Haiku challenge: Slip & Tip

For Ronovan’s haiku challenge.



spring gold against

winter lead the balance tips

first swans glide nesting

Still chill

The north wind is still blowing hard here and temperatures have plummeted, down to I°C last night and only reaching 14°C in a blustery sun and cloud. Everything is suffering. Some of the grape vines have wilted in the cold, and the pyramid orchids that shouldn’t really have been out yet.

Last night we brought some of the army of plants waiting to be planted into the porch for shelter and today have been planting out some of the more vulnerable plants: four roses, a honeysuckle, one of the hydrangeas, a passion flower, a mock orange and an apple tree. It’s the tip of the iceberg. I took the photo a couple of weeks ago. The plant family has grown considerably since then and the porch is so full now you can’t walk across it.


Chill strikes deep

tender growth cutting

a scythe

before haymaking time.

Limp the flowers now

that bloomed too soon

and silent the hedge

where new things chirruped and mewled.

A handspin too far too hard

the breath of wind too cold

and spring turns inward

retreats what can

furls what was spread

face to the sun

and waits for better days.


Noisy quiet

field of sunshine


In this puddled field

cricket-blithe after the rain

where frogs rattle and croak deep in grass-hung ditches

I hear the lowing of cattle long gone,

a plaintive moan blowing between the trees

dripping from spring-hazed branches of a different time.

Woodpecker remembers and thrush,

though the hedges are sparse now,

meagre as a cold spring.

They remember days that never ended

carried on the nightingale’s song

moonlit-dancing through the woods.

Silver-dewed and dropped

the field where the pheasant coughs

too shiny new to know anything but triumph

in his hard-won freedom.