churchyard lichen
the living and dead
in symbiosis


© Martha Magenta
Cattails – the journal of the United Haiku & Tanka Society October, 2017

with Editor’s Choice and commentary:

“Martha Magenta’s haiku balances many things and the first line itself is indicative of that. Lichens are a symbol of life and symbiosis between organisms, and are intriguing in their appearance. The churchyard is normally associated with the dead. These two images in the first line provide tautness to the haiku. Lines two and three turn the concept of symbiosis around – the mutually beneficial relationship of the living and the dead. The haiku is layered and each reading gave me new insight. Many images flash – of the living visiting the dead in the churchyard, of the hues and shapes of moss, of lichen growing in an environment that is nourished by the dead. The symbiosis in the last line links back to the images in the first line, especially the lichen. To me, this haiku also suggests an acceptance of the dead and death, just as we accept life and the living. “


About Martha Magenta

Martha Magenta is an award-winning haiku poet living in Bristol, England, UK. She has a passion for herbalism, gardening, veganism, animal rights, Earth and the environment. She has worked for ActionAid, and Friends of the Earth. Her poetry, haiku, haibun, senryu, and tanka have appeared in many journals, magazines, and anthologies. She was awarded first, second and third prizes and Honourable Mentions in contests for haiku, tanka and haibun in 2017 - 2019. She is listed on The European Top 100 haiku authors, 2017 and 2018. She collects her published work on a blog: https://marthamagenta.com/
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