British poet Martha Magenta gives voice to the reprehensibility of sexual harassment, the after-effects of a mastectomy, and fleeting fertility in three beautiful haiku.
What prompts one to think it acceptable to make implicit or explicit sexual demands of someone else? The impulse may or may not be akin to the one that prompts the polluting of a beautiful landscape with an empty potato chip bag, the results are similar: both victims are left to drown in the filthy residue left behind by those who violate them.
last rose of summer –
of a single breast
In the normal course of things, we shed cells throughout our entire lives, such that every several years we effectively have entirely new bodies. So why should it surprise us when a part of our bodies must be removed all at once? It surprises us, of course, because we are gifted with the propensity to envision only our springtime and summers, not our autumns and (heaven forbid) our winters. A lone breast shares this lovely haiku with a late-blooming rose, offering the gentlest possible reminder both of our mortality and of its place, and its special kind of beauty, in the natural order.
falling sakura . . .
What image better conveys the yearning for new life than the sakura – the cherry blossom – that timeless Japanese symbol of the fragility of life? In this poem, the biological clock measures time in cherry petals let loose from the tree, even as the poem’s subject likely marks time in monthly cycles, in squares on the calendar, and in temperature readings. This, too, is life.
Inner Voices: International Women’s Haiku Festival Mar 8, 2018, ed. Jennifer Hambrick