Strictly speaking, I shouldn't be writing autumn haiku. Unfortunately there is a lot of ocean in the Southern Hemisphere, and therefore fewer people, and our seasons are always out of step with the majority. Or perhaps they are out of step with us? After all, the majority once thought the earth was flat, but that didn't make them right.
Haiku are all about being fully aware of the present moment. So a haiku written about events of six months ago isn't really a haiku. In fact I see that as more important than a strict 5-7-5 syllable count. Nearly all Japanese haiku translate to fewer syllables than that. Many words that are two syllables in Japanese are one syllable in English - pine, wind, pear. Rose is three syllables in Japanese. (Although there are exceptions - chrysanthemum, for instance which is shorter in Japanese). Apart from that, there are little grammatical words in Japanese that aren't translated into English. So I feel that 5-7-5 can be too wordy in English, and detract from the simplicity of the idea. Occasionally though, one of my haiku falls close to 5-7-5, and in that case I give it a little nudge. Both of today's efforts fall into that category.
Every autumn the godwits gather on the Christchurch estuary prior to making the long journey back to Siberia and Alaska. The park rangers organise an event: "Farewell to the Godwits". It makes me smile to think of the birds all lining up with their suitcases and waving goodbye. In reality, of course, they never leave on exactly the day the event is held. The date is fixed according to the day of the highest tides (which depend on the phases of the moon), so that the birds will come closer to the shoreline and can more readily be viewed through binoculars. There is a sausage sizzle, and local Maori tell legends of the estuary and of the birds, and sing waiata (songs).
on the beach godwits gather
planes fly overhead
our stories and waiata
farewell the godwits