Lockdown walk No. 6: Colour of erly spring by Colleen Keating

 

Lockdown walk No. 6 Colour of early Spring

a wattle way
harbinger of spring

we take the track
to a chatter of lorikeets

they dangle like monkeys
from golden banksia

spring is coming
steeling through the twigs

silently seeping
through the sap

budding vernal green
once seen it is everywhere

 

lilac waraburra is showy
it vines over the scrub

purple trails up the trees
no wonder it is often called
happy wanderer

white star flowers sometimes
called ‘tread-softly maybe because
of its spiky leaves

and the pink wax flower
just budding open
sprinkled through the bush
fuchsias delicate little trumpets
stand out

bright red comes
with the dusky coral pea
hard to see at first
and then it turned up hiding quietly
in the brambles in the scrub

And the wattles three we found today

Galahs were busy too
one on a branch as decoy
and this gorgeous one
in a hollow of the old  tree

Finally at the lookout Crackneck
we watched an eagle play


on the air currents
and then down the less worn track
back to the car

Lockdown Walk No.5 –Rising Moon beach walk by Colleen Keating

 

 

Rising moon beach walk 

the sun was dropping west
we stood on the beach
with wide expanse
Pacific Ocean vista
a luminous space
held us hypnotically
in the darkening eastern sky

 

It was beauty
that peeped over the arch
and slowly like an unfolding flower
it was the moon that rose
out of the sea
caught in a red glow
spreading a warm fiery path
‘stairway to heaven’ they call it
in Broome

 

Michael and I felt so elated
alone on the winter beach
except for one solitary pelican
and the vista just kept giving

the moon bestirred the world
steady  silent  self-assured
swelling our hearts with its light
stronger and stronger
against the dark of night

it was gift
wrapped in light
colour and beauty. No words just us
bursting with joy

this was a moment to reset my world
my days are measured by the moon
its wax and wane my calendar.

Haiku

winter beach
a full strawberry moon
sweetens each rock pool

 

Lockdown Walk No 4 – A track less worn by Colleen Keating

 

A track less worn

on Wyrrabalong country
where the forest meets the sea
the hidden way winds along the headland
its overgrown track thick with the Banksia‘s
scrawly shapes like an old fashioned world
of funny creatures
Old man Banksia stares down
like they do in May Gibbs
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie to scare children

in this old xerlerphyll remnant of forest
grass trees too with their thick
green grug-like head of hair
are our guard of honour
they sway around us as we file
singularly through this other worldly place.

wattles and a few winter wildflowers
catch our attention
eucalypts  spotted gums  scribbles
river red gums and underfoot
leaf litter absorbs our steps
as if we are not  really there

and the ocean
with its shots of blue
like projected slides
each a new view through the trees
plays a gentle call in the background
like a beloved whisper
–breathe me  . . .my healing air is yours

its glide  roll  lap of silence
a breathed rhythm of in and out
the space between breaths
the tension between life and death

and twice we clamber out
to a headland lookout
and watch the waves below

the only other sound
wrens butcher birds
distant magpies and
the eratic scratch of brush turkeys

I felt a lightness of being
walking this quiet way
the air fresh
aromas of salty sea, eucalypt
acacia and a woody balm

They say to argue on the side
of happiness
and even though back in reality the news
is full of fragmentation and distress
here for this time is beauty
to feed the soul
and I eat and drink every piece of nature
on the menu.

Time to be slow – John O’Donohue

 

 

Time to be slow

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.

John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher

Excerpt from his books, To Bless the Space Between Us (US) / Benedictus (Europe)

https://johnodonohue.com/

Photo: Fanore, Co. Clare / Ireland – 2019 © Ann Cahill

Lockdown Walk No.1 by Colleen Keating

walking in lockdown

there is no ordinary thing
the wind’s song in the she oaks drip of gold
on a pelican’s wing the whip-bird tease
the silver meddle of fish on the lake
encounters with magpie and wren, turtle and swan
ancient rocks and shift of tide
this is the joy of discovery

with snake-like neck the cormorant dives
the ibis clings awkwardly
to a branch on the Norfolk
the grey heron feeds in the light
under the brood of hills and
stillness of lake.

here is good energy to live by
each scene is startling
and poetry
to meet with hands open wide

knowing when we look
there are surprises –
other things to come
the heron’s pickax-beak wakes the stillness
wobbling the boats tied by the boatshed
the ibis lands down on the overflowing bin
and just when we are caught
in the moment
a reminder nothing is permanent

the cormorant surfaces to float idley
the grey heron cranks up
and flies into the sun
and we are left with the longing
for more of the extraordinary
or what now do we hold in our open hands?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating winter light by Colleen Keating

 

 

It was the week before the Winter school break. We decided to come for a few days up the coast before the holiday. We believe the best kept secret is the Winter Beach.
And the past few days are the proof of that . . .
Rugged up and out walking we have enjoyed the soft landing of light on the lake, on the waves, on the birds’ wings, at dawn and at dusk .
The icing for us on our break is the waxing moon and the climax last night of the full moon, called the Strawberry Moon. We walked along the beach by the cold June sea to wait and watch for its appearance like one waits for a much anticipated celebrity. And she did not disappoint. In rich strawberry and cream she rose trailing clouds of salmon-pink, hints of saffron.

 

And Arvo Pärt seem to be with us as a Spiegle im Spiegle music played in colour and sound along the beach the moon with its golden path shimmering along the ocean dappled and rippled at the edge as the incoming tide gave the sand a mirror effect. Yes many have grappled with this celebration of light, One of my favourite artists JMW Turner is such a one with his paintings that burst with light.

Besides us on the beach was a fisherman,  four giggley girls one who told me she had already taken 200 photos, a few photographers up higher , a few seagull feeding from wet sand and a lone pelican, Michael and me.

 

Strawberry moon
a pelican and us two
drink-in the pink pool 

 

across the ocean
winter moon
unites us

our local aurora
light runs across the sky
and into my memory

How can I show we were immersed in a painting. Yes it could be a Turner?

Michael has just read a poem by Jack Cooper who calls himself an ‘observational free verse poet inspired by existence’ and this experience is a celebration for a poet.
as Mary Oliver writes about the take off of a swan across the sky,

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

 

 

Winter Solstice and haiku by Colleen Keating

Monday marks the Winter Solstice.

Leading off, here is a haiku by the 17th Century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho.

Like many haikus, it is deceptively simple: each line enacted by the next.

Winter solitude
in a world of one colour
the sound of wind.

 

What is the Winter Solstice?

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated for centuries and is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It’s a time that is known for the sun to stand still before moving forwards to the slow progression of longer days. It has carried strong symbolism and some people refer to it as a rebirth of the sun. Occurring sometime between June 21- 22 June ( December 20 – 22 in the Northern Hemisphere).

It’s a time to honour the darkness and celebrate the light. It’s the perfect time for self reflection, putting yourself on pause and going within to connect to your own darkness and let go. I’m in the process of doing just that. Taking the time out that I need to re-group and letting go of thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve me.

The Winter Solstice doesn’t have to be a dark or somber reflective experience—it can be joyful and lighthearted. Winter festivals, fire and light and social gatherings are all part of it too. Celebrate the birth or return of the light

Here are two winter solstice haiku written by one of the haiku masters

snowflakes flitting down
a winter solstice<
celebration

Issa– translated by David G. Lanoue

 

winter solstice in Japan
plum trees
in bloom!

Issa – translated by David G. Lanoue

 

 

Some of my  own thoughts: 

winter stroll 

a celebration dance

willy wag tail         col

 

 

winter stroll 

a canteen of spoonbills

filtering the mud         col

 

winter blues

only a heron and i 

drink in the light     col

ocean squall

a hawk soars 

in a cold up-draught   col

 

winter solstice 

my grand-daughter rides her bike 

without training wheels   col

 

winter solstice 

shadow of light turns

 on the nearby hill     col

 

the year’s shortest day

the sun breaks the horizon

anew    col

winter beach

winds abrasive dance 

keeps it lonely      col

 

 

winter lake

a cormorant hangs his wings 

out on the wind    col

wind chilled air 

cormorants sit brooding 

on every post    col

 

just another day

three pelicans wait for

return of fishing boats  col

 

winter solstice 

apples crisp for picking 

in the nearby hills          col

winter warmth

minestrone soup served with 

home-made bread    col

 

winter drive 

to pick apples

childhood memory             col

 

 

 

 

 

winter trees

birdwatching

made weasy     col

 

 

 

family gathering

with food laden table

her last meal            col

 

Windfall: Australian Haiku Issue 9 Review by Simon Hanson

A great review of Windfall Issue 9 and I feel very excited to get a mention in the review and feel proud to be mentioed with such good haikuists.

Windfall: Australian Haiku Issue 9, 2021 – Review

Review by Simon Hanson

How fortunate we are  to have a journal like Windfall: Australian Haiku, showcasing as it does, the best of Australian haiku— bringing together familiar and new voices (and the new voices are exciting). This issue, like those before it celebrates many and varied aspects of Australian life in its country, coastal, urban and domestic settings accompanied by a host of perceptive observations around season, landform, flora and fauna and the lives of people.

we slow our stroll
to another time
outback town

Glenys Ferguson

perching magpie
the blackened stump
seamed with ash

Gavin Austin

 

In reviewing any journal or anthology one is invariably faced with the task of singling out particular poems for mention. There is some discomfort in doing this, made all the more acute in this instance given the quality of the entire collection. Let it be said that one could happily include any of the haiku presented in this issue as worthy of mention here. The inclusions I make here are a means of indicating something of the range of subject and style to be found in the whole issue— and a wonderful issue it is. The real task of selection has of course been done by its editor, Beverley George, choosing and sequencing 63 haiku from some 560 submitted poems, the size of the journal inevitably limiting the number of acceptances to the most outstanding haiku from the many received. We may be assured that the entire process of editing is heartfelt and undertaken with much thought and feeling over many, many weeks— as has been the case with each issue over the past nine years— what a contribution to our haiku community.

colour splashed
on a grey day canvas . . .
rainbow lorikeets

Gwen Bitti

 

warm breeze from south west
the main and jib on hard
beating to the mark

Brian English

An editor does far more than select and organise work for any given issue.  The challenge and value of quality editing is not only to give the published poets a recognised voice but to produce a publication which offers reader enjoyment and a large measure of inspiration for further creativity. Come June and July each year many of us turn our minds to Windfall: Australian Haiku, becoming perhaps a little more attuned than usual to the “…experience of urban and rural life in Australia…”. In revisiting past issues, we might gather amongst other things a sense of what might appeal, refreshed again by the creativities of others. Of course there is the occasion of ‘that moment’behind what we do in writing haiku, but I know also— there are many haiku that are written because of Windfall. Poets only partly own their creations, much of what we do is done with others in mind and always in the larger context of the broader culture of art and poetry, local and further afield, current and historical— and for this I am grateful.

autumn stroll,
on the cement footpath
a gum leaf’s imprint

Samantha Sirimanne Hyde

outdoor pot plants
a sunshower
from the watering can

Judith E. P. Johnson

There are haiku here that speak deeply to the heart, move us in their poignancy.

op shop –
all the teddy bears
sold out

Lyn Reeves

I watched that day
her last walk by the beach
. . . ebbing tide

Colleen Keating

Others of a lighter note add a touch of humour, yet we recognise them as authentic, set in familiar circumstances.

beach picnic
a dog races past with
a ball in its grin

Norma Watts

 

country show
the pink stickiness
of a child’s smile

Glenys Ferguson

There are those that speak of deep time and turn our minds to the spirituality of this land and the ancient cycle of seasons

red river gums –
guardians of stone stories
in dry hollows

Susan Grant

frog chorus
the rhythm of raindrops
on the pond

Maureen Sexton

And some that may leave one agasp for their sheer beauty

snowy eve
amid cloud tatter
cold stars gleam

Kent Robinson

 

wood duck
cracking ice puddles
pink dawn

J L Penn

Then there is this gem that in so few words, brings home once again the fleeting nature of things, the passing of time, as the years flash by, evermore quickly so it seems.

in a puddle
for this moment
fast train

John Low

Windfall: Australian Haiku is literally pocket or handbag sized. It couldn’t be easier to take on the bus or train, to the park or garden bench, or when visiting friends. In fact, to take anywhere. With a handsome cover created by Ron C.  Moss, the whole booklet beautifully designed and laid out by Matthew C. George and the whole enterprise so ably managed and published by Peter Macrow for his Blue Giraffe Press. And as a nice touch the inside back cover lists an annually updated list of recent Australian Haiku Titles.  Pocket sized yes, but huge on stature.

The next issue of Windfall will be the last— it will mark ten years as one of our premier haiku journals; an Australian treasure; something to celebrate…

Simon Hanson
Secretary, Australian Haiku Society

White Pebbles Haiku Group : Winter Ginko 2021

White Pebbles Haiku Group Winter 2021

 

 

At our Seasonal  –  Winter Meeting. The Edogawa Commemorative Gardens, East Gosford.

How lucky are we to have this beautiful Japanese gardens adjacent to the vibrant Gosford Regional Gallery. With its white pebbled garden, raked in swirls around feature rocks, it’s Monet style bridge, traditional Tea House, pergola and wonderful topiary of trees and shrubs and we  have a few hours each new season to walk in its peace and tranquillity and using the technique of REGARDE, REGARDE and of course listening and jotting down our observtions to share with the group. And especially a wonderful group convened bythe renowed and award winning haikuist,  Beverly George .

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

BEVERLEY WROTE :

At our winter meeting the seven members who attended were joined by two welcome guests, Carol Reynolds and Margaret Mahony. Another member, Samantha Hyde, although unable to be present, sent a completed worksheet well ahead of time and we were glad to include her valued poetry in our workshopping session.

As always we met at 10 a.m. for coffee and informal chat before heading off at precisely 10:30 on our ginko. The weather was cold but fine and the garden so delightful to view from the many aspects its winding pathway affords. A large Japanese maple stirring in the breeze drew the attention of every poet.

Ginko completed, we gathered at the round table in a downstairs room of the gallery premises, so glad to be in each other’s cheerful company. To start our meeting, we asked Margaret Mahony to read aloud a haiku which had appeared on Echidna Tracks that morning, which, accompanied by an apt photograph by Gavin Austin, fitted so well with the koi activity we had just seen in the pond fringed by white pebbles.

autumn deepens
a splash of orange
in the fishpond

Louise Hopewell
(Echidna Tracks, Issue 7)

Brief business of the day included announcing that the closing date of the 13th Yamadera Bashō Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest has been extended this year until August 31st. Six White Pebbles poets had work published in the 12th Contest Collection. (This remarkable Museum is one I visited with 12 Australian friends in 2010 and the curator, Noboru Oba-sensei is still in touch from time to time to remind Australian poets of the contest.)  We also shared recent news of work on Echidna Tracks and remembered that Windfall: Australian Haiku issue 10 (the final one) will be open for submissions in July. More news about Windfall will appear on the Australian Haiku Society web-site very soon.

Our worksheet for this meeting included a brief haibun and three haiku prompted by today’s ginko: The haiku topics were white pebbles or rocks; a seasonal haiku that doesn’t mention the word ‘winter’; something we are hearing. The request for each person to bring a favourite haiku by Bashō sparked enjoyable listening and a relevant discussion about the varying subtleties and differences of translations.

Time went by so fast and unfortunately by the time we thought about a group photograph two of our busy members, Marilyn Humbert and Verna Rieschild, had just left. However here are the rest of us, in a photograph kindly taken by Deb Robinson.

left to right: Kent Robinson, Maire Glacken, Gwen Bitti, Margaret Mahony, Carol Reynolds, Beverley George, Colleen Keating

Report by Beverley George
Convenor White Pebbles Haiku Group