once a school…
tulips line
the hospice drive





(Previously appeared in The Betty Drevniok Award, Honorable Mention, 2018)

3 Responses

  1. Alan Summers Says:

    once a school…
    tulips line
    the hospice drive

    (Previously appeared in The Betty Drevniok Award, Honorable Mention, 2018)

    Powerful work! The word choice of ‘once’ doesn’t always work in haiku, I feel, although I’ve done this at least three times with success.

    But ‘once’ is a very important word in this haiku, and it can play on “once upon a time” which sets off so many fairytales either authentically/historically sticky endings or Disneyish.

    The second line continues, despite its apparent simpicity and concreteness, to ramp up times gone by, and the sometimes poignancy of childhood, avoiding sentimentality and rose-tinted spectacles on life.

    The last and third line could have so easily been simply ‘the hospice’ but the added word choice of ‘drive’ both being accurate, and a keyword, along with ‘once’ is apparent to me. Even the ellipsis, often ‘read over’ by those new(ish) to the haiku poem, offers its own visual concreteness and not just a grammatical or pause device.

    I read up on the three placed haiku, all very powerful, and so many of the Honorable Mentions too, and if submissions to this competition had been even slightly less powerful, this would have been easily placed in one of the first three positions.

    Very powerful! Very, very, powerful, and partly due to the both line and line break choices.


    the wind sways
    a woven hat brim
    once grass

    Alan Summers
    Publication credits: Albatross, Contantza Haiku Society, Romania Issue vol III no. 1 Spring-Summer/No. 2 Autumn-Winter 1994; Micropress Yates (1995); Moonlighting, BHS Profile (1996); sundog, an australian year (sunfast press 1997 2nd print 1998); California State Library
    Haibun credit: The Crow Walk haibun HAIKU HIKE (World Walks) Part of Crossover UK's 2006 'Renewability' project (2006)

  2. Helen Buckingham Says:

    Thanks Alan – that's 'once' as in 'once a school always a school'…..the beauty, and joy even, to be found in Dorothy House Hospice, Winsley (nr. your old stomping ground, Bradford-on-Avon!), from which my mother benefited as an outpatient in the months before her death, proved for me both an education and an inspiration. The old part of the building was, in a former life, a school for boys with 'special needs'.

  3. seaviewwarrenpoint Says:

    Powerful indeed, Helen. Like Alan, 'once upon a time' immediately came to mind when I read this. I also wondered if any of the former pupils ended their days in the hospice. No doubt one or two did.


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