Martin Lucas missing

Shocking to hear today that Martin Lucas, the editor of Presence haiku journal, is missing from his home town of Preston, Lancashire in England and that police have grave fears for his safety. Martin was last seen at his home on March 22. Read a police update here.

I met Martin in Australia at the Haiku Pacific Rim conference, a lovely man and a fine editor and poet. Good thoughts and prayers, then, both for Martin and those searching for him and those waiting for him.

British Haiku Society members are helping with the search, see the BHS Facebook page for updates.

March 27: No new updates from the police.

March 28: An email from Ian Storr, one of the Presence editors, this morning to say there has been no further news of Martin. “The range and depth of affection and respect for him that has been shown has been quite extraordinary,” Ian writes.

March 29: One of Martin’s brothers has posted on the BHS Facebook page to say that Martin had a ticket to London booked for yesterday but didn’t turn up to board the train.

April 2: A new update from Lancashire police but no sightings of Martin, unfortunately.

April 3: A story in the Lancashire Evening Post with more information about when Martin went missing (also a video, but I couldn’t get it to play).


Friday haiku, autumn

A couple of weeks ago I went to a low-key poetry reading in a local bar – one eminent national poet and a local poet reading a few pieces each. Part-way through I realised how long the poems were, which made me smile and think, I love haiku.


  • It’s not a book but it’s a story worth hearing
  • There’s room for imagination
  • It knows when to be quiet
  • It understands the power of a single word
  • It doesn’t outstay its welcome.

There are more ideas that can be added to this list, but you get my drift.

Over on Haiku NewZ there is an occasional feature called My Favourite Haiku where various poets and editors choose (some of) their favourites and write a little about them. The following haiku was in the selection of Beverley George, an Australian writer and editor.

sowing seeds
I open my hand
to the autumn wind 

– Maria Steyn

If I was to make a selection today this would surely be in it

reminding me I am dust this shaft of sunlight

– Andre Surridge, Fear of Dancing (Red Moon anthology, 2014)

Good news! Melissa Allen is again blogging her haiku and haibun at Red Dragonfly. Melissa is one heck of a writer and I suggest you check her work out. Here’s her selection of favourites on Haiku NewZ.

the sound of geese through the crosshairs

– Melissa Allen, Fear of Dancing

I’ve been loaned the Japanese Haiku 2001 anthology, edited by the Modern Haiku Association. It’s hard to know how true these English haiku are to their originals but reading any contemporary haiku from Japan is a gift.

eating a persimmon
darkness builds inside me

– Rinka Ono (1904-1982)

In a brief bio note, Mr Ono is credited with mentoring many haiku poets who became major figures in Japan.

someone’s silhouette
on the bathroom door –
a cyclamen

– Hakko Yokoyama (1899-1983)

Mr Yokoyama was director of a hospital, owned a private clinic and was an elected city councillor, as well as being president of the Modern Haiku Association.

And, finally, an autumn haiga by Ron Moss of Tasmania. View it here. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a haiga is a combination of haiku (or tanka) with art – these days that can be anything from a traditional brush and ink painting to a computer-generated digital image. Ron also makes art to go with selected haiku in each edition of A Hundred Gourds.

Soaping fabulously

In January I deemed this would be Our Year of Soaping Fabulously – a play on the title of movie, The Year of Living Dangerously, that I considered both witty and sophisticated. Mel Gibson, when he was still young and handsome and not being nasty, in pursuit of the truth in Indonesia, while I spare nothing in the pursuit of trying to find the perfect soap. See? The Young Adult has tried to ban me from ever using my catchphrase again … so here’s a whole blog post about it!

The first bar of soap we opened was triple-milled Nesti Dante Paradiso Tropicale (Tahitian lime and mosambi peel) which I had bought to put in the Haiku Husband’s stocking. Expensive, smelled gorgeous, nice wrapper. Easy enough to justify when one is madly shopping for Christmas gifts in mid-December. Unfortunately, the delicious scent didn’t last once we opened the packet and used it on a daily basis and it ended up being only a brown soap.
Cost: $16.60 for 250g. Rating: 2 stars (the wrapper was the nicest thing in the end).

Soap number two was bought at the craft market in Dunedin’s Octagon in mid-December (something of a pattern here?) but I didn’t have high hopes for it being, as it was, fashioned to resemble a slice of cake, compete with icing and icing rosettes. Tricky or tacky?, you choose. But once again, I fell for the scent – blackberries and cream – which was utterly delicious! The soaps are hand-made in Otago by Skin Indulgence and contain goat milk and I’m pleased to report the tantalising scent lasted right to the end of our cake. Yes, please I will have another slice! (I think the Young Adult has foolishly left hers in my care, mwah-ha-ha.)
Cost: $10 for 165g. Rating: 5 stars.

Next up, and our current wash, is “extra pure” French lavender and vanilla from Scully’s, the company based in Bulls that makes skin-care products using plants (locally grown lavender was where they started). Next time you’re using State Highway 1 through Bulls stop at the “old cottage” shop opposite the service station, there’s always something on special. I’m sorry they’ve stopped making their lovely big vanilla soap as that was my favourite (lime and basil is the only flavour now in that size and that doesn’t float my boat). Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways … The French lavender and vanilla has no discernible trace of vanilla in its scent (I hoped that when the bar got wet, the scent would appear) but is nicely wrapped and bears a stamp saying “eco friendly” and “100% NZ made”.
Cost: $9.90 for 150g. Rating: 3 stars, the scent is lavender-y in the packet but even that hasn’t held as we’ve used the bar and now it just smells like soap. Haiku Husband rates it “nice and soapy”. 

showering together we make rainbows

– Sandra Simpson, Kokako 14 (2011)

Cool morning in the garden

Evenings and mornings are noticeably cooler now, starting right from March 1, although the middle of the day is still hot and little rain is forecast for the month.

I’ve been out watering my orchids, bromeliads, hoyas and things in pots this morning. A  pleasant job and very contemplative.

morning drizzle
my wife bends an orchid
to her will

Christopher Herold from his excellent 2010 collection Inside Out.
Read a review of the book here.


end of summer
the rust on my scissors
smells of marigolds

— Margaret Chula, from her 2004 collection the rust on my scissors
Read a commentary on this haiku here.


roadside stand
the last lilies
before sunset

                                                                     — Sandra Simpson
 published 2006 in the NZ Poetry Society magazine