Haiku Shower

Haiku Shower

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only takes a haiku (or four)

only takes one drink
to drown a thousand sorrows
so you take one more

only takes one voice
to drown a thousand others
so you shout some more

only takes one hand
to slap a thousand faces
so you want for more

only takes one word
to say you’re truly sorry
only takes one word

Thirty-Six Views of the South Downs (after Hokusai)

1. A Great Wave at Shoreham-by-Sea

swallowing water
spume tentacles drag under
laughing children dive

2. Light Winds and Clear Skies

endless summer sun
red bicycles and ice creams
mackerel clouds lurk

3. Rainstorms

beneath the thunder
unhappy memories float
loss of a father

4. Under the New Flyover

hiding out in nooks
traffic rumbling overhead
a den of devils

5. Awakenings

after school romance
secret kisses in phonebox
homework holding hands

6. Chestnut Trees in the Park

ancient sentinels
climbing high for prize conkers
pride hung by a thread

7. The Other Side of the River

with horses watching
releasing frogs from buckets
city kids delight

8. Climbing Mill Hill

new road through cut chalk
a searing white scar dazzles
diagonal path

9. In a Field on Mill Hill

golden straw crackles
lovers lie in crop circles
distant views ignored

10. Wind in Our Faces

heads bent into gales
on the cusp of adulthood
exam notes scattered

11. Shops on the High Street

toy cars in boxes
furtively pocketing stock
crime and punishment

12. Sunset Across the Old Toll Bridge from the Bank of the River

blood on the water
light ripples beckon and sway
a swan bends its neck

13. St. Nicholas Church, Old Shoreham

cassocks and cold stone
holy communion wine
mysterious world

14. The Marlipins Public House

thick snow like beer froth
talking with fake confidence
underage drinkers

15. Kingston Buci

patchwork allotments
a lighthouse to guide sailors
old names remembered

16. Changing Perspectives 

once there were windmills
the Downs a working landscape
now there are turbines

17. Bungalow Town

railway carriage homes
artists and photographers
early cinema

18. The Harbour Shore

sea defence ‘bumholes’
concrete structures for climbing
watching turning tides

19. To the East to Southwick

long coats and swagger
larking about with the boys
caught on camera

20. Watching Ships at the Old Fort 

fishermen and gulls
basking sharks in hot summers
comings and goings

21. Graffiti on the Rail Bridge 

a daring message
Happy Birthday to Louise
famous forever

22. Racing on Raised Paths

beside the airport
pillboxes and rabbit holes
brambles and briars

23. Pebbles and Sand

skinny dipping nights
smoking foreign substances
music and moonlight

24. The Old Swiss Cottage Lake

hidden history
torn down and redeveloped
postcards from the past

25. Reflections of the South Downs

this town we call home
nestled between hills and coast
still waters run deep

26. To Brighton by Bus

condensation drips
smoke fills the crowded upstairs
reading poetry

27. The River Upstream

mud banks and quiet
the tilled valley flat and low
mist lingers till noon

28. St. Mary de Haura Church

viewed from the tower
pigeons eye the waking town
breakfast is calling

29. Childhood is an Island

places we cherish
memories we store away
future safety nets

30. Views Along the Beach

longer than it looks
divided into sections
sand in sandwiches

31. Heron over Lancing College

gothic dreaming spires
choirs of heavenly voices
wing beating shadows

32. To the West to Worthing

the boats are drawn up
freshly caught fish sold from huts
family visits

33. Passing Over the Footbridge

it’s a long way down
hug Mum’s side and hold her hand
safer in the pram

34. Blue Circle Cement Works and Quarry

toiling and blasting
the belly of the Downs gouged
echoes of steam trains

35. A View of Hills Across the River 

these once wooded hills
sheep grazed and windswept pastures
still holding back time

36. On a Houseboat 

bohemian lives
time to set sail and move on
the world awaits me