SPRING HAIKU AND TANKA

 

April morning
a single fawn lily
lights the forest floor

 

first day of sun
I serve you
eggs over easy

 

in the fallow seedbed
a single white tulip
blooms for a month

 

transplanting
bleeding hearts into the earth
tonight's blood moon

 

blades of iris
and flowers in full bloom
wings of a silent moth

 

after many years
the sound of your voice
on the telephone
rain is dripping
from just-budded trees

 

unlike Pygmalion’s
marble Galatea
my lover’s lips
are plaint and warm
and taste of strawberries

 

Mother’s amaryllis
always bloomed before mine
now that she’s gone
all I see is pain
in their taunting tongues

 

alone again
I read love poems
beneath the walnut tree
a squirrel tosses nutshells
on my head

 

Kyoto nursing home
my last visit with you
uneventful
the sasanqua’s
first white blossom

 

Fawn lily photograph by Barbara Drake

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.