International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Marietta McGregor

moods of a rose-luminous

Photo: Leslie Main-Johnson/Creative Commons/Flickr

Marietta McGregor’s haiku are full of unfolding roses and spidery script in today’s feature of the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

unfolding rose…
i stroke her hand
around the cannula

The paradox of the unfolding rose is that, as vibrant and beautiful as it is, it is also in the process of dying.  This haiku is full of life and death, of the frailty of the flesh and of the love that sustains us through all trials, connecting us even across the divide.


attic spring-clean…
her spidery script
a brittle scorecard

The spiders that we imagine are uncovered in the “attic spring-clean” and the “spidery script” on old items convey a masterfully subtle relational discomfort.  And all of it packed away in the attic, hidden in the remote recesses of the private realm, suspended in a web of unease.

Marietta McGregor is a Tasmanian botanist and journalist who lives in Canberra.  Her haiku, haibun, and haiga appear in international journals and anthologies, and have been featured on Japanese television.  She has gained poetry awards in Japan, the UK, the US, and Australia.  She belongs to the Australian Haiku Society, the Haiku Society of America, and the British Haiku Society.

7 thoughts on “International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Marietta McGregor

  1. Symbolism is a potent device in art, and none so vital, perhaps, as the rose, used for a multiplicity of themes all the way from love to war, and everything in-between.

    unfolding rose…
    i stroke her hand
    around the cannula

    Marietta McGregor

    Opening lines is a feature I am very much interested in, and this has the super-visuality and sensuousness of both ‘unfolding’ with its delicacy of anticipation, and the vibrancy that a rose promises.

    This is where the comparison technique of haiku, with its use of juxtaposition, comes into its own. We have beauty personified in that opening line, and then the phrase entices us to re-examine our pre-conceived idea(s) of beauty, and what it is to be perfect, as we strive in our individual ways, to achieve ‘perfection’.

    The phrase opens up innocently enough with ‘I stroke her hand’ full of promise, romance, sisterly love, maternal or daughterly love, perhaps.

    Concluding the phrase is ‘around the cannula’ and it’s not something we associate with beauty and/or love unfolding, but actually it is, if we skew our pre-conceptions 180 degrees, at least, and realise true beauty is found at times of testing, be it the hospitals or the war zones at home or abroad. It’s love personified, it’s what we are all about, being born of family, and respecting and accepting the cycle of life, including that of our parents or other loved ones.


    To use the joint concrete images of a rose (flower) and a cannula (a hospital/injury recovery device) goes beyond genius, as it is so real, and pertinent to our human predicament of living life and then living death, or illness, and not seeing either as different, but all one part of the picture.

    The cannula could become a symbol of past struggles, that hard rigid mountain of resistance both child and parent often share ‘against’ and also ‘with’ each other.

    Life continues to unfold, and it is often not what we expect, when younger. We travel to our end or another’s end of the journey, realising there is much more: that we continue to be ‘unfolding roses’.

    warmest regards,

    (Alan Summers, Call of the Page)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. How can I thank you Alan, for your beautiful and deeply perceptive words? I wrote into my haiku my love for my mother and my pain at her suffering, which you have completely understood.

    Thank you sincerely too, Eufemia, for your kind words, which are very much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Jennifer, for the honour of having my haiku featured with those of many fine poets in the International Women’s Haiku Festival. It gives me great pleasure to have work included as part of your initiative.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These poems are wonderful.
    I really loved the first. The contrast of life and death, it is very obvious and Jennifer’s comment enhances the beauty of this haiku.
    Congrats to Marietta McGregor. I read with great admiration, many of her poems.
    All the best,


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