(M.J.E. / Writings / Haiku / 2 / Notes)

Notes on the Verses (7 - 13)

            Summer twilight outside the hamburger shop,
            angry grey clouds blowing in from the west;
                down the street, the last cicada is chirring.

      The town of Healesville is about 10 miles beyond the eastern edge of the suburban area of Melbourne, and is situated in a hollow or valley at the foot of some mountains to the east. The valley to the west is famous wine-growing country; to the east the mountains are covered with forest. I bought a house on the eastern edge of the town and moved there late in 1998; it is actually situated on the slopes of the foothills of the mountain range. I had a car by now, and certainly it is very nearly essential for anyone living in a location such as this, where there is little public transport.
      This verse was suggested by an experience I had on the date given in Healesville soon after moving there. The hamburger shop mentioned is on the Maroondah Highway, directly opposite the end of Don Rd., which joins the highway at that point at right angles. The lone cicada's sound came from some 50 yards or more down Don Rd.
      It did indeed turn out to be the last cicada of that season. I couldn't have known that at the time, of course, but it just felt like the last cicada - and I knew that, given the time of the year and the impending change of weather, it was very likely to be.

            Summer dandelion -
                springing up like magic
                in the neglected grass.

      Suggested right outside the door to my flat in Trumper St., Camberwell, which at the time I was moving out of, to Healesville. The place was very seedy and neglected, the grass uncut and full of weeds; but at times little daisy-like flowers and dandelions sprouted up. In the setting, these very ordinary flowers looked quite magical. I observed this as I moved a load of things to my car to take to Healesville.
      The date this happened may not formally be in summer, as the verse says, but the weather was still summer-like.

            Out of the hot wind into the café;
            slashing rain upon emerging:
                the spirit of the wind-change.

      Driving with a load of things to move to my new house in Healesville, I detoured, just for fun, through the Dandenong Ranges, some mountains to the east of Melbourne and to the south-west of Healesville, so that it was slightly out of my way, but not unduly. The Dandenongs are known for their beauty and the village-like atmosphere of the towns scattered amongst them which seem almost redolent of England to me, and tourists like to visit the plant nurseries, art galleries, cafés, antique shops, and so on which can be found in the hills. Belgrave is on the slopes of a valley towards the south of the Dandenongs and has a certain charm with its twisting main thoroughfare and its winding back roads, but it is semisuburban, and not totally separate from the suburban area stretching away to the west.
      This verse was suggested by an experience I actually had in Belgrave half an hour or so before sunset on the date the verse occurred to me. It was a hot summery day with a searing hot north wind, and at the time I was in Belgrave clouds were blowing in from the west, and I knew it would get cooler very soon, and very likely the change would bring eagerly anticipated rain. Before entering the café I had actually stopped in a side street that had a good view to the west just so that I could enjoy the sight of the gathering clouds for a few minutes.
      As the verse suggests, I found things quite different when I emerged from the café I had entered to refresh myself with iced coffee before resuming my drive to Healesville through the mountains.
      Simple things like this can be amongst the sweetest of life's memories months or years later, even though it is difficult to see why; but even while it was happening I had the funny feeling that here memories are in the making. This is in contrast to other memories which only become fond memories later on, but which seem perfectly ordinary and humdrum at the time. But the day this experience happened (and the incidents that verses 8 and 10 are based on, too) seems to have been a day of great spiritual awareness.
      I wrote at length about this episode, and the document is available on this web site: go here, follow the links to a contents page, and read the entries for 13 and 14 March, 1998, in that order. I don't give direct links because I would encourage you first to read the introductory material on the intervening pages, so that you understand just what the writing in question is attempting to do.

            Chasing the setting sun -
                the magic of the West
                beckons us on.

      This is based on an experience I had the same day that the previous two verses came to me. I well remember this day, during which I seem to have had many spiritual thoughts, and about which a day or two later later I wrote a very long dialogue with my higher self about the events of that day.
      Sunset always seems to appeal to me, and as the sun set while I was driving to my new address in Healesville with a load of things I was moving from my old address in Camberwell (a bit later on during the very same drive that took me through Belgrave, as described in the previous note), I was sufficiently captivated by the appearance of the sky that I went a few miles out of my way along the Maroondah Highway westwards from Lilydale to go over a hill to try and get a better view of the sunset. I didn't actually get a better view, perhaps because the sun was obscured at times by the clouds which had gathered and because it was already starting to get darker in the west; and it seems possible that the magic was something spiritual which the sunset sky merely suggested, but didn't contain in itself.
      The dialogue with my higher self just mentioned can be found on this web site: go here, follow the links to a contents page, and read the entries for 13 and 14 March, 1998, in that order (the two are really a single dialogue, broken into two portions for practical reasons). Direct links are not given here, because I would encourage you first to read the "gateway" page first which the link just given points to, and preferably even the Introduction which is clearly linked off the contents page after that, so that you understand just what the dialogues which follow are are attempting to do. A direct link to the 13 March dialogue is given at the bottom of the "gateway" page.

            Pitch-black hillside;
                sinking amongst the trees,
                the moon's crescent, needle-sharp.

      The hillside mentioned is the one on which my Healesville property is situated; I was standing in my driveway at about 10 p.m. on the date given. There are trees lining the driveway, and I saw the crescent moon setting amongst these trees. There was a street light some distance along the highway, but it was faulty and flickered on and off a minute or so at a time, and during the off times the night was very dark, and the darkness where I was standing was intensified by the trees nearby.

            Outside my window, a sunset world:
            a hillside made of orange-green light.
                I go outside to belong to it.

      The window mentioned is my kitchen window, which looks out onto the hillside property of a neighbouring house. It is a large open field, and the colours caused by the setting sun were so magical I had to go outside and spend a few minutes drinking it in while it lasted.

            Sudden look-out on the autumn mountain-side:
                I tower over the misty valley
                bathed in liquid gold.

      The look-out mentioned is on Don Rd., south of Healesville. After a few miles of going south in an arrow-straight line from Healesville, the road starts winding up into the mountains, on its way to the top of Mt. Donna Buang, and hundreds of feet above the valley floor in which Healesville is located there is an area by the roadside where you can park and view much of the valley.

Michael Edwards,
Victoria, Australia.

E-mail me about these verses.

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Original text copyright (C) 1998, 1999 (verses), 2000, 2001 (notes), by Michael Edwards.

    Introduction - Front page, which leads to Contents
    Web Site of Michael Edwards - Contents

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    Writings by Michael Edwards
            ( How I discovered haiku and came to write them myself )
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                Notes on the Verses

This page created on Monday, 24 April, 2000;
last modified on Saturday, 6 April, 2002.