Haiku @ The Oaks, Canberra

Tuesday 8 December 2020

What a celebratory time of friendship as we gathered for the final meet-up of the year! And what’s more, we were a full house: Glenys Ferguson, Kathy Kituai, Hazel Hall, Gregory Piko, Marietta McGregor and Jan Dobb.

As we settled beneath the trees to await our lunch orders, there was an explosion of thanks and good wishes. Out of bags appeared spontaneous little gifts and heartfelt cards which were delivered to-and-fro across a laughing table. Naturally, we found many a haiku tucked thoughtfully inside! When activity simmered down a little, we each read aloud the haiku we’d discovered, before clearing spaces for our lunch.

As conversation buzzed, Greg quietly smiled and produced a show-and-tell–a proof copy of breaking my journey his forthcoming haiku collection to be published by Red Moon Press in the new year. Surprise, surprise! Congratulations and questions flowed for some time. How encouraging, too, that despite the severe disruptions of Covid, haiku publication continues to flourish.

A further publication development also gave us pleasure. We congratulated Kathy on her interview with translator Meredith McKinney which, after appearing in Presence #67, is now featured as an archive on the Presence website. This, in turn, led on to considerable discussion about translation in general.

Next, we found that our earlier fascination with parallels is still alive and well. Greg circulated ‘Two Glassy Eyes’ his innovative take on the form, in which he’d combined two parallels flanked by two one-liners with a third in between. We were intrigued to interpret the poem in some multiple ways and are ever appreciative of the inspiration Greg offers us with his penchant for innovation and experiment.

As empty lunch plates were cleared, our conversation continued in a relaxed ‘end-of-year’ sort of way, all of us warmly grateful to each other for another year of stimulating and genuine haiku friendship. The second Tuesday is indeed a highlight of each month.

Jan Dobb