Poetry: winter/spring haiku

For those who aren’t aware, I am a self-published poet of very little renown, thank god. You can see more about that here.

I have a third booklet of poems which are not far off being ready but I’ve written very little in the past year. My pandemic mind has not helped me to write anything, or to read any poetry either.

That changed when I started reading the Penguin book of Haiku a few months ago. It definitely inspired me. I found the 5/7/5 syllable structure to be simple enough for my stay at home mind. That said, I don’t keep to strict rhyming systems anyway as I find that too restrictive most of the time.

I first learned about haiku when studying creative writing at university. It was great to get back into it again. Here is a selection:


Coronavirus,
once an ogre in the woods,
now walks among us

who predicted this?
a whole year of hidden life,
of feeding the cat

why has this happened
when we thought we knew it all
but we knew nothing

January days
never much light to be had
but the darkness fades

coffee-coloured mud
still holds panes of brittle ice
that break underfoot

the pond is frozen
wind moves the willow branches
listen: the ice cracks

bullfinch pink, perching,
it travels through the pine trees
the female follows

streaming over stone
the gill flows through the woodland
taking everything

primroses ready
to open flowers again
to mark the season

hairy-footed bees
cruising around the flowers
searching for a mate

peregrine falcon
passing over where I live
(thankful I’m human)

the headless pigeon:
nobody knows who killed it
or who took its head

a storm came at lunch
sudden whipping back of trees
raindrops splattered glass

face masks in gutters
did people mean to drop them?
one had shit on it

gulls cry from the roof
sparrowhawk sails overhead
followed by a crow

at dusk the wagtails
together on the rooftops
one by one they fly

when will it all end?
will there be a ringing bell
or will it change us

what if we are trapped
if this is our punishment
for taking too much

when will we hug our
mothers, fathers, our children,
when will it be safe?

oak trees black at dusk
clouds build on the horizon
the river flows on

a trespassing drone
seen off by a grey heron
both in silhouette

waiting on the news
you expect the worst of it
but the sun rises

© Daniel James Greenwood 2021

Poetry: Heavy metal orchids

I’m in the process of editing a third booklet of poems. It takes me something like 2-4 years to get one finished because things need to be left to cool and develop, you need time away from it. I have a ghost document of poems that don’t quite fit in. This is one about a walk on the South Downs between Firle and Itford in June 2019.

I really thought this one would work with the collection, but something changed and it’s going free.

As I progress towards finishing the third booklet, I’ll post some more of those which won’t be in it. Definitely interested in your views on them.

Mount Caburn is an Iron Age hillfort (which is no longer there).

If you want to see more of my poems or buy yourself a booklet please head over here.

Heavy metal orchids

 Barren Downs
 broken by sea
 tropical blue
 and the sinking hint
 of chalk reef
  
 Newhaven onion dome 
 and brown lagoon
 toy town train services
 honking on approach

 up here you all look like
 ants who have
 gained human traits
  
 a thirst for farming
 more than aphids
  
 up here skylarks translating 
 the silence of masts
 stood in muted alarm 

 heavy metal orchids
 so rare they’re padlocked
 in barbed wire cages
  
 at Lewes the ramparts
 of Mount Caburn 
 like a bowl cut 
 but you promised
 the reality was far 
 more blood-soaked
  
 Ouse water a
 concrete slow worm
 with seaweed on the side
 and rusting iron cranks
 crawling with a sea
 of red spider-mites
  
 hare barely 
 breaking barley
 her winging blues
 and tortoiseshells
  
 the wooden bridge
 where the crow
 begs a toll like a child 

© Daniel James Greenwood 2020