Caucasian Haiku

A poem by Pete Hay

Published in ‘Silently on the Tide’ (2005)

In any village
Massacres in muddy fields.
Sorrow-ridden lands.

Tanks roll here, roll there.
Geopolitical tides.
Gentleness of boys.

Always ragged breath.
Always a footprint in moss.
Always a fraught song.

“Give me the music
Of the lost folk of Europe.”
Score the wind, wailing.

The sere autumn grass.
Secrets in walls, in steeped stone.
Mute and crawling light.

We are forgetting.
Sunken holes in the forest.
All that grows in blood.

Grievances tended.
Turnips in kitchen gardens.
Streets of boiled sausage.

Wolves, or rumours of.
You die young, or you should have.
The old fled children.


I had a small but not unimportant role in Richard Flanagan’s movie, ‘The Sound of One Hand Clapping’. I loved Cezary Skubiswewski’s proud and passionate soundtrack. I once asked Richard what instruction he gave composers who tendered for the movie’s score. His answer was ‘give me the music of the lost folk of Europe’. That striking remark inspired this haiku string.

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