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A Haiku for Pilgrims




leaving all behind

except the footprints following me

-my own

Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

Eating Cake

In soot-stained towns, full of those with soot-caked lungs eating bacon and grime 'n' mug of tea every morning before t' sunrise. That's our ancestors where I hail from, the ones that lived through the glorious Industrial Revolution, and thank god for the tea, because when people started gathering in the rat-infested growing cities to supply themselves as labour, it was the boiling of water to make tea, and the antiseptic tea leaves themselves that stopped much disease, killing off the bacteria - of course beer shares the same ability, among others.


The Industrial Revolution that kept many in the mines and the factories and then killed them. Glorious years, which we look back at through romantisised lens of period dramas full of white frilly petticoats and la di dah voices and intermittent heroes returning from wars, with waxed moustaches, sipping that tea out of fine china on verandahs, because it was always sunny then. Apart from those soaking in the damp mines and cold factories. And people condemned the rise of Communism? What planet were they living on.


the crack of ball 

hitting against cricket bat

gentle applause

while down across the town 

no apple again this week


Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

The Spirit of Che



And you ask me why I love forests so? Have some imagination, my dear, have some imagination... 


the deep and dark woods

home of brigands and poets

of lovers and fighters

of Tarzan, Santa and Robin Hood- 

where Che Guevara met his fate

Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

Said the Spider to the Fly




The late 1930s/early 1940s and late 1950s/early 1960s were heady years for the invention of the superhero, who surely represented unease with the tangled and burgeoning conglomerates that citylife was becoming.


But there was much more in this reaction to the dark forces of modernity: both superman and The Incredible Hulk had a connection with radioactive elements, and all superheros led normal lives and only changed into disguises when needed, with the exception of The Incredible Hulk, who if course transformed when angered, into a green presumably radioactive and muscly version of himself, who somehow did the right thing even when throwing cars about.


Both Batman and Spiderman were bizzare portrayals of dark heros out on the edge of society, living mundane existences that were so straightlaced they almost seemed eerie, an unhealthy image that the appearance of Catwoman did something to mitigate, and Wonderwoman further so.


Yet the two that have endured long in our imaginations remain the Kafkaesque Batman and Spiderman, these dark angels that may represent superheros of our future selves in a vision of a post-apocalyptic world, a one we may be veering towards again.



black widow

how are you able to attract so

when I know my fate

charmed in your spinning web

a fool still smiling to the end



Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

A Time to Blossom


autumn kiku

a beautiful time to blossom 

among the raindropped pines

just as squirrels collect winter nuts

you collect my love and admiration


Ah, Kiku, that quietly evocative name for a geisha in days gone by, and name, also of chrysanthemums in Japanese, a flower that indeed does blossom colourfully in autumn.


I first saw a picture of you wearing a red and white flowery dress, taking in the fragrance of flowers nearly as tall as you were, reaching between the petals.


Just as flowers, we blossom many times.











Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

On The Way To The Monastery


near the monastery

smell of chrysanthemum tea

wafts through the trees

I hope I am mistaken

and beer is brewing


In Belgium, particularly, monasteries have become famous for brewing and selling beer. The flavour of beers is directly connected to monks and religion in Europe, as for years beers were brewed without hops, causing too much festivity and a lack of interest in productivity. The church introduced hops into beer, which renders a drinker sleepy, in an effort to get all and sundry to bed, and away from the kind of bed that the nascent pagans had in mind after some of their drinking sessions. Hops remains an ingredient of many good beers, especially IPA beers, with their highly-drinkable bitter taste, notably among the new Craft Beers.

Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

The Autumn of Things




fallen leaves

fallen dreams

I had plans

among the blossoms fireflies danced

and then they too fell, mere embers

Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com



before the snow

the forest stands empty

devoid even of spirits

why do I walk this path

where silence can be weighed




Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

A Gardener's Silence


where there is silence

is where my garden is

even for a short pause

when no weeds are pulled

and my tanka starts to grow

Yo Ho Ho


The snow crunches underfoot, and the customary small clouds of vapour escape at every breath. The forest is still, silent.




echoes of the owl

in the hoot of the moon-

the circle 

Source: http://diverse.WordPress.com

Ice Ice Baby

All the books that used to cover my floor and walls in my salad days were about climbing. I knew the stories of nearly every expedition to the Himalayas, the Andes. and the Alps, and lived them.


I loved the mountains, and still do. I loved trekking, but was a terrible climber. Ice was always the hardest, and the easiest: hardest physically but easiest in technique. And frozen waterfalls were always a dramatic challenge. A frozen waterfall represents a mountain in winter, and aside from the physical effort, one had to make sure the ice was not all going to come tumbling down. Thrilling.



is best not done crosslegged

on a carpet

step upwards on frozen time

until you no longer feel gravity



Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

This Bird Has Flown



The advertisement for KLM fit the side of the building to the inch. A picture of a swan landing with grace, looking all the more incongruous, though, in this coastal town bordering on  the Empty Quarter, the large desert where I worked among tall sand dunes that moved slowly through the years 


Muslims these days continue to be vilified, and yet the poetry of Islamic culture is unsurpassable, the hospitality exemplary and the appreciation of beauty without parallel: stand in any number of the gardens of Esferhan in Iran, as colourful and impeccably designed as peacocks, and you will see exactly what I mean.


Iranians are the most courteous and friendly people I know. The tarof system is a cultural delight that most North Americans and Europeans find difficult - and easy to take advantage of, much to their shame. Tarof generally involves refusing to accept money, those goes deeper.


Iran and other countries of the region have been so vilified for cheap political gain. I remember when the Berlin Wall was up and every East European and Russian was supposed to be a deadly communist. Same cheap game.


In those days swans drawn on walls were symbols of the desire for freedom. There are no such needs anymore, but the cheap politics of ignorance and hate are still the same.


the airplane's shadow 

passing briefly through the barbed wire

she gazes upwards

one step left in freedom's walk

do the western feminists care?



Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

Kerala Monsoon




When I lived in Saudi Arabia travel agents advertised destinations where it rained. Monsoons had an enduring appeal, and as I wrote in Winner Takes Nothing (yes available free in eBook version, top left), raindrops were like diamonds when they landed on car windshields. And when it rained streets of desert towns without drains quickly filled with water.


in the monsoon

the present cleanses the past

splashes of happiness

some embrace what nature offers

and deserve the love within us all


After the Snow Storm


after the snow storm

empty benches and empty tables

even the squirrels have fled

yet one swipe with simple brush

is enough to wipe away the wrath




Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

The Postman


in the evening blizzard

a set of footprints to each house

one love letter 

one gift, one birth announcement

the last letter, his dismissal notice

Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com

The Fireplace

The pleasure of the forest is intensified by the thought of the warm fireplace waiting when homeward bound.


The snow is what makes winter here, even if it means getting more food from animals: it is easier to eat vegetables throughout the rest of the year.


Luckily, there is cheese to go with the wine and fish frozen in the snow - perhaps a bit rash but bears should be asleep and I have not seen any lynx or foxes.


And the cheese melts nicely in a pot over the fire, as the fish does wrapped in tinfoil. Both go well with beer, and beer goes well with Latvian women, well-used to long winters, wrapped in rugs in front of the fireplace. I mean one only of course, and well -wrapped after her nude sprint from the sauna through the snow to the front room, well, only room.


without the cold 

the fire does not warm

and coffee loses taste 

slowly you unwrap your rug

outside the trees stand firm


Source: http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com