Saturday, December 20, 2014

rain drops
into the hollowness
of empty pots

BHS Anthology 2014 'Sound'
'Beyond Words'  BHS/Bulgarian Haiku Union anthology 2017

Thursday, December 18, 2014

you give
so much
I can't take it

Blithe Spirit Vol.24 No.4 November 2014
learning to trust
in my own buoyancy
the ocean
and the slow ecstacy
of letting go

Blithe Spirit Vol.24 No.4 November 2014
the moment
when you find something
and think

Blithe Spirit Vol.24 No.4 November 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

as if to remind me
that the world can still
surprise me
my poems came back
as a song

A Hundred Gourds 3:4 September 2014
I finally forgave you
for not answering
those letters
that I wrote to you
and never sent

A Hundred Gourds 3:4 September 2014
in a dream
of broken ground, twisted rails
and ruined buildings
I am a plane
that flies above it all

Skylark 2:2 Winter 2014
I've grown accustomed to
the old fridge makes
a hum I only notice
when it stops

Skylark 2:2 Winter 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

spring rain
falls softly, steadily
all day
the sadness
comes and goes in waves

Blithe Spirit  Vol.24 No.3 August 2014
on the day I hear
that you are never
coming back
I play the same song
over and over

Blithe Spirit  Vol.24 No.3 August 2014

one summer's day
measured only
by the sun
the rest of our lives
seemed like forever

Blithe Spirit  Vol.24 No.3 August 2014
the seeds
I've held all winter
baby's breath

Blithe Spirit  Vol.24 No.3 August 2014
the estate agent
never even mentioned it -
goldfinch song

Presence #50 July 2014
she asks
if he has any
real friends
the pain of someone
half a world away

Presence #50 July 2014
half a tin
of whitewash
in a dark corner
things I can't
use or part with

Presence #50 July 2014
for so many years
you helped to light
the way
today the path leads
through a darker place

For Martin

Presence #50 July 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lost property

You must have
left her with me
by mistake

maybe you put her down
to pick up your coffee cup

many years ago
when we were younger
and less careful

we sometimes let
our paths cross
with those of strangers

as if we didn't know
the dangers

I've tried not to
let myself think of her
as mine

but I've become used to
having her around

she's grown a little wiser
over all the years
I've kept her

just in case
one day you
want her back.

 (Oldie revised.)
older now
I dream that you still
sing to me
and that I write
poems for you

Castles in the Sand TSA 2002 Members Anthology
trying to switch on a light that already is late October

Modern Haiku Vol.43 No.1 Winter/Spring 2012
the backs of books
belonging to a neighbour
I don't know

Modern Haiku Vol.43 No.1 Winter/Spring 2012
the approaching storm
carries ahead of it
a red balloon

Presence #45 January 2012
I realise I've lived
all my life on islands

Presence #45 January 2012

Also at

swirl of wind
the sound of laughter
from a courtyard garden

Presence #45 January 2012
crescent moon
no expression on the face
of the doll

Modern Haiku Vol,43 No.2 Summer 2012
my neighbours
at their windows too
by the violence
of the storm

Presence #46 June 2012
after the concert
wild music
of the wind

Blithe Spirit Vol.22 No.3 August 2012
that old wish
before I can stop it
falling star

Blithe Spirit Vol.22 No.3 August 2012
with the evening breeze
the blackbird's song

Blithe Spirit Vol.22 No.3 August 2012
jubilee bunting
reaches only halfway
round the pub

Blithe Spirit Vol.22 No.3 August 2012
waking again
to find it dark
then in the stillness
the first birds
begin to sing

Blithe Spirit Vol.22 No.3 August 2012
on a book
on the earth
dust has settled

Presence #47 December 2012
lava field
aware I'm walking
on a planet

Presence #47 December 2012

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Am I a traditionalist or an innovator? No. I refuse to roost in either pigeon hole. Quite often I work within (self-imposed) constraints. Sometimes I like to see what happens when I turn things upside down, add pepper and give them a shake. When it seems right I'll write whatever comes into my head, just as it comes. Other days I edit, edit and edit again. I don't follow masters, especially not self-styled ones, but I know stars when I see them and I've got the sense to use them to navigate by. I do like a good metaphor. And plain, simple, direct language. And ambiguity. And the common or garden seen afresh. And the marvellously strange. And, and, and! Not either/or.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NaHaiWriMo 2014

I joined in with NaHaiWriMo again this year. It's always fun, a challenge and a good exercise. The resulting haiku are usually variable in quality - some prompts being a lot trickier than others - but there are usually some that I'm not too ashamed of. This year these are the ones. (Some have been revised since February).

racing clouds a crow drinks February rain

migraine aura
the world begins to
break          up
round the edges

tail of the bean
so many possibilities
expertly excised

cold light
a pile of wood-chips
by the stump

Keppler mission
the wail of the wind
rises and falls

the busker plays another one
from Trad Anon

cirrus at dusk
the brazen fullness
of the moon

free-range eggs
in the high-rise dweller's
shopping bag

beehives beside the sunlit sea a honey stall

at the waterline
a fishing boat becomes

racist comment
on the western horizon
a storm brews

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


My interest in the concise and minimal doesn't just manifest itself in haiku, tanka and haibun. Editing down to the essentials - but no further! - can be applied to other things too. Over the last few years I've been gradually reducing and simplifying my living space and personal possessions. I've done this not out of any ascetic philosophy, but because it makes me feel better - less encumbered. I enjoy the things I have more now than I did when they were lost in a sea of 'stuff'. It also has the advantage of helping me live within my means.

I've been interested to see at what point it felt right to stop. When is enough, enough? When would I reach the point at which disposing of anything else would be uncomfortable or limiting? The last thing to go was the microwave oven and I haven't missed it in the slightest. I'm now living in 32sq metres/345sq feet and it feels right. It's not as ingeniously designed as Gary Chang's famous example, but it suits me. I'm hoping it might also be a good place to settle down to writing again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Martin Lucas 1962 - 2014

Martin Lucas: front row, left. *

The day I met Martin Lucas was one of those rare perfect early summer days. I was one of a group walking along the Norfolk coast. I'd recently discovered the strange, intriguing form of poetry called haiku while browsing online and this walk, from Sheringham to Hunstanton in June 1999, was my first meeting with haiku poets face-to-face. For a while on that day I was walking with Martin Lucas and John Barlow who were discussing haiku. I was fascinated by what I heard and I recall thinking 'this is a conversation I want to be involved in' and I have been involved in it, in one way or another, through all the years since then.

Sometime during that walk I acquired my first copy of the journal Presence and it has been a favourite ever since. On those rare occasions when I gather together my published haiku I go to my Presence collection first because Martin, as editor, had a way of spotting the best and kindly returning the rest, often with a handwritten note of encouragement.

I've lost one of my first haiku mentors and it will be a more lonely path without him.

Martin's poetry showed a deep connection with the natural world and empathy with all kinds of living things, including humanity, often expressed with a touch of gentle humour. I'd like to include a small selection of his haiku and tanka here in appreciation.

the many noises of London
in the smallest hour
all that's left:
voice of the blackbird

Blithe Spirit 8/1 1998

poetry group
deep in thought;
gurgle of plumbing

 .. click.. Hub Editions, 1998

deepening winter
  darkness in the eyes
    of a chained dog

Earthjazz, Ram, 2003

a quiet stretch of river
the gull's little kick
into flight

Frogpond 26/2, 2003

summer river -
when I'm barefoot
it's forever

Presence 39  September 2009
Awarded 'Best of Issue' by popular vote in Presence 40

autumn spider running to the raincloud sky

Presence 47 December 2012


*  BHS North Norfolk Coast Park walk 1999. I would very much have preferred to get permission from everyone else in the photograph before posting but that was not possible as I do not have current contact details. If anyone has objections to it being included here please let me know and I will take it down immediately. If anyone does not object but would just like to get back in touch - please do! My new email  address can be found in my profile.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Martin Lucas missing

Martin Lucas, poet and editor of the journal Presence, has been missing since Friday 21st March. 

Photograph by Frank Williams

Martin was one of the first haiku poets I met, back in 1999 on a walk along the Norfolk coast. I know, from talking to friends and acquaintances in person and via social networks all over the world, that he is much missed. A lot of people would like to know that he's ok.

I want to do what I can and so I'm posting this in the hope that it might reach someone who knows something that might help.

If you have any information please ring the police on 101. Please share this news.

The BHS Facebook page will have updates.