It was one of those warm, bright Melbourne autumn days in the Botanic Gardens, a perfect day for our ginko . . . had we all been stone deaf.
Yes, it was Grand Prix day and the sounds of racing motors circled our green refuge, news choppers roared back and forth and in the breaks between car races, the air show boomed overhead.
Black swans basked on the lake with their heads under their wings for the duration! Wattle birds and swallows put on their own air shows and the clear notes of bellbirds rang out during the quieter intervals.
A long, snaking queue to the greenhouse slowly shuffled towards the current main exhibit: an Amorphophallus titanium or Corpse Flower, over 8 metres tall. Some of us did get a glimpse of this surreal flower, native to Sumatran jungles, which blooms once every 7 years.
Before wandering off on our separate ways for the silent ginko, we welcomed new Red Kelpie member Janet Howie, then we all read out and discussed haiku with Australian seasonal references which we’d found in journals, anthologies and individual collections.
It was noted that such haiku seemed relatively thin on the ground across these publications compared to those with nature references not specifically seasonal. (For our purposes, haiku that named the season outright weren’t counted.) We touched lightly on the difference between EL seasonal reference and ‘kigo’ in Japanese literary culture.
As usual, we will prepare ‘final’ versions of our draft haiku or write up haiku from notes taken on the day for email comment & critique from everyone in the group.
The Red Kelpie Haiku Group is currently: Lorin Ford, Jennifer Sutherland, Jayashree Maniyil, Robyn Cairns, Marisa Fazio, Rodney Williams and Janet Howie.
Enquiries from haiku writers who might like to join the group or be invited along as guests and who have at least three haiku published in edited, English-language haiku journals should be directed to Lorin Ford via haikugourds at gmail dot com, with ‘Red Kelpie Haiku Group’ in the email subject bar.
Lorin Ford, Melbourne, March 2015