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Curlew Sunset

November 6, 2016

Since publishing my first collection, Twin Dakotas, in August, I’ve felt in the mood to experiment a little with my poetry.

I love the ancient Japanese short poetry forms haiku (focussing on nature) and senryu (similar but focussing on human nature). Purists would probably have a fit, but I thought it might be fun to combine senryu and haiku in alternation as stanzas in a longer poem.  And in the following, written in September from observations in Connah’s Quay and Flint, just down the Dee Estuary from my home here in Shotton, this is just what I did.

I’ll leave it to you to decide whether the experiment was successful! Have a nice Sunday, everyone.




her multi-coloured hair

distracts the eye

from her bones



a wasteland

sycamore spinners spin


haggard on a bench scribbling

he sips soup

dreams of fame


curlew sunset

a small abandoned boat

in the saltmarsh


a single line

on a stained page

“her multi-coloured hair”


Paul Beech 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2016



From → General, Poetry

  1. This is lovely, Paul, and I think a very successful experiment. The interplay between the environment and the human works very well…almost cinematically, like shots in a little poignant, silent film.

    • Hi Cynthia, I’m so glad you like the poem because, much as I enjoyed the experiment, I wasn’t sure how it would go down. That the poem seems to work exactly as I’d hoped it would, is most encouraging, and maybe I’ll include it in my next collection, though this won’t be for a year or two yet. Maybe I’ll even call the book ‘Curlew Sunset’. We’ll see.

      Thank you so much, and very best wishes,


  2. It works well, of course! You’ve stayed true to the spirit of the two forms and they spiral around each other. I like how they end returns to the beginning too.

    • Thank you John, and welcome to my blog. I’m so pleased you like my experimental poem ‘Curlew Sunset’. Pushing the boundaries through experimentation is necessary in developing any art of course, and how pleasing it is when, perhaps a few failures down, something comes off!

      Your own site looks great and I’ve just signed up as a subscriber. I’d very much like to read your debut collection too, ‘The Human Hive’. My own first collection, published in August by Cestrian Press, is ‘Twin Dakotas: poetry and prose’.

      Very best wishes,


      • Hello Paul. It’s good to establish contact. I have been looking through many posts on your blog today, with pleasure, and was trying to get an idea of the contents of your book. Poetry? Stories? Perhaps a description (in the Amazon fashion) would be a help on the publishing website? With best wishes, John

  3. Enjoyed this very much Paul, I’m with Cynthia and found your haiku work successful. Your imagery put me into the scenes quickly and as a quiet observer waiting for the next. Congratulations. Did you enjoy writing in this short fashion?

    • Thanks Mary, so glad you like ‘Curlew Sunset’.

      Yes, I love writing Japanese short form poetry. The challenge is to capture the fleeting moment in just a few deft strokes – moments of “oneness with nature” in the case of haiku, moments of insight into human nature with senryu. Indeed, through the juxtaposition of images, to reach beyond words in a way that touches the reader.

      The Japanese have a word for such poetry combined with graphic art: “haiga”.

      Maybe something for you to explore as an artist.

      Me too as a poet.

      My very best,


      • For me it is a fascinating word imagery that I have come to appreciate from bloggers such as yourself who have an amazing gift to write. Like also our dear friend, Cynthia. I will look up Haiga, thanks for the suggestion. Have a wonderful day and weekend Paul.

  4. Hi John,

    Yes, it’s great to be in contact.

    I live just over the Welsh border from Chester, am a member of Chester Poets and Cross-Border Poets (Mold), and work in the poetry/prose borderland. Bit of a theme developing here!

    My stuff ranges from free form and Japanese short form poetry through prose poetry and haibuns to flash fiction and children’s stories.

    ‘Twin Dakotas’, my debut collection, is arranged in seven subject sections, Nature, Times Past, Historical, Displacement, Later Life, Contrasts and Young Ones, and represents the range of my work.

    Published in paperback by Cestrian Press August 2016, the book (ISBN 978 0 904448 50 4) runs to 103 pages and is priced at £6.50.

    I’d very much like a copy of your collection ‘The Human Hive’ and if you’d like a copy of mine, maybe we could sort something out? My email address is:

    Have a good weekend.



  5. Thanks again, Mary.

    Yes, Cynthia Jobin is a brilliant poet; I love her work and have learnt much from her.

    Haiga, originating in 17th century Japan, are paintings incorporating and complimenting a haiku, together with calligraphy. A haiku calendar hangs over my desk, this month’s page featuring a haiku by Eiki (1823 – 1904) on a woodcut titled ‘Bluebirds in Rain’ by Yoshimoto Gessō (1881 – 1936).

    Wishing you a very happy weekend,


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