United Kingdom

  • the silence
    of the white mandolin . . .
    half day moon


    between dreams . . .
    a blackbird's song brushed
    into the firs


    watermelon . . .
    the coolness of the hill
    at sunset


    where the hawk
    pinned the morning sky . . .
    Arcturus


    stitching
    a patch of sunlight . . .
    damselfly

    Claire Everett's haiku, tanka and other poems have appeared in Lyrical Passion Poetry e-zine, Simply Haiku, Sketchbook, Haiku News and Bolts of Silk. Recently she won 2nd and 3rd place in the Think Tanka 2010. She lives with her husband, five children and two beautiful cats in County Durham, England.

  • I never understood the change in name; the highway to my hometown ‘upgraded’ to the A47 for a few miles. Traffic signs have been modified though the potholes remain unfilled.

    new road
    behind the wheel
    old thoughts

  • scorched field not a blade in sight

                       THF: A Sense of Place, 19th Sep. 2018

  • waning moon
    the score of your song
    in every snowflake


    mist
    from an open clam shell
    mountain lake


    snow flurries
    from the breast of a song thrush
    morning sky


    catching
    the blue eye of the breeze
    dragonfly
     

    fire coals
    the darker crackle
    of pond ice
     

    Claire Everett's haiku, tanka and other poems have appeared in Lyrical Passion Poetry e-zine, Simply Haiku, Sketchbook, Haiku News and Bolts of Silk. Recently she won 2nd and 3rd place in the Think Tanka 2010. She lives with her husband, five children and two beautiful cats in County Durham, England.

  • no here to there
    as the crow flies...
    as a mother
    the more I travel
    the further I have to go


     
    cloth-soft edges...
    whose hands held you before mine?
    my heart
    a rice-paper sky
    for The Ink Dark Moon


     
    precious little time
    we spend together...
    above the lake
    two dragonflies fused by need
    balance light on their wings

  • until, my love
    our days have the ink
    of autumn
    drying in their veins...
    ten thousand leaves in the sun


     
    dawn chorus
    a head full of words
    I shape my cheek
    to the last page of a dream,
    a pillow of tanka


     
    I nursed you through
    the aches and ills of childhood...
    now this fever
    and this mother's arms
    that will not break

  • Open Book
     

    egg moon…
    in an arc of leaf-shade
    a butterfly’s dreams
     

    You say I keep my feelings close to my chest. All those years biting my lip, holding my tongue, I found my freedom in a blank page. Even now that it is safe to speak my mind and my heart, I fumble for the right words and when they finally emerge, I wrap each one in a chorion, to save it from attack.

    It is the pilgrim soul in me, that wanders the forest paths and the mountain slopes, taking her prompts from Nature to give voice to her thoughts and feelings. How the birds sing my joys and sorrows, how the dragonfly flashes with inspiration’s fire and the loose stones from the crag plummet into the blue echoes of silence. How one ragged foxglove tugs at the sleeve of dawn, begging her to stay.

    Come, my love, it is not the beaten track I walk. These days of ink flowing through my veins, my pen confesses what my lips fail to utter.

    still waters…
    deep within the willow
    the warbler’s song

     

     

    Darling Buds


    far-reaching roots…
    does the oak in autumn
    ponder the sky?

    Warm water and cotton wool, lint, gauze and calico. With the same gentleness with which he dressed the gash in my knee, my father answered my questions, one by one.

    “Who am I? Why am I me?”
     “Why is the oak an oak, the willow a willow?

    “You have your place on this earth and you will know all seasons. Little birds will come to sing in the branches of your heart and the sun will fill your veins…”

    His words became a mantra for my four year old self and for that, every tree became my friend, a companion on the journey. I would make my apology for stepping on exposed roots and the trees would bend low, whispering secrets of the sky. Grandma and Grandad, fragile and pale, had each succumbed to the tug of the breeze to make way for new buds, like me.

    But you said nothing, Dad, about the cold winds that come to take a leaf before its time, almost as if you sensed you would not be here for my blossoming.

    windfalls...
    at the core of sweetness
    the wasp’s song

     

     

    The Mirror

    clear water…
    the white-robed egret takes
    the Druid’s staff

    Within minutes, my world is in perfect focus. All that has been troubling me fades away as soon as my eye feels the coolness of the scope and adjusts to the light. I notice how my breathing has become calm, how my chest expands and my neck seems to lengthen as I
     feel a weight lifted from my shoulders.

    How might I stand still on shifting sand? Tucked away, beneath the squall, with what faith might I quill this wing? What it would be to close my eyes and preen deeper into the breast of darkness.

    the one-legged Jain
    in a godwit’s reflection…
    summer rains

     

    Claire Everett's haiku, tanka and other poems have appeared in American Tanka, Ribbons, Magnapoets, Red Lights, Haiku News, Acorn, Lyrical Passion Poetry e-zine, Simply Haiku, Sketchbook and Bolts of Silk. She is a contributing poet for cyrcle 11 of Haiku Daily (2011). Claire won 2nd and 3rd place in the Think Tanka 2010. She lives with her husband, five children and two beautiful cats in County Durham, England.

  • birdsong
    even as the thunderhead
    swells
    tanka by tanka
    the poet lives and dies

     

    ten years old
    he plumps my sick-bed pillows...
    on the window ledge
    hyacinths unfurl their sails
    of clean, white scent
     

    unable
    to whisper it in your ear
    shell-like
    in the depths of night
    a tanka hears my sadness

     

    Claire Everett's haiku, tanka, and other poems have appeared in Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, Simply Haiku, Sketchbook, Haiku News and Bolts of Silk. Recently she won 2nd and 3rd place in the Think Tanka 2010. She lives with her husband, five children, and two beautiful cats in County Durham, England.

  • slipping into
    the boots with warm linings 
    I crush a spider
     

    deep snow
    the singular raucousness 
    of rooks
     

    daughter in the clouds
    any moment now I think  
    she'll pull the rip cord
     

    frosted brown leaves
    hairs on the back of my neck
    rigidify
     

    the pond darkens
    and all that ripples it  
    a tadpole's tail
     

    David Cobb is founder of the British Haiku Society, 1990; the author of a handful of individual collections and 4 anthologies, including British Museum, and the editor of The Genius of Haiku – readings from R H Blyth, 1994. 

  • summer solstice —
    a woman and dog
    become shadow

     

  • after Van Gogh
    seen from the train
    a field of grasses

     

  • war zone
    dark consequences
    of poison gas

     

    garden bonfire
    the scent of autumn
    in my hair

     

    beneath the hedge
    under a primrose
    a slug

     

    wild garlic
    scents the woodland path
    dinnertime

     

    midnight chimes—
    snow erases
    yesterday's footprints

    (in collaboration with Suraja M Roychowdhury)

     

     

    old year departs
    on a tide of trouble—
    Brexit rings in

     

  • Robert D. Wilson

    Featured Poet - Claire Everett
    One of the World’s Finest Haiku Poets

     

         fading light . . .
    a swan asks nothing
    of the breeze

    I’ve never met Claire Everett before and knew little about her until I, by chance, discovered some of her haiku and tanka on a few online sites I frequent.

    They drew my attention because she has a rare innate grasp of what a haiku is and isn’t; neither is she a clone of the anything goes, object-biased (subjective/mono) group of poets in the Anglo-West and Japan who are products of the German-based university system, a system  that today is lacking any agreed upon set of rules, and is fastly jettisoning kigo, the embodiment of zoka, in favor of key words, season reference words that may or may not have anything to do with nature, depending on their context. Poetry in Japan and the Anglo-West are closing the gap, becoming unrecognizable in style and expression save for geographical names and cultural terms defined via the colonialized modern Japanese language that understands many words differently than from the Yamato Japanese language in use before the Meiji Re-construction Era.

    In an interview I did with Claire Everett in this issue, she told me that her outlook towards nature changed when her husband came into her life, who’s an animist: a spiritual outlook practiced by many of the world’s indigenous people, including Native Americans, and Japan’s original citizens, the Ainu, whom R.H. Blyth called “superstitious”, due to a lack of homework. Animists see everything in nature as equals, and ascribe life to trees, mountains, forests, etc, usually as spirits. Viewing nature through an animist’s eyes is a foreign concept to Anglo-Western eyes and repudiated by many university educated Japanese.

    The Yamato language used 150 years prior to Shiki and the modern Japanese language used today have many different meanings, making it impossible to properly translate haiku, then called hokku, written by Basho, Chiyo-ni, Buson, Issa and their contemporaries, using modern Japanese-English language dictionaries.

    Japan was forced to open up her borders by the American Navy to the influence of a very aggressive and arrogant Anglo-West. It wasn’t long after this forced opening that Japan, as a nation, adopted the same German-based university system used in the Anglo-West. The Yamato language is a descriptive, beautiful language but ill equipped linguistically to define Japanese philosophy, psychology, the arts, and social sciences, as it is an intuitive language that takes for granted the people’s understanding of centuries-old terminology and views the world in a much different, metaphysical light than that conceptualized by the Anglo-West. 

    In order for Japan to enter, as they termed, the 20th century and world of modernity, Japanese educators and intellectuals felt they needed to be able to speak with their Anglo contemporaries on an equal basis.

    To do this they injected Western definitions and terms into the Japanese language including the word “aesthetics”, which did not exist until the German-based university system’s colonization of the Japanese language. This is the primary cause of haiku’s inability today to be taken seriously by the mainstream literary world. Haiku is the term Anglo-Western educated Shiki called hokku.

    Many haiku poets today write and interpret haiku through Anglo-Western eyes in Japan and the rest of the world. Haiku is rapidly losing its identity and becoming an anything goes genre without consistent direction.

    Fortunately for us, there are some poets today who fathom the essence of haiku. One of them is Claire Everett, one of the world’s finest haiku poets.

    The person who said that good English-language haiku can’t be written with authenticity using Japanese aesthetics and the S/L/S metrical schemata obviously didn’t take the time to study the genre save for reading books by and subscribing to the flawed beliefs of R.H. Blyth, who was not knowledgeable in the Yamato language nor a scholar trained in the fields he exposits on.

    Take this haiku composed by Everett:
     

    dawn butterfly...                   4   dawn = time of  day
                                                        butterfly = an object

    awakened to a memory     8  awakened = an action verb used as a transitional metaphor/memory = past thought

    of myself                               3  myself = an object

    dawn butterfly / awakened to a memory/ of myself

    This is a beautiful haiku that juxtaposes line one with lines two and three to create a haiku that is activity- (process/koto) biased and metaphorical. Al Pizzarelli, R.H. Blyth, and Kenneth Yasuda claim metaphors have no place in English-language haiku. Haiku is haiku; one literary genre. Basho, Buson, Chiyo-ni, Issa and other pioneers of haiku (then called hokku) used metaphors in their poetry. Either the above listed so-called experts on haiku didn’t do their homework or they deliberately wanted/want English-language haiku to become a distinct genre defined by Anglo-Western beliefs that include Judeo-Christian theology, ancient Greek and Roman beliefs, and the German-based philosophical mindset, systems of thought that are in many ways the antithesis to non-colonized Japanese thought.

    Regarding Everett’s haiku:

    How can a butterfly at dawn awaken to a memory of the author? Taken literally, it’s impossible. Her haiku is not an object-biased (subjective/mono) haiku-like poem posing as a haiku. In her mindset, while composing haiku and tanka, she intuitively recognizes zoka (the untamed, unpredictable, creative power of the universe) as her teacher. Some people mistake the modern Japanese word “t’shizen” for zoka, but the modernized word adapted to better communicate with the Anglo-West is a watered-down version of zoka. What is the significance of a butterfly at dawn; awakening to a memory of the haiku’s author? The poet’s job is to write the haiku guided and inspired by the zoka. An informed reader’s job is to interpret the haiku via his or her own cultural memory, level of experience, education, parental upbringing, etc. My interpretation of this haiku is my interpretation as I cannot think or conceptualize like the author.

    I see in this haiku the poet identifying with a delicate, fragile, and newly reconstructed butterfly via metamorphic change, during its womb-life inside its cocoon. Although the caterpillar, before it transformed into a butterfly, was ugly in the eyes of those who saw beauty through narrow eyes. When it broke free from its cocoon, it was still same creature, though, via metamorphic transformation, it looked different and more fragile, yet just as vulnerable to its enemies. Maybe the poet too had once thought of herself as ugly due circumstances she was unable to control. Through a period of self-examination (womb-time) perhaps she came to realize that she is beautiful but fragile emotionally. Remember, we as readers have the joy and job of interpreting a haiku from our own mindset and illusionary take on life. Everett’s haiku is a haiku a reader remembers and can learn from, as it is in sync with nature, which we are a part of.

    As human beings we are not above nature, we are a part of nature, and should, therefore, be aware of the zoka’s work in our lives and our relationship with the rest of nature.

    This is where most haiku-like poets falter. They utilize kigo as icing on the cake, or as an illustrative comparison, using kigo instead of following and returning to the zoka as Matsuo Basho firmly instructed his followers. Kigo is much more than a seasonal indicator. Without kigo, when properly fathomed, a haiku dies, and falls into an neither world where ghosts pass through ghosts, without seeing the others, the need for words, non-existent, which isn’t that far removed from this planet’s urban orbit, where people are in  hurry to go nowhere, with very few cognizant of their interrelationship with nature.

    first rains...

    2

    an activity in nature controlled by zoka

    to the far reaches of scent

    7

    “to” is a preposition expressing motion; 
    “far reaches”= the farthest possible place to go; 
    "scent" = a smell, again used metaphorically, which is not a taboo academically
    nor was the usage of metaphors a  “no no” to Matsuo Basho and his contemporaries. 
    The taboo on the using of metaphors in English language haiku has no academic basis historically

    this jasmine mind

    4

    mind  = referring to non-tangible thoughts, generated within the brain. Jasmine is a descriptive
    adjective used symbiotically with  “scent” in line two


    first rains / to the far reaches of scent / this jasmine mind

    Claire Everett’s haiku again stimulates thought and unearths the unsaid, inviting readers to interpret her haiku with their individual mindsets. Good haiku do this. They don’t tell all and leave room for multiple interpretations. “First rains” is just that when separated from lines two and three; the time of the year when the first rains come, not according to a Japanese saijiki, but to the reader’s individual geographic localities.

    Add to line one, lines two and three, and the magic of juxtaposition and the yugen (depth and mystery) come into play. As I stated previously, our job as the reader is to interpret a haiku, not to read the poet’s mind.

    I interpret this haiku as someone who feels and welcomes the first rains of the year. It causes her mind to seek out the deepest part of her mind, the subconscious, the delicate, exotic core where Everett’s mind wanders to compose haiku. She listened to and observed the zoka, which in turn, brought her in touch with her inner self. A jasmine mind doesn’t exist scientifically in the Anglo-Western mindset fostered by the German-based university system. Perhaps, metaphorically, Everett experienced a time in which her mind and spirit hadn’t been fed or watered (nurtured) for what seemed like an eternity. Then it rains: the freshness of the air, the remembrance of the good things in life, cleanses the poet, nurturing seeds of thought (ideas).                                                                                             

    Listen to the rhythm, the pauses used in her S/L/S haiku; feel the gentle cadence, the meter, then read it again. Everett’s haiku here is a haiku that Basho, Buson, Issa, and Chiyo-ni would read and enjoy: activity-(process/koto) biased haiku. This can’t be said for the object- (subjective/mono) biased haiku-like Anglo-Western short form poetry passed off as haiku by a highly vocal minority, who, in reality, are writing Imagist/Modernist free verse short poetry.

    It’s your turn now; savor each of the three lines in every poem below by this issue’s poet laureate, Claire Everett, slowly, pausing at the end of each line. Look for the zoka, sense its guidance, become one with the creative unpredictable, ever changing power of nature. And interpret!

    white clover...
    the darkness within
    the egret's eye


    breath of eons...
    on a dragonfly's wings
    my beating heart
     

    through dawn's fingers
    the last of the stars...
    robin song


    summer's end...
    yielding to my shadow
    gravestone moss


    threadbare dreams...
    a dawn held together
    with spiders' silk


    a clock
    of counted stars...
    sleepless moon


    blackbird to blackbird...
    the long blue corridor
    of a spring dusk


    Desiderata...
    the cormorant preens
    its breast


    moonset...
    the foxglove's grail
    of dew


    of milled gold
    this moth-wing heart...
    autumn moon

     

    Claire Everettis one of the planet’s finest haiku poetsLook for her poetry in the world’s leading English-language Japanese short form poetry journals and anthologies. Hers is a name you’ll see often.

  • for dad
    the smaller cairn
    on the summit

    Frogpond #39.3

  • empty tomb
    the footprints of those
    who came before


  • on the window a housefly dreaming of dirt

     

    bullet points counting on fingers and thumbs

     

    muzak killing time

     

    she talks on and on about the weather the beat of central heating in the background

     

  • dull fish eye on ice

     

    wasp in circles every orifice

     

    where the light can't reach the mandrill's rear

     

    carefully removing the mackerel's backbone after death

     

    today’s tablets
    the Thirty-Six Views
    of Mount Fuji

  • Japanese garden my mother clings onto my arm

    Blithe Spirit #17/4 (Dec-07), Failed Haiku #31 (Jul-18) and Prune Juice #25 (Jul-18).

  • reading poetry
    all that white space
    in the clouds

     

    funeral
    the cries of polished shoes
    on polished linoleum

     

    April morning
    in the dream
    I had a daughter


  • night train
    the brief lives of others
    come and gone


    dark room
    trapped in the camera
    the five lost haiku


    back home
    the reassuring rumble
    of the kettle