I don’t really think of myself as a poet, but I enjoy trying to write haiku—maybe because they’re nice and short so I have a fighting chance of finishing one.

Proper Japanese ones have a traditional structure involving a seasonal reference, a “cutting word” and a contrast of ideas, but it’s popular now simply to take a pattern of seventeen syllables—five then seven then five—and use that to create a short poem in English.

These three are intensely personal. The first expresses my basic belief in respect and in the amazing preciousness of friendship; the other two talk about the times when friendship isn’t quite enough, but is all I have. The heart is not the only part of a person which can feel loneliness.

They all began in the 5-7-5 pattern, but I’ve done some editing since. Interestingly, even seventeen syllables is sometimes too many. It’s best not to be legalistic.

Holiness

The most sacred place
is another human heart:
treat with reverence.

Dreaming

Skin against bare skin
tenderly exploring you
—I wake, alone.

The truth

Hearts need their friendships
but bodies too want love:
mine is alone.

Note

I’ve changed the last line of the second one since I first posted it. I originally didn’t like the repetition of “alone” between the second and third poems. But they’re meant as indivdual poems, so I’ve changed it to the version I most like even though it’s now a bit odd when they’re read together.

And now I’ve amended the first one slightly too . . . And the third. OK, they’re now ALL different . . . !