International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Anna Cates


Photo: Rojer/Creative Commons/Flickr

Today the International Women’s Haiku Festival features poet Anna Cates. Two of her haiku are alive with flowers and sunlight, smooth pastels and mother of pearl.

lady’s mantle
the sunlight
on my shoulders

This poem renders a haiku moment in the most gracious and vivid terms.  You can almost see an impressionist painting: A woman sits next to a window or en plein air, summer sun warming her shoulders as he admires clusters of dainty lady’s mantle.  The woman enjoys sitting in the sun, while the lady’s mantle is content to wear its golden glow in the shade.  The woman and the flowers are twin sisters.


mother of pearl
still inside her shell
smooth pastels

How does the mollusk do it, create that iridescent, otherworldly mother of pearl?  All of that is going on inside the shell’s hard, creviced exterior.  It’s as though the sea creature, wary of leaving its shell and rendering itself unprotected, makes its own comfortable satin sheets.  This poem acknowledges the vulnerability that haunts every girl or woman who, at whatever stage of life, longs to leave her shell and put her mark on a man’s world.  But it also slyly suggests that maybe staying in the shell that she has, by her own talents, made so exquisite is okay, too.  The choice is hers.

Anna Cates lives in Ohio (USA) with her two cats and teaches English and education online. One hundred of her short form poems appear in the Living Haiku Anthology.

Find more information about the International Women’s Haiku Festival and submit your work at this link.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s