Peter Burton, Queensland Regional Meeting

The workshop space sounds just perfect – Eco C Frog pond deck.

January: Griffith University is well known as a natural bush oasis surrounded by the desert of brick suburbia and bitumen main roads radiating in a Brisbane heatwave.

Picture a room underneath the Eco Centre, a frog hop from bitumen car parks on two sides and with no air conditioning, walls or doors. Yet, with the surrounding shade of native bush and planted ferns, a close watering system that sprays a cool mist and a gurgling stream flowing into the ‘Frog pond’, the 40 degrees plus sinks to below body heat.

The flora of xanthorrhoea and eucalypts a breath away shelters the signs of birds and mammals scattered throughout the trees and through the air. Something there is that likes a workshop about nature and poetry and a state of mind in which we are not separated from them yet still retaining our individuality and peculiarity – Zen like.

So we segue into Haiku – little to do with Western poetry or Zen – with its unwritten laws, standards and aims and yet a tradition of looking at things, a way of living, compassion, empathy, ephemerality, intuition and smallness that is not concerned with the spectacular or the eternal.

Nine of us not knowing the outcomes except that we know that. Looking at the old masters, the simplicity evoking emotional empathy – from a rock, a log, a frog, the moon, a butterfly, a comb, to asserting eternal providence, justifying the ways of the Spirit – from the lowly to the magnificent.

So, we spread out from frog hollow, each to solitude and focus on a tiny fragment of nature to which we can relate and express, Haiku-like but with an artificial time limit. Some relate to tree, bushes, insect, log in the pond. Devdas won’t mind a mention that he is literally moved by a snake.

Activities related to the natural world, including human nature, and the 4/5 pliable rules of Haiku and in two short follow-up sessions in the fourth floor common room of the accommodation block, a sense of nature and spirit flow. The William Penn quote on the wall poster, Force may subdue – but – Love gains, provides a serendipitous inspiration.

More Haiku flowers, and for some, still so.


IMG_8690 (768x1024)Tender shoots create
Their own way towards the light
From love, through witness





IMG_8669 (1024x768)
From blossom to fruit
I, the waves, unrelenting
She, unmoving rock

Clare Gallagher


IMG_8671 (1024x768)Scorched dual-toned-coiffured grass-trees
slouch in gang postures
The rocks are unmoved

Linda Stevenson with Peter Burton



Rock crumbling to sandIMG_8689 (768x1024)
nut sprouting to forest giant
different life cycle

Deafening sound
machine suddenly stops
deafening silence.

Ian Stevenson


IMG_8672 (768x1024)Dancing grass trees
Land’s ancient memories
The people have gone








Jaws crunching rocks
This silent crocodile
arouses no fear

Valerie Joy


Tree in the forestIMG_8699 (1024x768)
growing your way in the light
I see you still

Peter Burton






IMG_8674 (768x1024)Sacrificed posts hang on chainsIMG_8665 (1024x768)
that others may live
Nothing chooses to live there

Linda Stevenson with Peter Burton







Sitting in fuming silence
two Quakers do not speak
and become a gathered meeting

Linda Stevenson with Peter Burton

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