8/10 Countdown to 1/25 Release: Haiku

Within a month after Casey died, friends and I started posting haiku. It began with Kathryn writing these two haiku:

Do not walk in pain.
Stay positive in the light.
Embrace your true friends

Monday morning now.
Someone should make me coffee.
Guess that would be me.

Funny, that second one, classic Kathryn.

People started responding. It surprised me that people who’d never tried to write one joined in, along with seasoned poets and professors. Sometimes the haiku talked back and forth, and other times they stood independently; some offered commentary on the writing process or on our seeming obsession with putting everything into verse. There was a series on the joy of new sneakers.

Here’s the Haiku collection (below for another look)

I loved the way my Fb community came together, rather like people did in the first waves of covid. So I put together a little book of our poems, made copies, and sent them to everyone who participated.

During one of the many, many revisions of The Tree You Come Home To, I started inserting some of the ones I’d written as a way to pause between sections.

Although all my sisters-in-law took part, Susan especially dove into the back-and-forth. I wrote:

I’d ride to find you
(if love were a big strong horse)
and bring you back home.

And Susan replied:

There are no answers
at the bottom of grief’s well
but the ground is firm.

I wrote:

my hands grasp at air 
every day the tear widens— 
will I split apart? 

And Susan answered:

No, you will not split
even if we don’t know how
we’ll hold together.

So, this post is my homage to our communities that support us, to our friends who join us when we strike out in some new way, who sooth and empathize, who share that tremendous love without which we really would split apart. One more example of our haiku conversations: