‘Absences’ in Unbroken Journal

cemetery

The ossuary, a white-washed, rectangular building, is dark and cool. A musty smell envelops me as I enter. I am searching for the metal box containing my mother’s bones.

I’ve been told she is confined to one on the shelves that run the length of the room. I start searching methodically. Each box has a small hand-written label with the deceased’s name on its front. Several labels are blank. One has a dried daisy flower stuck on it with Sellotape; another, a star in cross stitch; yet another, a tiny motorcycle sticker. Photographs of the dead looking youthful are taped to several boxes, or placed next to them, complicating identification of the containers’ occupants.

Disheartened, I leave the grim building to walk in the dappled shade of the graveyard. The hum of the city mixes with birdsong. So many years since I was in Athens. I stop to read the names of the deceased on headstones, marvel at the stone angels, at the oil lamps. Soon my head is swimming. A woman burning sweet-smelling incense over a grave turns to look at me. I quickly look away, but then, returning her gaze, I nod and she smiles.

noon heat
a hairline crack
in the angel’s wing

In Unbroken Journal, issue 20, 2019

Haibun Triptych

Reality Bites

In my teens I spent school holidays in the local library. From opening to closing time, the library was my home. In the sizzling Athenian summers, it was the only cool place to be. The silence in the reading room felt like a blessing. Sitting at my desk I listened. A page turned. Someone shifted in their chair. Someone sighed. Silence again. I revelled in the sounds of human presence in this magic emptiness. A paradise. Except one day, when a cicada started singing. Having found its way in, it perched on Borges’s “The Book of Sand.” Heads turned. There was a commotion. A reader screamed, “Get this thing out of here!” The librarian, arm raised, raced to the shelf to swat the culprit, but the insect was no longer there.

turning the page
I come across the truth …
midsummer darkness

And yet

The road twists and turns for miles ahead. The refugee caravan moves haltingly forward. Mothers carrying their babies; dazed children, old people, the young, all stagger towards a safer future. Crossing the Red Sea, walking through deserts, wading across the Suchiate River, the caravan camps at Calais, rests for a night on Lesvos, repopulates the Sicilian city of Sutera, rows across river Evros. Razor wire carves memories on children’s skin. A voice over the megaphone: “Achtung, Achtung!” Babies are born, grow teeth, learn to speak. It rains, it snows, it shines. New words enter dictionaries. Poems emerge from sleeping bags.

each spring
breaking through the soil . . .
the human heart

We carry on

We turn out the lights, fall asleep and emerge head first into the real world. Belief, disbelief, nuance, knowledge; science, art, even poetry we leave behind. We enter this eternal world without walls, where we have control over nothing, yet we are nothing less than the seed of the cosmos. Here is our true home: fluid, quiet, boundless.

In the morning, once the alarm clock’s trill drags us back into consciousness, we dress in soft flesh, teeth and nails, and catch the bus to work.

oak leaves …
planning to live past
one hundred

boat,

In Blue Fifth Review, The Blue Collection 9: Home

Image: ‘Boat’ by Maria Pierides

Haibun Triptych in Blue Fifth Review: The Blue Collection 9

Grateful thanks to Michelle Elvy and Sam Rasnake for publishing my Haibun Triptych in the special issue “The blue collection 9: Home” of the phenomenal Blue Fifth Review!
Photo magic “Boat” by Maria Pierides accompanies the triptych.
Check it out:
Blue Fifth Review … the blue collection: 9: home (Winter 2018 / 18.10)

Boat,Haibun Triptych "Home"

‘Boundaries’ in Blithe Spirit

The main course is boiled beef with green beans, mushrooms, and sautee potatoes. A typical dish in this part of the world. What is atypical is the sauce that accompanies it. Unlike the horseradish recipes that make your nostrils flare, this delicate sauce introduces a surprisingly mature interpretation that sings to rather than stings the palate. My neighbour has chosen condiments that balance the flavours to perfection. I can feel the character of the well-tempered sauce on my tongue. No excess. No diversions. Clear limits. Boundaries.

noticing
the rose after the rain starts –
petrichor

In Blithe Spirit 28.3, 2018

‘another spring’ translated into Chinese

another spring
the knotted branch
in the shredder

Blithe Spirit, 27:2, 2017

Stella Pierides

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

另一個春天
將一根打結的樹枝
扔到切碎機中

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

另一个春天
将一根打结的树枝
扔到切碎机中

Chen-ou Liu, 劉鎮歐December 7, 2018 


Stella’s shasei (sketch from life) haiku is tightly structured with an emotional undercurrent: “another” in L1 shows the narrator’s attitude to the passing of time while the symbolically rich image of the “knotted branch” in the shredder in Ls 2&3 makes this haiku visually and emotionally effective.

Butterfly Dream: Another Spring Haiku by Stella Pierides

Honorable Mention in the Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Prix 2018

I have received the wonderful news that my tanka below has been awarded an Honorable Mention in the Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Prix contest in 2018. What an honor!

season’s end …
by the mountain shrine
wild horses graze
wrapped in fog
and silence

This contest was created by the Fuji Taisho Committee to celebrate Japan’s most famous and revered mountain in the poetic form of tanka. They say:

As the highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji has been a symbol of this country providing spiritual support to the Japanese people since ancient times. Its graceful appearance is often depicted in art, literature, photography and even in company logos. In 2013, Fujisan was added to the World Heritage List as a cultural site by UNESCO. The Fujisan Taisho prize is awarded for the best work of TANKA. It is an initiative to promote the preservation of this magnificent mountain by describing its beauty and charm through TANKA and sharing them with people all over the world. Our hope is to enhance better understanding towards the nature, tradition and culture of Fujisan through which we believe we can develop a better understanding of Japan. Our ultimate aim is to raise more interest in this country and attract more people worldwide towards our culture as well as industry and economy.

Brecon Beacon,

TANKA was invited on / relating to Mt. Fuji: impressions on Mt. Fuji, feelings and emotions experienced while climbing the mountain. It did not have to include the word “Mt. Fuji” as long as the subject was on the mountain or mountains in general.

Grateful thanks to the judges:

Takashi Okai, Judge-in-chief of the Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Prix 2018
Takayuki Saegusa, Judge of the Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Prix 2018
Hiroshi Homura, Judge of the Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Prix 2018
Naoko Higashi, Judge of the Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Prix 2018

The awards will be presented at the Mt. Fuji Tanka Grand Prix Ceremony on January 26, 2019 at the Nihonbashi Theater in Tokyo. I won’t be able to attend, but I will sure be dreaming about it – and looking forward to the award certificate.

Those familiar with my work will recognize the photo and tanka image as relating to the Brecon Beacons mountain range in Wales.

Review of ‘Of This World’ in Frogpond (41.3)

Delighted and honoured to read Vanessa Proctor’s generous and thoughtful review of my book, published in Frogpond 41.3, Fall 2018, p. 139), the journal of the Haiku Society of America! Please read PDF by clicking the link below…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… sp-frogpond-rev ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………….Available from Red Moon Press and Amazon
Of This World, Pierides,haibun,

‘Of This World’ HSA Award, Judges’ Comments

So pleased to have received an Honourable Mention in the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards! I announced the news earlier this year here. The Judges’ comments appeared in the latest issue of Frogpond, the Society’s Journal (41.3, Fall 2018, p. 119). 
This is what they say:

In this fine haibun collection, Pierides addresses a wide variety of subject matter as she moves fluidly between tones—-philosophical, heart-wrenching, ironic, humorous. Some of the prose is conventional and some highly experimental; likewise the haiku (a frog jumps in / intertextuality / for beginners). No matter how short or light-hearted, none of the pieces feel slight, and the variety is delightful.

Many thanks to Judges Melissa Allen and Brad Bennett!

Of This World,haibun,

Available from Red Moon Press and Amazon.

3rd Annual Haiku for Change Event 2018

This September I took part in the Haiku for Change Event organised by Michael Smeer of the Facebook community My Haiku Pond, in conjunction with 100 Thousand Poets for Change (Global) 2018. Poets were asked to write one haiku (or senryu, haiga, or photo-haiku) on change: climate, environment, earth.

Entries were included in the Haiku for Change Event ebook Anthology, a pdf posted on the 100 Thousand Poets for Change blog, and archived by Stanford University as part of their program to document the 100 Thousand Poets for Change movement and community.
Here is my offering:

rising seas
a clutch of turtle eggs
in the park sandpit

The pdf is now up and can be downloaded from the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Blog

AFL Grand Final Kukai 2018

This is the second year I participated in the Australian Grand Final Kukai, organised and hosted by haiku poet Rob Scott. I enjoyed the event itself, learning about the footy teams, the preparations and festivities leading up to Grand Final Day, and then following the game on internet radio in the early morning hours. Writing poems during the game was not easy, but as they say, strike the iron while it’s hot! And I tried! The best thing? Being part of the group of poets watching the match and responding with poems. I enjoyed their contributions immensely!

What heartbreak though. The Magpies ahead most of the match, the Eagles sweeping ahead in the end to win the final.

tachycardia
and swollen vocal cords…
Grand Final fever
*
grand final eve —
eagle and magpie fans feast on
chicken wings
*
magpies and eagles —
the stuff that dreams
are made of
*
live on air
the stadium roars
and roars
*
on the airwaves
the ebb and flow
of hope
*
half time —
believing in my spirit
animal
*
grand final
after all the hard work
… rain

‘match countdown’ on Per Diem: Daily Haiku

Thrilled to have my poem featured on Per Diem: Daily Haiku, The Haiku Foundation site. The poem will be up all day today the 23rd of September 2018 here
Many thanks to editor Rob Scott for selecting it!

This poem was written for the AFL Grand Final Kukai 2017 and included in The Tigers’ Almanac 2017, p. 187 (Malarky Publications)

haiku,poem,

Literature, Art, Culture, Society, and lots of Haiku