August begins and ends with a public holiday. It’s a month of dreams and disappointments.
August smells of hot fat and seaweed. It tastes of vanilla, woodsmoke and cheese sandwiches. August drips ice-cream, sits in traffic jams, laughs loudly. August plays the neon muzak in the amusement arcade, clamours like gulls, patters rain on the caravan roof. August is a pint of cider, a can of lager, a glass of pink fizz. August is Pac-a-macs and crushed crisps and village fetes and bunting and sandcastles and sun-hats and fleecies and the first blackberry and a sudden, mad dash into the sea.
grains of sand
waves roll endlessly
The tree in the top corner is always the first to blossom. Its blossoms are the palest of all – the faintest wash of pink. It’s badly placed, battling with alder and birch to find light. Everything around it is brown. Buds are starting to swell, but the other trees are holding back, contemplating things. There may yet be frost, the nights are cold, we are still teetering on the edge of spring. While they hesitate, the wild cherry leaps in, joyfully, its blossoms a valiant, defiant banner of hope.
are these snowflakes
A haibun for Frank at dVerse, on the classic subject of cherry blossom.
I have always liked those old lecturns made in the shape of eagles. I like the idea that words will fly into the distance, that they will soar above us, that they have their own power. Give words wings, let them fly.
rising on sunlight
seeing the earth spread below
spotting a mouse dart
A haibun for Frank Tassone at dVerse, where our theme is eagles.
iron earth so cold
sugar-touched rusted bracken
frosted grass splinters
reel towards the sun once more
draw light into darkened vales
sacred flesh, innocent blood
belief and faith glow prayer-like
candle flame searing the night
grey stone archway frames
arrow-like finger of light
piercing this dark heart
© Freya Pickard 2020
Freya Pickard is the Author of The Kaerling series, an epic fantasy set in the world of Nirunen. She writes mainly fantasy tales, with some poetry thrown in. She has published 14 e-books and 6 paperbacks and finds her inspiration in the ocean, beautifully written books and vinyl music. She blogs at https://dragonscaleclippings.wordpress.com and https://purehaiku.wordpress.com
It’s a joy to have Freya here. She curates beautiful collections of haiku on a regular basis – worth looking out for. If you enjoyed this tanka-haiku-reverse tanka you might like to check out her latest fantasy novel:
The Day of Weird – volumes one to three of The Kaerling
Pursued by villagers for angering the gods, Otta seeks to evade capture whilst following the Unicorn’s Trail.
“This is the gritty version of what a Western setting of Avatar the Last Airbender would look like.” X Mankum
Otta must deal with the dark side of her character and the memory loss of her twin, as the influence of the foreign ambassadors, the kaerlings, becomes more pronounced. The god’s commands must be obeyed and Otta finds herself on the southern plains before the true meaning of the Unicorn’s Trail is revealed. The Day of Weird is a paperback containing the first three volumes of The Kaerling which are also available as separate e-books: Silver Fire, Ambassador and An Ancient Song.
Purchase link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Day-Weird-Kaerling-Volumes-Three/dp/1701251124/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=freya+pickard&qid=1579688474&sr=8-2
It’s just a short hike from the car, and then a scramble down the cliff path. It’s slippery, and overgrown – you have to clutch at branches to help you down, and you have to take it easy. There are the traces of old steps, and a place where someone’s set a rope to help you. Keep going. Be careful.
The bay itself faces due west, and curves like a hug. It’s a beach of rounded stones, mostly grey, some with quartz lines running through them. Today there are seals watching us curiously, sleek and shiny in the water. We stretch and breathe.
drawn to the blue water
seal looks back
A haibun for Frank at dVerse
with one step forward
small dog running
“surf’s up, dad!”
this bench remembers
between golden beach
and blue horizon
waves rolling in
I’m never sure if haiku are the easiest thing in the world, or the hardest. Frank at dVerse has asked for a sequence of them. We can count syllables, or write haiku that can be read aloud in a breath, using a short-long-short format, without a syllable count.
I don’t often get thanks from people I’ve worked with – I think most of them are glad to be moving on – maybe I’m part of something they would like to forget. Three weeks ago, however, I was given flowers, and a card. I was stunned, and moved almost to tears. It was completely unexpected, a gift from a family I’ve worked with for years. The strange thing is, I wouldn’t say I’d made a whole lot of difference: I’ve advocated for them, pushed for a diagnosis that helped with educational planning, but other than that I’ve been mostly offering support and validation. I’m trained to make change, to make things better. I never felt I’d done enough for this family – never been good enough. Maybe that’s something I need to reflect on.
pink and white and blue
I place flowers in a vase
small buds unfurling
Lillian is hosting at dVerse tonight. She asks us to write a haibun about a “shining moment”, incorporating a traditional haiku.
“Golden lads and girls all must, as chimney sweepers, come to dust.”
Walking up the lane with the kids. We can watch time pass as the flowers change. The primroses are almost over, and the bluebells are here. The last of the cherry blossom petals blow off our neighbour’s tree. The wild orchids are having a final flourish. There are dandelions everywhere – golden lads and girls – and my two teenagers still blow the clocks.
I walked late last night, thinking about this prompt. Shakespeare and Basho – such different writers. Shakespeare piling up his glittering words, creating complex cities of meaning, inhabited by dreams. Basho showing us a single flutter of a butterfly’s wing. It’s hard to see how they are linked at all.
And then Will lets the jewels fall for a moment, and reminds us that all this will fade. Only the words will be left. The golden dandelion becomes a ball of fluffy white, becomes a seed floating over the hedge.
chiff-chaff on a twig
where we once saw the full moon
caught in the branches
A haibun for Frank at dVerse. He asks us to consider Shakespeare and Basho, both great masters of their art, but so different. The starting quotation is Shakespeare, from Cymbeline – Fear no more the heat of the sun. Basho said it in 3 lines.
In Ireland, the first day of February is the first day of Spring – Imbolc to the ancients, St Brigid’s day to the Catholic church. I try to remember that as I look out at the pouring rain. Later, I walk up the lane. There are snowdrops buried in the dark hedgerow, and I see a single primrose, pale as February sunshine.
so much mud
I can hardly see
A haibun for Frank, who is hosting at dVerse tonight. He asks us to look for the first signs of spring.