This poem is dedicated to my dear sister-in-law, Paulett Brylinski, who lost her beloved husband, Jimmy, in December 2017. Watching her learn to cope and live with grief has taught me so much about courage and love.
I don’t enter many poetry contests, but I do love to see what entries win or place in contests/competitions I enjoy and admire. There is always so much to learn from other writers, of course, and it is always an inspiration to see what others produce.
One competition I really wanted to enter was the Fourth Annual Jane Reichhold Memorial HaigaCompetition, which is co-hosted by Failed Haiku and Prune Juice, two of the very finest Senryu journals around. It is divided into two groups: the Traditional (i.e., with original drawn art) Category (judged by Ron C. Moss) and the Photographic/Mixed Media Category (judged by Steve Hodge). My two entries were in the second category using photographs I had taken. One was left untouched and the other was embellished by some art programs I enjoy using on my iPad.
Imagine my surprise when I found out one of my entries won First Place in the Photographic/Mixed Media Category and the other one got an Honorable Mention! Yes, I was over the moon. It’s a double honor indeed. All the other entries selected in both categories were wonderful. I really can’t imagine how an editor selects one over another, but they do. My thanks to editor, Steve Hodge for selecting both of my haiga in this competition. I am deeply honored. Thanks also to Mike Rehling and Brent Goodman who edit Failed Haiku and Prune Juice.
I’ve included the comments of the editor because it’s always great to hear someone else’s interpretation and response to a poem.
As Memorial Day approaches, thoughts of all who have sacrificed for our country come to mind. There have been so many wars, so many skirmishes, so many of our service people posted to regions far away from their homeland. The work they do in times of war or in conflict is something that requires a level of courage I don’t have. Yet we can all pay them our deepest respects and honor those who have died as well as those who came home. They have made this country what it is.
This haiku was published in Frogpond 42.1, Winter 2019 (Haiku Society of North America)