Holiday Haiku 1

The golden sun hides
behind gossamer cloud veil.
A young bride’s shy smile.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I’m off again tomorrow, just for a week this time but again with little WiFi access, so next week’s post are being scheduled in advance, along with (in a couple of cases) photos of the scene that inspired them. We are going to the National Tandem Club Rally which we have never been to before and I shall tell you about it on my return.

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Holiday Elfje – Breathing

Twice
a day
river water comes,
goes, in…out; tide
breathing.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
As promised, over the next couple of weeks I shall share the short-form poetry that I wrote while I was away. With the exception of this Elfje they were inspired by events during that time so I will post them here in chronological order – apart from Monday’s Haiku, which records an event towards the end of my holiday.

Travellers Return

I’m back. We have returned from approximately 8 weeks travelling through France and Spain in our motorhome. We have had a mixed bag of weather – snow (yes, snow), rain, thunderstorms, strong winds and I admit, some hot days with sunshine – enough to at least show some slight signs of a suntan (I’m fair skinned and don’t tan easily at the best of times), but generally a lot colder than we are used to when visiting this time of the year.

Family at La Pedals de CLip

Photo from La Pedals de Clip website

I now have an awful lot of catching up to do so I don’t intend to give you chapter and verse of my time away. However one thing we did do is take part once again La Pedals de Clip, a rally for classic road-race bikes, together with our daughter. I have reported on this event in the past (here) so there is no need for me to fully explain it again. Basically it is a fun event that ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’, very friendly and enjoyable. My husband and I both rode our Henry Burton classic bikes (built locally to our home in the UK) and our daughter rode her James Fothergill which was built in Liverpool. At one point I thought I might not be able to take part, having taken a tumble from my bike a couple of weeks before the event and hurt my elbow rather badly – beware of pedestrians in Spain, they have right of way apparently and do not always look before stepping out to cross the road! (Hubby stopped suddenly to avoid hitting the pedestrian and I crashed into hubby’s bike.) Fortunately the pain had subsided sufficiently by the ride day, although I did ache a bit afterwards!

Always a fairly tough ride, up and hill and down dale with a final 1Km hill climb to the castle of Sant Marti Sarroca where the event finishes, this year’s ride was tougher than last time we did it due to an almost continuous strong headwind all the way round. (I gather that last year’s event, which we didn’t do, was worse as the weather was very cold and wet.)

We made one or two interesting observations at the cycling event. First we got the impression that there seemed to be slightly fewer participants than previously – possible due to last year’s weather – but there did seem to be more younger people in evidence, which must bode well for the future of the event. I also got the impression that there was not as many females this time and in fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I was probably one of the oldest females, if not the oldest, taking part.

Before we went away I challenged myself to write at least one poem a week during the holiday. Usually when on holiday I do very little writing other than keeping a journal so I decided I wanted to make better use of some of my ‘spare time’. Although I didn’t literally  write a poem every week, (some weeks I wrote two and then maybe nothing for the next week) overall I wrote 9 poems plus 2 Elfje, 2 Tanka and 10 Haiku or Senryu and I wrote my usual journal. I have impressed myself – not bad for just under 8 weeks away! Most of the poems do need some further polishing (I didn’t say they were good poems!) but I hope to share the Elfje, Tanka and Haiku/Senryu with you over the coming days, starting here with one about my little accident:

Falling off my bike
the road bites my arm and leg.
My elbow swells up.

 

The Stranger

This network of interwoven streets
is where my roots lie deep,
and this the house where I was born
though I have been long gone.
Every year brought visits here,
a pilgrimage back home
to friendly neighbours, open doors,
where I was known.

Times change, those folk are gone,
and I am known no more,
just a stranger looking on
outside this old familiar door,
my name remembered by so few
though family ties were strong.
Now only whispered memories
tell that I belong.

Yet still I find I’m drawn back here,
still I search these streets
for memories of those happy times
that seem just out of reach.
You may wonder who I am,
a stranger looking on,
but for me this is my home,
the place where I belong.

Elizabeth Leaper
(from ‘Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles’)

After the Storm

The roaring beast of the storm
that yesterday railed
in tantrum against the rocks
has exhausted its god-like fury.

I take the steep and slippery track
down to the beach,
scrabbling over the rocky outcrops
laid like traps to trip the unwary.

Low tide. The sea breathes
gently over the shingle,
hushsss out, and shooshsss in;
a giant monster sated and asleep,

while there on the sand
the remnants of a rusting hulk
lie discarded – picked bones
of some long-since digested feast.

Elizabeth Leaper
(from ‘Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles’)

She…

She…

glides across the room with all the swan-like elegance
her stocky frame allows. Nothing moves
except her feet with their neat steps.
There is no flow, no ease, as if
to bend would shatter her shell-like poise.

No movement is detected in her clothes, her hair –
grey now, but superbly sculpted into place, no air
would dare to blow a wisp across her face.

Her face; a mask, with fixed half-smile,
in denial of her age, no wrinkles mar
her bland serenity. She turns to speak,
her whole body not her head, in case
this cause her neck to crease.

As she speaks, quiet, passionless,
her lips are seen to move but not her brow,
her cheeks; her face expressionless.

Only her darting eyes show any sign of life,
and these so often hide behind small panes of glass
that tint at the slightest hint of brightness,
(it would not do to squint).

Matronly plastic android,
she stems the tide, holds back the years
and underneath the Botox hides her fears.

Elizabeth Leaper
(from ‘Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles’)

Two Blackbirds

Two blackbirds hopping on the grass
Take little notice when I pass.
They know if I don’t stray too near
That they have little need of fear.
I’m the one who throws the crumbs
When the winter weather comes,
I listen when they stop to sing
And watch them when they take to wing.

But when my cat comes in to view
Then they make a great to-do.
A chink, chink, chinking they commence
And quickly fly up on the fence.
My cat comes nearer paw by paw
And to the treetops they withdraw,
Chink-chinking still till cat has passed,
Returning then to hop on grass.

Elizabeth Leaper
(from ‘Barking at Nothing’)

Cat Flap

Cat flap
flip-flap.

Clean bowl.

Who’s that
stray cat?

That’s not
my cat.

Scat cat!

Flip-flap
cat flap.

Elizabeth Leaper
(from ‘Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles’)

Creature of the Night (Triolet)

All along the fence she’s prowling,
Feline creature of the night.
Listen to her softly growling.
All along the fence she’s prowling,
The volume now increased to yowling,
Putting trespassers to flight.
All along the fence she’s prowling —
Feline. Creature of the night.

____
Elizabeth Leaper
(from ‘Barking At Nothing’)

Uncle Tommy

Those buttons
are all that I remember of the man.

Mushroom-domed,
conker-brown and made of leather,
woven like a turks-head knot.

I call them ‘Uncle Tommy’ buttons.
The real thing they were,
not these tawdry plastic imitations.

They held his jacket together,
most likely tweed I think, although
of this too I have no recollection.

His face, his shape, his voice —
all that was him has left no trace.
I was far too young to remember.

So this is all there is,
this haunting shadow-memory
of a man I don’t recall.

Just those buttons and a name —
associated forever.

____
Elizabeth Leaper
(from ‘Collecting Cobwebs, Gathering Brambles’)

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