Fresh beginnings

I open the notebook carefully. I always pause before I write in a new notebook – that clean, white page is still daunting. I always run my fingers over the paper first, enjoying the smoothness. I inhale. New paper smells so good. Nothing I can write will be as wonderful as the writing I aspire to . I will make mistakes, I’ll cross things out, I will phrase things badly.

I pause. I write.

clean white page
fresh snow untouched by feet
waiting for words.

A haibun for Bjorn at dVerse. Every note book is a fresh beginning. 

Thank you biscuits

It’s a miserable day. The drive down to the city is messy and difficult – too much rain, too much spray from the road, poor visibility. All the autumn colours are washed out, greyed by the rain.

We take biscuits, shortbread in a fancy tin. I don’t know why we take them today – maybe we’re feeling particularly grateful to the nursing staff who pad gently round the clinic, who are always smiling, who offer comfort and reassurance. They are warmth on this bleak November day.

a red leaf

gold, disregarded

smoke in the air

Frank is taking care of the dVerse bar tonight. Thanksgiving is coming up and we are asked to consider gratitude. 

Green memorial – haibun for dVerse.

We took the quieter path through the trees. It runs alongside an old canal, a memorial in itself to local people who carved it out of the steep hillside. We walked the old towpath – single person narrow – above the river and beside the canal itself, empty of water, but full of nettles, red campion, dog’s mercury. We stopped to read the names carved into the bark of a beech tree – Layla 7 years old Jack 4 years old. We wondered who they were; worked out they might be in their thirties now, with children of their own. We wondered who had carved this green memorial, and why. The beech tree kept its secret, even though the leaves were whispering all around us.

trees are green guardsmen

river water slow and silent

time blurs all our names.

I went on a poetry walking workshop on Sunday, with Chris from Poetry Pin. We walked, wrote poems, and pinned them to a virtual map, so that future poetry lovers can read them in the place they were written. Along the way we found a beech tree with these names carved into the bark. We wrote a poem there, so if you’re ever on the Tarka Trail, you can read it and connect with us on a wet Sunday in May.

This haibun commemorates that walk. It’s a memorial of a memorial, maybe. It’s written for Frank, who is hosting haibun night at dVerse tonight. It’s Veterans’ Day in the States, and we are asked to write about memorials.

March – haibun for dVerse

March is the toddler month – on the first day she brought us sunshine and led us out to the vegetable patch. On the second day she screamed a gale and threw rain clouds across the sky. I don’t know what to wear today, or what her mood will be like.

golden celandine

primrose tucked beneath the hedge

sunlight on the grass

Merrill is hosting at dVerse tonight and we are writing haibuns. I’m trying to make my haibuns shorter and tighter at the moment – as is traditional.

The seasons turn – haibun for dVerse

There was frost on the car this morning. It’s the first time I’ve had to scrape the windscreen this year. I allowed myself a moment of smugness for  having had the scraper to hand.

The clocks changed this weekend – fall backwards, they remind us – so it’s darker earlier. That feels like a big shift, but actually, things have been changing gently over the last few days – some trees are still green, some are gold and amber, some are practically naked now. There are bright red berries on the holly, the apples are all picked, and the blackberries are finished. We’ve had big moons, and impossibly clear nights full of stars, and we’ve had brooding cloudscapes hanging over us. The swallows are long gone, and I haven’t seen the first starlings yet, but the rooks are everywhere. We’ve put aside summer shirts, and I wore a woolly hat today to walk on the beach, even though the sky was bright, shiny blue.

rooks cast black shadows
trees throw golden cascades
nights are full of stars

Merril is hosting at dVerse tonight, and asking us to write about a period of transition. This is very simple, but the clocks going back feels quite significant. 

Water – haibun for dVerse

I don’t know quite how this became our “thing”. We took up the challenge – encouraging each other, competing a little bit – kept up monthly swims all summer, all winter, and all summer again. Now it’s autumn, and we’re still at it. There have been high winds this week, and the surf is big. The clouds are low, and there’s so much spray it’s hard to know where the air ends and the sea begins. It’s a monochrome day as we walk in together, feeling the cold – “It’s not so bad!” – rising over ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips – and then the final dive under a rolling wave, and the triumphant resurfacing.

Grey clouds, grey sea –
petrel hanging above water –
plunging into life



Bjorn is tending bar at dVerse tonight. He wants a watery haibun, with a seasonal haiku. I want a hot whiskey after that. 

My imperfect vegetable patch – haibun for dVerse

Come outside with me now. Through the gap, across the cobbles, round the corner, and there it is. Look at it with a gardener’s eye for a moment – note the weeds – those speedwells, blue as ripped up scraps of sky; dandelion leaves sharp as teeth; grass encroaching, insinuating its green way across the soil. Nothing is quite in a row. The Trail of Tears sends purple tendrils, coaxing the walking onion to join the wigwam. There’s a squash plant running riot, creeping through the patch, popping up between pea plants.Frankly, it’s a mess.

Now look at it again, with me. Stand here, beside me, in the early morning light, when the grass is heavy with dew. Look at that purple – the dark rippling leaves of the cavolo nero, the midnight pods of the Trail of Tears dangling like heavy tears themselves – and the orange – joyous nasturtiums tumbling over the path, courgette and squash flowers flaunting themselves, flirting with the bumble-bees – and all those greens -the green lettuce leaves, lit from within, fat pods of broad beans, lined with velvet, chard, and peas, and turnip tops, a riot of green.

Trail of tears entwine
green heart of the garden,
bright gold early morning

This is for Victoria at dVerse, who asks us to glory in imperfections this week. There aren’t many things as imperfect as my vegetable patch, but I love being out there…

Summer Time

Summer rain spills warm –

Roses hang their heads – but soon –

They will be nourished


A little summer time haiku for Heeding Haiku with Chèvrefeuille.  I’m never quite sure what I’m doing with a classical haiku, so if anyone wants to point out where I’m going wrong, I’d be very grateful. I’m here to learn and grow.