Jo Ashby, Bernadette Burns, Sue Cahalan and Tina Reed of the Sherkin Island Haiku Group, outside the former national school on Sherkin Island.

West Cork’s beauty in 17 syllables

A group of West Cork poets have transformed their lively lockdown WhatsApp chat into a collection of poems.

Created by the Sherkin Island Haiku Group, ‘Light Between Seasons - a year of Haiku poetry from Sherkin Island’, is the group’s fourth collection.

It features edited threads of haiku and the quips of conversations that flowed between group members between September 2020 and August 2021.

This latest collection features over 200 poems, as well as illustrations of island flora by members of the group.

To celebrate the new book, members of the group have placed poems around the island and will hold a haiku writing event at the Community Hall on Sherkin Island today, Thursday, from 1-3pm.

With 3 lines and 17 syllables, haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that is thought to have originated in the 17th century.

The Sherkin Island Haiku Group first met in the winter of 2013 when artist and facilitator Tess Leak, held haiku workshops on the island.

Ms Leak said: “Like all of our poetry collections to date, ‘Light Between Seasons’ has been an absolute labour of love for all involved and we are very grateful for the support of Sherkin Island Development Society.”

All proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards funding the purchase of Sherkin Island’s former national school building for community use.

The fundraising target is €80k to cover the purchase, after which a decision will be made by the community regarding its upgrade, development and future use as a hub for diverse use such as educational, heritage or cultural activities.