For those of us who might be experiencing a slump or fallow period in our haiku writing: we might take heart from a winter haiku by the all-time master:
kiku no ato daikon no hoka sara ni nashi
After the chrysanthemums,
Apart from radishes,
There is nothing.
Bashō, trans. Linda Inoki, The Japan Times, December 7, 2005
R.H. Blyth also has a translation of this haiku in his Haiku Vol. IV, Autumn – Winter (He substitutes ‘turnip’ for radish since his EL readers were unlikely to be familiar with the daikon. These days, we can find the long white Japanese radish in any supermarket.) Blyth comments:
“(Winter) is a kind of off-season for poetry by the calendar of haiku. (This haiku expresses) simply and spontaneously the poetical emptiness that Bashō feels”.
Perhaps Bashō’s haiku might inspire us to write haiku on not being inspired to write haiku?
On Sunday June 4th, five members of the Red Kelpie Haiku Group (Marisa Fazio, Lorin Ford, Janet Howie, Earl Livings and Madhuri Pillai) met at Federation Square for our winter get-together. The day was sunny but chilly so we held the meeting inside ‘Beer Deluxe’ and moved to a heated outdoor table when the room became too noisy. We each shared a couple of our own haiku which had been published over the past 12 months then moved on to the main business of the day, which was to resolve some issues related to the group’s continuation.
The outcome: I will continue as Convener, Janet, Madhu and I (and hopefully one more volunteer member) will form a collaborative team of core members so that the background tasks can be shared and the group will have a stronger and more stable foundation into the future. All RKHG members will be encouraged not just to suggest but to take their turns as leaders of a variety of haiku activities and discussions, with the full support of the core team. After three years, the RKHG has come of age.
This time, only Janet and I remained for the ginko part of the meeting. We roved through several exhibitions in the Ian Potter Gallery and concluded the day in a sunny spot by the river, watching cormorants.
Photos by Janet Howie
The Red Kelpie Haiku Group meetings for spring and summer 2017 are scheduled to be held on Sunday 10th September and Sunday 3rd December, respectively. We welcome guests and new members. Enquiries from haiku writers who might like to join our group or be invited along as guests, and who have at least three haiku published in edited, English-language haiku journals (print or online) 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, June 2017