Let’s find a new date!

I posted this haiku a few years ago when we were living in the remote community of Willowra in Central Australia. To celebrate Australia Day on 26th January is deeply offensive to our indigenous sisters and brothers, for whom the date marks the invasion of their country. It’s a shame that the Prime Minister chooses not to understand this. Well, done, the City of Yarra!

Australia Day Haiku

Australia Day
here among the Warlpiri;
no-one notices.

© Ken Rookes 2015

Even the dogs

Weary from the crowds,
he slipped across the border for a break.
A holiday with a few close friends,
up north among the foreigners.
Different people, culture, food.
Best of all, no one knows him here.

The woman’s love
has grown achingly to despair;
such is her daughter’s illness.
Her dormant hopes quicken
when she learns the identity
of the stranger from the south.

Disregarding his request for privacy,
she intrudes, insisting that he intervene
to heal her child.
His response disappoints.
Wrong race, wrong religion.

The man offers a domestic metaphor to justify
his lack of compassion.
Sorry, I can’t help;
the food is for the children, not the dogs.

It takes our breath away.
Suddenly we hear the shrill, cheering voices
of the xenophobes, islamophobes, flag wearers,
shock jocks and opportunistic politicians.

But the story continues;
this foreign woman does not know her place.
She accepts the racial calumny,
but, with impertinence,
throws the image back at the teacher:
Yes, but even the dogs . . .

Even the dogs.
The woman, he concedes, is correct.
There are no boundaries to love
except the ones we fashion from our fears.
The man accepts his lesson with grace,
and setting aside his weariness,
offers her the crumb.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Nothing I can do

Haiku of learning

Wrong race and wrong creed.
The man puts the woman off
when she asks for help.

Nothing I can do;
the food is for the children,
it’s not for the dogs.

That is so, she says,
but even dogs may consume
table scraps that fall.

Good point, says Jesus,
You got me! Your faith is strong;
your daughter is healed.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

Things that defile

Haiku for a blameless life.

Those who are upright
offer many righteous rules
to keep us from sin.

Laws for cleanliness,
crucial for a blameless life!
Make sure you obey!

Forget about them!
When the blind guide each other
both fall in a pit.

Where do they come from,
all those evil intentions?
They come from the heart.

Not what we take in
that determines righteousness,
but what we put out.

 

© Ken Rookes 201

He came, walking towards them.

Haiku for those who sink.

He sent them ahead
by boat, to the other side.
The crowd was dismissed

Seeking solitude,
he ascended the mountain
to pray and reflect.

Out upon the lake
his friends battled wind and waves,
a long way from home.

In this strange story
he came ghost-like at morning,
caused them much alarm.

The reports tell us
that he walked across the lake.
Fear not! It is I!

Stranger still, a man
steps from the boat to join him;
does all right; at first.

Beginning to sink,
he cries in fear: Lord, save me!
Jesus takes his hand.

Is this an image
of baptism, of drowning
and rising to life?

Like the little boat
we are battered by the waves,
far from land and hope.

The waves engulf us;
We are fearful and we doubt.
Jesus, take our hand!

 

© Ken Rookes 2017