Frank Tassone’s haikai challenge this week is to write a tribute haiku to one of the late Rachel Sutcliffe’s poems. Rachel lived a few miles from the small town where I grew up in Yorkshire, and her haiku are unfailingly the best I have ever read. The haiku I have chosen (difficult choice) is this one, first published in Cattails in September 2014.

autumn stroll
we pick blackberries
out of the mist

It inspired a trio.


this hedge strung

with webs of spider mist

and purple berries


beneath the dew

grass blades bend quivering

with diamonds


empty walnut shell

rose hip nibbled cast away

squirrel litter


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

51 thoughts on “Blackberrying”

    1. I admit I’m not a fan of Japanese poetry, or at least as it’s translated into English. Most of it just sounds daft to me, that last image plucked out of nowhere. But Rachel Sutcliffe has been a revelation to me. Such beautiful images and with much more to them than most.

      1. He didn’t. It’s confirmed. – I had no idea one could schedule a post to appear later – never needed to know I suppose, being of a more immediate need. 🙂

      2. I saw on twitter that the haiku society had posted news of her death. It’s like the recorded message on your phone. Some of these useful ideas can be painful.

      3. Frank reblogged her work often, but I tend not to notice the name on his reblogs. Never noticed what a wonderful haiku poet she was. Puts the rest of us amateurs, and many not so amateur to shame.

  1. Lovely pieces, Jane. Rachel’s blackberry haiku is one of my favourites too. I’ve been a follower of her blog since the beginning of my blogging journey. I knew she was ill but her death has still come as a shock to me.

    1. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know about her at all. Haiku has never really appealed to me that much. So many are just either too clever for their own good, or they’re no actually haiku, more like publicity slogans. Rachel’s haiku have been a revelation to me, that you really can make a beautiful, meaningful poem in just a few words. I’m glad you like these tribute pieces.

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