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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Small Crop of Vegetable Ku

        sunday brunch
          with the in-laws
          the taste of pepperwort

          returning home
          all the lettuces
          have gone to seed

          pulling up
          the last few carrots
          chimney smoke

All haiku and photographs © Kirsten Cliff 2011
Haiku appeared in the
Sketchbook Vegetables Haiku Thread, May/June, 2011.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Vision of Birds

New ideas for creative projects seem to come to me no matter what mood I'm in nor where my energy levels are sitting. Some ideas can simply never be realised and have to be let go. Others just keep bubbling back up into my conscious awareness and need to be fulfilled.

          from a 2nd-hand
          two tickets for
          the bird gardens

The feeling of wanting to create something out of all the cards I was sent while in hospital last year can no longer be ignored. I have a vision of birds: of cutting each card into a bird silhouette and setting them on a background to be hung on the wall.

All the cards I was given during my time in hospital having IV
chemotherapy for leukaemia last year, from March to July, 2010.

I don't know how it's all going to work out but I'm willing to follow this vision and see where it leads! Will keep you updated :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Latest Follies

          I confide in her
          my latest follies
          it doesn't seem to matter
          that it's ten years
          since she died

Presence #44 (June, 2011)

Tanka and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Winding Roads

homeward bound
the car driven fast
round winding roads
a feeling in my stomach
that's not car sickness

Kokako 14 (March, 2011)

Tanka and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crafty Cards for the Kids

My mum is heading to Canada at the end of this month to visit the newest addition to our family: my sister's baby girl, Sadie. I always give the kids books as presents so have loaded mum up with Christmas and birthday books for both my niece and nephew. Here are the cards I've made for their birthdays: Sadie will be one year old in April and Toby will be two this November.

They may not fully appreciate these but the fun was in the making :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


          at the sheltered end
          of the bay
          two gulls preening
          watching makes it easier
          for me to be alone

Kokako 13 (September, 2010)

Tanka and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Simply Haiku Calls For Submissions

Simply Haiku is now accepting submissions of "Quality Traditional English Language Haiku, Tanka, Haibun, Haiga, Renga, Book reviews, Interviews and Feature articles."

Submission deadline: September 15, 2011. Please read carefully the Submission Guidelines before submitting.

On behalf of: Robert D. Wilson & Sasa Vazic
Co-Owners, Co-Publishers, Co-Editors in Chief

Monday, August 22, 2011


          within his armful
          of raked leaves
          this lifeless dragonfly

          Red Dragonfly, August 19, 2011

Haiku and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

This haiku was part of Mellisa Allen's illustrated Dragonfly Dreams post on her blog Red Dragonfly last week: a stunning collection of haiku, haiga, tanka and images. Much more than a blog post and one that won't be forgotten in a hurry.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This One Wish

for today
I have this one wish
not to feel
like I'll always carry
that scared little girl

Presence #44 (June, 2011)

Tanka and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Riding My Creativity Waves

The poetry is slow in coming at the moment, which seems to happen after I do any month-long poetry challenge. But I've found what I do write during these times of recuperation is quality. I'm learning to ride my own creativity waves and no longer get concerned during these down times. Instead I focus my creative energy on other more hands-on crafts.

Monday night saw me finally finish the collage haiga that had been sadly sitting on my art table for over two months. It's a great feeling to have this one complete and looking so good now standing proudly on my easel (where all new artworks stand for a spell). Then last night, I made a card for my Mum's upcoming birthday, which features the colours she likes and an origami crane.

The card I made for my Mum's birthday 2011

I've done some more work on my haiga calendar as I decided I wasn't happy with two of the photographs and two of the haiku in my first printing. Now it is closer to fabulous. And I also did some baking over the weekend, which counts as creativity in my book! Black Doris Plum Crumble and a Date and Walnut Loaf - both wheat and dairy free, and super yummy! :)

Enjoy riding your creativity wave today, wherever it may take you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


the weight
of this peg bucket
waning moon

Presence #44 (June, 2011)

Haiku and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

One Hundred Times

          open casket
          her hair still soft
          she used to brush it
          one hundred times
          before bed

Kokako 13 (September, 2010)

Tanka and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

The First Polish Haiku Contest in English

Entrants: competition open to anyone
Submission Period: 1 August 2011 — 16 October 2011
Number of Haiku: 1 (one)
Language: English
Theme: free
Style: contemporary: three lines within the 5-7-5 syllable pattern;
         no strict syllable count
Fee: none
Entry form: here

Jury: Jane Reichhold - Final Judge;
        Rafał Zabratyński - Pre-Selector

Results: 11 November 2011
            (Jury’s decision is definitive and irrevocable)

Prizes: diplomas and souvenirs for:
          1st Place (one haiku)
          2nd Place (one haiku)
          3rd Place (one haiku)
          Commendations (ten haiku)

Coordinator: Grzegorz Sionkowski
Originator: Krzysztof Kokot

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Kiss

walking to work
they kiss
before parting:
the nurse turns left
the doctor turns right

Kokako 13 (September, 2010)

Tanka and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pin-ku: The Wearable Short Form Poetry Project

Pin-ku is an exciting new experimental zine/journal created by the multi-talented Melissa Hill who proposes making short poems into wearable pin-back buttons (badges). Each issue will feature five poems, each on a badge, with a broadside containing author info.

Pin-ku is now calling for submissions for its first publication, September 2011. Send one short poem (it must fit in a circle 1.25″ in diameter and still be readable), previously published is okay, to pinku.editor@gmail.com by August 20. This was my submission for week 30 of 2011 and I look forward to seeing this project grow.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


she asked to have
her photo taken
at twelve tomorrow
the dandelions
will reach her knees

Kokako 13 (September, 2010)

Tanka and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

July Round-Up - A Month Of Gratitude

July: the second River of Stones month for 2011, where people all over the world took time out each day to pay attention to something fully and write it down. My practise of this observational exercise was enhanced by adding gratitude to the process: it made me more grateful of the things in my life as I looked around, listened, touched, tasted, photographed, read and rested. Why small stones of gratitude? See here.

As part of my practise of gratitude and abundance, and as July was my birthday month and the 2nd anniversary of my engagement, I decided to have a draw to give away two haiku books. The post about that here and the winners here. It's cool to have so many new people join me on Swimming in Lines of Haiku and great to be sending out two New Zealand haiku books to readers and writers in America. I think I'll run a haiku competition for my 2012 birthday so stay tuned!

Here's how I'm doing on my 2011 goal of submitting poetry to a publication or competition every week:
  • week twenty-seven - submitted one haiku to Wednesday Haiku @ Issa's Untidy Hut - accepted!
  • week twenty-eight - submitted seven tanka and seven haiku to paper wasp, awaiting outcome
  • AND submitted a tanka to Red Dragonfly (Melissa Allen's blog) mushroom feature post - accepted!
  • week twenty-nine - submitted ten senryu to Prune Juice, three accepted!
  • week thirty - submitted one previously published haiku to Pin-ku, awaiting outcome
  • AND resubmitted three haiga to Notes from the Gean (due to change in editor)
Me with my haiku on the Papamoa Poetry Walk
for New Zealand's National Poetry Day 22/7/2011
July was a fruitful month as I reaped the rewards of my past poetry and prose labours -
  • Four of my haiku appeared in 'poetry walks' around parts of Tauranga as part of National Poetry Day on Friday 22nd July
  • Prune Juice (Issue 6, Summer 2011) came out with two of my senryu
  • a fine line, The Magazine of the New Zealand Poetry Society, came out with my feature article A Haiku Journey
  • Melissa Allen's Mushroom Harvest post came out with my tanka
  • Excellent Writing (July Issue) came out with two of my senryu and the final of three Quick Tips For Freelance Writers
  • Three of my haiku appeared in the May/June Sketchbook “vegetable(s)” haiku thread (#07, #40, #48). “sunday brunch” was named "Editor's Choice" by John Daleiden, and “sunday brunch” and “pulling up” were named "Guest Editor's Choice" by Bernard Gieske, and "returning home" and "sunday brunch" were named "Editor's Choice" by Karina Klesko. This means all three of my entries were highlighted in the judging process; not bad for my first time participating.
An update on the state of affairs re my various artistic projects -
  • I finished my haiga calendar and had one printed so I could see how it looked in the flesh. I'm really happy and excited about it so will now get several more printed out for family Christmas gifts. Sorted!
  • I haven't made any new collage haiga this month and I still have an unfinished one on my art table from May! Hopefully I can get that completed in August and then I will have two full albums of collage haiga that have haiku and tanka from my collection exploring my leukaemia journey.
  • I did manage to finish my vision board around finding a new home, and what a mammoth task that was! Now it's time to make the magic happen :)
My completed vision board!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Being Aunty Kirsten

My sister came to visit today with my baby nephew so I could take some photos of them together. It's cool being Aunty Kirsten for a couple of hours and seeing the changes in my nephew each time I see him. Here's a senryu I wrote when he was still in the womb and I was a spectator at my sister's ultrasound scan.

seeing faces
in the scan
that aren't the baby's

Prune Juice, Issue 6, Summer 2011

It's a wonderfully sunny day here so we headed to the beach for a short time. The waves had come out to play and there were many surfers enjoying themselves out on the ocean. It looks like this weather might last through the weekend. I hope you have a good one where ever you are :)

Photo taken by Kirsten Cliff at Papamoa Beach 5/8/2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Moonbathing Call For Submissions

From Editor Pamela A. Babusci - 

Moonbathing Issue 5 is now accepting submissions.
Moonbathing will publish two issues a year:
(Northern) Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer.

Moonbathing will feature only women poets.
Send a maximum of 10 tanka per submission period.

Submission deadlines:
Spring/Summer: In-hand Deadline: May 15th
spring/summer themes or non-seasonal only
Fall/Winter: In-hand deadline Dec. 15th
fall/winter themes or non-seasonal

No previously published tanka or simultaneous submissions;
no tanka that has been posted on-line on a personal website/blog.

Send your tanka IN THE BODY OF AN E-MAIL to:

I hope that all tanka poets who have their work accepted will support Moonbathing by purchasing a copy or a subscription. If Moonbathing is to survive it will need your support and I will be most grateful for it. DONATIONS MOST WELCOME.

Moonbathing does not assume liability for copyright infringement or failure to acknowledge previously published tanka.

Subscriptions: $12 for one year (two issues) U.S. and Canada;
$6 for single issue.
International: $16 (two issues) $8 single issue U.S. dollars;
send US cash or international M.O.—payable to Pamela A. Babusci.
Please email for address details.

The Editor of Moonbathing is looking forward
to receiving your best tanka.
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Pamela A. Babusci.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mushroom Haikai Collecting

Melissa Allen put a call out on her blog, Red Dragonfly, last month for mushroom haiku, tanka and haiga. She was planning to gather the haikai in an illustrated post dedicated to the humble mushroom. I answered the call with what turned out to be the only tanka -

winter cemetery:
careful to tread between
the headstones
& these small clusters
of white mushrooms

Tanka and photograph © Kirsten Cliff 2011
Read the full Mushroom Harvest post here and delight your senses!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Can I Have A Drum Roll Please...

In the draw for the taste of nashi (Windrift, 2008) were twenty-two new followers, and the winner is Pamela A. Babusci!

In the draw for Before the Sirocco (NZPS, 2008) were the new followers plus five people who were already followers and had left a message on one of my posts through July, and the winner is Dawn Cagle Apanius!

Thanks to everyone who has joined me here in the past month. A wrap-up of my poetic July coming soon, as well as lots more haiku, senryu and tanka!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A New Year

With my birthday mid-year, it's a time for me to take stock of where I'm at, and August 1st feels like the start of a new year for me. I've been busy this morning catching up on errands, writing in my journal, and generally feeling positive about the potential of life.

Only eleven months of my maintenance chemo to go, and thankfully, my blood tests are only once a month at the moment, but this scene plays out time and time again.

monday morning blood test
all the old men
reading women's magazines

Prune Juice, Issue 6, Summer 2011

Happy New Year! I hope you find something that makes you smile today :)