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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Haibun: 243 words
By Marietta McGregor

Auld lang syne

...should old acquaintance be forgot...

I’m one of those old-fashioned characters still with a calendar hanging on my kitchen wall beside the landline phone. My 2020 calendar is illustrated with delicate watercolours of Australian songbirds for each month. It’s a joy to turn to a new month. But this pandemic year the calendar’s pages rarely got turned. One day it was March, with a hastily scribbled-in hairdresser’s appointment for the fifteenth. Then time began to play tricks—some days raced by, others dragged on for eons. The calendar’s pages for April, May, and June are blank. Doomscrolling obsessively, no-one even bothered to look at July or August, until a reluctant date was pencilled in with a periodontist for emergency gum surgery on an abscess. September. Nothing. October—a desperate dash out of iso on the twelfth for a long-overdue haircut. How I miss writing in those cramped boxes for each day: “lunch Jill 11.30, morning tea Ann, meet Mary pm coffee catch-up, massage 1.30, poetry launch alt.bookshop ~6pm, dinner Jim and Ally 7...” Now it’s December, almost Christmas. Soon I must write “order turkey/ham.” Sometimes the butcher supplies a free New Year’s calendar with my order. I hope my new calendar’s days come crammed with loved ones, talk, and laughter. Maybe this New Year’s Eve the first footer over the threshold with her/his/their lump of coal will bring good luck.

parted from friends
this ache that only visits
after midnight



Publisher’s Note:

Epigraph is from a song well known and loved in English-speaking countries, “Auld Lang Syne” (1788), by Scottish poet Robert Burns. Details, including lyrics, are available at Wikipedia.

Marietta McGregor
Issue 6, January 2021

is a retired botanist and science journalist who has lived in Canberra, Australia with her family for more than four decades. A photography enthusiast and keen world traveller, she is a late-comer to haiku. Her poetry and artworks appear in international journals, have been featured on Japanese television, and have won awards in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and the United States.

To learn more, see Ms. McGregor’s Poet Profile at The Haiku Foundation.

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