Waterlily Shadows

First published in Woodnotes #16, Spring 1993, page 33.

Waterlily Shadows by Margaret Molarsky. 1992, 106 pages, paperback, 5½ by 8½ inches. $8 postpaid from the author at P.O. Box 286, Ross, California, 94957. [address no longer correct]

This consistently rewarding book presents 108 haiku and senryu interspersed with six illustrations by Lawrence Nadeau. The poems are given freedom to breathe by being printed one or two per page on clean white paper. It is a telling detail that this book was privately printed. Established presses, for lack of money or editorial insight, have missed the opportunity to publish this fine collection of Molarsky’s poems. It is telling that too often fine writers must resort to self-publishing as Molarsky has done. Yet she can be proud of her accomplishment, first for the quality of the poems, but also for the sizable task of self-publishing. The book is competently typeset, and the offset printing beautifully reproduces Nadeau’s appropriate and too infrequent illustrations. Careful editing, however, would have removed the incorrect apostrophe from lines such as “old boat and it’s shadow,” and would have corrected other minor errors or otherwise polished the collection. Yet this book is a solid testament to the skill with which Molarsky crafts her poems. Although she discovered haiku only recently in her long writing experience, she speaks with a steady and gentle voice. The following poems speak for themselves, and they speak for the rightness of the haiku that Molarsky discovers within her writing:

old Indian trail

we too,

pause for the view

from a granite cliff

letting wind take his ashes . . .

some blow back to me

discarded bulbs


in a city dump

sand and seashells

in his pockets

monday morning