International Women’s Haiku Festival: Two Haiku by David He

yowlong - Chestnut Hill Reservoir at Dusk
Photo: yowlong/Creative Commons/Flickr

Poet David He gives voice to a young girl’s sweet song and an older woman’s early dusk in two beautiful haiku.

a green leaf
between the girl’s lips
her sweet song

I envision a little girl holding a green leaf between her lips and humming a happy tune – maybe that of a nursery song, or maybe a tune she’s making up on the spot. This poem a tight shot on a moment of complete innocence. Maybe the girl doesn’t know anyone sees her with the leaf between her lips or hears her “sweet song.” Or maybe she does know and doesn’t even think to care. The poet’s language is as simple and unburdened as the haiku moment it captures.

***

Mum’s story
in her grey hair…
early dusk

The vivid image of a woman’s grey hair tells only part of the woman’s story. But the “early dusk” in the poem’s third line says it all. This grey-haired woman isn’t exactly old; her hair makes her look older than she is, and – doubly tragic – this in the face of an “early dusk.”

David He has been working as an advanced English teacher for 35 years in a high school. He has had twenty English-language short stories published in anthologies. His haiku have been published in
Acorn, The Heron’s Nest, Presence, Rocket bottles, Frogpond, One Hundred Gourds, Shamrock, First Literary Review-East, Modern Haiku, Frozen Butterfly, and elsewhere. He has also had tanka published in Skylark, Ribbons, and Cattails.  

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