Red Kelpie Haiku Group Meeting #11


On Sunday March 19th, four RKHG members met at the Visitors’ Centre of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens for our autumn meeting and to welcome Takanori Hayakawa, our newest Red Kelpie Haiku Group member. We all made our way to a shady spot not far from Nymphaea Lily Lake, close to where we held our December meeting. Now that it’s autumn, the waterlilies had ceased blooming but we noted bright little yellow flowers of some kind of water plant as we passed the lake. Purple cosmos at their full height were swaying in a soft morning breeze. The sky was a clear bright blue, without even a trace of cloud, as is typical of Melbourne’s autumns, but the temperature this year was notably higher than usual, reaching the mid-thirties.

The usual ginko part of our meetings was suspended because this time we aimed to complete a Junicho (12 verse) renku. Madhu had suggested the idea after our previous meeting, I’d agreed to take the role of sabaki (my first time!) and all had read some examples of the Junicho and preparatory material. Everyone was enthusiastic and a bit nervous (including me!) as it was a first live renku for us all and a first involvement in renku whatsoever for most.  I’d written the hokku beforehand and emailed it so that the group might get a head start in thinking about composing the wakiku (2nd verse). We settled in at our shady spot and it was go! Questions and clarifications continued throughout, though I noticed aha! lights going on after the first few verses and faces relaxing into smiles as the big penny dropped: renku is not some sort of haiku sequence!

As it turned out, four participants for all of the verses following the hokku was an ideal number. Each one offered verses for each position and we all collaborated in honing some of them. Offers for the ageku, the last verse, stayed open to submissions by email until Monday night. I was pleasantly astounded at how well we all did for a first renku!

All participants gave permission for the renku, which follows, to be included in this report. Any flaws that might be noted by experienced renku writers are down to me, as a beginner sabaki.

In Step — a Junicho Renku

a dragonfly
at each dazzle point –
Nymphaea Lake                                     —Lorin
………………                                                 (autumn)

glossy pomegranates
ripen in softer sun                                —Janet
…………….                                                   (autumn)

school children
eating lollies
with laughter                                          —Taka
………….                                                       (non-seasonal)

after the helicopter
loud bird calls                                          —Rodney
……………                                                      (non-seasonal)

how briefly
the bare oak
holds the moon                                     —Madhu
……………                                                    (winter moon)

always the night wind
drifting through dreams                     —Janet
………………                                                (non-seasonal)

the flutter
of my heart
when our hands touch                        —Madhu
…………….                                                  (non-seasonal, love)

a cat in love
returns home at dawn                        —Taka
……………….                                              (spring, love)

at the Spring Carnival
rich aromas
from the mounting yard                     —Rodney
…………..                                                      (spring)

everyone in step
with country music                               —Taka
…………………….                                        (non-seasonal)

on back roads
the roar
of a bikers’ run                                       —Janet
……………                                                    (non-seasonal)

wine and a nap
by the canna lilies                                  —Taka & Rodney
….  ………………..                                      (ageku, summer flower)

         * * *


Lorin Ford  (sabaki)
Takanori  Hayakawa
Janet Howie
Madhuri Pillai
Rodney Williams

* * * * *

Thanks to Taka for taking the initiative to ask passers-by to snap this photo of us:

RKHG March 2017

from left: Madhuri Pillai, Janet Howie, Rodney Williams, Takanori  Hayakawa, Lorin Ford


Red Kelpie March 2017 2

Renku in progress (photo by Taka)

* * * * *

I write this report as outgoing leader of the RKHG. I’m getting on in years and there are health issues which aren’t being resolved, so I’m stepping down and encouraging others to take on the role and responsibilities of group leader. I hope to continue as a member of the group with the new leader, who will have my full support in every way.

Until we confirm who the new leader will be, please continue to direct enquiries about the Red Kelpie Haiku Group to me via haikugourds at gmail dot com. Please enter ‘Red Kelpie Haiku Group’ in the email subject bar.

— Lorin Ford, Melbourne, March 2017

%d bloggers like this: