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I like to think ahead to the New Year, so here’s a series of haiku

for you in the manner of a Medieval Book of Labours:

The Perpetual Calendar


In January

he drinks by the fire,

mulling things over.

II

An icy landscape:

he raises his sharp axe blade,

then floats logs downstream.

III

March is for digging

and setting seeds in the fields;

sowing what they’ll reap.

IV

A flowering branch

is borne in April:

fertility sign?

V

Hawking is fine sport,

though not as lively as love-

but the bird is faithful.

VI

Hats keep off the sun.

It is the month of mowing.

All flesh is as grass.

VII

Sickles cutting corn…

thick- fleeced sheep need to be shorn.

It’s hot wearing boots.

 

VIII

Threshing with a flail,

his mouth set in a grim line

of concentration.

IX

Now vintage is here.

Grape clusters are as large

as those in Canaan.

X

Birds snatch winter seed

as fast as he can sow it.

Is there no respite?

XI

Knocking down acorns

provides some variety

and will plump his pigs.

XII

Pig – sticking’s grim work:

a December catharsis-

feasting, then fasting.

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