Bridge to the past

One of the things I have loved about living in and visiting Britain over the past 40 years has been the many, many layers of man-made history that are still part of the fabric of everyday life. Standing with my hand on the outside wall of Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon was a total buzz for a young woman from the other side of the world.

I’ve been fascinated by the ancient Romans since childhood, hooked by reading Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, so being able to walk where the legions did through England, visit the cities and towns they founded and even, on my last visit to London in 2018, explore the Mithraeum have been extraordinary opportunities.

But being able to turn these experiences into haiku that evoke either the ancient world or have a timeless air, now that’s a different – and more difficult – enterprise. Here are some poets who have done it well (with one of mine thrown in).

old Roman bridge
we stand mid-span
and listen

Scott Mason
Highly Commended, Martin Lucas Haiku Award 2019

year’s end
crossing the stone bridge
into shadow

Andrew Tracy
Creatrix 28, 2015

stacking a dry stone wall the curve of tomorrow

Ron C Moss
Presence 52, 2015

prolonged heat …
a clapper bridge sinks
into the pasture

Sandra Simpson
 Presence 68, 2020

The clapper bridge I walked across on a summer’s afternoon was in Gloucestershire, not far from the border with Oxfordshire. One of the earliest form of bridges, the name ‘clapper’ comes from the Latin claperius (pile of stones) – and that’s exactly they are, with the deck made from long, thin slabs of stone with large rocks or piles of stone for the supports.

river bridge the distance of my prayer

Paul Chambers
Frogpond 39.2, 2016

Tools of the Trade

Several New Zealand haiku poets (and one Australian) have been involved with the PoARTry Exhibition Tools of the Trade, which is running at Mercy Hospital in Dunedin for the month of March 2021.

Hospital staff provided words around their work that had meaning for them, poets created works inspired by these words, and artists created works inspired by the poems! Another amazing event from the brain of Ruth Arnison, co-ordinator of the Poems in the Waiting Room project. All artworks are for sale with poets, artists and PitWR sharing the proceeds.

Uber-talented Tasmanian poet and artist Ron Moss has created a lovely video to help promote Tools of the Trade.

You can see one of my haiku in the video, a poem which has inspired a beautiful cushion cover by fabric artist Imogen Berwick.

The other haiku of mine that was chosen appears in the hand-made concertina book by craftsman printer John Holmes.

spring morning –
an aura of light pulses  
around the heart monitor

Sandra Simpson