The Milecastle Haiku (Week 1)

The idea for a milecastle haiku (just one, initially) came in 2011, whilst walking the Wall from west to east with a group from Andante Travels. I make it a regular treat to stop off at Vallum Farm ice cream parlour and, in conversation, for some reason the subject of writing a haiku about it came up as we reached Matfen Piers, the site of Milecastle 19. I set to seeing if I could do it and, by the time we had reached the location of Milecastle 18 (at Vallum Farm), I was amazed to find I had made a passable stab at it. Later, as I was deciding how to follow on from my initial tweeting and blogging of a west to east Wall walk, one of the many ideas I came up with was writing haiku for each of the milecastles, this time going east to west. I am no poet (prose is my weapon of choice) but the idea intrigued me enough to lodge firmly in one of the less dusty corners of my brain. Each, I felt, should hint at the account already blogged, but each would also tie in with a further project I am currently working on which, when put together, will produce something rather special. The blog will be posted in a sort of omnibus edition once a week, containing the past seven haiku and at the end of it all will conclude with a competition, so pay careful attention. The prize is undecided as yet, but you will be relieved to know it will probably not be a book of my awful haiku!

Milecastle 0

Milecastle 0 Mystery Zero.
Autumnal mist shrouds the Tyne’s
Paddling milecastle.

Milecastle 1

Milecastle 1Stott’s Pow‘s easterly
Wind scours across deserted
Frontier soccer pitch.

Milecastle 2

Milecastle 2Walker was moved from
A pub to a greyhound track.
Empty road. Snow soon.

Milecastle 3

Milecastle 3We glimpse a priest here.
Sketched in haste, hazy Ouseburn
Above its valley.

Milecastle 4

Milecastle 4Found by a potter,
Westgate Road (not where it should
Be) hides artfully.

Milecastle 5

Milecastle 5Quarry House, Big Lamp:
A junction above a hill;
Leafless bikers’ grove.

Milecastle 6

Milecastle 6Old windmill long gone,
Benwell Grove, concealed by shops,
Neither found nor glimpsed.

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