31 December, 2016

Twenty Sixteen

drinking my coffee
before the interview
making it last

buying a ticket
to buckingham palace -
yes, a return please

the old lady's dog
watching the ambulance
drive away

kneeling in chapel
before made my offering
were those lamps lit?

there goes a cupboard -
old kitchen burns quickly
in the garden stove

surprise visit -
coming home early to
the armadillo

school interview
holding his rubber duck
the three year old

the englishman lost
asking directions from
budapest pigeon

returning home
cold and wet on my cheeks
dog dribble
(from a dream)

twelve boys
twelve waterpistols
father has the high ground

before opera
the opening movement
waffles, beer, ice-cream

dementia book
lists things he has forgotten
front cover - goldfish

the open door
welcomes to Midnight Mass
my drunken self


Hobbes said...

2016 was a mighty year! I hope that you felt its might! While time and circumstance have prevented me from getting my tea-notes onto the ol' Half-Dipper, perhaps some haiku acquired throughout the year will assuage the guilt.

Let's roll!

I: It seems that interviews come frequently, these days, as a standard part of the job. They never get any less tense. Each and every pre-interview period, spent waiting, becomes etched permanently on the memory, such is the significance of these moments. The Dalai Lama likes to mention how some moments have special significance - surely, this must include those angst-ridden moments before being ushered in front of yet another panel.

II: I chuckled internally as the train conductor asked me, automatically, if I wished for a "return" ticket to Buckingham Palace. Doesn't everyone, with the exception of those who live there? This was the start of a most unusual year, in January, in which the part of the university in which I find myself received the equivalent of a knighthood from Her Majesty. We don't get cool titles, but we did get to drink champagne before lunch.

III: So the wheel turns. The old lady in the haiku is a neighbour, whose dog gets walks every morning - except that morning. The echoes from the previous haiku, of the elderly female, dog-owning head of the household who happens to be monarch of the country, were unintentional.

IV: This was a chapel, after my visit to the USA in spring. On regaining my feet, I noticed some lamps - they weren't lit before the prayer, were they? A divine whisper seems, to my overly romantic mind, the preferable explanation.

V: Hallelujah! After nearly a year of construction, we finally managed to burn down our old kitchen furniture, in the summer, and made a lovely evening warmth out of the conflagration. It was a bonfire of the vanities, and a most welcome end to a long period of building, marking the point at which we could resume normal life (and tea-drinking).

VI: During late summer, I have an annual conference that I like to attend, and which this year, by chance, happened to take place in That Theme Park in Orlando, Florida. We spent a happy two weeks there, in a large log cabin. This haiku captures the moment when I left my family to return to that cabin, to check that it was locked - both of us had a surprise on my return, as neither of us expected the other: me, and the armadillo that apparently lives under our cabin. He was a big boy, too.


Hobbes said...

VII: The interviews start young, for boys in the modern world. My youngest son, Xiaolong, came for his interview with the Headmaster of one the university's small schools, where he is applying to be a pupil alongside his older brother. Unlike my Singaporean friends, who speak of a battery of cognition and social tests for their little ones, dear Xiaolong simply had to play with some toys and receive compliments from the teacher. I pray that all his interviews and examinations will go so easily.

VIII: Kicking off the late summer, refusing to admit that the new academic year was about to begin, I promptly packed my bags and headed off for a second conference. After last year bewailing my inability to spend my travel budget, I have been fortunate in getting a few opportunities to act as a functioning academic of late. (Many thanks to my dear wife and my mother for making this possible, if you are reading, ladies!) I never get any better at finding my way, though. Pictured is the conference hotel, in a UNESCO world heritage site, which was constructed out of an old monastery, it seems.

IX: This is an odd one. I wrote it, and a few other haiku, in a dream. Unlike Coleridge, who wrote Xanadu in a dream, my haiku are slightly less elegant. They still function, however!

X: As autumn came, so did my eldest son's birthday. Xiaohu and his class of schoolfriends promptly assaulted their father with water pistols. It won't be many years before they totally overwhelm me - but not this year. Have you ever pistol-whipped a six-year-old?

XI: After term, arctic temperatures in England sent me to a conference in Barcelona. The opera was good, but the snackfood was better! If you're going to listen to heavy-set ladies yelling for blood in German ("Elektra"), then do so with a stomach filled with beer and waffles.

XII: On a sombre note, to round out the year, my father's deteriorating mental health is taking much of my mother's and my energies. One amusing note, in an otherwise unamusing movement, was the book described in this haiku.

XIIb: Tipsy, red-faced, walking home from the pub on Christmas eve with my wife and brother, after meeting my cousins for a pre-Christmas onslaught of cocktails, I was taken aback by the sudden warmth and music coming from beyond the open church doors. Mass was just about to begin - carols and the Eucharist are especially significant when one is three or more sheets to the wind.

Here endeth the lesson, and, indeed, the year. I hope that 2017 will be delicious for you and yours, Gentle Reader.

S.Research said...

The Half-Dipper blog
Twenty sixteen reboot!
But then, just nine posts.

Hobbes said...

All of the coolest blogs have nine posts in 2016 :)