Paperbark Autumn Ginko

Paperbark haiku held its Autumn ginko on the morning of April 1st 2022 near the War Memorial in Kings Park (Kaarta Koomba), a beautiful, serene area which Perth is so lucky to have in the centre of the city. The location overlooks the central business district and Perth Water which is formed by the Swan River flowing from the hills through the city to its entry to the sea in Fremantle. We are at the beginning of the season of Djeran (April-May) which sees a break in the really hot weather. A key indicator of the change is the cool nights that bring a dewy presence in the mornings. The winds also change with light breezes swinging from a southerly direction.

This morning the sky was overcast, threatening rain which never eventuated although the humidity made walking a little uncomfortable. Unfortunately, we had a disappointing number of participants for the ginko with only four people able to make it. Attending were: Coral Carter, Rose van Son, Candy Gordon, Barry Sanbrook, while Maureen Sexton, unable to attend, had a ginko in her garden and participated remotely. Apologies: Elizabeth Nicholls, Joanne Wakefield, Pauline Swift.

Prior to our walk we had a long discussion on four-line haiku. The basis for the subject was the translation by Nobuyuki Yuasa of Matsuo Basho’s travel sketches including ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’. Practically all of the haiku contained therein appear, when translated from the Japanese, as four-line poems. The question was posed: can four-line poems be considered haiku. In general, it was decided that a four-line poem is rarely a haiku but a perfectly valid form of poetry. We struggled with the anomaly that the poems by Basho, the master of haiku, when translated (in this version) as four-liners do not seem to have the same resonance. Obviously, the way they are translated has a huge bearing. We shall be sticking to conventional haiku forms, I think.

We all tried to write four-line haiku during the ginko and only a few contributions worked, but even then we decided they were beautiful short poems, not haiku.

Qantas flight
slow slow descent
above the river
finally brings my family home

at the war memorial
a small child runs
along the seating
from Gallipoli to Borneo

this nook of rest
silent upon the hill
remembers war
and those who now rest

Candy Gordon

the golden tips
of new growth gum leaves …
sun through clouds

drops of dry rain
as they land on the path –
autumn humidity

The garden looks tired
and as thirsty as I am
autumn sun

Maureen Sexton

grey skies
the memorial speaks
I remember

each plaque speaks of war

three cranes
above the city
boom town

Barry Sanbrook

nature’s remnants
memorial leaves

floral clock
time stopped
for maintenance

Rose van Son

no haiku
I take a photo instead

botanic gardens
I search for
trees of my childhood

am I in the shade
of a tree or a cloud?

Coral Carter


Report by Barry Sanbrook

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