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Moira Richards

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Who’s a haibun?

Or rather, what’s a haibun? Roughly, a form of creative writing comprising prose and snippets of poetry (haiku for the purists), it was written by Matsuo Basho back in 17th century Japan and is still writ by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers in South Africa in the 21st century. Written, in fact, rather well by Phillippa since she’s aced one or two haibun contests in Japan recently.

In my book, US poet Hortensia Anderson, who “lives precariously on dialysis on the lower east side of NYC” is madame extraordinaire of the form – look:

The Plenitude of Emptiness

Letter to a Kidney Donor’s Mother

It was, no doubt, one of the worst nights of your life – the 10 pm rush to the hospital, a stranger holding your hands telling you of a car crash, a brain death, your child’s name, a gentle request to have his organs. On December 8, 1992, at 2 am, your nine-year-old son’s right kidney had been sewn into my abdomen.

I want you to know I named the kidney “Max”, how I had a special pillow to protect him, how I endured such pain because I had been entrusted with a gift – and a sacred bond had been born between us. Yet finally, the following August, I felt a part of your son, a part you once carried also, die.

star-filled sky
our different wishes
become the same


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