SUMMER HAIKU AND TANKA

in the flutter
of a butterfly’s wing
last night’s dream

buzz of a fly
hum of a lawn mower
stillness

soap bubbles
hold the summer scene
then burst

summer morning
skimming cream off the top
of the milk bottle

just a white lie
that black dot at the center
of Queen Anne’s lace

all afternoon
and into the evening
old women chatter
the steady drone
of mosquitoes

not a ripple
on the pond
the water basin
is filled with
smooth round pebbles

red rover, red rover
I was always the last one
to be called over—
bees buzz and swarm
around my just-washed hair

reading poems
of my departed friend
her short life
like a white gardenia
worn in uncombed hair

my shelves collapse
from too many “how-to” books
lying face up
on the floor, a Tarot card
“There’s nothing you can do”

Photograph by Bill Hughes

FEATURED BOOK

Daffodils at Twilight

By Margaret Chula

read more

MARGARET CHULA lived in Japan for twelve years where she taught English and creative writing at universities in Kyoto. Her books include Grinding my ink (Haiku Society of America Book Award); This Moment; Shadow Lines (with Rich Youmans); Always Filling, Always Full; and The Smell of Rust. Her newest collection, What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps, a seven-year collaboration with quilt artist Cathy Erickson, includes poems in the voices of Japanese Americans interned during World War II. She has published poems in Prairie Schooner, Kyoto Journal, Poet Lore, America’s Review, and Runes, as well as in numerous haiku journals around the world. One of her haiku appears on Itoen tea bottles sold in stores and vending machines throughout Japan. Her one-woman performance of Japanese women poets (“Three Women Who Loved Love”), premiered in Krakow, Poland in 2003 and toured to Canada, Japan, and the U.S.

Margaret lives in Portland, Oregon, where she continues to teach and give work- shops at universities, poetry societies and Zen centers. Grants from Oregon Literary Arts and the Regional Arts & Culture Council have supported collaborations with artists, musicians, photographers and dancers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MARGARET CHULA’S ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMS, VISIT HER AT:

margaretchula.blogspot.com

WRITER’S STATEMENT

A writer’s purpose is to say the unsayable.
To put into words what we feel, experience, and yearn for,
our continual search for that which is always just beyond us.

It is the courage to say what others have been unwilling
or afraid to acknowledge. It’s the voice of a child, speaking truth
through the experience of discovery.

And if we remain open to the abundance of this universe
moments of inspiration will come unbidden:
the book that falls off the shelf into our hands
the dream that calls forth the Muse at dawn
a palette of words that moves and shifts
into the kaleidoscope of creation
once we let go.

Writing is a catharsis, a way to explore the darkness within and around me. It’s what I turn to in order to make sense out of chaos. It’s also a way to preserve the joyous and transformative moments of life. I began writing as soon as I could form words with a pencil. When I nearly drowned while learning to surf in France, I recorded the experience. Years later, as I sat outside watching my house burn, I composed haiku. After our first grand-daughter was born, I celebrated the occasion with a poem. And, like Japanese poets, when I leave this world, I hope to have a death poem on my lips.