I recently asked haikuists of the Haiku Society of America to send me one haiku they wrote that deals with a sad experience. Some of our saddest moments in life have led us to write beautiful
For me, only one good thing comes out of sadness. That is, it often propels our creativity. Some people try to squelch their feelings of sadness through means such as drug or alcohol abuse. That, to me, is a shame. Think of all the brilliant art that came into our world by artists who allowed themselves to really feel, without the use of medication.
We all, somewhat surprisingly, wrote about death. I had expected at least some haiku about divorce, job loss or leaving one’s home.
This is Part One of the blog. I must say, my fellow haikuists write masterful haiku that will inspire you to write.
war memorial how cold the stone
Nothing hits you more than seeing someone, in your mind’s eye, who you knew well, their name carved in stone. Want to make me cry? Walk with me through Arlington. 😦
funeral bells toll
to the church
When they built a new church in the diocese that my mother-in-law belonged to, they didn’t have the money for a bell. She donated the money. When she died the workmen needed to work extra long hours to get the bells in place for her funeral. That was the first time they rang.
lips at the winter
Written for Rev. Raymond Roseliep after his untimely death on December 6 (Feast of his beloved St. Nicholas), 1983. I am presently writing his biography, ‘Raymond Roseliep, Man of Art Who Loved the Rose.’
Wind Chimes 12
Thanks for the question. I will tell you, this is part of what takes me to haiku, memorializing a moment, maybe like Frost, as a stay against confusion. I have haiku from the scene of an abduction, hospice, psychiatric ward, death notification, you name it. (I would recommend googling Robert Epstein’s site on death poetry, too.)
I will leave you with one from sitting with a woman while her father died. She watched him endure a more than ten-year battle with Alzheimer’s. As we passed through his last moments, her story of his life included her father making dandelion wine in the good days…
a long slow death
how mellow the dandelion
in dad’s wine
frogpond 33.2, 2010
Note: Dan is a pastor.
My mother died in April.
reaching the end of the bough —
staring at the phone
of his suicide
RawNervz 8/2003 VIII:2
funeral procession . . .
into the headlights
Harold G. Henderson Award 1st place, 1998. Frogpond 21.3 Winter 1998.
Christmas Eve —
hanging her ornaments
My aunt, who was also my godmother and someone I was very close to, exchanged a Christmas ornament each year with my mother. My aunt was 52 when she died of a rare blood cancer. I wrote this haiku about the experience of hanging those ornaments on the tree the first Christmas after she passed away.
A haiku sequence:
This Tender Hour
this tender hour…
the sand mandala
given back to the wind
raindrops within raindrops
my face reflected in your eyes
I did not see–
your eyes before death
the nurse switching off
your oxygen tank…
my gasp for breath
day of the obit
inside his wallet
me at eleven
moonset 4:1 (May 2008)
My mother, who has since passed, contracted Bell’s Palsy. She regained limited ability to use the affected side of her face; the remaining paralysis was permanent. Mom’s smile became thin
and uneven. The new dentures fit her mouth somewhat, though never quite. Eventually a gold weight was inserted into the upper eyelid that didn’t close properly.
a crimped rose petal –
mother’s voice as she struggles
to form the words
Modern Haiku Vol XXXII Nr 3 (Fall 2001)
mother’s day . . .
wrapping the pink dress
for the funeral home
Modern Haiku, 42.2, Summer 2011
Copyright 2011 by Charlotte Digregorio.