A handful of petals . . .

a handful of petals
beneath the winding sheet. . .
mother’s heart infused
with the lingering scent
of her favorite rose
              Notes from the Gean, June 2011, vol. 3, #1


About Margaret Dornaus

I’m a writer and a teacher, as well as a haiku-doodler. I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder. My work as a travel writer has appeared in publications from The Dallas Morning News to the Robb Report. You can find examples of my travel writing–as well as excerpts from a travel memoir I’m working on–at my other WordPress site, Travelin’ On. What more than that do you need to know? Only that I started this blog with an eye toward collaboration. Got a haiku? Send it my way. . . . I’m all about new visions & voices. Best, Margaret
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4 Responses to A handful of petals . . .

  1. Sully says:

    I have been reading your tanka and trying to “figure it out.” I am flailing around. Starting with the last phrase of favorite rose, I think a gardener would have special plants and roses that are meaningful and special to him/her. The scent of that rose would last forever – infuse. The phrase a mother’s heart somehow interjects a child, you did not use the words a woman’s heart.

    Beneath the winding sheet? Is this a real bed sheet with a few rose petals? Is it a long winding sheet rolled down a church aisle for a wedding? Is the sheet really a road?

    So I am going to go out on a limb here. You are a gardener, you love your flowers. Extending this you love your child or children. They are favorite roses. Just a slight scent of them, a handful of petals, in the sheets reminds you of them and your love of them. I think I am getting closer.

    This will sound a little strange; but when my son first went to college, my wife and I would sometimes lay on his bed and we could recollect the scent of our son. There were petals there. You penned a very smart poem, congrats.


    • Wow, Sully. I love your analysis, and the story of you and your wife recollecting the scent of your son. That is powerful! I’m afraid I wasn’t being anything but literal in my poem, even though I suppose I could be the rose in this tanka. . . although I wouldn’t necessarily say so.

      I’m not sure I’m completely satisfied with the way this tanka turned out. It’s a very personal story. The winding sheet is just that . . . a winding sheet. When a person dies, his/her body is wrapped in a winding sheet. The handful of petals were rose petals I placed beneath the winding sheet. They were red roses. My mother’s favorite. I don’t think I’ve done justice to the memory, but scent . . . now that’s a powerful sense to explore in relation to a person’s absence, whether from death or some other separation. Thank you for sharing your story and giving me something more to think about.

      Best, Margaret

      • Sully says:

        Thanks, Margaret. You have a good tanka and your version makes a whole lot more sense. I should have known I was missing something when I could not make sense of the word winding. It is the ultimate logic of short poems that every word does count. I appreciate the dialog.


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