Paperbark haiku: Last days of summer

Wednesday 12th February 2020

Such a pretty place – Guildford, WA is an important town in the Swan Valley with so much history. I was lucky to have grown up in the area and that makes a difference to how you see a place and its relevance to writing haiku because you know its background, its heritage, and its heritage become yours.

Guildford is one of the earliest towns settled in WA: 1829 when Governor James Stirling came down the Swan River, and the buildings, date up from there. I was keen to get to our meeting place and write haiku at the café with the other Paperbark haikuists. Unfortunately, it was not to be: the weather perhaps kept people away? A hot Perth summer had left us all a little bedraggled, but also so many of our group were away or unwell.

Nonetheless, I waited, took in the ambience, and watched as the café owner carefully watered pots past their prime. I wrote notes in my journal; wore a haiku hat on my mind. A keen photographer, I also took photos, because photographs have the capacity to heighten a place and enable you to see more clearly.


For me, clarity has always been the basis of haiku. I love the sculptured look of the lines; I love to write simply what is. So what did I see from my chair at the café as I waited?

empty chairs and table
glasses waiting
to fill

abandoned house
no bikes lean the fence
the keep off sign still there

buckets of old
today’s prices stifle
the breeze

roots out of water
flowers and weeds
thrive in the cracks

Rose van Son



Photographs and report by Rose van Son

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