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July 29, 2012

The other day I came across a reference to Little, Big, the great American fantasy novel by John Crowley.  This brought to mind a colleague of the past who loaned me her battered, treasured copy.  Sylvie (as I’ll call her, after a character in the novel) was much into art, photography in particular, and had left-wing leanings.  One summer’s eve, she and her partner took me to a smoky old pub in Hulme and I met a number of their friends.

For a moment I was right back there, eyes smarting in the fug, and I decided to capture the memory in a little poem.  Not that I’d restrict myself to the purely factual!  I remembered that Sylvie had written haiku and thought I’d use my own version of this ancient Japanese form.

Simply put, a haiku, as written in English, traditionally has three unrhymed lines of 5-7-5 syllables, 17 in total, and is a complete poem in itself.  There are many variants, though.  I decided my poem would have three linked haiku, each following a 6-7-4 pattern to give the closing lines extra punch.

I returned Little, Big to Sylvie that Christmas and sadly we’ve lost contact since.  I still have this memory at least.  Hope you like it…




A rising tide of tongues,

Her cool face framed in smoke;

Irish fiddles.


She speaks to me of art now:

Will squat in mud and snap me,

Scrunch and re-take.


Lefty friends jig blindly,

Her grey eyes smarting ponder;

Someone slops beer.



Haiku are fun to write.  Have a go.




© Copyright Paul Beech 2012


From → Poetry

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