Dry, high

dry high
the crisp new air
filling my lungs


Haiku says start with what’s in front of you in the real world, however you define that. Of course haiku are born of the literary imagination like any other poetry, but they tend not to be found by staring at the blank page or screen. They’re small enough for all but the most memory-challenged people to carry in their heads, so they’re best when composed in the head. That’s why haiku as a practice goes so well with walking.

I have a very strong feeling I’ve said all this before. It’s got that pre-masticated texture…

dust hanging
above the gravel road
leaves gone gray


It’s a spectacular evening in Plummer’s Hollow. The katydids are doing their contrapuntal thing against a background of tree crickets and field crickets of all kinds. This is one of my favourite natural soundscapes in the world; something that truly makes living here special. Having spent time in urban and suburban areas that lack this, I know not to take it for granted. I’m in such a good mood, I deleted half my haiku output from this morning.

There’s certainly a frisson of pleasure in uncreating bad poems. But it’s nothing like the sheer joy of knowing—or at least strongly suspecting—that you’ve just written something true and original and quite possibly even good. That’s like a hit you keep going back for.


warm wind coming from
where the crescent moon
wearing a very small halo
sinks into a bed of trees

a screech owl quavers
down the scale three times
and trills in concert with the insects
their intricate variations
on a theme of throb

in the dark bulk of the barn
some small thing stirs
makes a clatter and all the hair
on the back of my neck
stands at attention

a meteor draws a brief line
under Cassiopeia
my bare arms are somehow
irresistible to moths
tube-tongues palpating my skin
in the darkness
a sensation i’ll remember
on my death bed

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