Haiku for the Wiltshire Heights Care Home

In the run up to International Haiku Day, representatives of the Wiltshire Heights Care Home in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, contacted the BHS to see if a presentation on haiku could be given to the care home residents. The BHS put out a call to its members and Patricia McGuire (Bisshie) of Poetry Pea contacted John and Patricia Hawkhead who are residents of Bradford on Avon. A series of quick exchanges between John, Paul Hickey and Sookhi, the care home’s activity lead, led to John leading a haiku appreciation session on 17th April.

John introduced a group of residents to the history of haiku and its Japanese ‘masters’, and took them through the themes of kigo, kireji and wabi-sabi. The talk included a comparison of traditional Japanese haiku in translation with modern English Language Haiku with examples of both. John also discussed the difference between haiku and senryu, again with examples from poets around the world.

It was clear that some of the residents were very taken with the brevity and concise language used in the form although one or two struggled with haiku as poetry in the light of the western poetic tradition. However, a short guided-writing session resulted in some very interesting examples from the residents including this poem on fungi:

a small umbrella

concealing the thread

that binds us all

A very impressive first attempt at a nature-based haiku!

John closed the session with a brief description of the BHS and its aims as a registered charity. In addition, the BHS and John left copies of ‘Blithe Spirit’, BHS Anthologies and haiku books for the care home’s library. Many thanks to all involved in making this a successful and enjoyable event for all involved.


Photo credit: Sookhi Tuite



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