My (sort of) year in haiku

As I said recently, I write precious few haiku nowadays and never try to force them out. It’s surprising for me to find, then, that this year I’ve written as many as 16 which I like to think have some merit to them. By some distance my favourite among them is this one, which Tanya McDonald kindly published in Kingfisher 6:

a dove’s two-note song . . .
I sink a pint of bitter
in the old pub’s shade

It was a rare instance of a haiku popping into my head fully formed, in the hot days in Holderness back in August, which I partially reported on here. I was sitting on a bench outside the White Horse, Easington, a few minutes after it opened at the odd time of 4pm, when I had an hour or so to kill before the bus was due to ferry me back to Holmpton. (The vagaries of East Yorkshire’s buses were as much of a mystery to me as those of the Kingston Loop railway would be to any non-south-west-Londoner.)

By accident rather than design, it’s a rare-for-me 5-7-5 haiku, though that in itself doesn’t make it any better or worse than any other haiku of mine. More to the point, maybe, that iambic second line and the third have a sing-song rhythm comparable to the collared dove’s call.

The fact that it was a pub called the White Horse was very pleasing to me, because it was also the name of the first pub, in Kingston, in which I regularly drank under-age. The latter, long since gone, was an odd boozer, with a landlord known as Orville, and a regular propping up the bar who was Samuel Beckett’s double and known to all as Roadrunner, on account of the fact that the only thing he ever said was ‘Beep’. I have no idea how he ordered his bottles of Guinness. Orville ended up doing a runner with the takings, which really can’t have been worth it.

Perhaps my pencils will jot down more haiku next year than they manged to this. Either way, rather like East Yorkshire’s buses, they’ll come when they come.

2 thoughts on “My (sort of) year in haiku

  1. Just catching up on all my reading, including blog posts! This is fantastic. I think it’s a haibun (it doesn’t matter if you put your haiku first or last, it still works). I’ve been thinking about this for a while, blog posts as haibun. You’re right though, it wouldn’t work as well if you sat down with that intention.
    Thanks for sharing the writing process.
    Julie x

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