In Memoriam: Haiku Poet Martin Lucas 1962 – 2014

martin-lucas630A personal reflection on a friendship

Martin Lucas was a highly significant figure in English-language haiku for more than twenty five years, as a poet, essayist, critic and editor. He was awarded a PHD for his thesis Haiku in Britain and was the founder- editor of the haiku magazine Presence, now in its 49th issue.  He was also much loved as a personal friend to many and for his warm and supportive style as a friend of haiku for both beginners and seasoned writers alike.  Martin was a lover of nature, a keen birdwatcher and walker all of which provided him with a rich source of haiku.  Martin’s commitment to the development of haiku combined with an appreciation of haiku as nature poetry gave him a generous and compassionate world-view that was reflected in his editing.

All of this ran alongside a background anxiety condition that Martin did his best to manage for most of his adult life.  It does seem that this anxiety condition played a part in Martin’s disappearance from home on March 21st without money or phone, not to be seen again until his body was found on April 14th  on St Anne’s Beach near the mouth of the River Ribble, an area that he loved.

Martin’s funeral was held in Preston on May 2nd – a very sad and moving event that I was able to attend. I drove up the evening before so I could visit the beach where Martin’s body was found in the morning before the funeral.  I spent about an hour there and made a little shrine of seashells and incense before leaving to drive to Preston for the funeral.


on the beach
where his body was found
I gather seashells
each and every find
a deeper loss

From the many tributes that I have read, we have the legacy of Martin’s poems and writings and of course, many fond memories of his friendship, we are still left with the void of his absence from our lives – a tragic loss that is beyond words for his family, friends and for English-language haiku to which he contributed so much.

Brian Tasker
Stroud, April 2014, updated on May 2nd.

You can find a selection of Martin’s haiku and an article Haiku as Poetic Spell on the Haiku Presence website:  Martin’s tanka below was taken from the tanka anthology published by the Red Moon Press.

on Ascension Day
looking to the sky
spin on the wind
rain falls

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