Writing about Ageing in Haiku

Japanese autumn maples with poem slips (1649–1686) vintage painting by Tosa Mitsuoki. Original public domain image from The Art Institute of Chicago.

On 28 October 2023, Catherine Urquhart led a haiku writing workshop at the Eskdalemuir Community Hub. Participants read a selection of haiku on the theme of ageing and it’s relation to the change of the seasons, particularly autumn to winter. They spent the rest of the session crafting their own haikus, which we are pleased to present here.

I looked for you  
in the bird songs 
melancholic notes

dried and brown 
leaves clinging 
afraid to let go

Angie Ball 

first frost 
working up a sweat 
stacking logs

winter blizzard
another day passes 
dreaming by the fire

Adrian Solomon 

beneath the willow 
falling leaves 
kiss their reflection

chill wind 
yellow leaves waving 

David Bearman

Dora is disappearing 
drifting away gently 
in her golden gown

driving to haiku 
no chance to swerve 
demise of a pheasant

Frank Ritchie 

dark falls early 
winter casts her cloak 
stars shine brightly

fallen red apples 
ripe and rotting 
feed the earth

Mairi Telford-Jammeh 

darts of autumn sun 
set old tree ablaze 
my heart sings

long winter nights 
encircle this old house 
like hungry wolves

Marjorie Wilson 

darkening sky 
over the frozen river 
the rush of wings

along the way 
memories and regrets 
season of long shadows

Sandra Goodfellow 

Here’s what the participants had to say about the workshop:

Well researched by tutor. Excellent session, very stimulating and inspiring. We were very prolific. Lots of laughter.

I loved it all! I didn’t know much about haiku before today. I have learned so much.

It was most uplifting and Catherine is a terrific teacher and listener. I feel empowered to do more haiku and study further.

Very beneficial to be part of a creative group. Lovely to socialise with others in this way. Lifted my spirits.

Would love to come to another workshop. Thank you!

About the facilitator: Catherine Urquhart was born in Dumfries in 1962. After graduating in Linguistics from Edinburgh University, she lived in Japan for 30 years where she studied haiku under a Japanese haiku teacher. Returning to Scotland in 2015, she founded Edinburgh Haiku Circle the following year and has chaired the circle monthly since then. She hopes to demonstrate the effectiveness of haiku to capture the memorable moments on the journey that is life.

This event was organised by Autumn Voices in partnership with Eskdalemuir Expressive Arts, and was supported by the Dumfries & Galloway Regional Arts Fund.