Cloudcatcher: Ginko No.48 (summer) Lennox Head

Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Cloudcatcher summer ginko is generally held the first week after school goes back. This year it also happened to be the first day of the ‘cool change’ and it rained. A hurried ring-around altered the meeting place from Lake Ainsworth to a picnic shelter in the town, with a short walk to the beach. The surf had been predicted as ‘hazardous’, and indeed looked really wild, with an offshore wind holding up the curves of the numerous white-topped milky-grey waves. However, through the drizzle we discerned half a dozen boardriders taking up the challenge, and rewarded with some glorious rides. A row of seagulls lined the fence, facing into the strong breeze to hold their feathers back, swallows flew up and down the steps to the beach, and a pelican chose the highest pole to keep an eye on it all.

Seven of us around the table read from the recent issue of Windfall, specifically the five haiku by Cloudcatchers included in it. We tried the new method of reading haiku as reported in HaikuOz by Jan Dodd (suggested by her American visitor Sheila Sondik): L1, then L1 & L2, then L1 & L2 & L3. However there was a consensus of opinion that this interfered with the placement of the keriji, and the two-part nature of a traditional haiku presentation, so we decided not to implement this procedure in the future.

Books and/or journals had been brought to lend (with an address sticker on each), but mostly to give away (no sticker). Poets had been requested to share haiku/senryu which had been written by them over the festive season: some were poignant, some humorous, and all were enjoyed.

Then it was time for the silence. This is always initiated for us by Nathalie Buckland who respectfully acknowledges the original custodians of the area and their continuing commitment to caring for Country, nurturing the land where we are treading. This concept also includes all who have treasured this land since, including recent settlers. Such a reminder is always moving, and sets us on our way.

Notes of observations were scribbled into first drafts around the table, and were then shared in turn, pausing only for short comments.  Poets were asked to note, as they read, any that they might wish to have workshopped. We were blessed to have our beloved founder and patron, John Bird, with us. He was his vibrant self once again, after shrugging off various maladies which have limited his activities over the past few years. His input was invaluable. For instance he suggested how Issa might have written one of these first drafts, and honed in expertly on minor alterations that made major differences.

We lunched together at ‘The Point’ in Lennox Head, and the subsequent email Round Robin is already under way. The next ginko (autumn) is planned for Thursday 10 May, at Meldrum Park in Ballina, on North Creek which empties into the Richmond River. It is gazetted to be low tide, and we have our fingers crossed that we may once again experience sharing the tidal flats with a host of blue soldier crabs.

cloudcatchers 2018
L to R: Jocelyn Day, John Bird, Angela Smith, Quendryth Young, Richard Rowland, Vivien Royston, Nathalie Buckland