Unless stated otherwise, all poetry on Swimming in Lines of Haiku is Copyright Kirsten Cliff and may not be reprinted in any form without written permission from the author. kirsten(DOT)cliff(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Wow, a month since I've posted here. That's how exhausted, strained, stressed and busy I've been. But things are looking up. Decisions are being made. I'm writing again, and submitting again. Have just started a summer kasen with two other poets and am looking forward to working and playing my way through that process. Collaboration is good for my soul.

we speak of God
in whispers . . .
my ache for touch bathed
in the music of his eyes

Skylark 2:1 (Summer 2014)
My haiku journal, which I also used for recording all manner of creative thoughts and ideas, was thoroughly soaked when a big storm left my home open to the elements this Easter. Mid-week I went in search of a new journal, and after 5 shops I finally found the journal that spoke to me.
Having a beautiful journal is not necessary for writing, but lots of the nice things we have we don't need, but they inspire us. The smallest things can bring joy. I hope you find a haiku / writing / creative dreaming journal that speaks to you. Maybe it's one of the ones that I created to help bring a little joy into this world. View them here in my online shop, Haiku On: http://www.cafepress.com/haikuon/11141019
June - winter for New Zealand, and being mid-year, a good time to take stock of where one is at. Through Facebook I'm participating in a month of daily "Abundance is . . ." (fill in the blank) to shine light on things I'm grateful for and to notice the abundance all around me. A haiku and two tanka of mine came out in A Hundred Gourds this month. I'd completely forgotten about them with everything that's been going on, so it was a nice surprise to find my work amongst the pages. And of course, there's the calendar of haiku and photography that I did with my hubby this year, for friends and family. Below is the June  2014 page, by Cameron Elliot:
Haiku & Photo by Cameron Elliot

Friday, May 23, 2014


Here's a photo that shows the current state of our home: Me standing in my study saying hello to my husband who's standing in his study . . .

where does
the pain go
when I can't feel it
a lilac sunset     soft
on the year's first day
Skylark 2:1 (Summer 2014)
I've been a bit overwhelmed by all the insurance claim stuff that needs doing: phone calls, decisions to make, information to send through, things to pick up or drop off. But everyone is being very kind and helpful. And I hear the roof is going on today, which is more than enough to be grateful for! :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Things are coming together . . .

The house: the architect's plans for the new, reinforced roof of our home were sent through to me this week, and have been sent to council for the required building permit. Also, the house has been gutted - all the walls, ceiling, kitchen, carpets, etc., have been ripped out, and will eventually be replaced once the new roof is on and the building is watertight. It's so good to know that things are continuing on over there in Matamata while hubby and I make another day-to-day life for ourselves in Te Awamutu.

A photo I took from my study last August of the peacocks that roam our country property.

I have no need
of all these peacocks
to teach me how to cry
last night I felt you
in my arms at last
Skylark 2:1 (Summer 2014)

The manuscript: my haiku and tanka manuscript did not place in the Snapshot Press Book Awards, but I'm very excited to say that it is now being read by another publisher. Happy, happy, joy, joy! :-)

The store: my online shop Haiku On has taken a backseat for a while now, but today I released a new t.shirt design that I'm really excited about - "What's my sport? Haiku!" This is with thanks to friend and haiku poet Margaret Beverland, who told me about a conversation she had along these lines with fellow haiku poets, and her husband! The bestselling tee "Trust me, I'm a haiku poet" is still available, as well as some beautiful haiku journals, and much more. Come over and take a look at http://www.cafepress.com/haikuon

Brand new t.shirt design at Haiku On available now! http://www.cafepress.com/haikuon

Saturday, May 3, 2014

In Situ

Here is the May page of the calendar of haiku and photography that I did with my husband. I've taken a photo of it 'in situ' at our new, long-term temporary accommodation, which we moved into on May 1st. It's so great to have our own place again, even if we don't know for how long we will be living here. And "here" is Kihikihi, Te Awamutu in my brother's recently vacated house, and not far from the support of my parents.

Haiku & Photograph by Cameron Elliot (haiku first published in Kokako)
duck flight
this grey stump
no longer unnoticed
As far as our Matamata home goes, things are starting to move along. Plans are being drawn up by an architect for a new roof - one that can stand the high winds we catch up on our Hobbit hill. The place is being stripped out - carpets, plaster board, etc. - and then remodelling and decoration will begin from there. I miss the beautiful views of mountain and sky, the ducks laughing away at this time of year, and the places I know so well. Time to make some new memories. :-)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Updates: Haiku, Tanka Prose, House . . .

The first of three of my haiku appears in Pulse: voices from the heart of medicine this week. You can check it out on the site here and take a look around the rest of the issue while you're there. Submission information can be found here (scroll to the bottom for haiku).

I'm currently racing to meet a May 1st deadline for a commentary I'm writing on my tanka prose, The Taste on My Tongue, first published in Skylark. I usually don't leave things until the last minute, but I had been busy for the past six weeks and knew I had time to do this in the last two weeks of April. Then the roof came off, and here I am. The piece is for Haibun Today and will hopefully include reactions re its meaning from those that have since read it. You can read the tanka prose in question here and send me your thoughts by email here. I can't guarantee that what you send me will end up in my article. But if you'd like to be part of it then please send it through by the end of Monday 28th. I'd love to read your response! :-)

Last but not least, an update on my home. Well, we made it to page 3 of the regional newspaper, Waikato Times, as well as our local Matamata Chronicle. Read the web version here, complete with pic. The insurance assessor has been through both our home and contents claims and we're waiting to hear back. Meanwhile hubby and I are still living at my parents, but hope to move into more long-term temporary accommodation next week. It could be months before we get home, and there ain't no poetry coming to me yet . . .

Friday, April 18, 2014


9:30 am yesterday the roof was ripped clean off the home I share with my husband in Matamata. It landed in the neighbour's paddock. Both my hubby and I were unharmed, and were evacuated off the property by the Fire Service. After more hours of stormy rain we returned and found the ceiling collapsed in. We're now safely settled at my parent's home in Te Awamutu.

Our kitchen-diner open to the elements and me trying to save what I could.

sun shower outside inside 
My study where the magic used to happen.
My thanks to all who have sent messages of support through Facebook, and offers of books (haiku and more) to replace my sopping wet ones. Special gratitude to my parents who've helped with everything over the past two days. I'll keep in touch . . .

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April Calendar Page

My apologies to all of my readers out there for letting my blog fall silent this month. I have big plans in the works and they've taken up most of my creative time. But I thought I'd at least put up the April page of the calendar I did last year with my husband, for our friends and family. Enjoy!

April 2014 - Photo & Haiku by Kirsten Cliff (click on image to enlarge)

Some good news to share: the haiku I choose as the winner of the NZPS Haiku Competition (junior section) last year has been shortlisted for a Touchstone Award. I nominated this haiku by Harry Frentz and am delighted to see it's made the cut. You can read my judge's report here and find The Haiku Foundation shortlist here. Congratulations to all the shortlisters!

Monday, March 31, 2014

How quickly

turning hawk
how quickly these tears
dry in the breeze

Kokako 20 (April 2014)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I'll miss you

mountain of green
how I'll miss you
when we're parted . . .
the moon won't taste as sweet
without you to hold it high

Kokako 20 (April 2014)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Yay! Kokako 20 Out Now!

The new issue of Kokako arrived in my letterbox this morning sporting a lovely cover by Ron Moss, "Summer Dreams". Issue 21, due out in September, will have one of my images as cover art, which I'm super excited about!

Back to this issue, here's one of my haiku:

autumn cool his features in the firelight

We haven't started lighting fires yet this autumn, but the mornings and nights are definitely getting pretty chilly!

Here's a tanka of mine that was printed incorrectly in the previous issue, and has been kindly reprinted in KK20:

a rush of tears
at our airport parting . . .
home, I search my luggage
for a last love note
that isn't there

Lot's of great haiku, tanka, haibun and more in Kokako, as well as the details for The 5th Kokako Tanka Competition. Email co-editor Pat Prime for more information. There is also a review of A New Resonance 8. A reminder that copies can be purchased from me - just leave me a message! :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

At Haiku On Now - Beautiful Haiku Journals For You

I've been crazy busy for the past week getting a range of beautiful haiku journals ready for release in my online shop Haiku On. Now they're here for your writing pleasure! Buy yours now.

Choose from cherry blossoms, origami peace cranes, century old oaks, and more. All priced at US$11.99 with your choice of blank, lined, or task pages inside. Find your inspiration here.

Buy this journal and others at Haiku On


This range of beautiful haiku journals are ideal for writing down your haiku, poetry and other ideas throughout the year. Be inspired by the cover images taken by me, Kirsten Cliff, from the big backyard that I call home - New Zealand.

If you're anything like hubby and I, you'll love doing your writing in these ring-bound journals. Yes, I do write haiku and other ideas down on sticky notes, old envelopes, serviettes, and even a used ice cream stick one time at the beach! But I wouldn't be without the pages of a lovely journal.

So buy yourself a journal and come join me! :-) Haiku On - Taking you on a haiku journey.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Travelling One-Liner

Autumn is doing great things in New Zealand right now. I wrote this one-liner about this time last year and was so pleased when AHG chose to publish it.

after travelling so far that tree of yellow

A Hundred Gourds 3:1 (December 2013)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Songs of Change: A tanka sequence with Seánan Forbes

Songs of Change

By Kirsten Cliff & Seánan Forbes

budding storm
in this hospital waiting room
a child's vacant stare
I write a recurring role
for her in my life

haunting my dreams
unscarred and innocent
the girl I might have been . . .
I carve a nest
for her in my life

pulling colour
from this stretch of pain
my poetic muse
the lengths I will go
for her in my life

songs of change
on this solstice night
an old friend's voice
I shape a new space
for her in my life

those days I wished
her dead and worse . . .
what shall I do now
with all this wanting
for her in my life

Presence #49 (February 2014)