International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Michelle Schaefer

why is the sky blue?

Photo: Optick/Creative Commons/Flickr

Michelle Schaefer writes of lace and sea glass in today’s feature of the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

sea glass
I find myself
piece by piece

With its sharp edges worn smooth by the tumult of the ocean, “sea glass” is a beautiful metaphor for what, ideally, happens to us over the course of our lives.  The self-possessed older woman who embodies that special kind of ease in her own skin didn’t necessarily get there easily or overnight.  She likely had to comb a lot of beaches and pick up loads of flotsam and jetsam before finding the lovely sea-gems that sit well in her soul.  Schaefer’s poem gives us a road map – let the ocean of life smooth out our rough edges – and reveals the wabi-sabi kind of beauty of the works-in-progress that we are.


the edge of lace
still means no

The classic decoration for women’s undergarments, lace is a vivid signifier of feminine sexual intimacy.  Intriguingly, “the edge of lace” is serrated like a knife blade and, in Schaefer’s poem, suggests a protective boundary or even a weapon against sexual violence.  The lace metaphor here is an extraordinary symbol of a woman’s right to autonomy and a reminder of boundaries that are not to be transgressed.

Michelle Schaefer is a poet-in-progress.  She has spent many years learning and writing the art form of haiku.  She has been published in various haiku journals and anthologies.  Her poetry can be found in Acorn, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Mariposa and Heron’s Nest.  She is also featured in NY Seitkatsu’s online publication as a regular semifinalist in the Ito En Haiku Grand Prix.  She has recently won Frogpond‘s Museum of Haiku Literature Award in its most recent volume.  She hopes that poetry touches people in extraordinary ways.  She lives in Bothell, WA with her husband.

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