International Women’s Haiku Festival: Two Senryu by kjmunro

Todd Dwyer - old dollhouse in travis heights
Photo: Todd Dwyer/Creative Commons/Flickr

Canadian poet kjmunro turns a dollhouse into a hall of mirrors and a scratch on a car into marital disruption in two senryu.

dollhouse window
all I can see
is her eye

Presumably, the poetic speaker is looking into the dollhouse through its window, though can we be sure? Imagine you are the human looking into the dollhouse and can see only one of the doll’s eyes. Or, roles reversed, imagine you are the doll inside the dollhouse and see at your window a giant human eye looking inside. Or imagine that you are a human woman and that in every structure you inhabit or pass through, be it physical (an office building, a board room, a car dealership, even your own house) or metaphorical (a male-dominated hierarchy, a code of conduct or communication), you are seen as somehow smaller than those around you. Or only part of you is seen at all, and the rest of you is cloistered, hidden. And then, because it feels so familiar, you start to believe that you actually are smaller than those around you, and that maybe it’s okay that the world doesn’t really see you. What a tragic pity for the world. And how unjust for you.

***

one scratch
on the car
marital abrasion

How quickly something like a scratch on a car can turn into a wound in a marriage. Of course, in such a scenario, the marriage is already much more deeply wounded long before the sharp edge scraped across the detailing on the Mustang. But the scratch certainly doesn’t help. It digs just below the surface of the paint, deeply enough to cause vexation and to spark a new argument – maybe even an ongoing grudge – but not deeply enough to dig to the root of the problem.

Originally from Vancouver, BC, Canada, Katherine J. Munro (kjmunro) now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada and an Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets. She is active in the local organization Yukon Writers’ Collective Ink, and in 2014 founded ‘solstice haiku,’ a monthly haiku discussion group that she continues to facilitate. She has two leaflets with Leaf Press and co-edited Body of Evidence: a collection of killer ‘ku – an anthology of crime-related haiku. Her work has recently appeared in Vallum, Matrix, and the anthology Sustenance: Writers from BC and Beyond on the Subject of Food. She is currently facilitating a weekly blog feature called ‘Haiku Windows’ for The Haiku Foundation.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Poems by Christina Sng

Marcus Spiske Pasta Machine, Creative Commons (2)

Photo: Markus Sipske/Creative Commons/Flickr

Christina Sng writes of princesses, pasta machines, and all of our baggage in today’s feature of the International Women’s Haiku Festival.

pasta machine
braiding her hair
like Elsa’s again

For whatever reason, maybe as an expression of a latent desire to be desired, it seems little girls go through a princess phase.  When there’s a trusted guide, like a Princess Elsa doll, a girl’s journey into imaginary princesshood can be important child’s play, no doubt best conducted while wearing diaphanous dresses and dime-store tiaras.  Sng’s senryu cleverly connects this picture of youthful innocence nourished through play with the kitchen through the parallel imagery of an emerging hair braid and emerging stands of pasta.  Even more, the poem transforms an implied mother figure into the handmaid charged with fussing over the princess’s hair, a fascinating role reversal that foreshadows different relational dynamics down the road.

***

crystal clear lake
no one sees the debris
at the bottom

This poem speaks to the reality that, in this messy life, things are not always as they seem.  Experiences accrete onto our souls like barnacles glomming onto ships.  Yet we are expected not to reveal any of that baggage to the world.  For all our calm comportment, there’s just so much stuff way down deep.

Christina Sng (Singapore) is a poet, writer, and artist.  She is the author of two haiku collections, A Constellation of Songs (Origami Poems Project, 2016) and Catku (Allegra Press, 2016).  In the moments in between, she finds joy in tending to her herb and bonsai garden.  Visit her at christinasng.com.