Haiku #32 The Bee Orchid

Growing up in a coastal iron ore mining village in mountainous Cumbria had plenty of outdoor “distractions” for a young boy and his closest mates. One of these was to go into places we were specifically told NOT to, especially if there was some sort of reward attached to it. Described in my haiku today is the reward of finding an extremely rare plant in a large area of sunken land known to us ragamuffins as The Hollow. We were all quite knowledgeable of plants, trees, insects, fungus, fish, berries as well as how to build hides, light fires and catch rabbits or fish.

My memory of such an incident in a summer so long ago, occurred as I sat reading Norman Nicholson’s poem, The Bee Orchid.

Red soil green grasses
Spent iron ore mines below
Filled with sea water

A sunken hollow
Too many Rabbits to count
Find the bee orchid

Sit and stare don’t touch
Mothers words freeze our limbs
We found the orchid

When Norman Nicholson died in 1987, an obituary in The Times described him as “The most gifted English Christian poet of his century”, which is a true and a fair description, and yet, as all those adjectives come cluttering along together, how limiting and how smugly patronising they can begin to seem.

Norman Nicholson, Collected Poems, Introduction, Neil Curry, (Faber Finds, 2008)

Categories: Haiku

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply


  1. Haiku #32 The Bee Orchid – Glyn Hnutu-healh: History, Alchemy, and Me
%d bloggers like this: