2020 AFL Grand Final Haiku Kukai

– smoke and lasers by Rob Scott (Haiku Bob)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020gfkukai.jpg
haiga by Rob Scott

Well into the future, the year 2020 will need no introduction. Like every legendary age that preceded it, 2020 will go down as a larger than life, deeply transformative time that puts every other calendar year with a dark story to tell in the shade – especially for those who lived through it. Covid-19 shocked, rearranged and reinvented the world. Things we took for granted became nuggets of irrational desire – like going to the movies, having dinner out, visiting our mums and dads, and toilet paper!

More than any city in the country, Melbourne bore the brunt of the metamorphic shock of the global pandemic. Two lockdowns, one lasting 4 months, are testament to that. Collateral damage of the Covid-19 pandemic included the 2020 AFL season. Border closures and quarantine regulations posed the biggest threat to the completion of a VFL/AFL season since WW2. For the first time in history, football was played in front of no crowds, with not a single game (including the Grand Final!)  played in Melbourne after Round 5. Bubbles, hubs, quarantine breaches and the permutations of rolling fixtures and shortened quarters dominated the back pages as we sat on the edge of our couches, crossing our fingers for a meaningful, if not satisfactory resolution to a season no one had anticipated.

With the grand final wrenched away from Melbourne, and with much of the country forced to watch it from their living rooms, it was always going to be a different day. For everyone, including haiku poets entering the 9th running of the Grand Final Haiku Kukai, it was a time of curious anticipation. In true form, they rose to the challenge.

In the days leading up to the game, haiku poets reflected on the poignancy of the event:

as two thirty nears
ghost siren over Punt Rd
my bones feel the roar

Amanda Collins

grand final parade
pigeons strut through
the mall

Myron Lysenko

Grand Final—
yellow and black daisies
on my brother’s grave

Mary Stone

The afternoon of
the first night grand final –
bugger all to do

Clem Byard

grand final day
at mum’s

Glenn Harper

grand final day
the MCG fills
with seagulls

Louise Hopewell

a lone seagull
looks for a chip

Jeanie Axton

Here near St Kilda
I don’t hear any neighbours
barracking at all

Hamish Danks Brown

Some of our haiku poets follow the footy as much, if not more, than the average supporter, and engaged in some of the pre-game banter of the build-up with their uniquely fanatical and humorous offerings:

Eastern Standard Time
– Pop go the Pies
in Gabba Bubble

Bill Wootton

Something in the air
– Tom Hawkins
denies it

Bill Wootton

Late change
AFL rethinks presenting premiers
with Cartier watches

Michael Potter

smoke and lasers
the singer’s
single hit

Glenn Harper

But it’s in the clinches where all haiku poets worth their salt belong, and from the first bounce to the last, they put their heads over the ball and produced the most prolific performance in the 9-year history of this event to date. This year’s kukai generated 450 haiku in total including 330 during the game itself – approximately 3-4 per minute. A blistering pace. The highlights reel is below.

As usual, a huge thanks goes out to the poets all over the country and beyond. It was another cracking kukai. ‘Til next year at the ‘G (hopefully).

– Rob Scott (aka Haiku Bob)

playing her role
from the toss of the coin
lady luck

Simon Hanson

Geelong kicks one way
Ablett’s shoulder
goes the other

Rob Scott

each man
has four shadows-
first quarter

Jade Pisani

first goal
all the cat’s eyes
look away

Ron C. Moss

lip reading…
smooth flow
of epithets

Madhuri Pillai

balmy in Queensland
you’d think the pitch invaders
would discard their clothes

Kim Jeffs

quarter time –
more sausage rolls
than the scoreboard

Glenn Harper

it’s an even game
the lagging Facebook refresh
and my vodka brain

Derek Begg

Second quarter –
Cats give the goal posts 
a good spray

Jen Worthington

who scored that goal?
I find the replay in a haiku

Myron Lysenko

my lover
and the football
blue sky danger

Alan Summers

half time . . .
all the haiku poets
kicking goals

Ron C. Moss

Game to be won
Danger and Dusty
move forward

Ian Gostelow

go kukai poets
final half of footy
to find the goals

Ross Coward

momentum change –
she says
its over

Glenn Harper

all of a sudden
it’s close

Bee Jay

one-man supporter
painted in the colours
of the losing team

Adjei Agyei-Baah

Spellcheck hates Riewoldt
Like, seriously hates him
Wonder if he knows?

Ivana Dash

on the sidelines
Annastacia Palaszczuk
stifles a yawn

Kim Jeffs

A neighbour cheering
or is it because Uber
Eats has just arrived?

Hamish Danks Brown

spring moon –
the bald head of Ablett
still centre stage

Rob Scott

tv free house
celebrating neighbours are
my final siren

Lucy Annicka Lysenko


Rob Scott’s report reprinted from the Australian Haiku Society webpage:


Published by Myron Lysenko

Haiku poet, poet, short story writer, editor, creative writing tutor, small press publisher, poetry venue convenor, leader of poetry and music band Black Forest Smoke. Victorian Representative of the Australian Haiku Society, and member of the Fringe Myrtles haiku group.

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