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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 23rd November 2023 — Gavin Austin, featured poet

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Gavin Austin

23rd November 2023

Gavin Austin lives in Sydney, Australia. His work has been widely published in anthologies and journals, and he has been recognised in literary competitions. In 2016, Gavin was awarded a Writing Fellow of the FAW NSW Inc., and was the Featured Poet in the January 2016 issue of cattails. Also, he was the Poet in Focus 57, Presence #72, March 2022. The Drifting Sands Special Feature, Girt by Sea was Gavin’s undertaking; a partnership of his photography and poetry from Australian writers. He currently has two published poetry collections: Shadow Play, Dragonwick, Aus., and changing light, Alba Publishing, UK. Gavin was shortlisted for a Touchstone Award 2022 for Individual Poem. He is currently completing a collection of haibun and haiku, which he hopes to publish late 2023. You can find Gavin in The Poet’s Hub Gavin Austin – Drifting Sands Haibun – Poet's Hub (

We asked Gavin some questions and he has been kind in answering them.


Do you show your work in progress to anyone, or is it a solitary work that you keep close to your chest before letting it go for publication?

My writing is a solitary pursuit. I often have several things in various stages of completion. However, I do have a couple of trusted writer friends, with whom I meet up every few months. I do share work in progress with them, and they are always very generous and helpful with their feedback. It is a good way of testing out if a piece is working or not. I can see if these friends are reading and interpreting the work as I wish it to be. If a line is clumsy it will soon show up as I read and share the work. However, often I won’t get the chance to ask my friends for their thoughts, and this is where I must use my own judgement and go with my intuition as I ready work to be sent off for possible publication.

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Take special note of the rich scenery and the minute details.

I was clean bowled by the haiku.

Thanks, Gavin, for giving us such masterpieces.



The connecting shuttle bus is on time. Stowing my bag, I take a seat behind the driver and wonder if I may have gone to school with him. I sit, staring through glass.

Pale fingers of dusk rake the bushland. Beyond a waning sunset, the sky is washed-out blue. Hills rise and fall, furrowed with channels of darkness. Displayed like a trophy, the highest peak glows in slanted sunlight; a paradox of splendour and desolation. Until the aubergine outline swallows the last of the light. Breathing deeply, I inhale the fragrance of gum, fern and moss. I feel immediately at home.


I choose the pony

with the damaged ear

contemporary haibun online #19.2, August 2023



Every rose has a thorn. And life is not a bed of roses!

SCARS - a word that has not left even one person born on this earth unscathed. Write about your life and the lessons you've learned from it.

Have fun!

Haibun outside this prompt is welcome too

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Important: Since we're swamped with submissions, and our editors are only human, mistakes can happen. Please, please, remember to put your name, followed by your country, below each poem, even after revisions. It helps our editors; they won't have to type it in, saving them from potential typos. Thanks a ton!



1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt. Please put your name and country of residence under your poem, it makes the editors' work easier. Thanks.

2. Share your best-polished pieces.

3. Please do not post something in a hurry or something you have just written.

Let it simmer for a while.

4. When poets give suggestions and if you agree to them - post your final edited version on top of your original version.

5. Don't forget to give feedback on others' poems.

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished haibun (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly journal.


376 views146 comments

146 commenti

lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
01 dic 2023

The Second Annual Rachel Sutcliffe Memorial Haiku-arts Contest

(Submissions Open December 1st – 15th, 2023)

Mi piace

28 Nov 2023

edited, thank you Vidya and Reid!

Good touch, bad touch

Water flows down her hair, her face, and her bare back, neem soap suds mingling with her silent tears. For a long time, she scrubs herself until the normally gleaming brown skin looks bruised, raw, and red. The lather flows through a blurry haze in a thin stream towards the drain.

A burst of metallic taste springs in her mouth as she bites her palm hard. The wail should never escape her throat. It would never do if the rest of the family hears.

temple hall steps

the stain of marigolds

crushed underfoot

Sangita Kalarickal


Good touch, bad touch

She lets the water flow down her…

Mi piace
Risposta a

Thank you Sumitra!

Mi piace

Gavin Austin
Gavin Austin
28 nov 2023

Many thanks to Kala for inviting me to be the featured poet during November. I have appreciated the opportunity enormously. And warm wishes with a big thank you to the poets here for their kind comments, and for sharing their wonderful poetry. I wish you all good health and much happiness ahead.

With best wishes,


Mi piace
Gavin Austin
Gavin Austin
29 nov 2023
Risposta a

Thank you, Marilyn.

And I enjoyed your haibun, and your thoughts you shared here.



Mi piace

#1 feedback welcome

27th November 2023


I reach home. The drawing room is dark. I turn to the bulb-lit staircase and stomp up the stairs.

The painting of the flower vase right in the middle seems brighter than usual. The picture of a deity above the higher step reminds me of wet clay.

moonlit terrace

a broken-winged moth settles

in a corner

Amoolya Kamalnath


Mi piace
Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
28 nov 2023
Risposta a

Hi Amoolya,

You are off to a good start. As a reader, I am looking to get pulled in, for feelings to get evoked, a bit more storyline. Right now your prose raises more questions, than answers. - bulb-lit staircase…was the light already on, or did you turn it on?

- Is the staircase lined with pictures and where is the one that is brighter, what is it that draws you to look at the picture with the dirt that reminds you of clay…and why does it remind you? - What is prompting you to go up the stairs?

I like your ku…it would work better to move ”settles” down to L3.

Finally…I don’t know what the link is between…

Mi piace

mona bedi
mona bedi
27 nov 2023

Post #2


Revised thanks to Lakshmi and Reid:

Becoming one with Him

It is Gurpurab, Guru Nanak Devji’s birthday. We get ready to visit the gurudwara. Wearing fancy clothes we giggle and laugh and sing songs on our way. But in spite of everything I can still feel a strange restlessness in me. Deep inside there is chaos and a fear of the future. I look at dad with his grey hair and wrinkles. Instantly I start to worry.

Reaching the gurudwara the sound of Gurbani* seeps through my body. There is an endless sea of people, with heads covered singing along. Later we go to the Sarovar** and I splash the cool water on my face. A sense…

Mi piace
Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
28 nov 2023
Risposta a

Hi Mona,

I feel your prose is missing something. Perhaps there could be more description of the places you are visiting and why you felt a sense of peace? As a reader from another country, I am not familiar with some of the customs or what draws one to visit these sacred places. I appreciate that you have included some notes…but too many notes can impact the flow when reading. Just something to be aware of. Your ku is lovely.

Mi piace
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