Pop Denison Park, Ballina
Thursday, 31 January 2019
When reading any haiku journal, either on-line or hard cover, you will probably find that over 50% use sight as the featured sense. And yet we have five senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. This phenomenon was explored at the summer ginko of the Cloudcatcher group on the Far North Coast of NSW, at Pop Denison Park on the banks of Shaw’s Bay at the estuary of the Richmond River, in Ballina.
Members had been reminded before the Christmas break to be particularly observant of the four senses (other than sight) over the festive season, and to prepare by recording haiku/senryu to present at the summer ginko. Four boxes were provided on the day to receive each of the four categories anonymously.
After the ‘meet-and-greet’, including general news of achievements and the sharing of books, the four boxes were passed around. Each poet selected one or two haiku from each group, recording her preferences, and these were read aloud in categories, in turn, receiving various degrees of appreciation from the group.
With this focus in place, and an acknowledgement of all who have trodden this ground before us, we set off on our forty-minute silence. It was a perfect summer day, with a gentle sea breeze (which proved handy for a couple of poets who used this saltiness to juxtapose with tasty cheese or chips). As school had resumed, the park was returned to little ones building sandcastles with their young parents, and a few old fellows taking a dip in the still waters. A littoral forest, adjacent to the parkland area, added an aural dimension, with its noisy insect background dominated by cicadas. The ragged banksias cones, she-oak branches and dried grasses featured in some ‘touch’ poems. One member even managed to come up with a haiku in each category. These were read around the table, and we had time to workshop a few of them before setting off for lunch at the Shaw’s Bay Hotel.