Poetry from the Winner of British Haiku Award 2017

Deer Medicine

In night white with birch and moon
your heart hears hooves 

crossing its wide plateau 
a slow steady pulse keeping time
with its own.
To think they argued 
reconstruction only way to go –
silastic implant 

and tissue expander –
few surgeries later 

who would know?
Unable to handle your logic

they couldn’t see it 
when you said
someone changed
so many ways 

might not want to look the same?
Instead you chose 

hand-mixed inks 
from a recipe book

over a hundred years old.   
Cadmium & witch hazel

ochre & shell 
ambering a deep round eye.

And as yours is held 
wild pearls spun 

from the areola of the moon
winter a red deer’s breath.

The Wood Worker 

In the hollow hours 
her fingers censer coffee smoke
before low umber sounds 

of chisel on gouge 
draw out a hairline 
a jaw a chin

a half moon beneath each eye
a mouth hewn to steady smile
and the pitchers 

brimming stars and water
pendant from both ears.
When the rest rise

the whole piece polished 
to an even shine. 
Marvelling at the strength 

it takes to turn oak 
we find sixteen hands
of Arabian horse 

unbroken in its grainy ghost
and seeing the grace 
etched in every line and groove

we tell her how well 
she has done
how well she is doing.

Telling till leaves bud 
on cheeks of dark seasoned wood.

Dora’s Second Dream
after Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria
                                                        ~ Sigmund Freud

Sitting behind a phalanx of Egyptians gods
his watch chain looped 

on the waistcoat of a three piece suit
he asks how a girl of fourteen 

kissed by a prepossessing still young man
could fail to be excited.

Ida spelt Dora brought to 19 Berggasse – 
schtum he should have kept 

shelved in the name of a science 
unable to see omens and spells 

concertinaed on finest Chinese paper,
the cosmologies and maps 

on pages of wood and bone 
shell and silk,

from his chair in the corner unable to see 
her brush brought to malachite 

orpiment and ultramarine swept across pages 
of milk white skin.

Clare McCotter won The British Haiku Award 2017, The British Tanka Award 2013 and The HIS Dóchas Ireland Haiku Award 2010 

Find Black Horse Running by Clare McCotter on Amazon

About the contributor

Clare McCotter won The British Haiku Award 2017, The British Tanka Award 2013 and The HIS Dóchas Ireland Haiku Award 2010 and 2011. Her haiku, tanka and haibun have been published in many parts of the world. Her longer poems have appeared in almost thirty journals. Clare was one of three writers featured in Measuring New Writers 1. Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun was published in 2012 by Alba Publishing. Revenant, her first collection of longer poems will be published in August 2019 by Salmon Poetry. Home is Kilrea County Derry.

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