Haibun: Compassion

She was a wild cat really. She never moved inside the house, but would show up at feeding time and sleep on the veranda. She used to be a pristine ball of white fluff. Now she can no longer clean herself, big patches of dry skin show through. She used to be playful and loving. Now she cannot hear so well, jumps and scratches when you come upon her from behind.

I looked at her ageing, diminished body in disgust. I thought of all the unsavoury germs and told my younger child: ‘No, don’t touch!’ But he ignored me. ‘Poor kitty-kitty!’ he said, bending down to caress her, not at all dismayed by decay. I love the fact that he is a better person than me. I hope he will be as tender with me one day.

When frost crackles bones
how sweet to find a warming
spot in river’s flow

A lovely prompt about compassion based on the poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) from the dVerse Poets Pub.

Coffee Shop Haibun

In an attempt to escape the chill in my house and save on heating bills, I took my writing to a café recently, which finally gave rise to some lighter verse. Over at dVerse Poets Pub, we are focusing on ekphrasis, combining art and poetry, allowing them to complement and lift each other. So, instead of a photo of a current Viennese coffee house, I will show you a picture by an anonymous painter showing the first coffee house in Vienna, The Blue Bottle, and acknowledging the Turkish legacy of the brew.

Zu der Blauen Flaschen, from www.dorotheum.com
Zu der Blauen Flaschen, from http://www.dorotheum.com

There is a constant buzz in the air and I can’t help but catch random nouns, fleeting storm of verbs, wondering about the beginning or end of a story. Here once men (and only men, save for serving-wenches) met for important discussions, philosophy and politics, courtly tricks well played. Nowadays it’s families, business meetings and angsty writers. Spoons clink, raucous slurps, children roll playfully under the table. The names of the beverages seem to change daily, as do the baristas: soy-free double cortado, skinny flat Americano… I need a dictionary. Foam and coffee stained, my cup stands a forlorn witness to my frantic scribbling.

Warm my hands on mug
Waiting for inspiration:
Caffeine soaring lark.

Autumn Haikus

Although I have a business webinar to run later on today, my thoughts are very much focused on a selection of poems I will be submitting for a competition. So here are some poems which will not make the grade, but which suit the season.

From Wikimedia
From Wikimedia

Burnt-ochre leaves run

alongside my car. Warm hug

after sleepless nights.


Ghost-white snails clinging

at the end of hot summer:

let go of grass blade


Distant bark of dogs

embrace sun darting through leaves

then pop of shooting!


wp_20161023_08_57_40_proOlives hanging shy

colourless maidens bustling

in their silver gowns.


Leaves in frost casing.

Darting in the undergrowth –

hoary platitudes.

From inspirationgreen.com
From inspirationgreen.com



Haibun: One Foot in Fairy Tales, the Other in the Abyss

It’s Haibun time over at dVerse Poets Pub – a form of prose poem followed by a haiku or other form of micropoetry. This time we have a number of quotes to inspire us. I chose Paulo Coelho’s:

At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.

They gurgle fullness of belly and gaze. Like well-trained lapdogs, they sit and never grumble. The occasional whine may escape their lips, but they never bare their teeth, nor lunge forward at the hand that feeds them. They are content with their flat screens and smartphones, their pinging tablets, their remote-controlled houses, their cars racing from 0-60 faster than you can wish yourself away an island. Holidays twice a year in a remote, yet not isolated enough to lack servants or Wifi connection. All these conspire to give you the illusion of happiness, of being in control.

Then there are days when your corporate patter dribbles down on your neatly ironed shirt. When you have to let your best friend go, because of performance issues. When you realise you have no friends. When your children no longer care or know you are around. When your wife has a golf coach or tennis coach or swimming instructor with more muscles than you have hair. When you are never home to enjoy your landscaped gardens and your jacuzzi tub.

As snow melts on roots,
mud clings to last autumn’s leaves:
no room for fresh buds.


Breaking the Rules

Over at dVerse Poets, Brian has transformed us all into rebels, cat burglars and revolutionaries. What does he want us to do? Nothing less than break all the rules, say goodbye to convention and ‘improve’ poetic forms. So, since I haven’t had much sleep over the past few days, I will stick to a brief form, an old favourite of mine: the haiku. See what I’ve done below? Snow melts so quickly that my last verse only has 3 syllables instead of 5. Describing the frustration of this snowless, skiless winter, which only brings on blizzardy snow when I have a five-hour drive ahead of me.


Because we’ve waited

Till every last snow cloud passed.

Now melting…




Haikus for a Crazy Spring

DSCN6606We’re having such changeable weather lately, with perhaps 3 seasons in a day (several times over). Here are some haikus about this crazy month of May.

Last snow streak on rock

wind-chased clouds take shelter there

-would I had my own!


Now clear now cloud drift

we linger on in wonder

at the constant change.


rainstormFogging up windows

like withered petals we crouch

in entrails of Tube



This day sleeves are short.

Still fresh before the swelter –

our sun-starved ghost arms.

Asagao: Morning Glory on a Winter Night

From Chapter 20 (Asagao) of the Genji Monogatari (Seidensticker translation):

People make a great deal of the flowers of spring and the leaves of autumn, but for me a night like this, with a clear moon shining on snow, is the best – and there is not a trace of colour in it.


This inspired the following haiku, which I am linking up to Open Link Night over at the dVerse Poets Pub.

Lunar petal drift

What a brief and futile dream

Childishness of snow

Dawn Chorus

I was up early today and opened my window to the most amazing, glorious sound.  And of course tree blossoms of any kind always, always remind me of Japan, hence the variations on the haiku format below.


Curlicued dawn calls.

My heart fills: joyful chorus

of effort not mine.


Only in our dreams

Do birds contemplate:

Singing, breathing become one.


Oh, to fly into summer

on the wings of mellow tunes,

nestle in pink buds!


Holiday Haikus

Snowy landscapeSilver mother-tongue:

winter nights are still too short

to share you with friends.


If you must pass too:

let the murmur of the snow

be your only guide.


Our Falcon-hut

hugs its icy green mantle

closer to its heart.


Shrill squawks of delight

our boys, your boys: who can tell?

Bundled-up snowmen.


If laughter ceases,

what is left? Bring more mulled wine!

Games room rings with us.


Inside the prison,

outside of the storm,

I am laughing.


A Year’s Worth of Haikus

A light-hearted read for the weekend: haikus for every season, and a good excuse to upload some favourite pictures.


Perfect crunch on ice

Spiked boots and burning muscle

Welcome warmth of soup


Where are friendships now?

The chalet sighs for Christmas

Lights buried in snow


How much hope, what joy,

When stubborn hardy rootling

Gushes forth from sod!


Long before the fall

The camellia’s head hung low

Blushing memory


Scented white lilac –

However brief its glory

There is no contest


No cherries this year.

I wonder if this season

Will greet me again.


So much life and hope

Drinks and laughter lighten

On long summer days


Annual body roast.

Not a second on the beach

To savour salt air.


Back! Back! They twitter.

Settling nicely in the groove,

Keeping tan well creamed.


Demented squash shapes

Stretch out arms imploring, catch

Chill hush in the air.


So it closes in:

Each year a little harder

To bear the long-streaked rain.


Not naughty, not nice –

Can it be time already

To freeze our desires?