June 15th, 2019
Unexpectedly, it was under bright blue skies that six of us gathered for our winter meeting.
Present were Colleen Keating, Marilyn Humbert, Maire Glacken, Samantha Sirimanne Hyde, Verna Rieschild and Beverley George. Apologies and kind thoughts were received from Kent Robinson, Gail Hennessy and Wendy Stringer, each of whom was unavoidably unable to attend on this occasion.
As usual we gathered informally at the café for coffee and brief chat, before we set off in silence at 10:30 for our ginko. Once again the Gosford /Edogawa Commemorative Gardens and Regional Gallery proved an apt and inspiring venue for exploring the Japanese genre of haiku written in English. Each member carries with them a worksheet with some pre-prepared material and prompts for writing new haiku in this lovely garden with its waterfall and ponds, tea hut and bridges and the pebble garden with large boulders to remind us of Ryōan-ji. Close observation and original ideas are sparked, with sound and scent playing their roles too.
Later, at the round table in the quiet studio room we are privileged to use, readings and ideas flowed from everyone present, together with some gentle workshopping suggestions.
At the close, we considered the new Reiwa Era of Japan, noting that Reiwa means that “culture can grow when people sincerely care about each other”.
We passed around some New Year postcards from Japan that combine painting, calligraphy and haiku and discussed how best we might individually explore and produce haiga ourselves.
Finally, we studied an admonishment from Bashō written in the poet’s own hand, which is a cultural property held and displayed by the Yamadera Bashō Memorial Museum in Yamagata, Japan. In this Kaishiki (rules for a Poetry Gathering) Bashō concludes “While refreshments such as simple meals and tea are acceptable, the gathering should not devolve into drunken revelry.” Soberly we moved off to our homes or to another coffee catch-up in the café.
White Pebbles Haiku Group.