International Women’s Haiku Festival: Two Haiku by Eleonore Nickolay

Christian Kadluba - Einblick
Photo: Christian Kadluba/Creative Commons/Flickr

German poet Eleonore Nickolay explores the end of cellulite and the sorrowful end of a pregnancy in two rich haiku.

early summer
an ad announces the end
of cellulite

Are we really that desperate for Photoshop bodies that we would believe an ad announcing the end of cellulite? The ad suggests both that we should be that desperate, and that we’re naïve enough to think some product can make our imperfections go away. And, of course, the timing – right at the start of bikini season – is impeccable.

***

miscarriage
in the empty room the play
of shadows

How those “shadows” haunt the final line of this poignant poem. All the possibilities the pregnancy built up in the mind, all the hopes, dashed by Mother Nature. The death of a human being and the death of a dream, of many dreams, all at once.

Eleonore Nickolay was born in Koblenz, Germany, in 1957 and lives in Vaires sur Marne, France,  east of Paris. She has written haiku since 2013 and is a member of the Deutsche Haiku Gesellschaft and the Association francophone de haïku. She is editor of the French haiku magazine GONG and the German one SOMMERGRAS.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Debbie Strange

edited_imagePhoto: Patrick Lentz/Creative Commons/Flickr

Canadian poet Debbie Strange sees strength in a cancer diagnosis and humor in a pair of skinny jeans in today’s feature in the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

cirrus clouds . . .
she donates hair
before chemo

Debbie Strange turns those wispy clouds that look like pony tails into locks of hair on the stylist’s floor.  The woman in this haiku is a picture of proactivity, strength, and generosity in the face of possible death, embracing her diagnosis with eyes and heart wide open.

***

laundry day . . .
my skinny jeans
fat with wind

It’s not enough that the thought of wearing skinny jeans strikes fear and dread in the hearts of some; the wind has to rub it in.  The image of the puffed-up skinny jeans pokes fun at our warped obsession with weight and body image, leaving us to laugh at how quickly we abandon more noble constructs of authentic beauty, and thus the paths to true contentment, in the pursuit of pretty packaging.

Debbie Strange‘s creative pursuits bring her closer to understanding the world and herself. She is an award-winning Canadian short form poet, haiga artist, and photographer. Debbie is the author of Warp and Weft, Tanka Threads (Keibooks 2015) and A Year Unfolding (Folded Word 2017). You are invited to visit her @Debbie_Strange.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Mary Stevens

The Beach

Photo: Nicki Mannix/Creative Commons/Flickr

Beach bodies, goth girls, and Mom make their way into haiku by Mary Stevens in today’s feature of the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

selecting poems
at the beach
I edit the bodies

And, if we’re honest without ourselves, wouldn’t we have to admit that we do the same?  This senryu backs into the issues of our obsession with appearances and our pathological need to throw stones, even when we know we all live in glass houses.  That the poem comes close to being a campy ars poetica takes some of the sting out of its commentary about human nature.

***

sun in my eyes
my mother will never see
all of me

The relational ground between a daughter and her mother is sometimes almost too treacherous to navigate.  My guess is that Stevens is right – no mother will ever see all of her daughter.  The mother’s expectations of and dreams for her daughter might blind her to the more valid reality of her daughter’s own self-realization.  And the daughter’s striving to show her mother what she has become, implied so effectively in this haiku with the image of “sun in my eyes,” takes on a tone of desperate futility.

***

a little too loud
the goth girl’s laughter
at her boyfriend’s joke

The desire to be desired shows up here in the form of, I imagine, an adolescent girl who’s trying a bit too hard.  She may grow out of it or, if she doesn’t find the genuine love she really seeks, she may not.

Mary Stevens lives in the Hudson Valley, New York, among much wildlife.  A member of the Haiku Society of America since 2003, she presented “The Cicada’s Voice: How Wabi Sabi Can Teach Us How to Live” at the 2015 Haiku North America, Schenectady, New York.  She aspires to get out of her own way when writing haiku.