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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Difference

this poem
channelled from my heart
to my hand . . .
I realise now the difference
between hope and faith

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Off Road

                    winter walking
                    we venture off-road
                    with my wheelchair

wir wagon uns ins Gelände
met meinem Rollstuhl

Chrysanthemum 13, April 2013
Haiku & photo by Kirsten Cliff
German translation by Editors

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Winter Sea


                    the salt crust
                    forming at his temple
                    winter sea

Haiku & Photo by Kirsten Cliff

Monday, May 20, 2013

Collaborative Tanka Sequences in LYNX

The latest issue of on-line journal Lynx (28:2) is out now with two tanka sequences I've collaborated on this year, with two different poets.

The first is Uncharted Depths with Kat Creighton (US). This was my first time writing with Kat and I enjoyed the process immensely. I was in the middle of summer, while Kat was in winter, so we decided to write to our own season, which I think worked well. I hope we'll be writing together again soon. Here is a favourite of mine from that sequence:

hoping I'll know
when I've become whole . . .
so much to learn
watching the sunflowers
watching the sun

~Kirsten Cliff

The second tanka sequence is Lost & Found with Margaret Dornaus (US). Margaret and I have written together a few times now and I always learn so much through the process. We already have another in the pipeline! Here's my most memorable tanka from this joint creation:

first dream of the year
diagnosing her pain
as leukaemia . . .
could I find the strength
to do it over again

~Kirsten Cliff

My first dream of 2013 really was about me being a doctor and diagnosing a patient with leukaemia! It's poetry like this that stops me from wrapping up my first book manuscript as I keep finding more to write about and process about my journey with cancer. But I have given myself a deadline this year for completion, so I'll let you know how I get on.

Enjoy Lynx -- it's full of haikai treasure!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

With Each Slow Step . . .

I start again
my search for freedom…
with each slow step
the cow's udder sways

Tanka and photo by Kirsten Cliff

Sunday, May 12, 2013

When I told Him . . .

I was lucky enough to have this tanka made into a haiga by Ron Moss, who chooses a handful of haiku and tanka from each issue of AHG to illustrate. You can view it at the bottom of the page here.

the way he didn't
even look at me
when I told him…
midsummer & still unripe
this tangle of wild blackberries 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Taste on My Tongue

I'd travelled by train to the well-known Harajuku purely for the piercing experience. Tongue piercing, that is. Or a nipple, if you were game and your tongue was already adorned. Sitting upstairs in the studio, I could hear the sounds rising from the busy streets below. Markets overflowed with people and wares. The city had a good vibe. It was a place for the young and trendy. And pierced.

doorstep slices
of white bread, with the Marmite
I brought from home
morning sun strains
through curtains never opened

I was the next in line and watched with interest: a Japanese boy sitting in a raised chair, his tongue protruding with an X marking the spot. A large cork was positioned under his tongue and held firmly in place ready for the thick needle to puncture it. I held my breath as the piercing needle came down and the boy’s tongue curled around it, surprised at the assault. A blur of hands, then a shiny gold bar was poking out from the boy’s mouth as he paid and tried to say arigato.

my cappuccino
with a cinnamon stick
imitation is something

they do well here

Five minutes later I was awkwardly announcing, “It didn’t hurt as much as having my nose done.” The friend I'd come with was lying on a high bed having Xs drawn on her left nipple. Her lengthy black hair looked scruffy against the white pillow. I seemed to be leaning over her in protection, and couldn’t help but watch as her areola changed from a smooth yielding circle into its tight brown peak. This was a welcome distraction from my own discomfort. That is, until I had to avert my eyes from the sharp needle penetrating it.

before work
a quick bite to eat
at the noodle bar
from pictures, we both order

the same meal every time

My tongue didn’t hurt much, but it sure was a strange sensation. Imagine someone’s forearm stuffed in your mouth: the fist pushed hard against your palate and the elbow jutting down forcefully into the soft base of your mouth. Not much room left for your swollen tongue, so enlarged that your teeth have now firmly sunken into the sides. How was I going to eat?

first sip of grappa
sometimes love burns

last sip of grappa—

but he's still on my lips,

the Italian I met in Japan

Skylark: A Tanka Journal 1:1 summer 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

NZPS 2013 International Haiku Competitions

New Zealand Poetry Society International Haiku Competition

For haiku and senryu. Cash prizes of $NZ100 each for the first five placings, plus the Jeanette Stace Memorial Prize of $NZ150 for the winner. All winning haiku, plus selected others from competition entries, will be published in the annual anthology. Judge: Nola Borrell.
Closes: May 31, in hand.
Cost: $NZ1.50/haiku, for NZPS members every 5th haiku is free. It is possible to pay via the website.
For full details see the website.

New Zealand Poetry Society Junior Haiku Competition

For haiku and senryu. Open to entrants 17 years of age or younger on May 31, 2013. Three cash prizes of $NZ50 each in both the primary/intermediate and secondary sections, plus the Jeanette Stace Memorial Prize of $NZ100 for the overall winner. All winning haiku, plus selected others from competition entries, will be published in the annual anthology. Judge: Kirsten Cliff.
Closes: May 31, in hand.
Cost: $NZ1/haiku or 4 Kiwi stamps/3 haiku.
For full details see the website.