Almanac Poetry: 2020 AFL Grand Final Haiku Kukai – smoke and lasers

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



The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE



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About rob scott

Rob Scott (aka Haiku Bob) is a peripatetic haiku poet who calls Victoria Park home. He writes haiku in between teaching whisky and drinking English, or something like that.


  1. It was a rip-snorter of a kukai. Thanks to everyone for chipping in.


  2. Kevin Densley says

    Really like this – what an enjoyable collaborative effort!

  3. Some great haiku.
    Hats off to those who used the formula 5,7,5. They were awesome.
    Hamish Danks Brown, Kim Jeffs, Derek Beggs and Ivana Dash

  4. Fun haiku! As someone who often writes 575 I’ll check those out, but I went free-form, rebel! :-)

    warm regards,

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