International Women’s Haiku Festival: Haiku by Michelle Hyatt

Chris Isherwood - Near
Photo: Chris Isherwood/Creative Commons/Flickr

Demons inner and outer haunt a haiku by Canadian poet Michelle Hyatt.

so much makeup
hiding her face
dark side of the moon

Is this a poem about a woman so desperate for beauty that she goes overboard trying to paint it on, or about a woman who is hiding evidence of physical violence beneath mounds of cream and powder? Each interpretation speaks to a different type of darkness – the inner darkness that cannot let her see and accept her own beauty, or the darkness of abuse. And all of these layers of darkness are set in contrast to the chalky white light of that serene goddess, the ever-watching moon.

Michelle Hyatt enjoys wandering anywhere that takes her to trees, mountains, water, and moonlit forests. It is in these places where her heart feels most at home and finds creative inspiration, which sometimes develops into tiny poems. Some of her other work can be found in Yanty’s Butterfly – Haiku Nook: An Anthology. Michelle lives in Canada.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Terri L. French

dark alley

Photo: Renee McGurk/Creative Commons/Flickr

Terri L. French talks homelessness, lip service, and tampons in today’s feature in the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

a homeless teen
stealing tampons

The Curse, that monthly guest, joins up with the dreaded curse of homelessness and all the woes that fly out from its Pandora’s box.  French captures the desperation of the impoverished young woman with a boldness and directness that hits you in the gut and makes you weep for the world.


lip service
her voice falling
on deaf ears

The phenomenon of what I call disenvoicement – the unjust silencing of an individual on real or perceived threat of devastating consequences for speaking out – is a sinister reality in the lives of women.  In so many ways a woman’s voice falls on “deaf ears” – the physically or emotionally abused woman or girl is afraid to speak out against her abuser, the professional woman is afraid to speak from her unique perspective in a meeting full of male colleagues, the silenced woman who, in some cultures, is viewed as a being without basic human dignity simply by virtue of her sex – the list goes on.  This tragedy plays out on the social and individual levels; how much worse off the world is when deprived of these voices!  French’s poem aptly gives voice to a grave wrong in women’s experience that has gone on far too long.

Terri L. French is a writer/editor and award winning haiku poet living in Huntsville, Alabama. She is past Southeast Coordinator of the Haiku Society of America, former editor of the senryu and kyoka journal Prune Juice, and current secretary for The Haiku Foundation.

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