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: 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: Three Haiku by Marietta McGregor

F D Richards - Alcea rosea, 2017, Single [Hollyhock]
Photo: F. D. Richards/Creative Commons/Flickr
The poignant joy of a girl growing up, the wonder of a child in the womb, and the sorrow lingering long after the death of a special friend all find voice in three wistful haiku by Australian poet Marietta McGregor.

tall pink hollyhocks
daughter swings faster
on the garden gate

As the saying goes, they grow up so quickly. This delightful yet poignant poem conjures the image of a girl who still likes to turn everyday objects – even the garden gate – into playthings. But, as a different saying goes, my, she’s growing like a weed. Or like a hollyhock, which can grow to be quite tall – and quite beautiful.

***

faint new moon
framed in leaves
thirteen-week ultrasound

This tender poem likens the silvery ultrasound image of a child growing in the womb to the hazy glow of the moon. The imagery of darkness and light cloaks the poem in a chiaroscuro fittingly wondrous for the awesome mystery of new life.

***

autumn dusk
the years since we shared
a birthday

This beautiful poem gives voice to the sorrow of losing a loved-one – in this case, one with the special connection of having been born the same day the poetic speaker was – to the final separation caused by death. The poetic speaker and the other person represented by “we” might literally have been twins, or might have been simply “birthmates” unrelated by blood, but they are now separated by death. Even after “the years” since they shared a birthday, the pain of this separation is still fresh, and it is conveyed beautifully in the doubly umbrous image of “autumn dusk.”

Marietta McGregor is a retired botanist and journalist from Canberra, Australia, and a Pushcart-nominated poet. Her award-winning haiku, haibun and haiga appear in international journals and anthologies and have featured on Japanese television. She belongs to the Australian and British Haiku Societies, and the Haiku Society of America.