Fallen blossoms . . .

cherry blossoms–
we visit the graves
of the unknown
     –Honorable Mention
      Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational 2011

Two weeks ago I found myself in Oklahoma City as part of a gathering of travel writers from all over the country.  Having been born and raised in Tulsa, I know Oklahoma’s capital city fairly well.  (I attended graduate school at the University of Oklahoma in nearby Norman, OK, and several of my relatives still live in the area.)  Maybe that’s why it is so hard for me to believe that 16 years ago Oklahoma City was the site of a senseless act of violence that took the lives of 168 people–19 of them children. 

I visited the site of the Murrah Federal Building bombing shortly after the national memorial to Oklahoma City’s victims was completed in 2001–just a few months before another city close to my heart endured terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.  But I had never had a chance to visit the museum that the people of Oklahoma City later built alongside their memorial.  I had that opportunity this trip, and it was, coming on the heels of 9/11’s tenth anniversary, a poignant reminder not only of the kind of devastation and suffering people are capable of inflicting on each other but also of the strength,  resilience and dignity communities like Oklahoma City and New York have shown in the aftermath of terrorism. 

I wrote my opening haiku months ago without specifically referencing either Oklahoma or New York.  Over the years, there have been many graves that I have visited with the intention of showing respect to those–both known and unknown–who’ve gone before me.  Such pilgrimages are, I believe, an important reminder of how fragile life can be . . . and how full of purpose.  The first haiku I can remember reading addresses that feeling much better than I can.  It is possibly my favorite haiku by my favorite haiku poet, Matsuo Bashō (translated by haijin Jane Reichhold), and even though I already posted it for my All Souls Tribute last October, I think it’s worth repeating . . . and remembering:

the whole family
all with white hair and canes
visiting graves
                         –Bashō (trans., Jane Reichhold)



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
This entry was posted in 9/11, Basho, Cherry blossoms, Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Oklahoma City Memorial, Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fallen blossoms . . .

  1. Jim Sullivan says:


    Notes from the Gean just hit the web. You have two very nice haiku, you have to be pleased. Congrats. And I have to crow. The Dreaming Room section has my commentary on first frost. I feel like I just got an A in third grade.


    • Thank you, Sully, for the note. I took a quick peek at the new Gean in the wee hours before I went to bed. And, yes, I am pleased . . . .for all of us! I’m so pleased they ran your commentary as well. I’m a big fan of your thoughtful analysis! A+!!

      Best, Margaret

  2. Pingback: Matsuo Basho: Haiku Poet | Legend of the Tengu Prince

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