Mother's Day:
he swims out
to where he left her ashes

—Charles Rossiter

About the author: Charlie Rossiter, the host of, has been writing and publishing haiku and other poems for decades. His latest collection, Around the House, is just out from Pudding House Publications. His work has been featured on numerous state-wide public radio networks as well as NPR.


Responses to the haiku for 14 May 2003 by Charles Rossiter

    Michael Meyerhofer
    2003-05-14 14:17:18

    This is a vivid, bittersweet poem and I enjoyed it immensely. The only possible constructive criticism I could raise is that it MIGHT have been more effective in the first person, a la

    Mother's Day:
    swimming out
    to where I left her ashes

    I suppose the third line could be shortened to just "to her ashes", but I think the way you've written it functions very well by invoking not only the image of swimming out (on Mother's Day) to the place where a loved one's ashes have been scattered, but also the ritual of leaving them there in the first place. Quite a success, fitting so much in three lines. ;)

    Helen Ruggieri
    2003-05-14 15:18:20

    I like this a great deal - but would "left" work better as
    tossed or scattered or some better verb.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-05-16 19:57:55

    as someone once said, "the more things change, the more they remain the same".

    as michael commented, tis truly a bittersweet "poem", albeit a tiny story.

    in reading, and rereading, it relayed a continuous message to me.

    all things spoken of seasonally and in nature does not a haiku make.

    in being pivotal, the piece did spin around, but 360 degrees, yes, a continuation of the thought generated from line one.

    the more i read it, the more it took on a callous feeling. truly the subject matter is of a sensitive nature, however it lost much of it tenderness, the more i read it.

    amazing, how different things affect different people, or the effects of different things on different people at times are remarkable...

    Ellen G. Olinger (ElinGrace at wi dot rr dot com)
    2003-05-18 09:02:13

    I agree that the first person is more effective if we're writing about our own experience. Perhaps sometimes, though, we need to distance ourselves a bit as we process the pain, and move on, forever altered.

    And I agree that it's amazing how different our own and others' perceptions can be. Sure highlights the value of interaction and feedback. My dissertation was on effective instruction: learning is learning. I'm trying to apply the principles to poetry. Slowly but surely.

    My dad died in 1983, and things continue to resolve and grief poem is posted in the World Poetry Day comments (first published in Modern Haiku). Blessings to all we go through...take care.

    W.E.G. (the_renga_master at hotmail dot com)
    2003-09-03 18:43:42

    Yes, i agree with M. Meyerhofer that the personal pronoun makes it stronger & i claim much stronger. Unfortunately this opinion is much in the minority in haikuland, it seems to me. Very good work.

    john tiong chunghoo (bagiruang at yahoo dot com)
    2004-01-05 08:46:56

    mother's day
    wonder whether
    she misses grandma

    my mom left china in the 30s and never went back.
    she also lost contact with her mom.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-06-19 16:19:08

    father's day -
    she looks out
    in the direction he left


    2006-03-18 11:43:11

    I think it is powerful and beautiful, just as it is.

    2009-01-22 11:30:44

    while reading charles work, again, albeit now far from the season, other thoughts flood my cranium. weighing michael m. in particular, there are time when a ku must be wordy.

    it's january 2009, at the time

    bedroom colder than usual,
    even sliver of moon takes cover