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 marthamagenta

Martha Magenta lives in Bristol, England, UK. Her haiku, haibun, senryu, and tanka have appeared in a number of journals, magazines, and anthologies. She was awarded Honourable Mentions for her haiku in The Fifth Annual Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Awards, 2017, and the 71st Basho Memorial English Haiku Contest, 2017, and for her tanka in UHTS “Fleeting Words” Tanka Contest 2017. She is listed on The European Top 100 haiku authors, 2017. https://marthamagenta.com/
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