poetry diary

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing. (Seamus Heaney, from Personal Helicon)

Month: September, 2011

River song – at end of summer

Imagining you, walking by the river;
evening light still, soft on your cheeks.
I can hear the water, now; gentle whispers,
caressing her banks, that touch your feet,
warm in the grass – toes most alive
at the fading day’s end.

Summer lives, but she is tired
and spent;
on raising swans and apple trees,
swathes of grasses and bright echinops,
fox cubs and marigolds:
a rest deserved, and sought.

And so the blue sky fades to white
and pink;
laying down her head on softening clouds,
and closing slowly blossom eyes
to sleep, and dream,
of spring.

September Haiku Challenge – Week 5

Berlin – Sept 30

This relaxed city,
people laughing at midnight,
has earned peace through pain.

Rhythm – Sept 29

Insect wings beating
in microscopic rhythm
stir autumn evening.

Charm – Sept 28

Leaves with ice crystals
aligned like tiny magnets,
etching winter’s charm.

Poise – Sept 27

Midnight lampposts poised
silently like winter trees,
preparing for spring.

Phoenix – Sept 26

Hypnotic bonfire;
is there movement in the flames?
Phoenix are still rare.


For Haiku Heights September Challenge. This is the last week, and it has got tougher (especially as I now have some kind of flu as well) but I feel I have thoroughly explored this form – although it’s dominated the month. Glad I made the effort.

I’m also in Berlin, very strangely and briefly, for a one day conference on 29 Sept. I’ve never been here before and it’s a lovely city, as far as I can tell from a 36 hour visit…

September Haiku Challenge – Week 4

Evening walk (any subject) – Sept 25

Two buzzards calling;
autumn fields swim through evening,
and you’re in my arms.

Lost – Sept 24

Lost in summer rain,
ancient city towers blur
and cobbles glisten.

Waterfall – Sept 23

Cascading waters,
like lovers’ wanton yearning,
making autumn mists.

Bull’s eye (Torero) – Sept 22

Reflecting a boy,
dark bull’s eye. Now he will learn
if he’s yet a man?

Bubbles – Sept 21

Raindrops as bubbles
from autumn’s soda siphon
clouding my whisky.

Feather – Sept 20

Unfeathered chickens
laid on supermarket shelves
in cold fulfilment.

Bold – Sept 19

Becoming bolder
the mouse edged towards the cheese,
but cats are patient.


For September Haiku Challenge at Haiku Heights.

Restaurant Quarter, Bruxelles

The road is a room between days
spent playing with history,
and the world flickers in flames
of perpetual table candles.

Women talk and smoke;
toying with men and memories,
supping on wine and life and love.

I think of muses,
the privileges of loneliness,
and how many nights I’ve spent like this;
sipping friendly wine,
swimming in dusk’s pool,
watching passers by,
and stirring through my soul.

The road is a room between days,
searching for what’s here.


I’m in Brussels, as I have been twice a year for the past three years, working with people from all around Europe for a week, and connecting with shared histories and humour going back thousands of years. I feel very privileged to meet and work with colleagues from Bulgaria and Finland and Malta and Portugal and everywhere in between, and wish I could have a week every year like this (in fact everyone should have this chance, once a year, to meet like-minded people in whatever it is they do from other cultures). It is refreshing and life-affirming. Alas – this is my last time.

If you know this part of Brussels, just off Rue Gretry, I think you’ll know what I mean about the road, too.

September Haiku Challenge – Week 3

Pear tree (any subject) – Sept 18

Pear tree bent double
in fatal fecundity;
her harvest too rich.

Winter – Sept 17

Couple in winter
squabbling over shopping;
once they were lovers.

Chime – Sept 16

Autumn city
towers wiser with each chime,
as their stones crumble.

Patience – Sept 15

Among patient trees,
I see partridge wandering,
and feel the world breathe.

Elixir – Sept 14

Financial crises;
I trust we’ll find elixirs
in humanity.

Liberty – Sept 13

Remembering days,
of liberty and sunlight;
still the roses bloom.

Flood – Sept 12

Condensing dewdrops
flooding this morning’s leaf cups;
each small world renewed.


For haiku heights September challenge – nearly half way!

September Haiku Challenge – Week 2

Flourish – Sept 5

With one last flourish
rainbows and roses announce
summer is over.

Kiss – Sept 6

Wasp kissing windfall.
Smoke rises. Birds flock. ‘Too late’,
they cry, autumn comes.

Kiss II – Sept 6

He touched her shoulder.
Snowflakes settled around them.
The world stopped. They kissed.

Hypnotic – Sept 7

Hypnotic pigeons
cooing in the trees – listen:
we’ve slept twenty years.

Hidden – Sept 8

Willow-hidden moon,
hunted by the autumn clouds
until dawn takes her.

Yearn (The human condition?) – Sept 9

We yearn for freedom
even as we forge our chains;
best done together?

Magic – Sept 10

At summer’s ending
leaves fall, clearing the air
for winter’s magic.

Universal Rain (any subject) – Sept 11

Feeling connected
as the rain falls everywhere
wondering what next?


These are all for haiku heights September challenge, and I’m adding to this post daily during each week. The themes are fixed, which makes it very tough, but satisfying. I’m happiest with the willow-hidden moon haiku above – this was inspired by the prompt plus seeing the moon behind a willow tree on Thursday evening, in a stormy autumn sky.

I think of you

I think of you in between moments,
when the first raindrops fall
or shadows reach out to welcome the sun;
at the end of each day’s exploration,
or half-waking to distant bird song.
I think of you far away, dreaming,
or floating past swans as they watch;
your words like light among leaves;
your face laughing,
and your touch completing.
Though time and space edit my memories,
and we may meet again as strangers,
I think of you.

September Haiku Challenge – week 1

Write – Sept 1

I write electric
words, made wistful or hopeful
by passing seasons.

Mirror – Sept 2

Holding a mirror
to half-hollows in my soul
I see space for love.

Windmill – Sept 3

A golden windmill.
Is it the dying sunlight,
or the autumn corn?

Like waves – Sept 4 (any subject)

Reality breaks,
as imagination ebbs;
my need for love grows.


I am going to try to participate in the September Haiku Challenge at the suggestion of Heaven (thanks). This means trying to do a haiku a day to fixed prompts (see link). Rather than post each haiku separately, I thought I’d post a week together – so I’ll just add tomorrow’s effort to this post, etc. We’ll see how this goes, but this at least gives me a little bit of flexibility!

The first prompt was “write”.