A garden of haiku

I’ve spent the past few days immersing myself in our biennial Garden and Art Festival (still 2 days to go!). There’s something magical about walking into a stranger’s garden, exploring its pathways and knowing that it’s waiting to show me its treasures, if only I have the wit to see. A good number of the gardens I visit now are not the gardens of strangers, but that doesn’t dim the excitement one iota – new beds may have been created, interesting new plants put in, new “garden art” or, as happened today, a property may have changed hands.

I shared a bench at lunchtime with an older couple I’ve known for a while. They sold their very large country garden last year and moved into a small town with a decent-sized garden but much, much smaller than they had been used to. Had they ever been back to their old place? No, they said emphatically, and we won’t. They think there’s probably been lots of change (because no one will tell them) but they have decided to be philosophical. That’s life, they said, everything changes all the time. Gardens don’t stand still and nor are they meant to.

nobody rebukes
more softly than blue violets,
nobody louder

– Helene Kesting (translated from Afrikaans)

from The Haiku Seasons by William J Higginson (Kodansha International, 1996)


gentle rain
scent of the seedbed turning
a deeper brown

–  Katrina Shepherd

from Before the Sirocco anthology (NZ Poetry Society, 2008)

summer rain
the poppies keep their thoughts
to themselves

– Sandra Simpson, A Hundred Gourds 2.4 (2013)

rose fence

across a rose fence –
a cat lover,
a cat hater

Kazuo Sato (translated from Japanese)

from Haiku Mind by Patricia Donegan (Shambhala, 2008)


Sensing the earth

Words, words …

Sometimes I get tired of talking and listening, and sometimes I can’t write, but I never seem to be tired of reading.

At the beginning of the year I borrowed some haiku books from a fellow poet and am only now about to return them (thank goodness he’s not charging me overdue fees). As I was taking a last look through them, I thought I’d share some poems that caught my imagination.

cicadas …
sensing the earth

– Kenji Takemoto (1933 – )

the little sound of a star

– Ellen Compton, read an essay about Ellen and her work.


November evening –
    the faintest tick of snow
        upon the cornstalks

– John Wills (1921-1993), read an essay about John and his work.


And one from Volume 15 of The Heron’s Nest annual paper anthology (still some copies available):

please say it

– Yu Chang