Want a quick hit of haiku?
I am currently participating in a Junicho lead by Ashley Capes and was asked to submit three haiku for a summer verse. Here are the poems I submitted:
every cloud is
a dead lamb
behind a stand of pines
the sun slips
sky to sea
and back again
To see which one was selected head over to Issa’s Snail. There are some mighty fine verses waiting for you!
Our weariness chose the island
the slim biography each wave writes.
Now body, breath and wave are one.
Our pulse is steady, grammatical
nothing can change our rhythm.
We smile, full of the sea’s madness
like a pair of cockles, cupped
lovingly in the hands of a child.
This is the final poem in the On the Island series for now… I have however gone back and written several new poems to go with this series. This poem was primarily written during the last two weeks of the school year, which is a crazy, crazy time… and it has helped me greatly to keep my mind still and settled. I really feel like I have inhabited the island. Thank you to everyone who has commented along the way… your thoughts are always welcome.
I’m here and not here, where dusk stretches
along an empty beach. Sighs fall from waves
and a small wind hunts through the dunes.
I’m here and not here, floating slightly above myself
my feet tethered in sand. Clouds letting through
the light, the unutterable beauty of red.
Here and not here, the heart is a knot
pulled so tight it stops at the water’s edge
and sinks in …
Too slight, too ephemeral to merit attention
the tiny bodies of fish
woven in seaweed.
Each glittering scale
with little or no ritual
Graceful little corpses
that scarcely existed
on the shore of the living.
The rains are late this year. Shadows doze
like ‘roos beneath the palms. The swaying
of our clothesline looks like a woman’s
clavicle – a woman who dreams
of her lover’s journey home
across the bay.
I raise my head to that single, ragged star
burning overhead like the shard of a broken
bottleneck, a star I have for years, foolishly ignored.
Perhaps the shadow of my ignorance is cowering
somewhere in an alley; a homeless man bent over
a puddle, preparing for a new stretch of thirst.
Just above the high water
mark, she holds a turtle
hatchling to her heart, as if
wound to wound.
Nothing to hold
the circling of gulls
but this immaculate moment.
I saw nothing but waves and wind …
The moon rests in a broken frangipani tree
wearing love’s best flowering hat.
Lightly, like boats, leaves rock and spin, blood-dark
birds stir; above my head, mangroves lean.
Ghost dry, the unquiet dune grass; salt softens
in my throat a little more each day.
Hours are organised into hopeful clusters
running from smell, to touch, to let yourself go.
A far cry from telephones and the daily
paper left at your door.
short days, considered desirable to choke on.
Two dogs, living on opposite sides
of the island come to bathe in the river.
Both have been nicked and gouged, bled
closer to the truth. Both panicked, have fled
stone and steel, the blood-letting of their own
heart’s soup. Both ignoring the tide
and the sun’s rising chorus, return
each day to the river.
Most people know nothing of silence.
The sun is coming down
and the tide up
the grammar of clear water
will have a calming effect.
In the dying light, we remember
the winter of locusts
and how children are taught
to ignore flowers.
We’re moving carefully backward
through the bad weather.
Soon it will not have begun.
A lone sea eagle
pays us an early visit
from the mainland, long before
the first storms of summer
have formed, gliding high over
she-oak and fig, great nesting
territory; is harried by a daredevil
troop of gulls, small-jawed
disembowellers, trying to drive
their imposing cousin out
of this private air space.