Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Voices write in Centennial Park

In March I taught a workshop to the New Voices writing group, who meet in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Following our heatwaves of summer, we’d had dumpings of rain. I took them for a ginko into Centennial Park, from the Bondi Junction end. Here are our best efforts, with my echo to one of the haikus in each person’s work. 

pressing my nose
to the tree’s trunk -
Maori greeting


after the rain
blotched lichen on tree trunks
glows, grows.

this bare stick
plaything of dogs
once a flourishing branch


yes, always weeds,
happy about the rain -
I also


A cascade of branches
kissing the earth.
Not bending, connecting


it emerges
from under tree-skirts
perky white terrier


Centennial Park has multiple uses, and users. I love seeing the dogs so happy, free to bound around in a big space, with so many different smells.

burnt branch
shape of an iguana
car revs its nonchalance


like thunder
but more determined
an aircraft coming in


...and yes, it is a city park.

Poised trembling
Momentarily sun-kissed
A dewdrop waits

Bronze fronds
Spirally wrapped
Uncoil in grace

big juicy lillipilli
he picks them
she eats them


Haydn fortunately knew that it was okay to eat these fruit, which looked like they were dressed for the gym in bright pink lycra.  It brought back childhood memories of what we used to nibble on - we called them “monkey apples” in New Zealand.

Vertical gash
on spotted gum
red sap healing

Through spider’s web
moss encases
rough black trunk


the insects
have come out to play
a break in the rain

 I wanted to convey to this group that you can write from “don’t know mind” where things present themselves in a bare way.

ash colored curlicue prints
head of leaves
the blue gum is.


Yes, essentially  things just are. “Don’t know” does not mean that you don’t know that it is a blue gum.  Rosalie has captured this sense. Be it human greed or belligerence – that too, just is.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Talk "Haiku in the Tarkine" at Bluegum Sangha, Sydney

Pieman River at Corinna

I'm giving a talk entitled "Haiku in the Tarkine" to the Bluegum Sangha on Tuesday April 18th. They meet at 7pm, at 2 Young St, Neutral Bay. This is an Iyengar Yoga studio. We meditate for about 40 minutes at first, starting I think at 7:20 pm. I will have come straight back from the Frankland River & Tarkine in Motion, so I look forward to telling the gathering about it all.

These photos are of the Pieman River at Corinna, and the lookout near Waratah. Everyone is welcome.

Old growth

Tarkine from lookout near Waratah

clear afternoon -
the smoke of old growth burning
has blown away
Forests are the lungs of the planet. We need them more than ever - the Tarkine is the largest cool temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere. The Bob Brown Foundation is raising money through Pozible, and we need to raise about $17,000 in the next 2 days, or else all the $ raised so far will be relinquished. 
While I've been in Waratah, there's been a haze from the burning of the old growth, which is bulldozed to make way for the Nitins, a hybrid eucalypt from Victoria and plantation tree. This tree does major damage: it sucks up water 20 times faster than the native trees it replaces, thus lowering the water table. It is equipped with natural insecticides which wash into the soil when it rains.
Donate if you can, to: for Tarkine in Motion
Should the Tarkine transform to this?  on the road to Rosebery

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

WEA in February - next course May

Gay's drawing of me

The WEA students soaked up the spaciousness of the Botanic Gardens in the middle of Sydney, on their ginko. We’d had several heatwaves, at last some cool weather!
Gawaine Powell Davies wrote this:

Splashed paint
On those leaves

We wandered towards the bamboo groves near the pond.

kisses under
the bamboo?
JAC loves MEL


I liked Gay’s approach, which was to respond to the gardens with drawings. In the spirit of first impressions (impressionism?) I wrote a very minimalist

pink on blue
on green on
sunlighted bamboo

I think this suffers from what some people don’t like about haiku: it is a bit thin. 
 But haiku can be a way of bringing you into the present. Gawaine wrote:

Just now, the birds were singing,
And I was here,
Writing this.

And Jan said, when we’d finished, “Wow! I haven’t felt this peaceful for a long time.”

My senryu:

commentary train
an English accent talks of

Well, this is the modern world! We are from everywhere, and a Botanic gardens contains plants from everywhere.
Final words from Trisha, on the study part of the course. We had read a Santoka haiku. She said, “It’s so beautiful it touches me inside – how can I explain how it makes me feel?”
And about the gardens, she said, “This is a magical place”.

Look at that!
I want to say –
divine lotus flowers


My next course with the WEA starts on Monday May 1st. It will again be a 5-week course, 9:30 am to 11:30 am. See the WEA website for details.

the ibis chick
shrieks about starvation
Mum honks back