H  A  I  K  U     S  P  I  R  I  T
Jim Norton


A new year offering from Jim Norton




Fluttering poplars
catch and play with it
the breath of stillness





The privy swallows
they don't mind me anymore
a passing sound





Wild orchids
in the drainage ditch
a startled frog





Smothered in soot
a daddy-longlegs on the page
writes its death-verse





The Christmas candle
I put it in the window
though no-one passes







All unknowing
a great work has been in progress.



Opening the door at dawn, lo,
there it is, complete:



sky beyond naming,
mired earth made new,
the tired old track out shining.



Of the stillness, and the presence,
who can speak?



The blue rain-barrel
standing slightly askew,
its mouth wide open.




A vacant moment:
through double glazing
twin half moons

Just echoeing boards
this empty house
where we laughed and cried

Midsummer midnight:
a tiny shooting star
across mown fields

the snail's shadow
draws out the sun

From bush to bush
a wren is hurrying
between the blossom and the thorn

Near home
the bell that never rings
bluegreen under starlight

Walking from shadow
his face a moment lit
this stranger

Who's more wide-eyed
them or us?
nest of wild kittens

Dinner over
in the bowl
one grain

Dare I tell him?
From my neighbour's dung-yard
a double rainbow

On a country road
an old man walks away
as night falls

This butterfly
has chosen a thistle-flower
to fall asleep on

Moving the slabs
the young frogs stare up at me,
fingers spread

Wood an-em-on-e!
every careful syllable
as she bends to it

There by the bedside
orange round orange
don't let me eat you!

A corner-boy,
but for my grey hairs!
the passing world

still chirping
as a long, hot day ends -
churchyard sparrows

by my grandparents' grave
with empty hands

The thief
having fingered my Buddha
settled for cold cash

Hours till dawn:
in the hospital grounds
for whom does that blackbird
sing so sweetly?

so many new greens ~
hovering over the camp
blue woodsmoke

bread on the road ~
first to arrive
the limping pigeon

At last ~
the sublime moment:
the doorbell rings

friends come and go
four teabags in the sink
the fading light

Hurry we're late!
Sucking dew from a rose
this particular snail

-by itself
in darkness
a garlic clove sprouts

that's how it is ~
the sound of a leaf
scraping along

Behind the north wall
frost lies all day
dogwoods redden

Few cars today:
between each
what was before


An old pair of boots.
Take them deep into the woods
and let them root there.

The new ones hurt.
The way, the way alone
will ease them.

The first of May ~
yes, yes indeed,
oh yes!


Across the interior.
Cows kneedeep in buttercups
quiet my fears

Fleetingly, a hare.
First smile of the day.

Dark hills,
and on them patches.
I have gone too far

Last light:
lambs cry from hill to hill,
the hermit's lamp burns on

Leafless tree
in the fold of a hill
leans into sunset

From a bare cupboard
a few noodles, the north wind
a little warmer

Light almost gone:
through a swarm of midges
first star

Waking with a smile,
throw back the curtains -
April snow!

Out of the wetlands
it lies in the office park
long beak frozen

Green sunset -
leaning out, its pure gold
the new moon

On leafless branches
tiny white flowers
name unknown

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