The Fringe Myrtles met on a glorious, sunny afternoon at the historic Fitzroy Gardens in the centre of Melbourne for a picnic and ginko. It was the first time we had been able to meet face-to-face in over 9 months. A pregnant pause, you might say.
In attendance were Robbie Cairns, Alice Wanderer, Louise Hopewell, Rick Gabb, Myron Lysenko, Liv Saint-James and Rob Scott. Apologies and poems were also sent from Marisa Fazio and Janet Howie, with other members unable to attend due to Covid symptoms and international travel. There was plenty of food to share, including Myron’s Ukrainian Mushroom Crepes which were especially delicious and poignant.
The meeting got off on a sombre note, with Rick sharing his memories of talented Melbourne poet, Jordie Albiston, who recently passed. Jordie became something of a mentor to Rick, helping him produce two books of poems, which he very kindly shared with the group.
While we were enjoying the picnic, I shared one of my all-time favourite haiku treasures – an illustrated book of haiku, called, Bug Haiku (1968) by renowned American poet, James Hackett. I stumbled across it at a second-hand book stall at the South Melbourne Market about a decade ago. Hackett, a ‘disciple’ of R.H. Blyth and a product of his time, wrote exclusively 5-7-5 haiku. After some discussion of the book, the group agreed to try to write at least one 5-7-5 haiku during the ginko, just for the ‘experience’.
We then set off on the ginko, taking in the beautiful surrounds, gathering about 45 minutes later to share our haiku. We are lucky to have such beautiful city parks in Melbourne. They are an oasis against a backdrop of miles of concrete and urban sprawl, landscaped with gardens, ponds and open spaces which offer a variety of aesthetics. Green spaces can literally cool down a city, give it a chance to breathe. It was a warm day, and just walking around provided one with a sense of resilience. Resilience against the harshness of the surrounding metropolis and the broader world. Life is full of challenges at the moment. We need parks (and haiku) like never before.
the grey skyscraper
such an unwanted sentry
dumb struck by gardens
park baby shower
stepping over the remains
of a popped balloon
in the public gardens
please stop Putin