Category Archives: Haiku
Lovely Veronica from Royston and Hayes sent me a soap [if you saw the earlier post you’ll see a theme developing here]. Not any soap, an enormous, fragrant, Hawaiian White Ginger soap, personalised with my name. When I say enormous I’m talking about 1Kg! Veronica had watched the progress of the pieku competition and decided to make a soap for the competition winner and would I like one myself? She asked what my favourite colours were too; so teal and mauve it is. The camera doesn’t do great justice to the detail in the layering, including the glitter on the lettering and the Bray’s Cottage inspired pig. The soap came with full instructions for cutting, so I can share some out among friends, now the photo is safely in the can I’m looking forward to trying it out, it smells gorgeous.
I wonder if I can conjure up any soap based poetry……
Lovely Sarah from Bray’s Cottage sent me a pie. Not any pie, a really big, pork pie of the onion marmalade kind, personalised with my name. There was huge excitement, not least from the delivery man when it arrived, as he breathlessly said, “It’s from the Perfect Pie Company” and handed over an enormous box. The pie was my prize for coming up with the pieku idea and I was thrilled to receive its scrummy meatiness. Indeed I think a large pie like that would form a great centrepiece for a jubilee picnic, it looked like a huge gold crown.
Now Sarah has a new challenge for you, could you be a Dandy Piewayman? For the price of a password or song you could get a reduction on the cost of your pie during this week. If you are prepared to dress up and sing you could get a free pie; it would be hilarious if a flash mob of Dandy Piewaymen attempted to intercept Sarah and her pies at Norwich Farmer’s Market next weekend!
This is one of those longer posts, so – feel free to skip to the bit you came looking for:
Pieku – Haiku on Pies, 0r Janathon 2012 – Thanks Kathy and Janathoners, or ‘Dispersal’ – a short story
Pieku – Haiku on Pies
You will find elsewhere in this blog reference to Brays Cottage, the Perfect Pie Company. One of my first ever ‘Pop-up’ assignments was helping Sarah on her stall, I’ve written a silly screenplay in the past too. This weekend has seen a little activity that has taken over twitter in a big way and I love the way that Sarah can take a batty idea and run with it – introducing the Pieku. It started when she asked me for the origins of the nursery rhyme Georgie, Porgie Pudding and Pie; I pulled out my copy of the Opie’s book on nursery rhymes and quoted back a few lines. Then overnight my brain was clearly working away on the idea of rhymes and pies I woke up with Pieku forming; Pie based Haiku. I tweeted one to Sarah and she started a competition (it ends tonight – Sunday so get in quick for a personalised pie to the winner), they seem to be coming in at one every 10 minutes at the moment!
Here are some of the ones I have written – I try to stick with the 5,7,5 – cutting word and seasonal reference.
Knife through golden crust
Reveal inner soul, hearty
Blanket spread on ground
Wanton luscious pie
Mustard bit on side devour
Jelly optional consume
Hot crust raised up high
Chorizo filling warming
Not all pies are cold
If you have Pieku forming tweet them to Sarah @Brays_Cottage
Janathon 2012 – Thanks Kathy and Janathoners
Janathon 2012 has been a wonderful stimulus to get me moving again this year, but I failed miserably in the blogging and logging. Finally I think I’ve reached the stage where for me, as long as I do the exercise, I’m happy and don’t feel the need to log it all the time. This is progress. I am really thankful to Kathy for starting the ball rolling and I have taken up running which is another new activity and paying dividends. Although, you’ll understand by the picture above why I haven’t run or swum today. I am also really grateful to the fellow Janathoners who encourage and support and dare I say it the PlankPolice who riddle me with guilt!
Dispersal – a short story
This is my latest piece of homework for the writing workshop I attend. The task again was to allow the dialogue to do some of the narration, it is also designed to be read out loud for a ‘performance’ later in the year; let me know what you think…
The day I first visited here, a hoar frost was still hanging in the trees at mid-morning, thick fog had dogged us for days. Cloud Farm was boarded up and virtually derelict. When I opened the oak door I was disappointed that as it swung back it was silent, not the heart stopping creak I was expecting. It should not have been possible, but the air inside the tiled hall was even colder than outside. The door to the right led me into a large sitting room. As I entered the room the only light was forcing itself through tiny holes in dark sheeting tacked up to the windows. I struggled to find my way to one of them, and tore at the corner of the fabric; it made an echoing, ripping sound as it split.
“Stupid girl,” I turned at the sound of the quiet voice, “put that back, there’s no light allowed in here.” I attempted to hook the fabric back into position but there was no way it would stay put.
“Sorry?” I said tentatively, “I didn’t mean to cause offence; I wasn’t expecting anyone to be here.”
“There isn’t,” said the voice.
The solicitor had warned me that that in addition to dereliction, the house was reputed to be haunted. He probably thought I was joking when I told him that was fine because I grew up with them.
I moved towards the voice, “You’re the colour of amber,” I said, she had the sheen and consistency of manuka honey, fresh from the fridge.
“You’re not frightened of me then?” she said.
I moved towards her, a small table at her side held a deeply grooved board with what looked like a single large marble balanced towards the end. Suddenly my foot landed on another marble and I started to slide inexorably towards her.
“Don’t knock the table,” she called out weakly. I resisted the temptation to put a hand out and instead drifted into her, landing on my backside with my eyes at her knee level.
“Oh my god, what happened to your legs? They are so tattered, they look chewed, are they sore?”
“Stupid girl; I can’t feel anything anymore. The damage was done after I collapsed; I was unconscious for two days before I died. The rats got me.” She seemed calmly philosophical about it.
As I attempted to get up, my fingers touched another marble. I lifted it as I rose and turned it in my hand.
“An eye,” I said, “Are they all eyes?”
“Yes would you mind picking them up and putting them in the rack?” she asked.
“Of course; such a variety, I like this one, a beautiful sapphire blue, how unusual.”
“It’s the only one that matches my natural eye colour” As I looked at her now though, she had no colour other than amber.
“Could you help me fit it?” she asked. I lifted the eye-ball up to her face; she had no temperature, as I felt for the outline of the eye socket.
“You don’t feel of anything, I can just sense differences of resistance, is this a bony ridge?” I asked.
“Yes just press the ball in and it should sit there.” For a moment, with her sapphire eye, she was complete.
Then she sighed, “Stupid girl.” The fog was clearing outside, more light streamed into the room and as the temperature lifted I looked at her.
“Your eye; it’s slipping.” It slid down inside her face and fell out of the bottom of her jaw, hitting the ground with a dull thud and rolling to the skirting board.
“Dispersal,” she said “When I warm up I start to melt away, it takes so much energy to rebuild myself when it’s cool enough…” and with that she seemed to dissolve in front of my eyes, and hers; trickling through the cracks in the floorboards. Just an eccentric collection of glass eyes on a side table remained.
I moved back to the window and let in more light, then saw the note pinned to the wall.
If you are reading this, Cloud Farm is about to become yours. Charlotte and I have lived peacefully together for nearly thirty years. She lives in the walk-in fridge mostly. Each time she retires there we agree when she will next emerge. We have had some successes. So far we have found the final resting place of four of the rats who chewed at her limbs and have garnered quite a bit of her form. We have learnt that two degrees Celsius is the critical temperature, any higher than that and she starts to disperse, any lower and she is too stiff to move. You must turn the air conditioning to its lowest setting and raise the fridge to two degrees for twenty-four hours before she is due to come out; check the whiteboard on the wall for the next date. On no account attempt to bring her out if the air temperature is above two degrees. There are still more rat bodies to find, or potentially the rats that ate those rats. Also her original eye; she lost it cutting wood, but taking her outside is so risky and the emotions so painful, we have agreed to leave that until last. You see, like all spirits she cannot pass over and finally release her particles until she is complete. At least her imperfections are physical, it is so much harder for those whose damage is emotional, they may never recover and remain here forever.
Look after Charlotte; she is essentially good, just damaged.
That which dies does not drop out of the world. Here it remains; and here too, therefore it changes and is resolved into its several particles; that is into the elements which go to form the universe and yourself. They themselves likewise undergo change, and yet from them comes no complaint. – Marcus Aurelis
For #12DCP folks this is my belated Ghost Story
On Sunday it was announced the Yoko Ono was going to judge a British Summer Haiku competition. The haiku submitted via twitter are being displayed at Kings Cross Station on a giant advertising board, with a fresh one selected every 20 minutes or so. I have always admired haiku as a form but had not previously tried to write one. I have been submitting them, but still not sure I have captured their real essence, simplicity, seasonality and sharp emotional interplay. I would welcome feedback from others on the haiku below. I have attempted to deconstruct some and put them into context. However, I am not sure that this is a good idea; should they just be left to stand alone and see how others react to them? There is a very good piece that describes the form at IP . Although not absolutely essential the form is normally 5-7-5 syllables over three lines. It should include a seasonal reference and nature, feelings or experiences.
Ducks once in a row
Have now shifted fallen gone
Bring sunshine to me
Written after something I thought was all lined up to go right suddenly went wrong, I had a little sob and asked the good people on twitter to send me some positive karma – they did.
Bike open mouthed
Swallow does not make summer
Just a very dead fly
Possibly too limerick like but as I biked today a fly flew into my mouth and this came to me
Don’t count your chickens
Deep yellow sun warms, bakes, dries
Egg earthward, shattered
A bit more profound and following some bad news about a friend. Dropping an egg on the ground seemed somehow symbolic and the deep yellow of the yolk, with all of its potential wasted. Also reflecting on how the sun with all of its power can provide warmth which is good and can bake to form bricks, food etc but can lead to an arid, inhospitable environment. A reflection on fertility, conception and childbirth.
Tartan rug spread out
Cloud spotting for beginners
Making hay after
After making hay
Beginners to cloud spotting
Spread out tartan rug
Not sure if haiku can come in pairs but I wanted to experiment with a kind of pallendromic structure where changing the order of the words could imply different situations. Take the phrase making hay anyway you like, from literally working in the fields, to making the most of a good time while you have the chance, to making love.
One fresh red strawberry
Juice drips down chin succulent
Earwig rests inside
This is one of my earliest childhood memories. My grandmother gave me the biggest, lushest strawberry she had grown and when I bit into it there was an earwig inside
Hanging washing out
A gentle breeze is promised
It will pour with rain
Sums up that first rush of putting washing out and feeling good that summer is on its way, but too often and several fresh water rinses later it comes back in and goes on the clothes horse.
Blossom fades leaves sway
Adolescence out abroad
It always disappoints me how quickly blossom fades like the innocence of youth and childhood. Children grow and start going out and about and eventually leave home. In our part of Suffolk that seems to start with Friday nights where young people with too few clothes experiment with alcohol. I used adolescence rather than adolescents as I was also thinking of the 20+ in Ianapa and the 50+ after too much wine at the barbecue. Plus we all think we invented youth but are just recycling one generation after another.