Twelve Haiku – Elizabeth Sennitt Clough

Twelve Haiku for the Christmas Party Scene in The English Patient

Christmas Eve Party:
mistletoe crushed under foot,
kisses strewn about.

Sap of white berries
seeks darkness of floorboard cracks:
the recesses swell.

Winter desert sun
ferments the honeyed sand dunes:
Sahara made sweet.

From the portico,
the jingle of crockery
to canteen carols.

The husband dresses
as Santa – yet a lover
unwraps the wife’s dress.

There’s nowhere to veil
the thoughts of the mouth inside
a room full of eyes.

His fingers like teeth
tear at her dress – the fabric
shivers down her back.

Hunger takes the shape
of a woman’s clavicle,
how its marrow sighs.

On one side, bagpipes
span the window – her fingers
fan out the other.

The hall fills with noise,
while the alcove is all shushed-
up exhalations.

What wind has carried
them to this moment of throats
and tongues and grey light?

Between them they’ve opened
a secret room filled with storms
and locked themselves in.




Elisabeth’s pamphlet, Glass, was winner of the Paper Swans inaugural pamphlet competition. It went on to be a Poetry Society Young Poets’ Network Summer 2016 ‘pick’. She has won prizes in numerous poetry competitions, including Café Writers. Sightings is her first full collection. www.elisabethsennittclough.co.uk

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