Tag Archives: Haiku

And the Heavens Opened

rain 01
Pools of water collect on the driveway, then run onto the grass by the maize field. Gaining momentum, the water changes direction and flows west into the back paddock.


When I arose this morning, the rain that had been coming down steadily all night was like a bead curtain, each string of droplets falling vertically from the leaden grey sky.

Troubled Sleep

Last night had to have been the worst night I’ve experienced this summer, humidity-wise. As I lay on my bed, the covers pushed off onto the floor, I struggled to find a cool patch in the damp mugginess. My hair clung to my head and a patina of moisture coated every patch of exposed skin (in other words, my whole body was dripping).  Around 3.30 am, a loud crash roused me from a weird dream about insects. I’d been half aware, earlier, of a few flashes of brightness through my tightly-closed eyelids as I’d tossed and turned, but I’d put that down to my Apple Watch’s display turning on when I moved my arm. For the next hour, an impressive thunder storm rattled the windows and cast brilliant white light into the room. At 4.15 am I detached myself from the damp bed to check the data on our newly-acquired weather station. The results were no surprise: Outside: 22.3 C / 100 % humidity; Inside: 27.6 C / 93% humidity.

I switched on RNZ’s All Night Programme, hungry for an update on how Tonga was faring under the onslaught of Cyclone Gita. The broadcast was broken by static and I imagined having to endure the rain without shelter. In the darkness of a stormy night. With young children or elderly parents. With ferocious winds and terrifying noises. How frightening that would be.

grass rain 02
A lake of water on the grass

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

When I looked out from the back porch and saw that glistening curtain of rain, I felt an overwhelming urge to shower outside. So I grabbed soap and shampoo and found a position behind the garage (very private there, especially on such a day) and washed and rinsed myself off out there with only the sparrows and one stray hen for company. A large gush of water was overflowing from the corner of the roof, the guttering unable to cope with the torrent, so I stood directly beneath it to rinse off my hair. It felt good to be out there in the wetness. The water was barely cooler than the air temperature.

Taking Stock

71 mm of rain has fallen in the last 24 hours, and of this, 22.5 mm fell in the hour I chose for my outdoor shower. Now it’s getting on for 8.00 pm and the rain has mostly stopped; water is sinking into the grass and draining away.  Outside, the cicadas and crickets are once again making a racket. Let’s hope it’s sunny tomorrow.

letterboxes 02

Tan water flows by
bearing the earth in its grasp
Cows munch undisturbed

Jane Percival, February 2018


Flotsam and Jetsam

Yasawa Haiku

Shells and coral, collected from the beach

I’ve spent the past week in the Yasawa Islands, Fiji, escaping from the wintry blast that has been afflicting South Head.

I’d originally planned to take my laptop and work on a couple of stories while we were away, but in the end, decided to leave work behind.

I was certain I’d write something while I was there, but I have to admit that I struggled for inspiration, only managing a handful of haiku.

Hermit crab

Tiny hermit crab
scoots along glimmering sand.
It sees me and stops.

iridescent waves...

Iridescent waves
paint a clean line in the sand.
Caramel to cream.


I see the sun’s rays
push against the comb-like palms.
Grey stripes on the sand.


Poetry and Inspiration

Reacquainting myself with an old friend

I was enjoying reading I. K. Paterson-Harkness’s recent blog on Haiku and thought I’d post something of my own. My interest in poetry and the actual writing of poetry has been rekindled lately, to the extent that I’ve purchased a couple of books to get me back in the mode (or is it in the mood?).


One was Six Centuries of English Poetry Tennyson to Chaucer: Typical Selections from the Great Poets, (1892) by James Baldwin, and the other, Above the River: The Complete Poems, by (author) Professor James Wright.

I chose the first book to reacquaint myself with some of the works and the styles of the classic poets, some of whom I read decades ago, and others of whom I’m sorely ignorant.  And as is often the way for me, I heard one of James Wright’s poems being read last week on National Radio and liked it so much that it spurred me to purchase more of his work.

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in
Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

(James Wright)

Poetic Forms

Paul B. Janeczko, A Kick in the Head
Paul B. Janeczko, A Kick in the Head

Another book I’ve loved for years is Paul B. Janeczko’s, A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms (2005).  This book lists 29 different poetic forms and provides examples for each. I’d recommend it if you are interested in the challenge of some of the more complex styles.  The illustrations are neat, too.

Haiku from a Distant Summer

Here’s my Haiku offering… something I wrote way back in 1995 when I was living in St Leonards, Dunedin.

Dry parched hills
in the eyes of our cats
amber, gold and brown.

rapid fluting melody
I catch my breath
as they fly

Flax seeds
ripening broom pods
caught on the breeze

Arid creek
quiet noise
sunlight dulled by
brackish pool

Jane Percival
(March 1995)