Watching Pilgrims Watching
haiku from Shangri-la,
Deqen Tibetan Region
ISBN 0957843682 - Pardalote
Press, 2006 - RRP $18.50
I was delighted when a
copy of Watching Pilgrims Watching Me arrived in the post, a prized gift! The
beautiful photograph on the cover, at once evocative and mysterious, gives us a partial
glimpse of the landscape, and draws us into this landscape both inner and outer
of a region of Tibet, a country that has fuelled the imagination, minds and hearts
of countless beings.
Watching Me is a journey into that place that resonates with the heart a
journey of discovery of Tibetan hearts, landscape and culture. And so we journey
into this place through the poets haiku, through her being present to her
surroundings. Following in her footsteps we touch upon aspects of being there ourselves.
Hawthorne paints word
pictures of life as it is in this part of the world, the rawness of life, the earthiness
of life, as well as the spiritual and the cultural life. The haiku are surreal, earthy,
mysterious and of great beauty. Each haiku can be read on its own, but I found the
collection best read as a sequence, from one moment to the next.
The book is set out in
eight chapters. From their titles we get the feel of movement, of a journey
leaving, moving, searching, arriving, being, travelling, and beyond. Each haiku is a
stepping-stone that takes the reader on this journey, and at the same time holds us
present, at that spot. Our journey begins in the city and the rub between rich and poor,
the daily struggle for some to survive. There is a sense of weariness and grubbiness of
city life, yet, at the same time, there is a feeling of compassion.