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


Haikai: To each according to his needs

This tanka is for Frank Tassone’s weekly haikai challenge. This week the prompt is about elections or democracy. I’ve lost my grip on the meaning of democracy, since if the majority of voters turn out to be cruel, ugly-minded bigots (and we’re seeing it happen), I would probably wish for a system that didn’t give morons an equal say with nice people like me.  I know, it’s the best idea we’ve come up with so far. Let’s just keep thinking, can we? Maybe a bit of fine tuning?


Birds flock, huddle

against the cold, sharing warmth

rabbit and fox share

the same earth shelters both—

and our humanity?