Friday, October 2, 2009

Haiku from Spring students

The Blackheath haijin (haiku poets) had a beautiful spring day on September 19, to inspire

their writing.By happenstance we had to work at first in the park next to the centre, but

it was quite inspiring to sit near trees in blossom They were an exotic species -could I

say 'cherry blossom-ish'?Other people enjoyed them too.

Make it snow
- On us, Dad -
Make it snow!
Under cherry trees

Cathie Tanaka (CT)

We walked down through the park past the swimming pool, "where nature meets culture",
getting to know each other.

Willows budding
players budding
the football soars


Past the duck pond, indigenous and exotic species all enjoying it....

Yes, it's more fun
To swim
On a sun warm pond
Ducks tell me


Did Minnie write this here or further on? Not sure:

chattering hikers
the silence

Minnie Biggs (MB)

A senryu perhaps. But funny!

We walked down into the quiet of the track...

fiddleheads reach for the light
wait for
the violinist


Tiny fern
Two new fronds
Gaze like lovers


I was struck by the difference between being in a landscape like the parklands where
everything is known and seen, and being in the bush under a canopy.

A delicate scent -
unseen well
of nectar


Fingers of sun
reach fledgling ferns
currawongs hold their breath.

Leith Clayton-Brandt (LC-B)

..and to the stream showing us 'karumi', lightness.

A petal in water travels

From rock to rock.

Harumi Hayakawa

This was Harumi's first haiku in English.

Leith sent this in, after the day of dust.

The sun a red coin
soil tumbling filming my hands
the dust storm raging.

Thank you everyone for your beautiful work.

Friday, May 22, 2009

winter haiku hiking in Blackheath

At the moment in the mountains, it is hard to tell from day to day which season it is. It was very cold in April, then it warmed up again . In my garden, the young peach tree and the pouton seem to think it is spring, with blossoms and buds. There is a vibrancy to the turning leaves this year, brilliant oranges and reds as they relinquish their grip. I wrote this a couple of days before the haiku day, in Blackheath.

Blow me uphill
like those autumn leaves
But it was most definitely winter last Saturday, when the haikunis met at BANC.

Ginger spiced leaves
Scudding grey clouds

Winter nips autumn’s skirts
Cassy Hodge

They bravely donned layers of warm clothing and stepped forth into a strong wind and a grey spit-threat sky.

Haiku day
a sea of beanies

... observing
Peter Berbee

The piles of leaves in Blackheath’s streets were banked up against walls and gutters - quite nice, but lets get down into the gully and out of the wind.

Lungs gorged –sweet, cool air
Birds beckoning,
“Who goes there?”
Cassy Hodge

We had a long warming walk. How many things there are to write about and take pleasure in, even on such a day. It is remarkable how simply paying attention can produce poems like these in a few hours.

Dank rainforest litter
Mushroom skulking -


Cassy Hodge

Some of these haikus are a first draft, which is the way Shiki wrote his. My one below is word for word the way I wrote it in my notebook.

In old age
an act most powerful –

tree across the path


wind in the trees
the rushing mountain stream
which sound is which ?

Glenys Jackson

Most have been re-drafted, which is generally the way that Basho worked.

birdsong in the wind
behind the tree
a waterfall

Matthew Johns

Diana, 23rd May 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I have just returned from a 3 day hike in the Wild Dogs with my daughter Ruby and her friend Adrian. This walk is part of my book "Into the Blue: Walking Gundungurra country". We were walking in wet weather, not ideal -

Large satisfied leech
hauls itself away
from Adrian's socks

- but how else could we take ourselves to Splendour Rock?

Between us
and the walls of Kanangra

Don't forget that a haiku day is coming up at Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre, in mid-May. See my post below for details.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


The most famous haiku in the world is by great master Basho, seventeenth century Japanese poet, and, in translation by RH Blyth,

The old pond:
a frog jumps in –
the sound of the water

How simple! and yet how full – no part of the poet’s attention was missing. It is a moment in nature , full and complete in itself. I too, want to cultivate a mind as unblemished as that of Basho. One way to do it is to go into nature, be fully present, and write down in haiku form, what I experience.

Basho took the hokku, the first verse of a renga sequence written by a group of poets, and made it into a stand- alone verse. His idea has been taken up in other languages and thrives today as a form of nature poetry. It should not be confused with senryu, which is a satirical take on human affairs.

Here are my best verses for 2006, in roughly seasonal order:


Midday heat –
walkers soak up
the sound of water

Painted fingernails
poking through the earth -
bright red fungi

They’re calling us
over and over
the hidden birds

The trees conferring
amongst themselves
around the spring

(on Gulaga, a mountain sacred to the Yuin people, South Coast)


Falling on
climate change protesters,
unusual rain