Poems (2002-2005)

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that uses natural images and is normally based on a 3 phrase form (5-7-5 syllables) two phrases of which are linked, and another (either the 1st or 3rd) which requires the reader to make a leap. Having discussed haiku with a few people who write them I noticed they mostly focus on the immediate impact, but a lot can be packed into 17 syllables, and a good Haiku can have layers that are not immediately obvious.

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Breaking ocean wave
upsetting all the sea life
quiet reflection

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Is it a brown thrush
or a juvenile blackbird
old man’s eyes are best

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Wave following wave
where are those that went before?
boy walks with old man

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Shining silver fish
smiling as it swims
bright summer has come at last

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We used to be good friends once

I went to visit an old friend
to ask a small favour for someone I knew and just to say hello.
He said, “We used to be good friends once.” and
Why have you come really?”
We used to talk into the night
about Buddhism and such.

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The Sea Remains The Same

the coast is different wherever you go
the beach is different wherever you go
but the sea remains the same

to me the beach is bright sun, sparkling sand
warm water and swimming twice a day
bare feet and no shirt
boats and tractors and cicadas as you walk back to the house

I visited a place where it meant a cool respite from the mid-summer heat
away from the city and into the fog
cold winds and surfers in wetsuits
then you drive back into the heat of the city

I saw a film where it meant a wild and swirling tide
with seaweed and rocks and dark water
and a brief swim for the hardy
then up a steep path to a cottage

so when we talk to each other and say beach
our common language fails us and we smile and nod in agreement
not realising how different our concepts are
and I start to wonder how many of our words are like this

the coast is different wherever you go
the beach is different wherever you go
but the sea remains the same

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