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