war on the way
  I pull enormous weeds
  from my tiny garden 

—Margarita Engle

This haiku is the fifth place winner in the April 2003 tinywords haiku competition, winning the author a copy of John S. O'Connor's book, room full of chairs, from our sponsor, Deep North Press.

From the judges' comments: "The enormous weeds attempting to overtake the garden enhance the ominousness of the approaching war mentioned in the first line. The action seems natural and the two elements that are juxtaposed work together to create a single impression/mood."

About the author: Margarita Engle (Englefam at Earthlink.net) is the author, most recently, of The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano (Henry Holt & Co., 2006). Word Wings (Elin Grace Publ.) is a collection of haiku and short poems for children.

She is also the author of two novels as well as shorter works selected for anthologies and literary journals in many countries, in several languages. She has won numerous literary awards.


Responses to the haiku for 28 April 2003 by Margarita Engle

    Michael Meyerhofer
    2003-04-28 12:07:17

    What a wonderful poem... thank you for sharing it!

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-29 12:33:52

    no comment, yet...
    possible appeasement
    overturning ground

    2003-04-29 18:44:28

    I would normally find 'enormous' too ponderous a word for haiku, but here it speaks eloquently of the enormity of the contrast between the individual and the apparatus of the state. The poet's tiny garden tells of the unevenness of that match yet her action witnesses her steadfastness in the face of such overwhelming odds. But those enormous weeds will grow faster than she can pull, as we all know (I guess that's democracy)


    deborah russell (sellwein at hotmail dot com)
    2003-04-29 19:35:48

    Nicely presented. It seems to encompass the situation quite well.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-30 07:36:27

    well, well, well...

    yes, there is something special about this moment, but knowing me, you are bracing yourselves for my "however".

    however, it imprinted my mind as a two lines haiku.

    even though we have a second and even a third line, as i read them, they suddenly became one; as though we had a complete sentence.

    "i pull enormous weeds from my tiny garden" seems a tad bit frivolous.

    hmmm, a possible remake:

    war on the way
    enormous weeds i pull
    tiny garden space

    norman, "democracy"....i don't think so, the match doesn't reach that stately level, perhaps a bullying; what about dictatorial...

    john tiong chunghoo
    2004-01-05 09:02:09

    still this
    muslim thing

    ed markowski (1elmarko at comcast dot net)
    2004-04-27 19:12:32

    veteran's day service
    the explosions on the beach
    recalled in sign

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-06-18 18:42:08

    ongoing war --
    seasons come and go
    no one to tend the garden

    levon machenry
    2005-07-11 16:26:11

    this pioem is even more powerful when one
    considers that bush and his cabal cooked, twisted
    and downright lied to pull this war off. even
    more powerful when one digs down to the roots
    and finds oil as the reason. great poem ms engle.

    confederate cemetery
    the sky above
    half grey half blue

    2009-01-19 19:30:29

    wondering, where is levon, this january day...


    wakening to the dream
    cross america--
    wintry night