Rita Mazur

Richland, Washington

A class assignment at Columbia Basin College introduced me to haiku. I struggled with the seventeen syllables. But I liked haiku because I could carry the three lines in my head as I chased kids, or cooked and cleaned. Now, I write on paper scraps, my palm, anywhere, usually by the river or at a long red light. Writing haiku is like prayer, building inner peace. Lorraine Ellis Harr offered me good criticism and advice when I began submitting manuscripts. Publications range from Dragonfly, Modern Haiku, A Haiku Path, and River Writing, to Tanka Splendor and The Japan Tanka Poets' Society, to The Tri-City Herald and The Oregonian. I offer two tanka here along with three haiku.

under the back porch
  catfish flop flop in the pail—
    the long August night

As long shadows stretch
across the cathedral steps,
ancient bells ring pure.
The old woman breaks her bread,
tosses half to the pigeons.

the brightening moon . . .
yapping of coyote pups
between new shadows

      full moon . . .
all night the farmer plants
      potato eyes

after his stroke
he shows me morning dew
caught in cobwebs
places a yellow rose
on my pillow