International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Valorie Broadhurst Woerdehoff

Before Sunrise

Photo: Christopher Crouzet/Creative Commons/Flickr

Valorie Broadhurst Woerdehoff explores the wonder of childbirth and the unique dynamic between mothers and daughters in today’s feature of the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

around my neck
the tightness
of Mother’s scarf

What woman doesn’t know this “tightness of Mother’s scarf”?  The tightness of the scarf around the “neck,” specifically, suggests the restriction of the poetic speaker’s voice by way of the mother’s enduring influence.  Woerdehoff’s metaphor is a powerful one for that extraordinary dynamic, somewhere between too close and not close enough, that so often exists between mothers and daughters.

***

birthing at dawn
light on the lake
bending

Here, the image of “light on the lake / bending” suggests that the physical world shifts to accommodate the arrival of a new human being by way of refracting or diffracting light, just as the world awakens with the arrival of the sun at dawn.  In Woerdehoff’s haiku, all of nature, including the mystery of childbirth, is gathered in a profound expression of wonder and awe.

Valorie Broadhurst Woerdehoff (USA) holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Loras College in English: Writing and Theology, respectively.  She is originally from Northern California, but has spent the last 30+ years in Dubuque, Iowa.  She has served over 30 years as a higher education professional, and has written poetry since childhood.  Over 250 of her poems, including numerous haiku, senryu, and rengay, along with articles have been published in magazines, journals, and anthologies.  She has taught courses on publishing and has judged writing contests at the local and national level.  Her writing garnered a grant from the Iowa Arts Council and awards in local and national competitions, including earning her River Arts Association Writer of the Year honors.

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