One Leaf Detaches

Touchstone Distinguished Books Award Winner 2019

By Margaret Chula
Cover Photo by John Einarsen
52 pages, 5 x 8, perfect bound — $15
Published by Alba Press, UK

One Leaf Detaches features haiku that Margaret Chula composed on a return trip to Kyoto, where she lived from 1980-1992. Arriving in autumn, she spent a month visiting her favorite temples and gardens, such as Ryoan-ji, Katsura Imperial Villa and Daitoku-ji, as well as making a pilgrimage to Buson’s hut and Murasaki Shikibu’s grave. Like her previous award-winning collections, One Leaf Detaches celebrates nature and our place in it.

sudden gust
the sway of bamboo
one leaf detaches

just a tinge
of red in the leaves
evening crickets
wind through bamboo
the unwavering back
of the Zen master

all my regrets
left in the forest
hunter’s moon

nothing but water
and the golden carp
time passes
dusk settles
into the rice stubble
a sickle moon
Margaret watches and listens keenly to the sights, smells and sounds all around her. One Leaf Detaches is a flawless collection of haiku that is quiet yet profoundly deep. Who cannot fall in love with such beauty captured in so few words?
a great blue heron
shakes rain from his wings
then passes through it
Alexis Rotella
Judge, Ito-en Haiku Grand Prize Contest
(English Division)

A new collection of poems by Margaret Chula is always an event—an invitation to calm oneself and get serious about haiku. More than most of us writing haiku in English, she imbues her work with a sense of continuity with the deeper roots of the genre. The articulated silence following each haiku is an indication of her confidence as a writer and her accomplishments as a listener.

John Stevenson, Managing Editor
The Heron’s Nest