Sunday the 2nd of June in Melbourne was a cold day with rain predicted. Victoria had snow in the hills and mountains in the previous week. It was officially he second day of winter and it certainly felt like winter to me, as I’d been holed up in my draughty house with the cat and noticed how short the days had become. It’s Bashō’s “autumn deepens” haiku, though, that’s been coming to my mind:
秋深き 隣は何を する人ぞ
aki fukaki tonari wa nani o suru hito zo
Autumn deepening –
how does he live, I wonder?
(translator: Haruo Shirane)
Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group #20”
On Sunday 10th March a pall of dense smoke haze hung over Melbourne for the second day. As I walked past the Cenotaph, on my way to our rendezvous in the Botanic Gardens, the Eternal Flame rose high in the seemingly breezeless air, bringing to mind the recent bushfires in Gippsland. Not only our bushfires came to mind, though: that wavering film of heated air surrounding the Flame triggered the instantaneous return of a particular translation of a haiku by Bashō I’d been thinking about a few weeks ago:
Almost as high
As the crumbled statue,
The heated air shimmering
From the stone foundation.
— Matsuo Bashō, from The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches (trans. Nobuyuki Yuasa, 1966).
Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group #19”
Having woken the cat and I with a huge sonic boom, the thunderstorm climaxed and passed in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, 2nd December, the date of the RKHG’s summer meeting. Although it was a cool morning with a forecast of “possible showers”, we were in luck: no rain. Five members of the RKHG met at the Botanic Gardens and apologies were received from Robyn Cairns, Robbie Coburn and Marisa Fazio. Many plants were in flower, including the small yard of Flanders Poppies near the Shrine of Remembrance, the Southern Magnolia with its huge blossoms and the lovely, old-fashioned hydrangeas. The air was fresh after the night’s rain and we saw, unusually, a single shearwater (mutton bird) dozing in the sun. It had probably sought refuge there from the night’s storm.
Our topic for the day, led by Takanori Hayakawa (Taka) was both challenging and interesting: ‘Kigo in Kyoto and Melbourne’. We were privileged to be guided through kigo culture “from the horse’s mouth”, so to speak. Continue reading “Red Kelpie Haiku Group #18”
We’d been excitedly looking forward to our meeting with Canadian haiku poet Terry Ann Carter but we’d also been anxiously watching the weather in the week leading up to our meeting: the possibility of thunderstorms and hail were on the menu. As it turned out, we were lucky. Melbourne gave us a milder version of its traditional “four seasons in one day”, cold winds and scattered showers, with the sun breaking through now and then. Everyone was in bright spirits. As a bonus, guests Ron Moss from Tasmania and Melbourne poet Robbie Coburn joined us for the day. Delightfully, Robbie Coburn will be joining us next time as our newest group member.
Continue reading “Red Kelpies Haiku Group # 17”