Goosey, goosey …

The latest edition of The Heron’s Nest has been published and includes this haiku of mine:

low-flying geese sunlight on every leading edge

– Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest 19.1

This was a real scene that I laboured to get right, partly in acknowledgement of all the great goose haiku that have gone before. Here is just a small sampling of the many that I like (by the way, New Zealand doesn’t have migratory geese which rather puts us behind in haiku terms). I’ve posted the first two before, back in 2014, but still love them.

stopt to allow geese crossing some idiot honks

– Janice Bostok (1942-2011)

Alan Summers has pointed out (see Comments) that my original posting using ‘stopped’ in Jan’s haiku was incorrect. In White Heron, her 2011 biography by Sharon Dean, Jan says:

“Everyone tries to correct me … I actually used the old-fashioned past participle stopt instead of stopped because to me it sounds more sudden, and I didn’t want to break the flow of the haiku for too long with an exclamation mark. Somehow that stopt allows the haiku to read shorter and quicker… In using stopt I wanted to convey to the reader that I was very definitely stopped – firmly stopped. I even had the car engine turned off.”

the sound of geese through the crosshairs

– Melissa Allen, Modern Haiku 44.1

river fog …
the sound of geese
coming in from the sea

– John Barlow, Wingbeats: British Birds in Haiku (Snapshot Press, 2008)

the first flakes of snow
drifting down the wetlands
Canada geese

– Billie Wilson, The Heron’s Nest 4.11

‘Wild Geese Returning to Katata’, one of Hiroshige’s Eight Views of Omi. Image: Wikipedia

between bitter and sweet
migrating geese

– Michele L. Harvey, The Heron’s Nest 18.4

yuku kari ga tsuku-zuku miru ya susu tatami

the travelling geese
check it out thoroughly…
sooty mat

– Issa, written in 1807
from The Haiku of Kobayashi Issa

Translator David Lanoue offers this comment: The mat is a tatami mat made of woven straw. The fact that it is sooty implies that it belongs to “beggar” Issa.


New book

I’ve been labouring over two a book reviews for Haiku NewZ and am pleased to say that I got them both it posted yesterday.

The book are is waking echoes by Nola Borrell (NZ) and Where the River Goes: The Nature Tradition in English-Language Haiku edited by Allan Burns (the editor is American, the publisher in the UK). The former is a first collection of haiku and haibun. the latter a collection of more than 900 haiku published between 1963 and 2012.

You can find the reviews here – waking echoes.

twilight whistling down the lake black swans

– Nola Borrell


storm warnings –
the deep blue reach
of delphiniums

                                                                      – Billie Wilson (Alaska)
from Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (Norton, 2013)

My delphiniums have been terrible this year. I shifted the two that have done all right in previous years to what I thought was a better spot for them. One promptly died and the other has put up a pathetic little spike. Meanwhile, the new one I bought in spring, which was planted alongside, has also stood still. Pah!

delphinium6 - Copy

Delphiniums in VanDusen Botanic Gardens, Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Sandra Simpson

planting delphiniums
in dark soil –
the taste of rain water 

– Sandra Simpson, published in tinywords 13.1.2013

The Vege Grower’s great-grandfather was a champion delphinium grower and we have the RHS medal to prove it. The Vege Grower, however, refuses to have anything to do with them. Dowdeswell’s Delphiniums, in Wanganui, is the home of this country’s top (only?) delphinium breeder, Terry Dowdeswell.