International Women’s Haiku Festival: A Haiku by Malintha Perera

cherry tree
Photo: Glen Bowman/Creative Commons/Flickr

With sensitivity and grace, Malintha Perera paints a tender portrait to a mother without children in a wistfully lovely haiku.

mountain cherries
the children
she longs to have

The world abounds in haiku about pregnancy, childbirth, one’s children, one’s grandchildren, motherhood, fatherhood, and grandparenthood. Haiku about infertility and childlessness, however, are less common. Is it too painful to speak in public? Or is there a certain perceived shame in even suggesting, much less admitting, publicly to that pain? This particular poem paints with heartrending beauty and delicacy both the bright and shiny fecundity of a mountain cherry tree and the almost incomprehensible kind of love a mother-at-heart feels for her unborn children. If only Mother Nature’s heart were always so big.

Malintha Perera is an established poet whose work is featured in numerous journals. She writes haiku, tanka, micropoetry as well as longer poems that are mainly centered on Zen Buddhism. Her first published haiku book, An Unswept Path (2015), is a collection of monastery haiku. She resides in Sri Lanka with her family.

International Women’s Haiku Festival: Three Haiku by Martha Magenta

makou0629 - fallen petals
Photo: makou0629/Creative Commons/Flickr

British poet Martha Magenta gives voice to the reprehensibility of sexual harassment, the after-effects of a mastectomy, and fleeting fertility in three beautiful haiku.

the depth
of pollution
#metoo

What prompts one to think it acceptable to make implicit or explicit sexual demands of someone else? The impulse may or may not be akin to the one that prompts the polluting of a beautiful landscape with an empty potato chip bag, but the results are similar: both victims are left to drown in the filthy residue left behind by those who violate them.

***

last rose of summer –
the loneliness
of a single breast

In the normal course of things, we shed cells throughout our entire lives, such that every several years we effectively have entirely new bodies. So why should it surprise us when a part of our bodies must be removed all at once? It surprises us, of course, because we are gifted with the propensity to envision only our springtime and summers, not our autumns and (heaven forbid) our winters. A lone breast shares this lovely haiku with a late-blooming rose, offering the gentlest possible reminder both of our mortality and of its place, and its special kind of beauty, in the natural order.

***

falling sakura . . .
her yearning
to conceive

What image better conveys the yearning for new life than the sakura – the cherry blossom – that timeless Japanese symbol of the fragility of life? In this poem, the biological clock measures time in cherry petals let loose from the tree, even as the poem’s subject likely marks time in monthly cycles, in squares on the calendar, and in temperature readings. This, too, is life.

Martha Magenta lives in Bristol, England, UK. Her haiku, haibun, senryu, and tanka have appeared in a number of journals, magazines, and anthologies. She was awarded Honourable Mentions for her haiku in The Fifth Annual Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2017, and the 71st Basho Memorial English Haiku Contest, 2017, and for her tanka in UHTS “Fleeting Words” Tanka Contest 2017. She is listed on The European Top 100 haiku authors, 2017.