I live in Oxfordshire and work as a gardener, linguist, musician, and writer. My poems have appeared online, in poetry magazines, in two anthologies I produced with three local writers (details at www.fourwordsmen.com ) and most recently in the anthology Places of Poetry. I won first prize in the Hesperus Books haiku competition in 2014.
Charles Causley said that it would be awful to wake up in the morning and feel you had to write a poem. I agree! I let the haiku find me. Going for a walk is a good start. Very often I’ll overhear someone say something which sparks a memory or an insight. I’m on the look-out for the hidden connections between things. There’s no getting away from it that it’s a magical, mystical process. There is no algorithm. For me, a haiku is a thing of two halves with some tension/ contrast between the two sections. I think it’s better to avoid humour, better to avoid the obvious, better to focus on simple things but interesting things can happen when you break the rules. I hope I make poems which resonate and keep on resonating.
The Daily Haiku is a supportive environment. Our work has more life when people read it. People are very encouraging and polite, but I think there’s more room for enquiry and explanation.
There is no doubt in my mind that art is medicine. I believe that everyone is creative and that our lives are richer through creative expression. Art of any kind offers a deep connection between people who may not even know one another, and the strange thing is that the more personal we make our work the more universal its connection. This is because something inside us has the capacity to recognize deep truth. This is deeply nourishing. There are so many forces which push us towards being consumers but for me being a creator is much more satisfying.
Her thick coat of grass
She left it off all winter
Like a strong-willed child.
I wrote this after seeing long grass blowing in the breeze on a hillside. It looked like cloth and brought back memories of trying to persuade my children to wear their coats in winter.
The wood’s grain
The waves of the sea
A new boat.
The lines in the grain of the wood reminded me of the waves of the sea. The wood and the sea meet when we construct a traditional wooden boat. This seems the most marvellous harmony. Boats have a kind of optimism and bravery where the tiny man-made boat takes on the massive forces of the sea.