Fringe Myrtles Haiku Meeting, October 2022

With some fortunate timing given the disastrously wet weather surrounding us, the Fringe Myrtles managed to meet on a cloudy but bright Saturday noon at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. The venue has always been a favourite for the group and was suggested on this occasion (with some added excitement) by Marisa Fazio, as, according to experts, this was the time of year when our namesake, ‘the common fringe myrtle’ (Calytrix tetragona), was supposed to be blooming in the gardens. Our mission was set.

It has long been a source of amusement for our group that none of us could claim to have ever seen an actual fringe myrtle in bloom. Until today!

Meeting at the Tea House following late apologies from Robbie Cairns, Jen Sutherland and Liv Saint-James were Rob Scott, Louise Hopewell, Alice Wanderer, Takanori Hayakawa and, of course, Marisa Fazio. Both Marisa and Taka led the way on our search for the elusive plant with their digital maps of the gardens.

Our search quickly reminded our knees of the sloped terrain of the gardens, taking us up past Guilfoyle’s Volcano to the Eucalypt Lawn, where we prematurely celebrated the discovery of what turned out to be merely a shrub of some kind. With a trace of disappointment, but renewed determination, we set off on the path that took us past the gorgeous Fern Gully towards the Central Lawn, where, to shrieks of excitement, we came across our treasure! It was a truly exciting and unforgettable moment.

After forming a paparazzi circle around the humble shrub, we settled on the lawn overlooking the ornamental lake to compose some haiku about our ginko/treasure hunt.

past their best
we all take close ups
of fringe myrtles

Alice Wanderer

putting wings
on my words
fringe myrtles

Rob Scott

first spring rays
a frenzied mass
of fringe myrtles

Liv Saint-James

The moment we found the elusive Fringe Myrtle.

Calytrix tetragona – The Common Fringe Myrtle

Afterwards, we reflected on the recent Haiku Down Under Conference which most group members were able to attend via Zoom. The conference was excellent, raising many points of interest for writers. Our discussion focused mainly on a couple of themes, the idea of a regional saijiki and ‘rule breaking’ in haiku. The general mood of the meeting was buoyant, thanks in equal measure to the thrill of finally meeting up with our group ‘mascot’, but also thanks to the renewed feeling of camaraderie with a wider community of haiku poets engendered by the HDU conference. It is a community we always knew was there but which, like many things, we have probably taken for granted. It might be time to come out of our Covid-reinforced bubble.

– The Fringe Myrtles

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