Spring/Kambarang Ginko Tomato Lake

Wednesday 21st October 2020 

by Maureen Sexton

Tomato Lake

Seven haiku enthusiasts gathered on a lovely warm morning at Tomato Lake in Kewdale for a ginko and sharing of our observations and first draft haiku – Coral Carter, Sandie Thorne, Timothy Parkin, Rose van Son, Barry Sanbrook, Melissa Moffat, Maureen Sexton.

We’re very fortunate here to be able to gather in public without the fear of community spread of Covid19 – currently. We began by introducing ourselves, as we had a couple of new members, who were also new to haiku. Then we discussed what haiku meant to us. These included ‘a calm space’, ‘being observant’, ‘awareness’, ‘awe’ and ‘connection’. Apart from using our 5 senses, we decided to also be aware of how we were feeling and what emotions came up during the ginko, and why we might have made particular observations. 

Below the reviews of both events, is a selection of haiku and haibun from the participants and some of the emotions and feelings they were experiencing during that time. 

Tomato Lake Gazebo Photo by Rose van Son

Zoom Meeting

In the afternoon 8 participants met up over Zoom: Alan Summers (UK), Michael Dylan Welch (USA), Myron Lysenko (Victoria), Lynette Arden (South Australia), and Rose van  Son, Barry Sanbrook, Melissa Moffat, Maureen Sexton (all from Western Australia). 

We shared the haiku we had written either on our own personal ginko or the ginko at Tomato Lake, and we gave feedback. This led to lively discussion on many topics, such as: the use of metaphor in haiku, the use of the colon in haiku, verbs and ‘naughty verbs’, syllable counts and mumpsimus, how haiku is presented in schools, cats, the colours of Fall, the birds of Tomato Lake, and Japanese female haijin. 

Zoom participants

Myron Lysenko

I looked around for haiku as I sat or walked around my yards during the morning and afternoon.  After I wrote a haiku about a hen, she sidled up to me, jerked her head at my notebook and strutted off. It was a cool spring day full of sunshine and birdsong. Whenever I write haiku, I feel a little burst of joy.

The zoom meeting was informative, entertaining, and full of quick wit and laughter. The newly composed haiku and haibun which we showed each other were of a high standard and there were many appreciative comments given, both directly and through the chat box. It was a joy to share and communicate with poets from various parts of the world. Thank you to paperbark for making it possible.

the hen’s song
when she’s laid an egg
white lawn daisies

yesterday was
20 2020
new multifocals

spring shadow of a bird too quick to see it

Alan Summers

the calico cat
we talk about isolation
or at least I do

This haiku was later successfully accepted and published late the following day across social media platforms! 

‘Haiku in Action Gallery’
Nick Virgilio Haiku Association / Writers House
(22nd October 2020)

A ginko experience is more important than ever to escape the trapped feeling of the covid-19 pandemic. I walk the three-sided narrow strips of garden inside my home walls, and meet many kinds of visitors, mostly by eye contact. I had what I hoped wasn’t a one-sided conversation with a calico cat who looked like a Lewis Carroll Cheshire Cat leaning over our back gate! Calico cats have the same black and orange colour as a tortoiseshell cat but with strikingly added white markings.

The zoom event was a breath of fresh air, with lots of fun, and bad puns, alongside great haiku. We need fun in order to be serious!


Lynette Arden

Ten thousand steps is the recommended amount we should walk each day. That journey can take me through a gamut of emotions and reflections on past losses and plans for the future, and appreciation of the world around me. 

Ten Thousand Steps

Every day I travel the same road, on the same journey. As I cross intersecting streets, I remember people I knew. George St: a friend went with dementia. Elizabeth St: two friends left after the divorce. In Brown St, cancer took one friend and heart disease, another. As I lean over the stone parapet of the old bridge, I remember more names.

first creek
the waters swirl
around concrete pillars

At the end of the road, a sweep of lawn flows back to a bluestone mansion. The fountain is still, but beds of pink and white roses fill the air with their warm scent. A woman is photographing her black poodle. 

the dog leaps
after a thrown stick
setting sun

I turn and walk home as darkness pools around me. 

car headlights cut nature
into geometrics


Michael Dylan Welch

pandemic shopping day—
my electronic coupon

While I was not able to go on a ginko walk, I did have a doctor’s appointment, and then went shopping for groceries. When taking a haiku walk in nature, I find my senses are heightened to pay attention to all sensory experiences. No reason that can’t be done in places away from nature too, like in a grocery store, where you can still notice the ordinary things that happen to you – and in this case, let the emotions that go with these experiences be implied.


Maureen Sexton

Having been mostly house-bound since the beginning of the year, I relished in being out in nature and enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow poets. For me, haiku is about connection. I connect with other people through my haiku, and the process of observation and writing haiku is important for connecting with the world around me, and feeling my own connection with the universe.

family outing
a sapling pushes through
rough bark

a cool breeze
on my warm skin
the lake ripples

bird poo veils the sign – do not feed the…

Photo by Maureen Sexton


Melissa Moffat

A search for haiku at Tomato Lake evoked a child-like sense of naive wonder. Observations were provoked by images of colour and textural contrasts as well as hidden worlds of the wetlands wildlife and plants that provided a source of seasonal insight. Personal emotions were those of peaceful calm-feeling included in living processes by connection with our unique surroundings. 

leaf shadows
a mudlark crosses
the path

paperbark flowers
bees forage sunlight


Coral Carter

an ant 
in her hair
the ginko begins

ducks asleep
on the lakes edge
a plane overhead

concentric circles 
on the lake 


Rose van Son

abacus …
in the eucalypts’ shade
a child learns his numbers

lake’s gentle song
a fast food bucket
catches in a net

canoe ramp–
walking around the lake
without you

I found the ginko at Tomato very relaxing, meditative.  For me, haiku is insightful – that’s what I hope to achieve, an insight of what is going on around me but also as a reflection of what I may learn  from the experience and how to express that learning.  The follow-up Zoom meeting was enjoyable, too.


Barry Sanbrook

bird’s nest
as a ship

mating ants
twelve legs
march as one

tea stained water
I forgot
the teapot

I used the term of being in awe of my surroundings. Nature in its diversity is often underrated but standing watching the Ibis nesting brings home the magnificence surrounding us.
Timothy Parkin

barely green trunks
beside tomato lake
concentric ripples

a crow bounces
across leaf litter
lambs without eyes

cloudless sky
blue reflections
on the rippled lake

lake ripples vanish
in a duck’s wake –
does the duck know?

Peaceful – in the moment. What is reality anyway? Deep down aren’t we made of nothing? We are in a Zen tradition – emptiness, impermanence, etcetera. Crows freak me out, one almost killed my guinea pigs.


Sandie Thorne

I was extremely anxious with this meeting, as I’d never written haiku before nor had I been on a ginko. I was filled with trepidation, fear and uncertainty. I’d not written any poetry of any sort for a long time. 

I steadied my breath and mind, and focused on participating. I soon found that I was immersed in a cacophony of sounds, smells, fleeting images and colours. 

I tried to at least make some attempt at a haiku, and although there is much to learn, I left the meeting more interested and excited to know more about the art and subtleties of haiku. 

the simple joy
of an old man’s laugh
kid’s swinging high

webbed feet grip
twisted branches
light on water