Confinement

I sent out a ‘how are you’ email to friends around the world, have heard back from most of them, but haven’t yet replied to anyone as I feel there’s nothing to say. The story remains the same – Alert Level 3 seems very much like Alert Level 4, except there’s more online shopping to be had and the possibility of purchasing hot food. There’s another jigsaw puzzle on the table … did more gardening … did the housework (again) … played cards with the other two members of the household (again) … watched some stuff on TV/DVD (again) …

It feels as if my internal battery is running low and nothing is giving me much joy. Six weeks of being largely confined to my own property (city section) is wearing thin.  Hopefully, this week we may know when the ‘remain in your bubble’ directive will be lifted but gatherings, including clubs, may still be restricted.

I have a friend who’s keen on astrology and regularly makes decisions large and small based on what she ‘reads’ from her charts. She warned me at the end of last year that 2020 was going to be difficult. All year. Then watch out for 2024!

Searching out haiku to feature always improves my mood, so let’s do it! This selection speaks to me of confinement, so just to prove I’m not losing the plot, the next posting will be haiku that somehow say ‘freedom’.

windswept beach
my father’s voice at the other end
of a tin-can phone

Lucy Whitehead
from Windflowers anthology (Red Moon Press, 2020)

longest night
in the self-checkout lane
just me and this machine

Victor Ortiz
from Windflowers anthology (Red Moon Press, 2020)

shorter kisses
longer quarrels –
winter solstice

Eric Ammann
from A Haiku Mind (Shambhala, 2008)

dusting
her little vases
this is my devotion

Owen Bullock
from number eight wire (Piwakawaka Press, 2019)

glowing embers
I tell her a story
she already knows

Rick Tarquinio
from The Wonder Code (Girasole Press, 2017)

to-do list
the pear
ripens

Patsy Turner
from number eight wire (Piwakawaka Press, 2019)

april showers …
weeding
the bookcase

Julie Warther
from Another Trip Around the Sun anthology (Brooks Books, 2019)

music box winding down
waiting
for 
the
last
.

Catherine Moxham
from number eight wire (Piwakawaka Press, 2019)

Haiku of solitude

I hope everyone’s keeping their 2m distance from anyone you’re not self-isolating with … See the NZ Government’s Covid-19 information here.

through binoculars
a woman looking at me
through binoculars

Mykel Board
from The Haiku Anthology (1999)

life alone
licking
the ladle

Owen Bullock
from The Heron’s Nest (2010)

a vacant playground
the drinking fountain
runs and runs

Rich Heller
from Modern Haiku (2019)

Despite all the stresses and anxieties – and for many this virus will be the worst thing that could happen, even if they don’t catch it – I hope there will be the odd moment when we all find a simple pleasure. 

a handstand
just to see if I can
honeysuckle

Susan Antolin
from The Wonder Code (2017)

sleeping late
wild lavender pressed
against the window

Ron C Moss
from Broken Starfish (2019)

For the first few days, at least, there has been quite a lot of home improvement work going on in my neighbourhood during the day.

fog-filled harbour
someone somewhere drives
a nail through it

Cyril Childs
from the taste of nashi (2008)

empty nail holes
on the wall that needs painting
autumn sunlight

Craig Kittner
from Cattails (2019)

But really it’s so quiet! If I wake in the night now I can hear nothing from the nearby normally busy-ish road. It’s like being deep in the countryside.

hushed night …
all the universe
in a frog’s croak

Kasturi Jhadav
from naad anunaad, anthology of contemporary world haiku (2016)

the sound
of a blooming rose …
I uncurl my fist

David He
from Presence 63 (2019)

Recent success

News of my First place in the New Zealand Poetry Society International Haiku Contest came while I was away, so exciting. Unfortunately, I can’t share the haiku with you just yet as NZPS has first publication rights and the anthology won’t be out until November. I also received one Highly Commended and one Commended. Big thanks to judge Katherine Raine and contest organiser Laurice Gilbert.

Katherine has written a Haiku Checklist for those new to haiku or teaching themselves. It’s well worth a read.

Waiting for me at home was Presence 61, another fine edition out of the UK.

coming to rest
on a nameless headstone
a slice of sun

– Patricia Prime

summer heat
the snap and crackle
of broom seeds

– Owen Bullock

genocide museum –
a pair of swallows
hunt for a way out

– Sandra Simpson

And Kokako 29 arrived in the letterbox yesterday – Pat Prime is co-editor of the journal, along with Margaret Beverland. The cover photo of two laughing kimono-clad Japanese women was taken by me at the teahouse in Hama Rikyu gardens, Tokyo (the back cover information is correct, that on P2 not so much!).

kokako Hamarikyu teahouse - Copy

It was one of those moments when our eyes connected and it all fell into place. Photo: Sandra Simpson

a photo reveals
what they didn’t notice then
ash on his face

– Celia Hope

speedwell by the path losing herself in blueness

– Barbara Strang

deepening cyclone –
the beekeeper’s
flowery language

– Sandra Simpson

Yes, these are all New Zealand poets. Not bad, eh?

Recent publications

Gusting wind and rain have made this an inside sort of day – after some beautiful autumn weather this past week it’s a bit of a shock to have the light on at 3pm!

Kokako 28 is out, featuring a cover image I took in an autumnal Kyoto garden in 2016. It shows a woman in tabi (one-toe socks), Japanese-style Jandals (flip-flops) and the bottom part of a kimono with a maple-leaf pattern.

The journal features four of my haiku, including:

empty sky –
the lambs kneel to drink
what’s left

bedtime story –
we skip the issues
of patriarchy

I was particularly struck by this following haiku, partly because I can never make up my mind to do this:

coral bleaching
I erase another name
from my address book

– Seren Fargo

While the one below makes me feel like I’ve walked part-way into a story that could go either way, a definite whiff of Tom Waits:

airport
the man with pencilled eyebrows
orders a triple shot

– Owen Bullock

Find out how to subscribe, and submit, to Kokako.

Presence 60, another print journal has also arrived recently. As well as carrying tidings of the 2017 Martin Lucas Haiku Award winners, it also carries a full-length book’s worth of haiku, tanka and haibun. Submission and subscription details here.

thinking autumn holds no more surprises sweet gum

– Beverley Acuff Momoi

We’re not this far into autumn yet, but slowly, slowly we’re heading towards peak colour. Last year we planted a dwarf Liquidamber (for that’s what a sweet gum is) called ‘Gum Ball’ but I don’t think we’re going to get much colour off it this year after the dry summer bled into autumn.

summer heat
the click of beetles
on the lino

– Andre Surridge

In December we spent the weekend with friends at a 60th birthday, lots of fun, lots of talk and plenty of recreation, including petanque (boules).

sixtieth birthday —
the sheen of petanque balls
tossed into the night

– Sandra Simpson

Years ago I played doubles petanque in The Netherlands with a friend who played competitively, against his regular playing partner and Haiku Husband. Great fun and something I’ve always fancied taking up. Better get cracking, eh?