Saturday, 17 December 2016

a day lost to mist
outside the cemetery
the florist's pots

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

singing as he cycles downhill the man in the moon

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

My poetry collection

I'm very happy to say that my first full poetry collection, entitled The Evening Entertainment, will be published by Eyewear Publishing next year.

It will only have taken me 30 years - my first published poem was in Poetry Ireland Review in 1987, when I was at uni. Still, no-one can accuse me of a lack of persistence . . .

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Haibun Today

I have another haibun over at Haibun Today.

Friday, 2 December 2016

around and down
the deodar cedar:
headfirst squirrels

Thursday, 1 December 2016

frosty holly
a rummage of woodpigeons
within the ivy

Sunday, 27 November 2016

filthy skies
the asychronicity
of windmills in a field

Friday, 25 November 2016

Cologne Nose

When you said ‘Canary’,
I asked ‘What is?’, because
I thought you meant fuckin’ hairy,
but what you actually meant was
we’d got to Canary Wharf
so it was time to get off.

And when you said ‘Kinell’,
I blurted out ‘What now?!’
cos I thought you meant fuckin’ hell,
but somehow you thought I’d asked you
what you read for mental health—
and you meant Galway himself.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Butcher's Dog 8 launch

I'll be reading at Westminster Reference Library, 35 St. Martin's Street, London, WC2H 7HP, 6–8pm on 8 December as part of the launch for Butcher's Dog issue #8.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

yellow morning . . .
the pub changed back
to its original name

Friday, 11 November 2016

Magma #66 launch this evening

It turns out that I'm supposed to be reading at the Magma launch this evening, at the London Review of Books Shop, in Bury Place, of #66, the comedy issue. If anyone's going, please say hello.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

indigo dusk
the moon gearing up
to be super

Monday, 7 November 2016

autumn wind
the ballet of buses
exiting a roundabout

Sunday, 30 October 2016

a white sky cramps
the hillside allotments
scrape of a saw

Thursday, 27 October 2016

westerly warmth . . .
the cat's slow stretch assumes
a scratch of claws

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

from the footbridge: 
the railway cutting 
inked-in by dawn

Sunday, 23 October 2016

on autumn breeze
a sing-song voice carries
your mother's frequency
the hillside ivy thrives
with nectaring bees

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Red Door Poets

                                         Please come along. It's free!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

When windvoice reaches
the silver birches,
we know what's coming;
hear the autumn sing.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

purple hibiscus
the roof of a soft-top
happily retracts

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

jackdaws nap upon
the assembly rooms' dome
     this colder morning
a car park attendant puffs
from space to space

Saturday, 8 October 2016

autumn rain
I delete another contact
from Mum's phone

Friday, 7 October 2016

Best New British and Irish Poets 2017

I'm thrilled that I'm going to be included in Eyewear Publishing's Best New British and Irish Poets anthology for the second successive year.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

lining the top 
of a rollercoaster loop: 
sunset starlings

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Contemporary Haibun Online

I have a haibun, 'Paris', in the latest bumper issue of Contemporary Haibun Online.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Double Kissing the Pink

Amid an infectious hubbub of Malay, we catch
untranslatable parlance in the occasional snatch:
‘a pot to nothing’; even, swears Col, ‘screwback’.

We’re on our usual of the twelve tables at the Blackball,
where the boss and his overweight Doberman prowl.
After a year of friendly competition (winner-takes-all

at a hundred frames), Col and I are level on ninety
-nine each, and suddenly unarticulated, petty
grudges surface between shots. A happily fluky

red unlocks his defensive dirt. I eschew my natural
game and consider each shot from every angle.
I can feel Col’s bitterness simmer and boil until

I miss a long pink and go in-off. ‘About friggin’ time’,
he rasps. I laugh, knowing full well it’s hard to line
up a break out of anger. He fluffs an easy brown

and mutters into his beer. It’s all there for the taking;
I’m not going to pass up the chance: a screaming
black, with side to get back to baulk. I’m well in.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

fiftieth . . .
the poplars protect me
from slanted rain

Thursday, 22 September 2016

first evening chill
we try our basic eight 
at the bus stop

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

the whirr of swans' wings
high over town

Monday, 19 September 2016

affixed where
it's barely visible:
the missing poster

Sunday, 18 September 2016

house martins jink
between seafront hotels . . .
mint choc chip

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Indian summer . . .
a topless decorator points
with his brush

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

climbing the walls 
of a disused youth club: 
flowering hops

Monday, 12 September 2016

in and out of 
the ivy-curtained eaves:
morning sparrows

Sunday, 11 September 2016

hillside horses:
the piebald listens 
to neighing downwind

Saturday, 10 September 2016

over the Krishnas' bassline:
the screech
of keys being cut

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

KYSO Flash

My adjudication of the KYSO Flash haibun and tanka prose competition and commentaries on the six winning pieces have been published. Many thanks to Clare MacQueen for inviting me to adjudicate.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

late-summer run:
the climb through the ferns
trailblazed by slugs

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Haibun Today

I have a haibun, 'The Trauma Unit', over at Haibun Today.

Friday, 26 August 2016

seafront smells . . .
still the ferris wheel rotates 
through candy-floss sky

Thursday, 25 August 2016

over sea-grass beds
the water possesses
a deeper turquoise . . .
how pebbles coalesce
to make Elberry Cove

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

pacing the fairways
of the pitch and putt
herring gulls

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

the herring-gull
on a hotel rooftop apex
lets out its cry . . .
the silhouettes of chimneys
against the first dusky pinks

Monday, 22 August 2016

the last scraps
at the bottom of the chip-bag . . .
seaside heat

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

a faint wavering
in the rosebay willowherb—
Silly Season blues

Sunday, 14 August 2016

where the city
peters out into fields:
an old white mare

Saturday, 13 August 2016

I'm very pleased to have a poem, 'Headgear', published over at The Wardrobe.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

    outside the registry office
a momentary pose by a couple
             of goldfinches

Thursday, 4 August 2016

in my left foot
a first inkling
of autumn

Monday, 1 August 2016

nattering over the fence sunflowers and hollyhocks

Sunday, 31 July 2016

the hill's long climb: 
my laboured cadence springs 
yaffling yaffles

Thursday, 28 July 2016

sunswept funeral:
nobody knows the tune to
the departing hymn

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Listening to Warpaint

at Field Day, Victoria Park 

The bassline slinks deeper with the dusk,
sinks deep into the vein.

after Thom Gunn

Monday, 25 July 2016

the blithe tartness
of High Lane raspberries—
bloody cranesbill

Thursday, 21 July 2016

scissoring low
between lamb and ewe:
the heatwave swallows

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

today's specials
the same as yesterday's . . .
summer heat

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

all the hottest day
the hay baler's up and down—
flight of a ringlet

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The 120

When the bus bowled up
the Birley Moor Road,
it was just about
halfway to Halfway.

The Best New British and Irish Poets 2016

This anthology, which includes my poem 'The Skip', is now on sale at the bargain price of £4.99.

Friday, 15 July 2016

summer breeze
propels Leg of Mutton Pond
towards its reedbed . . .
the eye spots of small heaths
gazing from the grassland

Thursday, 14 July 2016

between trains
the tinkle of goldfinch
from rail to rail

Monday, 4 July 2016

Poem Featuring a Sentence by Thom Gunn

Interviewer (Clive Wilmer): What do you mean exactly by transparency?
Gunn: Transparent to my meaning. [. . .] There’s the whole question raised of how much meaning you have before you sit down to write and how it gets altered in the process of writing. But you do start with some knowledge of what you’re going to say after all. It may well not be what you end up saying, but it often is related to what you say. Yes, transparent . . . as though you’re looking through a glass at an object. That’s what the word implies. So the words are the glass to my mind. My mind is the fish in the tank behind the glass.
– Interview for The Paris Review, 1993

My mind is the fish in the tank behind the glass.
My mind is the fish in the tank behind the glass

     and my body sings a mantra for open ears.
     The disinclined man or woman hears what s/he hears.

Even when I sigh, my voice is as bold as brass.
My mind is the fish in the tank behind the glass;

     more a yellow tang, for sure, than a red piranha.
     We can all agree, hear hear, that I’m a charmer—

other opinions constitute a feckless farce.
My mind is the fish in the tank behind the glass,

     but the trawler’s net forever hangs in the air;
     and when I holler, I do so with practised flair:

my voice is a dream fished out to squirm on grass.
My mind is the fish in the tank behind the glass.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

tortoiseshells feeding
the old stone track we follow
pops through the vineyard

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Between Joy Division and New Order

all the obstacles
to patience, I

break the interim
tension by
wielding scissors—

roughing up
interregnum uncertainty,

full-blade slicing
the munching mulch
of hiatus angst.

Friday, 24 June 2016

midsummer evening
the rainbow fades 
out of reach

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

in the long grass,
eating some:
Persian cat

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

on the top deck
two bus drivers compare

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Life of Riley

The heavy rush-hour rain
this Monday morning solstice
three days before the Referendum
that which must be referred
runs off illegible names
on time-tilted headstones
to soak the dead and the living.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

muggy dusk . . .
a barge gradually docks
at Eagle Wharf

Sunday, 12 June 2016

roadside poppy
thickening mist enfolds
the Ridgeway fields

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

summer rain
the groundsman's sprinkler
waters the wicket

Sunday, 5 June 2016

a rabbit's twitch . . .
heat-yellowed pinks fringe
the vineyard terrace

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A Hundred Gourds

I was delighted when Lorin Ford invited me to be in the last-ever issue of A Hundred Gourds and it's lovely to see that Ron Moss has worked his ever-wonderful haiga magic. But it's always sad to see any haiku publication cease, let alone one that's been as successful and highly regarded as this.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

scrambling up Golden Hill
to the chapel-of-ease . . .
wild foxgloves

Monday, 30 May 2016

yellow flag . . .
the goldfinch nabs
a spiralling mayfly

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Robin Hood country . . .
a magpie arrows over
Friesian calves

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

peach roses
a wood pigeon matches
the house facade

Monday, 23 May 2016

from the eaves of offices 
becoming a school:
sparrows' chatter

Sunday, 22 May 2016

the commoners' path
from Hampton Court to Nonsuch:
an avenue of limes—
a common blue damselfly
ascends towards the ice-house

Saturday, 21 May 2016

spring hangover
Mum reads out to me
her latest limerick

Friday, 20 May 2016

Primers volume one

So tonight I went to the London launch, at the London Review of Books shop in Bloomsbury, of this, the first volume resulting from the collaboration between the Poetry School and Nine Arches Press to find talented poets in the UK. Katie Griffiths, who is one of the 'Chelsea Potters' poets with whom I meet periodically to share and workshop poems, is one of the four very fine poets in the book. Katie read beautifully, as did her co-readers. The book is mighty fine and well worth buying.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Review of The Lammas Lands in Kokako

I'm delighted that The Lammas Lands, has received a kind and thoughtful review, by Patricia Prime, in Kokako, the New Zealand haiku journal, in which she concludes by saying:

"If we can say that haiku succeed when form and meaning perfectly coalesce, when form is not sacrificed to meaning, nor meaning squeezed into pre-set forms, then Paul's haiku are among the best being written. Here are haiku of observation, family affection, personal experiences and landscape. Yet each haiku is more than its subject, each is a work of art in which the elements of life and language have undergone a transformation. This is a wonderful book of beguiling simplicity in which imagination, poetic control and heartfelt experiences are carefully balanced."

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Touchstone Awards judges' comments on The Lammas Lands

In bestowing an 'honourable mention' on my collection, The Lammas Landsfor the Haiku Foundation Touchstone Awards 2015 for distinguished books, the judges very kindly said this about my book:

“A powerful sense of solitude pervades Matthew Paul’s collection of haiku, The Lammas Lands, with imagery drawn from his native England. Often it is a bleak landscape he describes, one of frost on brambles and permutations of a cold weather sun, with various species of birds offering points of life or flashes of color. Paul’s deep sensitivity to his natural surrounds is readily apparent in these deft haiku that frequently describe the flora and fauna of his homeland. “Lammas” references the time of the first wheat harvest in August, with the end of summer ushering in the colder seasons. It is an apt title since the authorial presence in these poems is a keen observer who feels the necessity of survival in the natural world, as living creatures hunker down for the approaching winter, a time of hibernation or migration for many animals, and perhaps one of retreat for humans. The author himself communicates a profound sense of isolation, which feels both personal and metaphysical, in references to “slipping unnoticed,” or to a one-man band that “strums to no one,” or to a pavement-sweeper that “waits for me to pass.” Other poems that juxtapose the human-made with natural processes of erosion or decay reinforce that vulnerability and aloneness and foreshadow the inevitable fall of even the grandest structure:
the holes that insects
have bored in the megalith
winter wind
cobweb morning
the merest outline
of ship funnels
In other moments, light counterbalances the prevailing darkness when Paul calls us back to the possibility of future harvests and the cyclical nature of death and rebirth with the seasons:
the last sun
across the lammas lands
perennial asters
This collection’s potency lies in the evocative pairings of natural species in scenes that capture their familiar resonance for the author — and n the sense of isolation evoked by these native landscapes which is deeply realized in the reader.”

Monday, 9 May 2016

spring rain
my brolly careers
through a cloud of gnats

Sunday, 8 May 2016

a day for smiles
along the ox-bowed river
an orange-tip's flight

Saturday, 7 May 2016

blackthorn winter's end
the high-summer sky blue
of green alkanet
polling day
the contrails made
by swifts

Monday, 2 May 2016

mussel-blue skies . . .
the cherry blossom bright
by the brick wall

Sunday, 1 May 2016

a hairpin bend dips 
to Damflask reservoir—
the smell of pigs

Monday, 25 April 2016

for weeks now
the paired-up grebes have plied 
this same stretch
where the bridge's brickwork
has turned a grey shade of brown

Saturday, 23 April 2016

spring's bumper crop
in Dad's old vegetable patch:

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Touchstone Awards 2015

I'm delighted to receive an honourable mention for my collection, The Lammas Lands, in the Haiku Foundation's Touchstone 'Distinguished Book Awards' for 2015, alongside fine company.
sun-hazed stone pine . . .
the boatmen change into
red-and-gold livery

Monday, 11 April 2016

a bike-bell's ting . . .
the fishmonger offers
Brighton brill

Sunday, 10 April 2016

around the headstone
of one who died at twenty:
wind-puffed primroses

Saturday, 9 April 2016

The List

She shows me the death notice
she's cut from The Times
of the man who was her boss
in the early 'Fifties; tells me how

she asked him on the Monday
if he'd enjoyed his swim
when he sank in the Boat Race,
and how she played practical jokes

upon him without any rancour;
and now he's died, aged eighty-six,
another acquaintance gone
from her dwindling list.

Monday, 4 April 2016

rain like stair-rods
tips through a midge cloud
the tear of ducks

Saturday, 2 April 2016

beech wood
the nippy bounce of rabbits
off the bridleway

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Jays

within the Discovery tree
can only be glimpsed by and by
by such Norfolkian souls who
habitually lift up their eyes
above the tallest head-height through
which Dutch weavers’ brick gables rise;

where—in this bless├Ęd instance—two
jays blend in, like excellent spies,
in blossom that’s actually snow—
without a need to scream or fly;
spring having sprung any old how
upon a pungent northerly:

the freckle-faced clouds fast forward
at this time of day: two odd shoes,
absorbing scents of applewood,
hunker down with a stash of booze:
Dad clears his throat because he should,
’cause he’s always in on the ruse.

Monday, 28 March 2016

below the keep
daffodils nod along
with the storm's tail

Sunday, 27 March 2016

white dead-nettle . . .
barking from the kennels
in the dank wood

Saturday, 26 March 2016

descending the weir
quicker than thought:
Good Friday sunshine

Friday, 25 March 2016

beaming celandines
outside the timbered pub
a Triumph Herald

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

circling the currents
between ait and embankment:
courting grebes

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Book launch tomorrow

As the 'Event' tab on the right-hand column says, tomorrow sees the launch of the Eyewear Publishing anthology, The Best New British and Irish Poets 2016. I'll be reading my poem in the anthology, 'The Skip'. Most of all, I'm looking forward to hearing and meeting as many of the poets in the anthology who come along. I'm not sure what the collective noun for poets is, though I daresay the Poetry Society's 'stanza' is as good as anything... Everyone and anyone is welcome to come along. It's free and should be fantastic!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

star magnolia
a cold day for 

Monday, 14 March 2016

between the clangs
of poles being fitted:
the scaffolders' banter

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Cock Crow Hill
the spring sun alights
on my shoulder

Sunday, 6 March 2016

riverside crows
not returning my grin:
the oncoming runner
whom I cantered past
along the other bank

Saturday, 5 March 2016

      gloved up...
the panes of my father's greenhouse
            juddered by hail

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Slept well; thanks perhaps to a generous libation of orange-flower water. – Andre Gide, Journal, 23 November 1912.

Sand martins
enact meticulous flips

before abruptly torpedoing
into their nest-hole

on the island famed
for botanical gardens

laid out and nurtured
by an Ulsterman named McClintock

who avoided internment or worse
because the Fascists adored his azaleas.

When the sun breaks orange
over the Lepontine Alps,

I will board the ferry
at the lido

and stand with my legs akimbo
as the boat jigs over the wavelets.

Halfway across to Isola Seme,
I’ll hand on the note.

Monday, 22 February 2016

the grizzled busker
in unstinting drizzle
tells the high street
how he fell into
a burning ring of fire

Friday, 19 February 2016

Best New British and Irish Poets 2016

I'm delighted to be included among the 50 poets in this anthology, to be published this March by Eyewear Publishing.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

wayside daffodils
at last the new house
fills the space

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Persian restaurant
the deliveryman spills
crates of tomatoes

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

frosty morning
my shadow covers the gaps
between four pines

Monday, 15 February 2016

half moon
a grebe plunges into
the marmalade sunset

Friday, 12 February 2016

without moving its bill
the Egyptian goose won't stop
chuntering wheezily

Thursday, 11 February 2016

between train tracks
recumbent beer bottles
beset by frost

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

on the river running 
mud-brown and fast:
massing gulls

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

walking faster
to dodge the rainstorm—
Polish graffiti

Monday, 8 February 2016

wind-strafed birches
the curate's cheeks sunken
into his face

Sunday, 7 February 2016

the phillyrea
unruffled by gales
chihuahua steps

Thursday, 4 February 2016

the line of poplars
blackens a mackerel sky...
February blues

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

the plodding cyclist
hackles his cough

Monday, 1 February 2016

empty high street:
only a pub-sign's squeak
on the cold wind

Sunday, 31 January 2016

along the broadway
the Spanish-guitarist chimes
with a child's cries

Friday, 29 January 2016

two kicks and it's up:
the airborne cormorant
this gusty morning

Thursday, 28 January 2016

the soft song
of the poplar-tops—
swans in flight

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

my brolly blown
into mad contortions...
winter stormlight

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

winter warm front
she licks the icy patch
off his lolly

Monday, 25 January 2016

the cobalt skies
this January afternoon
let the cold go everywhere

Sunday, 24 January 2016

where ice is rained away
autumn windfalls
caramelise on the verge

Saturday, 23 January 2016

on gritted pathways
once again I feel
the creep of obsolescence—
the house that looks like a boat
floats underwater

Friday, 22 January 2016

a light wet sheen
to the resurfaced road:
winter mizzle

Thursday, 21 January 2016

all-day frost
the geezer on the bus
reeks of weed

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

the river like glass . . .
an ushering-in
of a modicum of daylight

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

the overwhelming

Monday, 18 January 2016

winter sunlight
all the way up the pine
its pinkiness

Sunday, 17 January 2016

bus stop frost
she uses the selfie screen
as a mirror

Saturday, 16 January 2016

in answer to questions
I put to myself:
the slightest rain

Friday, 15 January 2016

filling the blackness
between shore and ait and back:
jackdaw chacks

Thursday, 14 January 2016

meeting break:
I realise I've become
an old hand

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

the moon kicks back...
the geese on the river
just from their honks

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

towards Hampton Court
five ducks wheel in unison...
this silent stretch

Monday, 11 January 2016

from Outpatients
to the main hospital
long-tailed tits

Sunday, 10 January 2016

the back road curves upwards
among the pines
our synchronised pace

Saturday, 9 January 2016

a sky full of frogs...
sunbeams slant across
the calamine house

Friday, 8 January 2016

crow after crow
the morning darkens
with biblical rain

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

river mist
a blue bike is lowered
from the ferry boat

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

honking through the darkness
long before their shapes:
the twilight geese

Monday, 4 January 2016

a swan lands
on the crescent moon
the dead rise
upright as poplars
from the eye-black river