• POETRY CORNER – The Regional Reading

      A Mosaic of Autumn Leaves, Canberra, 2016 (Photo - Marietta McGregor).

      A Mosaic of Autumn Leaves, Canberra, 2016 (Photo – Marietta McGregor).

      – 09/06/17

      Hosted by Kathabela Wilson

      We are honored that poets from Australia will join us in Santa Fe. We hope to visit them someday too! Australian and American Poets have a natural affinity, especially in our Californian gardens and landscape.

      This is the fifteenth in our series of Regional Reading haiku Poetry Corners featuring haiku poets who will be visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico in September for Haiku North America 2017*. Our corners develop from the themes highlighted by their poems and concerns.

      ~ Kathabela

      Marietta McGregor

      Home Among the Gum Trees

      Autumn Sky Through Japanese Maples, at Home in Stirling, Canberra, Autumn, 2016 (Photo - Marietta McGregor).

      Autumn Sky Through Japanese Maples, at Home in Stirling, Canberra, Autumn, 2016 (Photo – Marietta McGregor).

      We have four definite seasons ranging from hot to cold in Canberra, my family’s home for over 40 years. All year is lovely, but I’d have to say that Autumn is my favourite time. Australia’s Y-plan bush capital is set at an elevation of about 600 meters bordering the foothills of our highest range, the Snowy Mountains, and about 150 kilometres inland from the east coast.

      Japanese Anemone (Wind Flower) Autumn Haiga, by Marietta McGregor.

      Japanese Anemone (Wind Flower) Autumn Haiga, by Marietta McGregor.

      The high country air is clear and so crystalline you feel it would ping if tapped. Frost sparkles on the dry tussocks of late-summer grasses, changing their soft golds to filigree silver. A liquid warble of magpies cascades from stands of yellow box, the honey-makers’ favourite gum tree. People are out in the city’s many open spaces, walking their dogs, lines of scuff marks clear in the rime where the excited animals race off after a fleeing kangaroo. The dawn lift-off of hot air balloons is well over by 9.00am, as suburban cafés set out tables and chairs on pavements and in squares, sometimes with warm throws over the backs as a concession to the air’s chill, and begin to do a brisk trade in cappuccinos and lattes and smashed avocado on toasted sour-dough. Streets fill with a hum of sound from groups of friends and families enjoying breakfast under crisp sunny blue skies. Joggers and strollers do their bridge-to-bridge circuits around Lake Burley Griffin, named after Walter and his wife Marion Mahony Griffin of the Chicago-based Prairie School, whose winning joint vision gave us this meticulously-planned garden city.

      A haiga set on Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, taken in Autumn 2016 by Marietta McGregor.

      A haiga set on Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, taken in Autumn 2016 by Marietta McGregor.

      Wide streets with grassy nature strips are lined lined with decidous trees, including Manchurian Pears, Honey Locusts, Scarlet Oaks, Chinese Pistachios and Desert Ashes, their glorious autumn colours a tribute to a botanist’s dream during the early years when the city was first established. Professor Lindsay Prior planted an arboretum to trial street trees that would grow well on a one-time sheep station in open savannah woodland receiving 62 centimeters of annual rainfall. Just over 100 years later, the former sheep station is the site of a thriving city of 420,000 people which is home to many of Australia’s national cultural institutions, including the National Library, National Art Gallery, High Court of Australia, National Portrait Gallery and Parliament House, as well as three universities..

      gathering dusk
      the layered blues
      of hillsides

      autumn lakeside
      dog walkers plaited
      in paws

      moonless
      the night-long cry
      of a mopoke

      spinning gumleaf
      an orb spider’s
      torn guy wire

      burnt toast
      my kitchen window
      opens to autumn

      Marietta McGregor is a Tasmanian palynologist and journalist who has worked in various careers as a garden designer, university tutor, parliamentary guide, editor, science communicator and astronomical observatory visits manager. She is a late-comer to haiku. Her work appears in international journals and has been featured on Japanese television. She lives with her family in Canberra.

      Ο Ο Ο

      *The Regional Reading will be performed live at the conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in September, 2017, led by Kathabela Wilson. The dramatic presentation will be accompanied by Rick Wilson on flutes of the various regions. Poets from Australia, India, Canada, United States, and many other regions will be presenting. Look for their haiku in future Poetry Corners.

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      Contributor

        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

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