Terebess Asia Online (TAO)


David Cobb's Haiku

A founding member and president of the British Haiku Society, David Cobb lives in Braintree, Essex, England. Cobb is known as an innovator in haiku set to music and in the development of haibun in English. In 1995 he celebrated haiku at the Keats House Museum with several haiku music performances including Cobb's haiku series, "The Lilting Dove." In 1997 his literary haibun, The Spring Journey to the Saxon Shore, was published. Three additional collections of his haiku have been published including Jumping from Kiyomizu, Mounting Shadows, and A Leap in the Light.

to this pensioner
putting the clocks back an hour
still seems important.

poky hotel
no room for my shadow
to unpack

the full moon glances
sideways down a street
of ill repute

on the latrine seat
a small offering of gold
from a buddha's thumb

over the furrows
undulating shadows —
slow flaps of a crow

on the fixture list
the name of the groundsman
we buried last week

day of his funeral
still inviting messages
'after the tone'

on the inn hearth
each side the dangling poker
an ear of the mouse

sagging chrysanthemums
spider threads

getting on in years
out of breath only
after brushing his teeth

not a soul on deck —
the vaporetto passes
the Isle of the Dead

in the cricketfield
rotting on the woodpile
unsawn bails

Close circuit TV:
watching myself going
the other way

A scarecrow in church –
how wide the pleading arms,
how stiff the knees!

It’s no use mouthing
O after O at me –
I don’t speak goldfish!

Birthday dinner –
lid of the ricepot
bubbling over

Children panicking
out of the tiger cage
a wasp

Coming down
through lark-song, my daughter
on a parachute

Minding the robots
technicians shift their weight
from foot to foot

the torrent passes
in soft slow ripples
through the gills of fish

drill squad
marching with fixed bayonets
into fog

his nails squeak also
the Black teacher
with the short chalk

for the opera’s final act
talking football

a pretty stranger
she more certain than me
how long to smile

magpie, so furtive—
you know no one
thinks you did it

in the garden shed
a screw turned tighter
winds in a web

pacing the streets
for the tenth time passing
that scrunched eggshell

egg-and-spoon –
only the Down's syndrome girl
cheats without blushing

couple aged eighty
carrying a dozen eggs
between them

after the all-clear
not remembering the bombs
only the kiss

day of his funeral
still inviting messages
after the tone

lightning bolt –
the fax machine issues
a blank receipt

afflicts him, yet he goes on
tying up sweet peas

mauled blackbird
with its last pulse
squirting lime

Wednesday market –
the smell of onions
in the mackerels' eyes

cumulus clouds- -
watching the catheter
for the next drip

daffodil morning--
looking for something
very blue to wear

into the fog
boots muffled by leaves
marching bayonets

even here a child
searching for four-leaf clovers -
on Culloden Moor*

* battlefield where the last battle was fought on British soil, between the Scottish highlanders under Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Hanoverian-English representing King George II

a torc of pine trees
all that now remains
of Boudicca's wrath

a moment between
lighthouse flashes
cold smell of fish

turning from her grave
the tug of a rose thorn
on my padded sleeve

first day at school -
in the garden only wind
swinging the swing

first morning of frost -
steaming into the sunshine
a cat's yawn

drip by drip
the moonlight lengthens
in the icicle

spring fair -
the wind freeing
free balloons

into the dusk
that ends a century
a roosting bird

ashes to ashes . . .
clinging to the fingers
yellowish clay

the road I have walked
a man is measuring it
with a minute wheel

weekend in autumn
a little more patience now
with kipper bones

the frost holds:
Friesians in the byre
chew steam

dark side of the hedge
white shadow
of the frost

full moon above
girl's lazy breast-stroke
rippling the sea



a bee enters
its buzz
in the foxglove

cool white concrete
stretching out the shade-
bathing cat

a tortoiseshell
follows the winding
by nettle

wine in my hand
mullien caterpillars
fat with sleep



a tired flirtation
noticing slugs and snails
in lettuces

ordinary day
her spoon revolves slowly
in the parsnip soup

evening by the river
red-painted toenails
slipping into silt

a kiss on each cheek
traffic tearing past
in both directions

his mid-life crisis
purchasing valentines
three at a time

barbed wire fences
stretched across the moorland
her tight lips

sleeping on my own
the quilt still wanders
his side of the bed

breakfast in silence
both halves of the grapefruit