I’m enrolled on an online session writing haiku so I thought I’d better do a few warm-up exercises. I’m no expert but know the traditional ones reference a season so some of these do. The syllable count of 5-7-5 is often ignored by contemporary poets but I’ve kept to this in most cases. Haiku usually capture a moment in time, often evoke an image and describe concrete details while at the same time suggesting universal themes. Haiku should be read more than once – they are meant to be savoured like culinary delicacies.
Shibdon Pond is a reedbed pond four miles from where I live. In the summer common terns nest here and in the winter large flocks of waders congregate and feed. This week there have been hundreds of lapwing, four common sandpiper, six- eight black-tailed godwit, gadwell, redshanks, one juvenile dunlin, seven (visible) snipe and of course grey herons, cormorants, gulls and mallard. It is a place you never tire of visiting and it is only a mile or two from one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe, the dreaded Metro Centre!
A friend kindly gave me a telescope for my birthday and this has opened up another dimension (literally) to my birdwatching. If you have children who are interested in wildlife you can’t start too early; don’t give them toy binoculars or telescopes! Get them good quality optics and they will thank you for it!
Every August the Gould Piano Trio, plus Robert Plane (clarinetist) fill three days (Fri – Sunday) with imaginative musical programming in the centre of Corbridge. They invite guest musicians (last year James Macmillan came) to take part in their concerts in St Andrew’s church. One of the traditions (I found out this year that it has been going for 17 yrs!) is to have tea and scones outside among the gravestones! This inspired the following two haiku of mine.
The atmosphere is informal and tickets very reasonably priced. If you like classical music and live in the NE of the UK this is a must if you’ve never been. The highlight for me was the Sunday (9 Aug) 7.30 concert which featured a rousing Septet for trumpet, piano and strings by Saint-Saens. Benjamin Frith excelled himself with the almost frantic piano runs. Philippe Schartz was the excellent trumpeter. Photo from left to right: Alice Neary, Lucy Gould and Benjamin Frith.