Presentation to John Bird
Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head NSW
Thursday 5 May 2016
This was no ordinary ginko. Earlier in the year the committee of the Australian Haiku Society, with Vanessa Proctor as president, resolved to honour John Bird with recognition of the invaluable role he has played, not only in the formation of the society, but for his initiative and application in developing and promoting Australian haiku. The AHS requested the presentation be made at the autumn ginko of the Cloudcatchers, on the Far North Coast of NSW.
This is where John lives, where he was first drawn to the genre and to an early association with Janice Bostok, (the acknowleged pioneering haiku poet in Australia), where they together edited the first and subsequent editions of the Australian Haiku Anthology. This is where, over ten years ago, John drew together haiku poets in the area to form the Cloudcatchers group, of which he remains the patron. All members owe a great deal to John for his input into their sensitivity, their craftsmanship and into their lives.
On this day, seated at the head of a picnic table, by the lake, John was stunned, and then delighted, to receive a letter from Vanessa Proctor, on behalf of the AHS committee, informing him of the award. Quendryth Young, the coordinator of Cloudcatchers, was honoured to present him with the framed certificate, which read, ‘Honorary Award, presented by the Australian Haiku Society, to John Bird, in recognition of his vital role in the development of Australian Haiku’. An outstanding piece of artwork created by Ron Moss, which features one of John’s haiku, handsomely framed, was also presented. Members of Cloudcatchers gave John written expressions of what his mentorship and friendship have meant to each one.
The ginko proceeded in its usual fashion on the shores of Lake Ainsworth, where, on our previous visit here, John had informed us of the sacred nature of this historic site, and of the Jali people of the Bunjalung nation who had trodden this ground before us. After the silence we gathered to write, and then to share, our images and insights of the day. Lunch followed at a Japanese restaurant, where John cut and shared a cake that was iced to echo Ron Moss’s artistic re-creation of John’s haiku.