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Sheila 01823 67 28 46

Valerie 01884 84 04 22

Sunday 26 January 2014

A NOTE ON THE 5-7-5 'HAIKU' by George Szirtes

I ought to explain that I am not really interested in the notion of an 'authentic' haiku. I have no ambition to write authentic haiku.

I am not of that cast of mind.

I am, however, interested in a form that goes short-long-short. It's exactly like writing in rhyme or with stress or with syllabics. The pattern of three short lines in simple language with a swell in the middle offers possibilities that I, and others, like to explore.

In a similar way I am not interested in writing only Spenserian or Shakespearean or Petrarchan sonnets. I don't believe in these mysteries: above all I have no particular love for authenticity.

A sonnet is a 14 line territory with echoes and landmarks that behaves in certain ways but can behave in others. Those echoes and landmarks are other sonnets that include the Shakespearian, the Petrarchan etc.

Rhyme is a process not a merely a product.

A 5-7-5 pattern can be called a haiku for convenience, but, like the sonnet, it is a territory with echoes and landmarks. Those echoes and landmarks remind us of what other, possibly more 'authentic', or possible NOT 5-7-5 haiku have done and might do.

This sonnet and that sonnet are related but not the same.

This 'haiku' and that 'haiku' are related but not the same.

Form is a constraint on process. Ditto all other givens.

Constraints are for enabling processes, not golden rules for the production of a certain kind of product.

This is what I have always believed. It is what I have always practiced. It is a kind of new testament: the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is where my vote goes.

If people want something else they can get it somewhere else.


I'm looking for an assassin. No, actually I am. Montague Thripp that snake, painted me with red hair, when I'm actually natural blond-and the dress I'm wearing in the picture is nothing like the one that cost me £2-12-9d at Marks and Spencer.  This, advertising a guide for 1d!

© William Botley
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I’m embarrassed.  Tom is animated, manic even.  He ignores Sylvia.  She half-turns away and stares hard at her engagement ring.  Her pearls and high heels are incongruous on the beach, contrasting with his casuals.  But that’s not it.

Dear God, I think, she’s pregnant.  And he doesn’t want to know.

© Gill Dunstan
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Wednesday 22 January 2014

To sea and not to see?

Oblivious  perfection.  Their elegance frames the seaside view suspended at the carriage window. Couture in symmetry. Elaine coquettishly rests her chin on a gloved hand.  Eyes smiles locked.   Jeremy, amidst potential distractions, is captivated.  Desire blinds him to her essential being.  An unfathomable woman possessed by a curiously intense love.

© Helen McIntosh
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Monday 20 January 2014


Naturally enough she had screamed when, in opening, the sleeping berth revealed a dead body.

‘Bugger,’ was my thought.

It’s not that I am unmoved by death, it’s just I’ve always thought a pleasure deferred is a pleasure wasted – and scarlet clad Clarissa had promised much. Not now, of course...

© Tim Scott
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On the Rocks

Elspeth had rather fancied Herbert until she saw him in a bathing-suit. There, on the rocks, a few unsuspected secrets were laid bare.

"Oh cripes!" he winced as he limped towards her over the barnacles, blood trailing from his big toe. He was clutching a smeary carton. "Cockles, old girl?"

© Sheila Rogers
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We’re Loving it!

A stick of rock in her gob?   But, I don’t wanna promote a raunchy suck.  She’s not about a Flake experience.  That only leaves Jo Public with a bad taste, see?

I’m after subtle sex.

I don’t want fifty shades darker.  This ain’t a new Graham Greene story.

New Brighton.

© Sophia Roberts
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Sixty years later, I am frozen
in my dream of loveliness,
moments before his vanishing.

Soft sea breeze,
the slippery taste of chocolates,
his arm circling me
as he held the binoculars,
male breath,
the prickle of his moustache.

Paralysis set in,
the colours of the scene
began to fade.

© Valerie Taylor
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Tuesday 7 January 2014

The question

Go said the editor
ask the question
of the famous dancer

But when I saw
her expectant shape
I already knew the answer!

© William Botley
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