Poet Showcase: Margaret Chula

Name: Margaret Chula
Location: Portland, Oregon

Website: Margaret’s website.
Blog: Margaret’s blog.

How do you know Cara? Haiku Society of America, Bend Haiku Weekend, June 2011

How long have you been writing poetry? Poetry, all my life since I was ten. Haiku since 1979.

What kind of poetry do you write? I still enjoy writing tanka and haibun after more than twenty years. Currently I’m working on a manuscript of lyrical poetry, another haibun collection, and sending out a tanka manuscript to publishers.

Please share a poem:

Polishing the Spoons 

Polishing the silver spoons that belonged to my grandmother, my
mother and now me, I picture us each standing at the kitchen sink.
We are absorbed in the woman’s task of cleaning, our satisfaction
in seeing the black tarnish come off on the rag.  

    shining from
    the concave mirror
    distorted reflections

My grandmother wears a long dress with an apron splashed with
cooking for eight children. Her auburn hair’s braided and coiled
on top of her head. Her thick fingers move slowly, thoroughly,
over each spoon.

	  worrying about
          the summer tobacco crop
          spilt gravy

Mother is wearing a 1950’s housedress, faded and tattered from
too many presses through the ringer washing machine. Her short
black hair forms tendrils in the New England heat. She has taken
off her diamond and laid it on the counter. Her once beautiful hands
are dry and puckered. She scrubs quickly

	     thinking about
	     the pail of dirty diapers
	     and how she’ll finally leave him.

I’m wearing a cobalt blue top with silver threads from Bali, white
shorts, and no apron. I don’t even own an apron. Barefooted, blond
hair wound on top of my head, I polish the spoons while waiting for
the kettle to boil. Rubber gloves protect my lacquered nails.

			that I have no one
			to leave these spoons to

							©Margaret Chula

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, 2011
Modern Haiku, 2011

8 thoughts on “Poet Showcase: Margaret Chula

  1. Such imagery, vision, emotion … such history these few pieces weave. Nicely done.

    And speaking of history, Margaret, I’m impressed with how long you have been writing. Against my few years, I am encouraged by your story and this sample of your work. Something to strive for.

    Cara, thank you so much for doing this. I’m enjoying seeing poets I know, and meeting those I don’t. Margaret, so nice to meet you!

    Marie Elena

  2. Absolutely beautiful haibun, Margaret. Thank you for sharing it with us here. This is the standard of haibun I hope to write one day!

    Thank you, Cara, for having Margaret on your showcase 🙂

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