Adventure 293 ~ Launch A Collaborative Poetry Project

big renga projectI’m sure you may have realised ¬†by now that I’m a bit of a haiku fan ūüôā . As part of the research for my book¬†Seventeen Syllables ~ Cultivating Presence Through Poetry, I looked at the origins of the haiku form. What is now known as¬†haiku was originally known as¬†hokku, the first verse of a collaborative linked- verse poem called a¬†renga.

The renga form has been around since the thirteenth century, and you can find out more about it here. In a nutshell, groups of poets works together to create a linked poem. The first stanza follows a 3-line 5-7-5 syllable format, just like the haiku. It also contains a kigo (season word) and a kireji (cutting word). The second stanza responds to the first stanza, but this time in a 2-line 7-7 syllable format. The renga then gets handed back to the first poet or handed on to the third who, again, works with what is offered in the second stanza but employs the structure of the first (7-5-7).

This sequence of 3-line and 2-line structures is then repeated until the poem is done!

I thought is would be fun to work with other poets to create a renga poem called “December” to capture the spirit of this month. As December will be the last month of my 365 Days Of Adventure project, it feels like collaborating with others might be a lovely way to end the year.

So, for today’s adventure, I’m launching¬†The Big Renga Project¬†and this is where you come in! I’m putting out a call for a crew of 23 poets to join me in creating a 25-verse¬†renga. Whilst no previous poetry-writing experience is required to join the project, I’m looking for ¬†people who are

  • Up for learning about, and respecting, the¬†renga form
  • Keen to collaborate and be part of ¬†a supportive, playful, creative community
  • Able to keep their commitments
  • Prepared to be responsive and present to the previous stanza
  • Respectful of the emergent spirit of the renga
  • Willing to record their stanza in video format (so I can create a film of the whole¬†renga with all the poets involved)

The project will start on December the 1st and the final verse will be created on the 25th. I will create a private Facebook group to facilitate collaboration and information sharing. Each day during December, the poem will be updated so that people can see the renga grow.

If this sounds like this project could be for you, please drop me an email to in the first instance. If you know of others who might enjoy being part of  this collaborative venture, please feel free to share this information with them.

NOTE¬†– it is not necessary for the poetry to be written in English. However, to support other poets, a translation into English will be required for a smooth stanza transition! For all non-English stanzas, subtitles will be required for the video ūüôā .

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 282 ~ Devise A Pre-Programme Questionnaire For My “17 Syllables” Test Group

Seventeen SyllablesFor today’s adventure, I’m nudging my haiku book project a little further towards completion. The brilliant news is that, in addition to my peer reviewers, I now have 4 people who have volunteered to try out ¬†the processes I describe in the book,¬†Seventeen Syllables : Cultivating Presence Through Poetry¬†(that’s the current working title).

Not only will these 4 people be able to give me feedback about the book and the processes, but I’ll also be able to measure the impact of working through the processes by taking a “before and after” measure. And that’s what today’s adventure has been all about : devising a questionnaire that will give me useful information about their motivations for joining the programme, that will give me clarity regarding their expectations about the programme, and that will let me know their starting point.

This feels very exciting. I know that the process had a profound, and positive, impact on me. Doing this upfront research with people who are genuinely attracted to the idea has the potential not only to provide me with a useful evidence base (and an important understanding of the range of impacts that might be experienced) but also with information that will help me to market my book in the right way.

In short, I’m setting about learning about my potential readership and how to communicate with them!

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 277 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [29]

acornToday, I returned to Portglenone Forest with my dog. The floor was damp with mulching leaves; the fallen acorns had been ravaged by local predators; and the beech nuts had been squelched open by heavy-footed walkers. I had the sense that Time had picked up its pace, like a runner in a race that had caught sight of the finishing line : the Winter threshold is almost visible,

There’s a part of me that’s quite sad that my haiku adventures are coming to an end. I planned to write 30 for my self-publishing adventure, and today is haiku 29. The process of writing haikus has brought me closer to the outside world and brought me closer to my inner world. I feel more present, more aware and more connected. I’m noticing much more and I’m appreciating much more. And I’ve slowed right down.

The writing process has helped me to explore, and realise, ¬†my creative potential, and it’s encouraged a sense of growing confidence in some capabilities that I’d forgotten I possessed! Haikus have woken me up. That’s the best way of putting, I think. Haikus rouse you from the sleep of remembering and bring you into the aliveness of presence. I didn’t realise that 17 syllables could have such power!

I’ve chosen to write a haiku about the acorn today – its associations with potential and growth seem fitting for this part of my haiku journey. You can read my poem 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 ūüôā .

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 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 244 ~ Write A Collection Of Haiku Poems [13]

firewoodI’ve had a total head-jammer of a day today, working on my website. I’ve started to really look forward to my daily adventures because they bring me back to the present moment, they close the door on work.

And my haiku adventures are right up there when it comes to creating presence. Within a few short minutes, I find myself immersed in the very essence of nature, checking out my emotional responses to the world around me, immersed in the very essence of myself.

I think I must have had Winter on my mind today : I went out to check the firewood supplies. When I looked at the pile of wood, it made me smile. I got to thinking about how things (including humans) can look old, and yet still be full of life.

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

I am just going outside and may be some time.



Adventure 221 ~ Watch The Wheel Of Nature Turn

As a result of adventuring on a daily basis, I’m becoming more attuned to what’s happening around me. I’m more present (that’s for certain) , but something else is emerging too : a desire to notice change, a desire to track the cycle of Nature.

I have the impression that I’ve missed a great deal over the years. One minute the blossom is on the trees, the next the leaves are on the ground. Now, I’m going to slow right down and remember what I noticed as a child : the slow turning of Nature’s wheel.

Today, I watch the wheel turning on the farm ūüôā .

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 186 ~ Feel The Energy Of A Tree

TEvening ash on the farmoday I try my hand at connecting with, and feeling the energy of, a tree. I use everything I’ve learned from my animal communication course (Asia Voight suggests that her method of communication can be used to communicate with any living thing) and I also try an Aboriginal ‘deep listening’ practice called Dadirri¬†¬†in an attempt to connect with the tree.

The ash trees on the farm have been drawing my attention for some time now. So I found a “partner” ash in a quiet away-from-it-all corner and spent some time with it.

You can see how I got on in today’s video. You can get the full low down on ash trees here (it’s really interesting to read about the folklore of trees!)


I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 109 ~ Walking With My Eyes Open

walk 1This morning, as usual, I took my dog out for a walk. I take him on the same route most mornings. When I got back to the house and closed the door behind me, I suddenly realised that I’d “sleep-walked” the whole way. It was like I was walking a memory of a walk, my body¬†had been walking but my head was elsewhere ~ not really paying attention, not really present, not really fully aware of my surroundings.

So, for today’s adventure, I turned right around and headed back out to walk the route again. This time with my eyes open . This time opening my awareness right up and waiting for something to catch my attention.

Watch today’s video to see what happened! (I took some photographs of the things that caught my attention : you’ll find more images below the video ūüôā ).

walk extra walk 7 walk 6 walk 5 walk 4

walk 2



I am just going outside and may be some time.