Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Best of 2011, a tad late

In case you're not sure of what a haiku is, I wrote  a post in March 2009, which explains how it developed, and what it is. It is 400 years since Matsuo Basho played around with a form of poetic game called 'renga', and made the first verse of the sequence into a fully fledged poem. I think that although the 'haiku' has been evolving for 400 years, and has migrated from Japan (like so many other good things), the key elements remain the same: nature, the seasons, a moment in time.

2011 was a year full of haiku events, like the ginko with Gary Gach. I’ve only just got around to compiling all the haiku I wrote. Here are the best ones, roughly in the order in which things happened.

Throwing up
into the New Year -
moon-drenched grass

Well, yes - that is how the year began - with a dose of food poisoning. Was the moon drenching the grass the way that farmers drench their sheep? The host of a party in NZ had a rather lackadaisical attitude to housekeeping. Makes you appreciate health, when you return to it, though.

In February 2011 NZ experienced  a massive earthquake. I wrote this next haiku for Christine Dann, who lives in Christchurch and writes a great blog called “The Eco Gardener”.

How would she tie
her tomatoes?
firm ground under my feet

Below is a senryu ( a satirical take on human affairs). I flew with my daughter straight into the maw of Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. They closed the airport in Townsville very shortly after we flew in ( everyone else was flying out). We survived the biggest cyclone Australia has ever seen by running away from it, and spent a great deal of time in the  caf├ęs of the ‘golden arches’ chain afterwards. In Townsville they were doing a roaring trade.

Completely silent
the old couple sit -
clattering Macca’s

This haiku speaks for itself  I hope... maybe it is also a senryu?

A glittering line
of headlights on the highway -
Easter traffic jam

I wrote this about the Hacking river, in its upper reaches.

A strong water-muscle
rippling whitely
over the weir

I went out to the southern Blue Mountains, the area around Yerranderie, with members of Guntawang.

Traces on the road
of an ancient river -
round smooth stones

And from this road, where we walked in the winter, we could see Lake Burragorang. I published a haiku from this walk already in a 2011 post on this blog, which was prompted by the remains of Bert Reiner’s old farm, the loose wire and fenceposts. It was windy - trees fell like matches in the mountains onto sheds and houses and power poles.
This post is beginning to seem like Despatches from Disasters !

The lake full
like a satisfied diner -
black ruffle of wind

Lake Burragorang is really the  Cox's river in the Burragorang valley, dammed at Warragamba, the water supply for Sydney, and the traditional lands of the Gundungurra ( ‘burra’ means kangaroo). The pristine Kowmung river, below,  runs into the Cox's river where it begins to fatten up into the dam.

Later in winter I was in the northwest of Tasmania, near the town of Wynyard.

Beret of cloud
over Table Cape -
coffee-coloured sea

The farmers had begun to work their soil in preparation for spring, and some of it washed into the Inglis river. This is Table Cape, below, on a balmy day...

I had a lot of work to do myself, in my garden, when I returned in early spring.

with a head-torch -
evening star looks o

My favourite scent in all the world is the Boronia floribunda, when it flowers in spring. I’ve been trying for years to write a haiku about this. Maybe this one is okay.

In a field
of sweet boronia
heavenly slow steps

In November I travelled north to the Dharma Gathering at Yarahappinni, which is on the coast.

Beyond the surfline
a wink of dolphin fin -
“you are me”

Home again, and more gardening...

Pulling weeds,
a rock opens its mouth -
frill-neck lizard!

And then we get into the really hot days, which the lizards love, but are a trial for mammals, especially those born in temperate places like NZ. If you live in Australia, no doubt you can relate to this haiku, given the summer we are experiencing. Sydney had the hottest day ever recorded last Friday 19th January - 45.6*C.

Stinking hot -
at a crowded swimming pool
we doze off