The shallows –
a crane’s thighs splashed
in cool waves
~ (Matsuo Basho)
A weekend at the south coast tumbles us back to childhood and reminds us that the tapestry of life is embroidered with tiny (almost invisible) but perfect stitches.
In retirement there is time to relish everything: a ripple of crystal water over coloured stones, the way that a tangle of seaweed discloses the passage of time, clouds scudding across the blue sky, a swirling foam of sapphire and white around craggy rocks and the magical worlds in rockpools.
As we make our way along a bush path to the beach we breathe in the healing fragrance of salt and eucalyptus, listen to the song of native birds and stop to marvel at a giant jewelled fly fixed like a gorgeous brooch on a tree trunk.
And again, I remember (with pure gratitude) the beautiful Zen wisdom of my old friends, the haiku masters of ancient Japan, Basho, Issa, Buson, Chiyo and so many others…
So here is a small handful of haiku offerings in praise of a couple of days at the coast…
A salty tangle
of golden brown and bleached white
seaweed on warm sand
Translucent bubbles –
A bunch of tiny balloons
on sandy ribbon
Muddled pebbles washed
forever by crystal waves…
So many colours
Emerald and gold…
This jewelled fly is fastened
like a perfect brooch
Tentacles and stars…
Oh what magic worlds exist
in salt bright rockpools
© Anita Patel, 2017
Published by anitapatel
Anita Patel is a writer (and retired teacher) who has lived in Canberra since 1982. She is as Australian as a banana paddle pop and a pair of sandy thongs and she is also a part of the Asian diaspora. Her collections of poetry are: 'Petals Fall' published by Recent Work Press in 2022 (https://recentworkpress.com/product/petals-fall) and 'A Common Garment' published by Recent Work Press in 2019 (https://recentworkpress.com/product/a-common-garment/).
In 2019, she collaborated with acclaimed artist, Annie Franklin, to produce 'Heart Stitched' (a story - in paintings and poetry - of the quirky, unexpected and dazzling layers in the natural world). They received significant support from Nancy Sever (Nancy Sever Gallery). In 2022, their second book 'Grief and Beauty' (which arose from the 2019-20 bushfires) was published - once again with support from Nancy Sever.
She has had work published in the Canberra Times, in Conversations (Pandanus Press, ANU), in Block 9, Burley Journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Demos Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Not Very Quiet Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Backstory Journal, Other Terrain Journal, Pink Cover Zine, FemAsia Magazine, Plumwood Mountain Journal, Eucalypt: a tanka journal and Print Issue 42 of The Blue Nib Journal. Her work is also included in the following anthologies: The Australian Poetry Anthology (Vol. 8), 'This Gift This Poem' (Puncher and Wattman) and 'What We Carry' (Recent Work Press). Her children’s poems are included in an anthology 'Pardon My Garden' (Harper Collins). Her poem “Women’s Talk” won the ACT Writers Centre Poetry Prize in 2004 and her poetry was selected for and published in Australian Book Review’s States of Poetry ACT, 2018.
She has performed her work at the Canberra Multicultural Festival, Poetry on the Move Festival, Noted Festival, Floriade Fringe Festival, In Other Words Festival (at Lost in Books, Fairfield), the Queensland Poetry Festival, the National Folk Festival, at Smith’s Alternative, at Word in Hand (Glebe) and La Mama Poetica.
Her reviews, “Found in Translation”, on the performances of four Japanese women poets and their translators at Poetry on the Move Festival, 2017 and “No More Silent Waiting”, on the anthology Autonomy edited by Kathy D’Arcy (2018) have been published by Not Very Quiet Journal. She was the guest editor for Issue 2 of Not Very Quiet Journal. View all posts by anitapatel