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

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)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sipping Coffee

sipping coffee
to the sound of dead leaves
sweeping across the path . . .
my definition of success
changing day by day

A Hundred Gourds 3:1 (December 2013)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Long Gone

long gone
the songs of yellowhammers
and shining cuckoos . . .
a day early I flip the calendar
to next month's page

A Hundred Gourds 3:1 (December 2013)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Haiku Anthologies A-Plenty

speckled egg
the sunlight
on my thoughts

The Heron's Nest (XVI:1, March 2014)

So grateful to have had this haiku chosen to appear in The Heron's Nest. I'm looking forward to buying a copy of The Heron's Nest Anthology Vol 15, which comprises all the haiku from the 2013 editions of the journal, including three of mine. (See PayPal button at bottom of this page for purchasing.)

Congratulations to New Zealander Sandra Simpson for winning Favourite Haiku of 2013 and also being voted Poet of the Year in The Heron's Nest Awards. Go Kiwi 'Ku!

I also have a haiku in  fear of dancing: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2013 and have just been informed my haibun 'Damaged Goods' will appear in Contemporary Haibun Vol 15. So that's two more anthologies to buy. Yikes!

How about buying a "Keep Calm and Haiku On" journal from my online shop Haiku On to write your haiku in, and support a poet with big dreams? :-)


Special thanks to hubby for creating this design.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My 4th Cancerversary - "Keep Calm and Haiku On"

This first week of March 2014 marks four years since I was diagnosed and began treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APML). I'm celebrating being cancer free by releasing a new t-shirt design in my online shop Haiku On.

Brought to you by Haiku On - Taking you on a haiku journey. 

That's right, it's the method that got me through the madness of cancer: "Keep Calm and Haiku On". Isn't she a beauty? Buy yours here.

I first used the phrase "Haiku on!" in my judges report for the junior section of the NZPS International Haiku Competition last year. (You can read it here.) So when I was coming up with a name for my online shop it just seemed right. 

Now putting that together with the well-known "Keep Calm" saying means I have something that not only commemorates my journey, but indeed the experiences of many others world wide who have the haiku bug and just can't stop writing haiku!

I hope you enjoy this new range of tees. Check out the other designs while you're there. And remember to "Keep Calm and Haiku On" :-)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Calendars, T-shirts, Chapbooks, Positivity: It's a Haiku Life for Me!

Welcome to March, dear readers! Below is this month's page from my 2014 calendar of haiku and photography, which I did with my husband this time round, for our family and friends. Hubby, Cameron Elliot, took this photo last year in Cambridge, and his haiku is previously unpublished. (click to enlarge)

Haiku & photo by Cameron Elliot
February was a great month for me on the haiku front. I put out my first poetry chapbook, thinking of you, as a gift of love for Valentine's Day. (Read my post about it here.) My eChapbook of twenty haiku and tanka on the theme of love is free to read and download here. Enjoy! And don't forget to pass it on.

I also began an online shop called Haiku On where I'm selling t-shirts, cards, and later this year, my 2015 calendar. Haiku poets around the world have responded favorably buying "Trust me, I'm a haiku poet" and "Every Haiku is an Act of Environmental Activism!" t-shirts. I am so grateful for the support I've received from the haiku community on my new venture. More t-shirt designs coming soon! If there is something that you'd like to see in the shop that isn't there then please ask, and I'll try to create it for you.

I've also been flooding my Facebook page with positivity this month, and doing a daily post on what I'm grateful for each day. It's been amazing to see people's positive response, and even joining in with the gratitude posts. I couldn't have wished for better. :-) Come join me!

March is already full of haiku and tanka promise. I have a haiku in the March issue of The Heron's Nest here.See a collaborative haiga here that I did with Seánan Forbes, which appears in the March issue of A Hundred Gourds. We hope to do some more collaborating this month. I've been asked to write a commentary for Haibun Online about my tanka prose piece, The Taste on My Tongue, which first appeared in Skylark 1:1. And I'll be adding more to my online shop Haiku On - Taking you on a haiku journey. Stay tuned . . .