Archives for the month of: May, 2015

Docklands rainbow –

Do the bankers see it

Or a pot of gold?

(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

Written for Carpe Diem

I was at a meeting at the HQ of one of the big UK banks earlier this year, in Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands. We were having a coffee break when there was a collective intake of breath and we all whipped out our iPhones – you can see why. The low building in the foreground is Billingsgate fish market – apart from that and the occasional rainbow (or two), it’s all tower blocks in every direction.

A brown leaf

Flutters back on the bough –

Perching sparrow.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

For Carpe Diem, where the task was to write a riddle haiku. I’ve adapted one of my earliest haiku.

Cradle rock –

Waves sing lilting lullabies

For seagull chicks.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

Cradle Rock is at Moulin Huet, a cove at the bottom of the cliffs in Guernsey (where I grew up). The image below shows one of 15 canvases of the bay painted by Renoir on a visit to the island in 1883. The area is named after a former watermill owned by a Monsieur Huet (pronounced locally as “Whet”).


For Carpe Diem: A Clam, in which Chevrefeuille explored a haiku by Basho about Japan’s Wedded Rocks that is full of double meanings.

The area of Eastbourne at the foot of Beachy Head is called Holywell. The name comes from a spring that seeps through the cliffs and emerges underneath a chalk outcrop known as Pinnacle Point. Most of the springwater is now collected at a pumping station next to the point, and only a trickle comes out on the beach at a little grotto.

Holywell is pronounced “Hollywell”, so no one knows if people once thought the site was holy or if the well was simply near a holly tree. But it certainly feels magical, far removed in time from the town’s apartments and ice-cream kiosks. When I was out walking there a couple of days ago, there was a guy playing an alpine horn (one of those horns that’s so long the base rests on the ground) in front of the grotto, which was unexpected! Even more surprising, there were flowers growing on the cliff face, including several of these blue spikes. I believe they’re Viper’s Bugloss or Echium Vulgare.

Photo 23-05-2015 16 12 25

I was particularly struck by this one pointing towards the pinnacle.

pinnacle point

Well’s miracle,

Chalk towers flowering blue,

Pinnacle points.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

Linked to Carpe Diem: A lovely name. Holywell and Pinnacle Point are certainly both lovely names but none of the Echium’s many names do it justice – it’s also called blueweed, adderwort, blue devil and snake flower, among other things.

Blue-eyed daisies –

Sun seekers from a far land,

Gazing out to sea.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

In honour of the lovely display of osteospermum (also known as the African daisy, Cape daisy or blue-eyed daisy) on Eastbourne’s seafront this year. I’ll post a photo another time.

High on a chalk ridge

Too few to weave a garland –

Ophelia’s orchid.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

For Carpe Diem: On a mountain path

We found a few of these flowers on the South Downs Way today between Eastbourne and Jevington and believe they are the Early-Purple Orchid or the “Long Purple” as described by Gertrude in Hamlet:

There is a willow grows askant the brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead-men’s-fingers call them.
There on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element. But long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

And here is Ophelia, as painted by Millais.

Sir John Everett Millais, Bt ‘Ophelia’, 1851–2

Muttering hoarsely

Bent under ragged cloak

A wandering crow.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

For Carpe Diem: Wandering Crow

The wind stills –

A snowstorm suspended

On white cherry trees.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

For Carpe Diem: White Blossoms

Polling day –

Harsh analysis

From the gulls.


(c) Jackie  Le Poidevin

A felled beech

Overgrown with moss

Ever green.


(c) Jackie Le Poidevin

For Carpe Diem: buried in moss