Haiku on Trains

Report by Myron Lysenko

On April 6th 2006, 36 haiku appeared on decals in Melbourne’s trains and they will ride the rails for the next four months. This exciting project was the brainchild of poet Leanne Hills, who approached Connex Trains about the idea in August last year. She recruited Haiku Oz members, Matt Hetherington and Myron Lysenko to help her with her proposal.

The selected haiku includes work by renowned haiku practitioners such as Carla Sari, Sue Stanford, Mary Hind and John West; established Melbourne poets such as Alicia Sometimes, Catherine Bateson, Ian McBryde and Phil Ilton; and introduces extremely young poets such as primary school students Taman Ulrich and Eva Kulessa-Spires. Melbourne’s omnipresent mayor John So is also represented with a haiku about Melbourne Square.

The project was sponsored by a number of Melbourne’s corporate sector and was co-ordinated by The Committee for Melbourne. If the project is deemed a success there will be more haiku on Melbourne’s trains in subsequent years.

Here are a couple of examples of the kinds of haiku selected.

bush cemetery –
a child’s grave
beneath an evergreen

Michael de Valle

everybody hurries
to catch the train
as if there were only one

Yvonne Parker