end of summer
the rust on my scissors
smells of marigolds


warmth of the tea room
the colored leaves
turn into themselves


sound of the wind
through dead leaves
bird song at dusk


from hollow reeds
in the thatched roof
cricket sounds


night fills in slowly
between the dark branches
autumn equinox


felled by a typhoon
yet these maple leaves
turn a brilliant hue
middle-aged and married,
why do I blush when I see you?


childhood Halloweens
I wore a princess costume –
after Mother’s stroke
I carve my pumpkin
with a crooked smile


autumn rain
darkens the sidewalk
I too, was that girl
with flaxen hair
and red rubber boots


a perfect mosaic
of aspen leaves
fallen on the pond—
doing what I want to do
a duck swims through them


after midnight
the sound of peepers
in the darkness
remember the songs we sang
to scare away our fears?


thirty years later
we pose at the same temple
November in Kyoto
and the gingko leaves
are still glowing



Daffodils at Twilight

By Margaret Chula

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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.



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.