The Window That Closes

British haiku writer Graham High's "The Window That Closes" - cover photo2012 TLP Haiku Chapbook Competition Winner

By Graham High


It is never easy to write about the death of next-of-kin but this top British haiku writer manages to retain the distance and discipline necessary to do so in an unsentimental way. Indeed, High helps us to reaffirm life through this poignant collection of poems. In this haiku sequence, High masterfully etches the last months that he spent together with his mother.

The current president of the British Haiku Society, High has been active in the British haiku scene for many years. He has published eight haiku collections and served as editor of Blithe Spirit, the British Haiku Society journal, for three years. Actually, he came to haiku quite late in life after having been a mainstream poet for 20 years. As a poet, he is quite immediate and uses imagist strategies in all of his work.

A painter and sculptor, High was elected as an associate member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1994 and has received many public commissions for his artwork. Alongside this activity, he has worked for 25 years as an Animatronic Model Designer in the Feature Film Industry. He has contributed to approximately 35 mainstream films, including Aliens, The English Patient, Babe, Labyrinth, The Flintstones, 101 Dalmatians and the Harry Potter series.

He is married to Frances and shares his time in the UK between his two homes, one in southeast London and another on the sea coast of north Norfolk.

Perfect binding. 27 pp, 5.25 x 8 in.


“A powerful evocation of the final few weeks in the life of the author’s mother.”   David Bingham, Editor, Blithe Spirit

“This is a haijin‘s response to death, both touching and sober, yet always honest with himself, thoroughly worthy of haiku’s message: life! Klaus-Dieter Wirth, poet and linguist

“At once a poignant tribute to his mother and the chronicling of moments that feel universal, Graham High’s collection offers an intimate, unsentimental record of his mother’s last year of life. Through such seemingly ordinary details as petrol station flowers, an empty crisp bag, or a small circle of breath on window frost, we join in the quiet discovery of meaning in everyday events and observations…a finely crafted collection to savor slowly.  Susan Antolin, Editor, Acorn

“The sequence is a cycle of mounting grief and acceptance as affecting cumulatively as the film Iris.”  David Cobb, past President of the British Haiku Society

“High paints a profoundly moving portrait of saying goodbye to his mother. This haiku collection is a chance to remember and to celebrate love.”  Cherie Hunter Day, Associate Editor of The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku

Sample poems:

high hospital bed
my mother and I must cross
the rift of waiting

all sounds alarm her—
the tea trolley’s dull rumble,
distant church bells

her hands clasped
in the attitude of prayer
to release a moth

the cat on her lap—
an ear flicks forward every
time she turns a page

scrawl of winter trees
fills the window by her desk
the diary’s blank page

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