February Sport 18 Feb

Hello and welcome to the Haiku Pea podcast, presented by me, Patricia.

This is the second series of the podcast and I’ve made some changes from series one. In this series there are two podcasts per month, both of which will be released on Mondays. The first podcast of the month will be a podcast looking at one particular aspect of Japanese short form poetry, and will feature one or two of our community and their work on any topic of their choosing. So if you have haiku which are not on my submission topics for the year, please submit them and perhaps you can be one of my featured poets.

The second podcast of the month will be one which features haiku and senryu, mainly written by you on a specific topic. Today, I’m featuring one of them, the topic of sport, or sportku.

This week, as well as hearing from some of our regular poets we have some poets that are new to us. All of you are very welcome and I thank you for submitting your work to us here.

First of all let’s start with some of the work that I have been reading in other publications:

Basho An Award selected by Ms Fujita

Kid dribbles the ball
It’s the most expensive pearl
Glued in his lone hands.

Ronald Tumbaga(Philippines)


Cattails Journal

tai chi at the pond . . .
a white crane and I
spread our wings

Carol Ann Palomba, USA

The Touch of a Moth. The 35th Annual Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology

t’ai chi studio
different coloured shoes
on every shelf

Bruce Ross

Robert Horrobin from Orkney in Scotland

stand like a tree –
white capped winter waves
beach themselves

This was inspired by a Qigong exercise “standing like a tree”. I like to imagine Robert practising this on the beach.

Next one up is from me. Like Robert I too practice Tai Chi and Qigong, although I am not a great lover of Qigong. I know most people think of Tai Chi as a nice gentle exercise, which of course it can be. I chose my teacher here in Switzerland because he thinks like the teacher in London who first taught me the short form, that is, Tai Chi is a fighting exercise, one which can be quite handy if you need to defend yourself. Although, as he says, not fighting is a much better solution. Anyway here is my offering this week:

Patricia From Switzerland

Tai Chi class—
fighting shadows

Dick Bailly our marathon runner from the USA

poetic motion
suspended skaters floating
descending en pointe

Training for tomorrow
Adding your whole heart and soul
Reaching for the stars

Embracing the pain
Approaching the final mile
Marathon effort

Patrick Stephens our American expat in France

He has, shall we say, an ambivalent attitude towards sport. I think you can tell from this his first piece:

Pushing all ahead
last again across the line
Winning from behind

His second piece makes me think of the game of Rugby.

My face in the mud
Ref’s whistle ringing in my ears
Substitute for war?

I can’t help but wonder if games, especially team games, have become important to society as a replacement for warfare. Have you ever seen the New Zealand Rubgy team performing the haka at the beginning of a game? I’ll put a link to you tube if you would like to have a look.

The Haka

Let’s bring you a few more pieces written about ball games.

Veronica Hosking from Arizona in the US

She has Cerebral Palsy. Despite that Veronica often astounds me with the amount of life she fits into her days. She asked me to remind people that March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness month.

Pick-up softball game
Born with cerebral palsy
Recess bench warmer

More than a touch of Sabi in this one, don’t you think?

**Gregory Finn from Canada

Gregory plays in a band, writes haiku (preferring the traditional format), draws, paints and recently started writing short stories.

Writing haiku gives him the opportunity to focus on things that normally are overlooked because of time constraints or to interpret things from a different perspective. So let’s hear from Gregory:

nervous at the plate
here’s the windup, and… the pitch!
soon my eye will swell

Gregory’s next poem reminds me of myself and my kids starting to ice skate when we arrived in Switzerland. It wasn’t something we did in England, the nearest rink was miles away. All of us were unsteady on our feet.

at hockey practice,
my young unsteady ankles
fight to hold me up

Next two poets have written about one of my favourite spectator sports, football. Indeed, coincidently my football team, Crystal Palace, a premier league team in the UK made it through to the quarter finals of the FA cup yesterday. It’s left me feeling “glad all over”.

I was trying to write something about watching youngsters learning to play football, but then I received the next two poems within hours of one another and I gave up. They express exactly what I was trying to say:

Ernesto P Santiago from Greece

first football match
up and down with the waves
the fisherman’s boat

Roger Watson from the UK

schoolboy football
chasing the ball

Don’t they make you smile?

Professor R K Singh, from India

has written about two of my favourite pastimes.

crossing  the shadows
in the Indo-Pak match–
the last ball

Cricket has been important for a great deal of my life. Perhaps from an English perspective you would get the same effect by changing line 2.

crossing  the shadows
in the Aussie-England match–
the last ball

The last ball, so often a tense time.

clad in swimsuit
her body in water sweeps
waltzing ripples

**Norm Kekki from California in the US.

His primary employment is as a dental technician but he is a freelance illustrator too. Norm’s real passions are coffee (he is tasting his way round the world) and music. It was the lyrics of music that brought him to the world of haiku. Norm finds that writing haiku is somewhat akin to writing lyrics. He loves to write work that evokes emotion. So here is Norm’s first piece of work for us, I know he’s writing some more for next months special podcast on the topic of music.

swimmers slice through waves
seconds tick home team shoots—
white caps


Rickey Rivers JR from the US

Introduces another sport to us, motorsport

Engines begin,
burning rubber,

and another angle of looking at sport. Perhaps this next piece contains a hint of sabi, a certain melancholy?

Sweat stained uniforms,
rainfall washing
away defeat.

Mani Shanmugham from India

This one took me by surprise. You know I don’t think I’ve ever been in the situation that Mani describes, have you?

watching spectators -
match between two teams
everybody likes.

Mineko Takahashi from Japan

Mineko submitted a couple of pieces that gave me pause for thought. Let me read the first one to you

baseball cap
now a crown on anyone
hiding inequality

I read this one several times. I couldn’t work out whether Mineko was making a comment on President Trump or a comment on the habits of both sexes in wearing these caps. So I asked her. I know the answer, what do you think?

powder snow
allure of a forbidden area
skiing to death

Straight off the bat this one reminded me of Michael Schumacher, the racing driver. Although thankfully there is still a chance for his recovery. Later this little poem popped into my head as I was trying to sleep. That often happens with work you submit to me. As you know I spend a lot of time in the mountains and as I was thinking of this poem I recalled local news reports about people dying whilst exercising in our mountains here. It struck me then how most reports are about non-native Swiss having mishaps. The following day I received a mail from Mineko. She too had been thinking about the Michael Schumacher event but also the fate of foreigners visiting her mountains in Japan had also been on her mind.

She wrote that there are many incidents “that happen here in the north every winter where foreign skiers come for our good snow but they venture out into forbidden areas and often die. The past month a French group got lost. It’s a recurrent problem here so it was on my mind. The attractiveness of new snow not trodden by anyone seducing people to come but then it’s an abyss.”

A reminder, if one were needed, to respect the power of the mountains. Let’s close today with a surprising sport and a little bit of fantasy. This time from Joan Barrett

Joan Barrett from New York, USA

ancient fisherman
at the ocean’s edge—
mermaid sighting

The story that goes with this piece of work is quite beautiful.

For several years in a row, Joan and her grandson, arose before dawn and drove to watch and photograph the sun rise over the ocean over Cape Cod. One morning near them was an elderly man, seated in the sand, jacketed against the cold, the line from his fishing rod stretched out before him. He waited patiently for a bite.

I wonder, did he ever sight a mermaid?

Thank you Joan for bringing this weeks podcast to an end. Thank you to everyone who submitted their work this week. I’ve enjoyed reading and discussing the pieces with you and having the pieces replay in my mind even if some of them have popped up when I would really like to have been sleeping. It’s been a pleasure.

Next time on the podcast I am starting to look at the topic of Renku, or linked verse. I very much hope you will join me because it’s a packed podcast and I’d like to get you involved in a global project. I’ll tell you more next time.

My thanks to everyone for listening and for all the feedback that you send me. I learn so much from all of you. Until next time on the haiku pea podcast. goodbye and keep writing.

Don’t forget that you can send me submissions which are off topic and perhaps I can feature them in the podcast.

**Poets new to the podcast


Robert Horrobin: you can find more work from Robert in The Cherita

Veronica Hosking:
Cerebral Palsy Awareness month:

Ernesto P Santiago:
His personal take on haiku
The Living Anthology
THF Haiku Registry Page

Roger Watson:

Professor R K Singh

His collections
I AM NO JESUS AND OTHER SELECTED POEMS, TANKA AND HAIKU (with translation into Crimean Tatar , 2014)
GROWING WITHIN (English/Romanian   2017).
All these volumes carry haiku and tanka as well.

Norm Kekki

Rickey Rivers Jr

Mineko Takahashi
Instagram sites:
teaching Japanese Idioms “your_private_japanese_tutor”
“ur_japanese_tutor” which teaches our characters
FB account @yourjapanesetutor which discusses many facets of the language from the viewpoint of a foreign learner.

Series 2 Episode 4: Sport- Sportku

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