Adventure 263 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [24]

red admiral butterflyThis morning I went for a walk with my dog in Portglenone Forest, near Ballymena. Sparky adores it there : I think it must smell really great 😛 (and there’s plenty of territory to be marked too!)

A lot has changed since last week. I noticed that the mushrooms have started to die away ; only the honey fungus is looking anywhere near healthy. The path is rusting with leaves, and our walk was punctuated by the sound of falling beech nuts.

In one part of the forest there is a hollow which catches the sun. In this area, it still looks and feels like Summer. Some Red Admiral butterflies were sunning themselves in the hollow this morning, and they allowed me to get really close with my camera. Even Sparky was mesmerised by them!

For me, “butterfly” brings up words like transformation, change, metamorphosis and regeneration. Butterflies make me think about Nature’s continuous, and repeating, cycles. Since my poetic adventure is all about marking the transition from Summer into Autumn, a haiku about the butterfly makes for a perfect inclusion in my collection.

You can read my haiku here, and I read it out loud in today’s video-blog too.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 262 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [23]

ploughed fieldIn this part of the world, the harvest is in, and a new cycle of activity is happening in the farming community. Many farmers consider the Autumn to be the beginning of the farming year – particularly arable farmers. Right now, fields are being ploughed and re-seeded with crops like winter barley and winter wheat.

Speaking to a local farmer this morning, I was asking about how winter crops work. He told me that if they plant winter crops around this time, then they would expect to harvest them in June/July next year. If you do the maths on that, that means the crops are in the ground for around 9 months. It really didn’t take me long to smile about the significance of that number, and the words Earth Mother came straight to mind 🙂 .

So today’s haiku is entitled “Earth Mother” : it’s a poem all about what happens after the harvest. You can read it here, and I also read it out loud on today’s video-blog.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 261 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [22]

larch septemberToday’s poetic adventure was inspired by the larch tree that is growing at the top of our road! In the summer, this tree was like a beautiful, elegant, youthful woman, but now her beauty seems to be fading.

It surprised me to learn that larch is one of the few conifers which sheds its needles in Autumn. This morning as I was walking my dog, I noticed how brown and bare some of the branches were becoming – and this observation prompted today’s haiku.

You can read today’s haiku here, and I read it out loud in today’s video-blog. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering exactly how big a collection of haiku poems is, it’s 30! We’re nearly there 🙂 ).

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 259 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [21]

beech nuts and casingsFor today’s adventure, I returned to the copper beech tree! At the week-end I attempted to gather seeds from the tree for planting, but every seed failed the “float-sink” test (they all floated, and many sources say that this means that the seeds are infertile).

When I collected the seeds, the earth was covered in beech nuts and their open casings. The open casings looked like little hairy hands that had released their grip on the seeds. Looking up into the giant copper beech, many of these open hands were still on the tree. It made me think of a mother with thousands of children who was ready for Nature to take them off her hands 🙂 .

Further research suggested that not only might the float-sink test be invalid, but also that the first fall of seeds from a beech tree are often infertile. No-one is quite sure why this is, but some people think it’s a kind of decoy. The local predators go for the first fall and realise that the seeds are of no value, leaving later seed-falls to their own means.

So, it might be worth gathering some seeds now – and gathering some seeds later!

Anyway, back to the business of the day 😛 . Today’s adventure is a poetic one : I’ve written a haiku about the beech tree. You can read my poem here, and you can hear me recite it in today’s video-blog too.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 255 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [20]

Hawthorn berriesToday I was out on the farm and noticed how the hawthorn hedges are heaving with haws (hawthorn berries). A bit of research revealed that, according to Irish folklore, the hawthorn is thought to have powerful healing properties.

An infusion of the leaves, flowers or berries is thought capable of relieving anxiety and heart-break (of both a physical and emotional nature!). Some people suggest that it’s an effective “heart tonic”, giving relief to those who suffer from angina. Oh, and if berries are used for such an infusion, it is recommended that you wait until after the first frost which sweetens them.

So, today’s haiku is all about the hawthorn berry, and I’ve tried to reflect some if its medicinal qualities! You can read my haiku here, and I read it out loud on today’s video-blog too.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 254 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [19]

spider webThis morning’s walk with my dog was spectacular! Even though the sky was darkened by a flat grey ghost-mist, the hedges, railings, plants and fences were glinting with dew-laden spider webs. It was as though the spiders were putting on a spectacular show at the edges of morning consciousness.

Before writing today’s haiku, I did a little research about spider webs.  As a result of my research I learned where the term “cobweb” comes from. It turns out that coppe is the Old English word for spider 🙂 .

You can read my haiku about spider webs here, and I read it out loud in today’s video-blog.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 253 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [18]

Harvest Supermoon 2014 Northern IrelandYesterday’s attempted viewing of the Harvest Supermoon has inspired today’s haiku poem!

The haiku-writing process is orienting my attention towards nature, and it’s making me curious about it too. As I was looking up at the moon, the question arose “How does the moon shine like that?” So, today I got on the case and was as thrilled as a constant-why-asking 3-year old to discover the answer (which sounds familiar in a very hazy way .. like I may have actually been 3 when I asked my parents this very question!)

So, I hate the break the news to you : the moon does not shine. What we’re actually seeing is the reflected light from the sun bouncing off the moon. In other words, the moon is a mirror.

Oh, and when the moon is full, and especially when it’s a supermoon, its “shine” is bright enough to obscure other objects in the night sky. If you wondered where all the stars were on Monday night, they were still there, but they were being outshone by the moon.

Anyway, less about heavenly bodies and more about heavenly haikus 🙂 . Today’s haiku is called “Supermoon” and you can read it here. I also read the haiku out loud in today’s video-blog.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 250 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [16]

grassYesterday’s mushroom-hunting adventure was so exciting that I leapt out of bed this morning, keen to get to work on a fungus-based haiku. Only it seems that my imagination had other plans :P.

Returning from my early morning walk with my dog, I went into the kitchen and opened the blind to let in the light. The window looks out onto a patch of grass. The grass caught my eye : that patch of green stuff really looks like it’s doing exactly what it wants to, in spite of any gardener’s urges to control it or keep it in any kind of order.

I stood still, just gazing at the grass for a while, when a haiku just appeared  (that’s exactly how I experienced it, like a flash of inspiration!)

My research into haiku revealed that the traditional form was not only an attempt to capture the essence of something in the natural world, but was also a skillful way of drawing attention to an aspect of the human condition. In today’s haiku about grass, the words ring as true for grass as they do for any of us who have experienced the messier side of  human relationships.

It seems that this whole process of writing haiku poems is not only connecting me to nature, it’s also connecting me to my own nature. I’m beginning to see myself in nature. I’m beginning to really feel part of it. And because I’m beginning to feel part of it in such a real and alive way, it’s changing the way I feel about it. I’m in awe of it. I respect it. I think it’s clever, brilliant and beautiful. I think we should protect it, nurture it and nourish it. We should be in it more. I think it’s real. I think it could teach us a lot. I think it will help us to remember what we’ve forgotten.

You can read “Grass” here ; I also read my haiku out loud in today’s video-blog.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 248 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [15]

rowan haikuOne of the biggest shifts I’m experiencing as a result of writing my collection of haiku poetry is in the nature of my attention. At the beginning of this adventure series, I was waiting for something from the outside, something from nature, to grab my attention ~ and then I’d write a haiku about that. But now it’s beginning to change, and I really noticed it today. Today, my attention was geared towards the outside world, like a highly sensitive radar. I’m not waiting to have my attention grabbed : I am actively attending to the natural world.

Today, it felt like my senses couldn’t get enough of what was going on around me. As I drove my son to school, I began noticing the differences in the trees : some are yielding to Autumn far more quickly than others. It’s even possible to notice the very gradual swallowing up of a tree by the new season, day by day.

On the way back from school, I stopped to admire a rowan tree (also known as mountain ash). These trees are in full berry now. As the other trees begin to fade, this tree is coming into its prime.

A little bit of treelore research revealed some fascinating facts about the rowan. The rowan (derived from the the Scottish Gaelic word rudha-an, meaning “the red one”) is considered to be a sacred tree and is associated with the Celtic goddess Brighid (patroness of the the arts, smithing, healing, weaving and spinning).

In Scotland and Ireland, spinning wheels and spindles are traditionally made out of rowan wood. Discovering this made me smile : here I am, writing a collection of poetry about the turn of the season,  and I’m being gifted the experience of a tree which is associated with spinning!

Whilst the rowan can grow anywhere, it is often found  in mountainous areas. For this reason is sometimes called “The Lady Of The Mountain.”

Bearing all this in mind, and acknowledging my direct experience with the local tree this morning, I’ve written a haiku that attempts to capture the full essence of this majestic tree.

You can read today’s haiku here , and I read it out loud in today’s video-blog.

I am just going outside and may be some time.



Adventure 246 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [14]

poem about school uniformFor me, the things that really mark the changing of the season are the end of the summer holidays and the beginning of the school term. The first full day of school for my son was this monday and seeing him in his uniform again reminded me :

  • How quickly we, as humans, move through our own seasons
  • How tied I really am to my own heritage (I come from a family of school teachers)
  • How I can already see in my son’s Spring, the seeds of his Autumn (I think the leaves will be spectacular)

For today’s poetic adventure, I’ve written a haiku called “Back to school”. You can read it here , and I read it out loud in today’s video-blog too.

I am just going outside and may be some time.