Almanac Poetry: 2021 AFL Grand Final Haiku Kukai – Leaning towards the Landlords

The 2021 AFL Grand Final Haiku Kukai – the 10th annual haiku call of the game – was just about the only thing this year that has not been cancelled, postponed, relocated or quarantined. Once again, haiku poets and non-haiku poets alike gathered in a dark, dingy corner of social media to write haiku in real-time while watching the game from their respective coffee and whisky-stained isolation hubs.


For the second year running, the game was held in a foreign land. And in their viciously warped wisdom, the AFL rubbed a proverbial salt lake into gaping Melbournian lockdown wounds by adding an extra week AND a different time zone to the hiatus. By the time the game started, weary poets were scouring their bedroom floors for a sharp pencil and a clean-ish pair of tracky dacks. As we have learned from the past 10 years, however, it takes more than a pandemic (and bushfires…and earthquakes…) to throw a haiku poet off their game. This year produced a record number of poems, in excess of 500 during the game itself. Honestly though, I lost count. The haiku were coming faster than the Dees were kicking goals from the centre bounce.


As in every year we have held this event, we had contributions from all over the place – India, UK, Ghana, Nigeria, New Zealand, USA, Trinidad, Romania and Germany, to name a few, along with a few forays from interstate and regional Australia, including a couple of local Sandgropers. The Grand Final Haiku Kukai continues to attract vagabonds from far and wide.


In the long build up to first bounce, Melbourne poets prepared themselves for battle with doleful musings about the long wait and the jarring reality of another empty MCG on grand final day. Melbourne supporters, in particular, were counting down the clock for another attempt to reach the Holy Grail they had so craved for 57 years.


Ghost games at the G
and silence in the city
once called marvellous


Hamish Danks Brown



It’s early afternoon
granny’s on today
actually tonight


Rick Kane



flag sways from
opened car window
cold morning


Mick Mezza



Meanwhile in Melbourne…
a few too many cars are
parked at neighbour’s place


Danielle Blythe



grand final day –
a Demons banner hangs
from a crooked fence


Rob Scott



first star
still we keep on


Bee Jay



Grand Final BBQ
the bitter taste
of lockdown sausages


Jen Worthington



Landlords vs Tenants
Leaning towards the Landlords
Who even am I anymore?


Sean M Whelan



before the showdown
a single malt scotch


Samantha Sirimanne Hyde


But once ‘Baker Boy’ – ablaze in a gleaming, silky tracksuit (in a clear nod to Melbourne viewers) – belted out a couple of numbers under the fluorescent Perth sun, the wait was finally over. From then on, haiku poets rushed to get their hands on the ball as if their lives depended on it. In a glorious mix of styles, poets provided more angles on the game than the TV cameras. It was an absolute vibe. So, sit back and enjoy the highlights. We’ll be back next year, come rain, hail or whatever the hell happens next.


Haiku Bob (aka Rob Scott).



the siren
the bounce
game on


Craig Lincoln



first quarter-
give a dog
a ball


Jade Pisani



Demonic possession
Dogs in limbo
Fetch the ball


CL Poetry



first score
a sausage roll stuffed
under a mask


Ron C. Moss



Christian goes bang says
Romans and BT yell
centuries apart


James WF Roberts



Trying not to hear
all the X-rated phrases
Need to soap my brain


Ivana Dash



first quarter surge
at the break Melbourne’s toilets
flush in unison


Kim Jeffs



stars shine through
the magnolia tree


Myron Lysenko



doggies hit the front
their dream might not be over
cat goes for a snack


Derek Begg



even scores
sun sets
spring equinox


Karin Bouvin



night game
yellow sherrin


Tash Adams



Dogs lead at half time
The barracking has been loud
Cat still stares at me


Michael Reynolds





Rob Scott



Bulldogs, not doing well
tonight on the field
and in the hair department


Georgia Kennedy



The roar in the west
Ripples through the east
a game so grand


Ian Gostelow



footie scores
as changeable as weather
. . . on shared green grass


Beverley George



cloud cover …
dogs barking
at the three-quarter moon


Jayashree Maniyil



it starts to rain
in the mountains
goals galore


Myron Lysenko



Final quarter
Demons making the game
a dog’s breakfast


Jen Worthington



With a six-goal lead
the Demons have the Bulldogs
tails between legs


Hamish Danks Brown



Petracca heat map
smacks of that Hank Snow ditty
“I’ve been everywhere”


Amanda Collins



Score after score
Am I watching


Naomi Tooby



Fortunate players
not forced to sit through
the commentary


Smokie Dawson



gone to the dogs
the demons
turn on the heat


Brendon Kent



dees run away
in the final quarter
a train passes


Myron Lysenko



game’s final moments
my dog farts
fitting epitaph


Kim Jeffs



from the dead—


Madhuri Pillai



green stains
on gracious losers’ white shorts
well done mates


Anna Fern



Fifty seven years!!!
Bitter sweet Grand Final cup.
Returns to lockdown!


Heather Forbes McKeon



spring moon
the bald captain
raises the cup


Rob Scott



moonlit bed …
all that is left
of a dog’s dream


Jayashree Maniyil



The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021 – as will the 2021 edition to celebrate the Dees’ magnificent premiership season.
It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Demons season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.
Pre-order  HERE


More poetry from Almanac Poetry can be read 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. HB,
    This certainly added another enjoyable dimension to grand final day,
    especially for those of us locked down.

  2. Agree , it was fun seeing them pop up. Well done on organising it!

  3. Daryl Schramm says

    Just managed to catch up on this. There are some pearlers there. Put them all together in one long story and you have got me reminiscing on what I was watching and thinking on the night. “Score after score. Am I watching highlights?”.

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