpies in sequence gliding / Between bare trees

So much sky above / How can birds ever bear / To leave it unflown?

a frozen pearl / lying on ice blue satin / this morning’s moon

Rose pink skidmarks / Feather the glowing sky / Planes fly homeward

Night’s artistry / On each thickly frosted / Glittering roof

Moon’s a skater / Gliding a polished floor / Of blackest ice

girls in thin satin / snowdrops shiver in morning’s / icewater air

shimmering birdsong / ice shattering underfoot / my morning music

On frozen branches / Buds open releasing / Blossoms of sunlight

The bird sings / with every atom of / its joyous being

the internet is / the omelette, artists are / its golden eggs

Having what you want / At all times is not / A human right

The sun slips behind / Night’s black iron gates. The cold / Growls like a watchdog

Inside my head / A universe of stars / A billion suns

Decorate the day: / Like plaster ducks, four magpies / On the grey skywall

The wind sang to me / All night long. The road was cold / But we were merry.

beautiful, yes / but a photo cannot catch / the sound of snowfall

Rain plumps the dark / Cloudcushions piled on / Thundergod’s quilt

Chill wind before dawn / the patter of raindrops like / little ghost footsteps

Red-crowned cranes / Fight white-tailed eagles – fish / Always the losers

the rain runs wild / a gang of children playing / tag in the dark street / and I wonder why no-one / calls them in to the fire

my father’s ghost / in the smell of tobacco / on a busy street

snowdrops dance alone / because the dance means more / than being seen

a curving clipping / shining on the velvet sky / manicured moon

The cold like slivers / Of split bamboo sliding / Under my nails

cold in my ear / sharp and shrill as whining / iceladen windsong

Cold in my ear / Echoes from underwater / a frozen sea

She writes another / poem that no-one will read – / this is not tragic. / Blossom doesn’t need to / wait for the beholder.

Transparent, pure, / Cold as Arctic melt, / This morning’s sky

Icy deep sky / a stone flung upwards / will sink forever

Ghostly treats/Hanging on winter trees -/Snow popcorn clusters:/This morning, tiny footprints/Crowd under bare branches

Sunrise enflames / The frozen towers of / Canary Wharf / Bonfire of vanities / Reflecting cataclysm

snow bows branches / but daffodil spears / thrust it aside

Deep snow reflecting / ghostlight back to heavy cloud / as the wind frets

Trees white as bone / Cold-bleached, snow-feathered, / Stand in the silence

Drama moon / bright follow spot on / dark velvet backdrop

Who knew your wings / Carried so many dreams / Long-necked beetle? (Remembering Osamu Tezuka)

“All life is sacred” / and his way of worship was / living completely (Remembering Osamu Tezuka)

“all life is sacred” / the act of creation / ultimate worship (Remembering Osamu Tezuka)

“all life is sacred” / to revel in living is / endless prayer (Remembering Osamu Tezuka)

just a little snow / just enough to wake my / inner snowballer

snowfall in darkness / millions of petals / blossom from heaven

the sun so bright / it burns its after-image / on eyes frozen shut

just about to set / in a frozen milky sky / clotted cream moon

When I have no words / You put kisses in the gaps / Like budding roses (a Valentine haiku for S)

One explosion / In billions of atoms / Making spring

little girls in silk / leading the procession / spring is on her way

Trying to write / All the things I love in you / I ran out of words

New crocus buds / Life writing its poems / In vivid crayon

Vamping the chill / A Technicolor sunset / All wine and roses

Things lost forever: / A snowflake, a sunset, / A day with a child.

Fat crocus fingers / Daubing life’s colours/ On snowy paper

Phosphor-bright / Crocus stamens ignite / The darkest day

2 thoughts on “Haiku & Senryu

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