Cyril Childs

cyrilaBorn in Invercargill in 1941, Cyril Childs died in Dunedin in 2012. He wrote haiku and related forms after living in Japan for 12 months in 1989/90. He was a past-president of the NZ Poetry Society, edited both of the NZ Haiku Anthologies published by the NZPS (1993,1998) and co-edited Listening to the Rain (Small White Teapot Group, Christchurch, 2002).

His own book, Beyond the Paper Lanterns – a journey with cancer, was published in 2000. That same year a copy was carried to the summit of Mt Fuji in Japan by American haiku poet Jerry Kilbride in a climb organised by the US Breast Cancer Fund. In a piece published in 2006 Cyril wrote: “Jerry read from the book to the climbers the night before their ascent and he carried it to the summit. After the climb Jerry had everyone write a message in the book and returned it to me. It will remain a precious thing to me and my family.”

Cyril judged three NZPS haiku competitions and was co-judge, with Jerry Kilbride, of the HSA’s Henderson Award in 2000.

After a career as a scientist, Cyril retired to Port Chalmers in a home overlooking Otago Harbour and also enjoyed spending time at his beloved bach (crib) in Riverton. A biography of his uncle’s wartime exploits absorbed most of his writing energy in later years. The book was under contract for publication at the time of his death. Read the tributes made at the time of his death.


mountain track
the marks of it
on his wedding ring


wind over water
so easily the cormorant
one to the other


better than ever
in my neighbour’s garden
my old roses


backyard cricket
Dad and I pick up
the kitchen window


midday shimmer
the elderly umpire
closes one eye


tea break
a sparrow at point fossicks
among the seed-heads


bouncing ball
beating the giggling boy
down the zig-zag


me
pulling
the weed
pulling
me


winter morning
the lame goose lagging a little
behind its gaggle


for tonight enough
the stars …
the black sky


Publication notes

mountain track: Kokako 4 (NZ) 2006

wind over water: Kokako 10, 2009

better than ever: Kokako 3 (modified) 2005

backyard cricket: Kokako 14, 2011; A Tingling Catch (Mark Pirie ed.) 2010

midday shimmer: Kokako 7, 2007

tea break: Poetry NZ 25, 2002; A Tingling Catch, 2010

bouncing ball: Kokako 14 (modified)

me: Kokako 2, 2005

winter morning: Presence 27 (UK)

for tonight enough: Kokako 13, 2010

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