Winter 2014 Showcase

‘Cliffs’ © Marie Taylor

‘Cliffs’ © Marie Taylor

My single New Year resolution is to surprise myself. What’s yours, I wonder? The first surprise is that this is the tenth Showcase here at the zen space, which continues to drift downstream since we pushed the boat out into the river in 2011. The end of 2013 was a hectic one for me – a novel published, an anthology published of which I was Deputy Editor, a teen-vampire novel written at breakneck speed at the request of my publisher, these are just some of the things which pressed themselves into the December bottleneck. Will the next surprise be a period of calm? I am watching the artificial breeze from a closing door make a till receipt float to the ground, and failing to capture in words the moment when I couldn’t decide to catch it or keep watching it, so maybe that’s a sign.

A call went out for new ink here at the zen space, and the call was answered. My thanks to all those who have contributed words for this Showcase. If you do not see them reproduced here, then they have been held over to be considered for a later Showcase. I have decided to go with an entirely seasonal theme this time – Winter, of course – though that is not necessarily the way the zen space works; this is an international Showcase and we have to remember that there’s a whole hemisphere to which we are the reverse. Interspersed with the work by writers new to the zen space will be three winter haiga from Debbie Strange; also we feature haibun for the first time. Enjoy.

Marie Marshall
the zen space


Michael Scott

armistice day –
one-armed veteran gives
left handed salute

late rook leaves
the harvested corn field


Angelee Deodhar

pressed pansies
fall out of her diary
as the year ends

koi pond –
snow covers the sky
above and below

tropical Xmas
the Auracaria aglow
with tiny lights

Haibun : Up

A balloon seller stands at the kerb hoping someone will buy his balloons. Even though ,it is almost 9 pm and except for the liquor vends  the mini market closes down. The fruit seller and the vegetable vendor are packing up their wares. I watch the sad pockmarked face of the balloon seller. The fog has started rolling in…under the streetlight the balloons have lost their brilliance. I am reminded of the movie UP, in which by tying thousands of balloons to his home, an old man sets out to see the wilds of South America, and the emotions are portrayed by the changing colors of the balloons. My son has taken his son to get a few things while I wait in the car. I wonder how many parents bought their children any balloons today. It is too cold for me to step out and buy a balloon for my grandson.

wintry night-
carried away on the car radio
a Xmas carol


Debbie Strange

My Frosted Hair (Small)


Bouwe Brouwer

winter haze
gulls disappear
into the sound of the surf

December dusk
the cat on the couch
turns into a pillow

cold wind
sideways across the beach
a North Sea crab


Marianne Paul

this thick ice–
there she is, underneath
her depression

ice moon–
beneath the surface

frog silence…
in the frozen pond
beaver lodges

all of my ghosts…
winter winds are howling

how snow
lies atop the branch–
your hand on mine

the snow is alive–
the stars, too, have sparkle
in their eyes


Prue Plumridge

My boots are crunching on wet stones, sparkling like baubles,  as I move along in rhythm with lazy storm waves turning over and over with hollow thuds until they crash on to the sandy, pebble strewn shoreline.  White foamy spume chases up the shallow incline until the wave’s energy is spent and it draws back to greet the incoming surge sucking back, as it goes, the multi-coloured pebbles smoothed by time. The soles of my shoes make their  mark on a million grains of pale yellow sand only to be washed away with the next noisy breaker, barely leaving a sign that I was ever there at all.  I close my eyes and listen to the dull thump of the waves and the wind which is whistling past my ears.  Spots of cold rain touch my face and pitter patter on my coat and I turn for home.

soles and sand
merge on an incoming tide
spent waves

The crinkled paper leaves are scuffling along the cracked tarmac like sulky children in worn shoes.  But, every now and then, a cold gust of wind picks them up, spins them round for a few seconds and returns them to the ground  where they tumble along until they reach a tangled carpet of brown leaves caught up amongst the skeleton trees.  Damp, rotting leaves awaiting transformation.

scuffling along
in a soft shoe shuffle
paper leaves


Sitting in front of the dying embers of the fire with my eyes closed I can hear, in that pleasant space between sleep and consciousness, a light scraping sound on the French windows. I half open my eyes. Outside a golden flower head once a half blue and half pink hydrangea is scuffing insistently against the window pane. On the brown stem below the flower, delicate, lime green leaves are shooting as if in defiance of winter’s grip. Life and death on one branch.

on the window pane
dead heads


Debbie Strange

Heart's Berry (Small)


Rachel Sutcliffe

frosty morning…
your silence
even colder

winter holidays…
an avalanche
of tourists

another day
and still no post…
winter deepens

a year…
still your jumper
smells of you


William Sorlien

a scum of thin ice –
roughened asphalt
more than just black

first snow, heavy and wet –
one boot’s sole
fainter than the other

a bundled figure
stumbles through the drifts –
fallen leaves

January thaw –
a bright shiny penny
beneath layers of ice


James Roderick Burns

Overhead, grey skies
threatening snow – under foot
offerings of salt

Between the bus depot
and a discount tool warehouse
this misty headland

Early afternoon –
supermarket receipt blows
into a tree, sticks

Ordinary things –
two golf balls in the harbour,
nests of bladderwrack

One hard frost –
all we have left
of winter


Donna Fleischer

first snow
first color –

13 ways
(through the blackbird’s eyes)
of snow


Debbie Strange

Coming Home (Small)


To finish off outside the (accidental) theme of this Showcase, I would like to share this short poem by Derek Hughes, to remind us that there are indeed two hemispheres to this world.


The village square at Ayers Rock resort.
Aboriginal women paint for tourists.
One looked up.
I caught her perfectly.
She knew I’d stolen her soul.


A reminder that A Hundred Gourds 3:1 is now online. This issue has a tribute to the late Laryalee Fraser and an introduction to Le Groupe Haïku de Montréal.


The next Showcase at the zen space will be Spring 2014 which will be released, subject to karma, on 1st April 2014.

Please note that the copyright of all written work and images used in this Showcase and elsewhere in the zen space is held by the creating author/artist, even when not explicitly stated, and may not be used elsewhere without permission.




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