Archives for the month of: February, 2015

Today’s challenge on Carpe Diem was to write a jazz-haiku in the style of James A Emanuel (1921-2013). This is part of a series that he wrote:

Cinnamon cheeks, Lord,
cornbread smile. SONGS feed your ribs
when you’re hungry, chile.

I’ve used the same rhyming scheme in my attempt but I had to use the past tense to make it work, which feels awkward in a haiku:

By boarded-up shops,

The busker stood. For pennies

She sang: “Feeling good.”

(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

Commuter-belt home –

Family of house martins

Resides mortgage-free.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

For Carpe Diem: House

The coat of arms of East Sussex is six gold martlets (stylised house martins or swallows) on a red background, with a  silver wavy line representing the coastal boroughs of Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings, and a Saxon crown. They look like pigeons to me but there you go.




Sussex artist Mark Greco’s illustration of house martins, on the other hand, is lovely –




By the river,

Meandering, black sheep

Strays from the path.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

Composed for Writing 201: Landscape.


Sunlight on the waves –

A miniature galaxy

Of fleeting stars.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

Written for Carpe Diem: karumi

Slender in black,

Wrapped up till lovers arrive,

Waiting gondolas.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

Venice Easter 2012 005

Venice Easter 2012 026

Written for Carpe Diem: Channel.

We visited Venice in the 2012 Easter holidays. One of the things that we saw was a squero or gondola workshop tucked away off the tourist trail in a side canal but, alas, I can’t find back the photos that I took. However, I did come across a fantastic quote online by Roberto Tramontin, one of the last traditional gondola builders, who (very nearly) described a gondola thus:

“Like a woman

In a black Armani gown

Diamond at her throat.”

OK, I’ve adapted it, but only slightly. And that, together with the photos I’ve included here, inspired my haiku.

Bare branches touch

Over the lane where we walk

Fingers entwined.


Dappled sun on our faces,

We are blind to the shadows.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

Written for Writing201: Fingers and the latest Carpe Diem Tan Renga challenge.

The goal of the Tan Renga challenge is to write a second stanza of two lines (7-7 syllables) to complete or continue the scene in a 3-line haiku. I had the honour of one of my own haiku being chosen for the challenge this week. But since a tan renga is written by two poets, my extended version is actually a tanka, which follows the same format but is written by only one person.

There are some great tan renga based on my original haiku on the Carpe Diem website, suggesting a wide range of moods – and there are still a couple of days left to have a go at the challenge.

Grand Hotel ballroom,

Tap dancing in grey tailcoats,

Seagulls on the lawns.

(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

For Carpe Diem: rehearsal

Seagulls will lure worms to the surface of the earth by imitating the patter of rain with their feet. If you haven’t seen this happen, do a search on You Tube for “seagull tap dance”. I always think the “worm charming” seagull looks really self-conscious – it’s something to do with the way it keeps looking all around while it’s pattering, as if it’s thinking “Is anyone looking? Have they noticed my flat feet? And my inside-out knees?” But maybe it’s just English seagulls who are so easily embarrassed.

We saw a pair on the seafront yesterday when we walked down to witness the highest spring tides in nearly 20 years. One was dancing, faster and faster, and his mate was by standing by his side, appraising his technique with her head cocked. Looking rather deflated, he finally gave up.

When we passed by again a few minutes later though, they were both dancing away vigorously. Maybe he’d caught a big, fat, juicy worm in the meantime and she’d decided to swallow her pride (after he’d swallowed the worm).

The dragonfly’s wings

So transparent; so lightly

You make your journey.

(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

photo (1)

This dragonfly landed on one of our olive trees last summer and was so well camouflaged I had trouble finding it back and even more trouble taking a photo using just the camera on my phone.

The haiku was written in response to Carpe Diem’s Little Creatures, where the goal was to write a classical 5/7/5 haiku following this example by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827):

the dragonfly too
folds hands in prayer…
rice blossoms

Overnight they bloomed,

Flush of bright yellow mushrooms,

Too close to the path.

(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

For Carpe Diem: Yellow, guest hosted by Jen of Blog It or Lose It.

photo 1

I came across these mushrooms on a walk last autumn on Beachy Head. My best guess is that they’re yellow waxcaps and the red variety below, which were growing close by, are scarlet waxcaps. They grow on short-sward, nutrient-poor grassland like the South Downs but are increasingly rare as these types of site disappear. Some varieties can apparently be eaten but the clue is in the name – their waxiness makes them pretty unpleasant.

photo 2

Sea mist rolls in,

Walkers turn to shadows,

Ghosts promenade.

(c) Jackie Le Poidevin. For Writing 201, where today’s prompt, form and device were “fog”, “elegy” and “metaphor”