AUTUMN HAIKU AND TANKA

remembering him

the bitter taste

of persimmons

 

white sand, perfectly raked

one persimmon

one dent

 

at Murasaki’s grave

birds chitter from trees

roar of traffic

 

just a tinge

of red in the leaves

evening crickets

 

the priest offers me

an orange and apple

left for the Buddha

 

 

after all these years

I still miss you—

the patter

of steady rain

on ripe persimmons

 

autumn rain

darkens the sidewalk

I, too, was that girl

with flaxen hair

and red rubber boots

 

piano sonatas

that Aunt Helen used to play

in the dark parlor

holes in the alder leaves

are shaped like tears

 

thirty years later

we pose at the same temple

November in Kyoto

and the gingko leaves

are still glowing

 

a perfect mosaic

of aspen leaves

fallen on the pond

doing what I want to do

a duck swims through them

 

FEATURED BOOK

One Last Scherzo

By Margaret Chula

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; The Smell of Rust; Just This; and most recently, Daffodils at Twilight. Her collection What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps, a seven-year collaboration with quilt artist Cathy Erickson, features 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 workshops at universities, poetry societies and Zen centers.

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.