WINTER HAIKU AND TANKA

 

winter complaints
my husband says "Tell it
to the nandina"

 

at dusk
call of a screech owl
snowflakes thicken

 

heavy with snow
the branch
its shadow

 

icicles melt
I read the poems
of Akhmatova

 

sparrows flock
to the dog's water bowl
filled with ice

 

teaching
my Japanese students
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Mother’s ceramic partridge
in her maple tree

 

weeks after the blizzard
dirty mounds of snow
and swayback aspens
how long does it take
for love to disappear

 

home with a cold
I cuddled with Mother
on the couch
where I was conceived
and watched afternoon soaps

 

year’s end
so many cross-outs
in my address book
squirrels scratch for buried nuts
beneath the frozen ground

 

a white rooster
heralds the dawn
and the new year
beneath silky sheets
your leg slides over mine

FEATURED BOOK

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.