Tuesday, 28 December 2010

from the dark wood
the sound of last week's snow
sliding off pines

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas updates

I have a new poem at Football Poets, and a haiku at the latest issue of The Heron's Nest.

Meanwhile, John Barlow has beautifully revamped the Snapshot Press website.

Season's Greetings!


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

in the low-tide pools
of the midwinter river:
bathing crows

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Beached Margin

A week into British Summer Time, the season’s tide-tables just published,
Easter Saturday sunshine seeks out the apricot, copper and gold
in your breeze-burnished hair. Yachts circumnavigate the spit.
Saltation and slumping deposit purple-veined oysters among the limpets,
mussels and piebald pebbles that catch your discerning eye.
Turnstones race like toddlers between balls of washed-up sponge.
We clamber onto shingle from the esplanade and over a groyne,
whose posts are capped like heavy-duty molars, with rusty iron.
The tide-raked beach invites us to play: dig tunnels with spades,
swing out over the channel, or leg it up a springboard
and swallow-dive into the sea. Beyond all, there’s the sight of you,
beachcombing along the tideline, that’s enough to summon starfish
twirling across the waves to pirouette on a patch of pristine sand.

After Edward Wadsworth, 1937

Sunday, 28 November 2010

the girth of planes...
black-headed gulls let rip
at parakeets

Friday, 19 November 2010

held in headlights:
a cold peasouper
not lifting all day
at breakfast
the waitress mutters about

Thursday, 18 November 2010

over fenland fields
the light comes and goes...
suckling calves

Monday, 8 November 2010

a warm wind heaps leaves
against an ivy-covered fence—
one for sorrow

Saturday, 23 October 2010

as though the oakwood is laughing:
the bubble of its bourne

Sunday, 3 October 2010

dewy pitch
a mother explains
what a CRB check is

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Indian summer
her knife scrapes butter
over rye-bread toast
sunrays and leaf-shadows
slant across the headstones
from a century ago
a teenage couple embrace
as if the world is theirs

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


On tiptoes
discerning as you do
a white stallion’s head
in the complex patterns of the Wilton on the landing
you ascertain all manner of outlines
as if it’s Midsummer’s Eve
when every patch of cumulus resembles
a baby sitting up by itself for the very first time
on a lawn of buttercups and daisies
in the middle of the marsh where longhorn cattle masticate
as you fashion an ending
to the days of having friends from junior school
round to play before tea.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

a toddler smirks
from his father's shoulders
summer's end

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Some news: Ferris Gilli, Paul MacNeil, Ron Moss and I have won this year's Haiku Society of America Einbond renku competition - as updated on Tobacco Road. Go, Team!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

turning from ruby to plum: the unprisable blackberry

Sunday, 27 June 2010

behind the long pebble beach the filaments of wild fennel

Saturday, 12 June 2010

down the tiled facade of a half-demolished pub tepid rain

Sunday, 30 May 2010

a bundle of goslings
shifts with the breeze

Sunday, 23 May 2010

late-spring heatwave
the pendulous laburnum
torn round by swifts

Friday, 7 May 2010


Mr Edwards, known as ‘Taffy’ throughout the school,
wishes to demonstrate the probabilities underpinning genetics:
in an interactive way, to capture our attention
for the first time this term (or at least since the moment when

Simon Keelan swung his Adidas holdall over his shoulder
and through the glass of a tank full of copulating locusts,
which unsurprisingly took the chance to leap,
still mating, as far around the lab as they could,

while the whole of 3N3 went berserk), with some straightforward
tasks, like how many of us—all but one—can roll our tongues,
to the absurd: a challenge met only by Colin Knowles,
who claims it is a power inherited from his mum:

the wiggling, to start with, of his right ear, and then of his left;
and next, with a gormless grin on his humdrum face,
both of them—in a scintillating, synchronized, oddball cabaret
that even Stan Laurel in his heyday would have envied.

- for Jake Sebastien Barlow, born 27th April 2010

Friday, 30 April 2010

cherry blossom
the player-coach skies one
down mid-on's throat

Sunday, 25 April 2010

honeysuckle scent
woodpigeons fluster magpies
round a leylandii

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

within a ditch
parallel to a reedbed
black dots grow
in the frogspawn
A poem of mine is on the Tate Modern website.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

a collared dove's breast:
spring equinox light

Saturday, 20 March 2010

cobalt skies
the swath of daffodils
before the downpour

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

There are haiku of mine in the latest issues of the following:

Notes from the Gean


The Heron's Nest
city square:
white and purple crocuses
bloom around Gandhi

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

the slope of snowdrops
a face full of sun

Sunday, 28 February 2010

penalty save
my brolly turns inside out

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Conclude from the manner
in which you are cared
that you ought to belong
to a family of apes,
mountain gorillas,
impeccably rare.

Sleep on my shoulder,
cling to my chest,
see how a father
handles his young;

and should you be aghast
at cold summer rain,
inhale a lungful
of the lavender fragrance,
detonate a smile
and hide in my name.

[Published in Inspired Fatherhood, 1997 - for Conor, now aged 14]

Sunday, 21 February 2010

strewn mimosa
a carnival creature
snaps at the crowd

Sunday, 7 February 2010

the cormorant tree
a crane swings through
the whole panorama

Sunday, 31 January 2010

the red-deer herd
packed tightly together
winter sunlight

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Isleworth, 1876

Now I am going to tell you about my walk to London. – Vincent van Gogh to his brother, Theo, 7 October 1876

At dawn, Vincent sets out
up the London Road. Starlings
arrow the first autumnal air.

Ahead of him, a round-trip walk
of twenty miles. Hedge mustard tangles
the railings of Syon Park.

How Vincent could preach here,
among the elms! There are few
carts on the road today—

a blessing, for the verges
have turned into mud-pools.
The light is to Vincent’s liking,

changing with the cumulus
that rolls, like him, from the west,
through Kew, Chiswick, Hammersmith

and Kensington; to Hyde Park Corner
and the swank of Piccadilly.
Vincent visits the galleries,

pays homage to Delacroix,
takes it all in. Verses from Hebrews
turn in his mind. Running an errand

for Jones, his employer, he buys
violets for Jones’s wife. He’s a young man
doing his duty; one minute

head-strong with joy, the next
encumbered with bookish
hate and irritability.

A horse-bus fills with workers
as Vincent starts to wander back,
at vivid sundown, towards his home.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

London plane
the burnished

Thursday, 14 January 2010

on a back road
winter sunbeams stripe
the almshouses

- The Haiku Calendar 2010

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

snow on the tongue
a set of pawprints vanishes

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Stanford Forrester at Bottle Rockets Press, over yonder in the States, has just published a bumper anthology of flower haiku, entitled seed packets. Irrespective of the fact that there's a couple of mine in it, it is definitely worth checking out, once Stanford has put details on the site, as it is superb. Sample haiku: 'field of lupine / the deepening blue / of your goodbye' - Claudette Russell. When I opened it up yesterday it felt like spring had sprung. All good stuff, as I invariably say.
the contours of deer-droppings
on top of the snow

Saturday, 9 January 2010

outside the cricket square a cordon of headless snowmen

Retrospective (after Tracey Emin)

A white road,
caked in magneta neon,
disappears like a curse trailing off.

You feel a tenor sax
course into your legs, your arms
and fingertips stretching away.

The fields echo with frost;
the sky entreats your biddable eyes
the whole sharp night.

Monday, 4 January 2010

a new decade
the creeper tangles
into itself