Dear friend and Hailstone member, Ellis Avery, passed away on Feb. 15 of this year. She had been fighting cancer for quite a while, and several of her friends here in Kansai knew of this. A few of us were fortunate to have had dinner with her on what we now know to have been her last trip to her beloved Kyoto, in December 2018. Some of us were given her latest Haiku Datebook containing her daily English haiku for the last full year of her regretfully shortened life. The first poem in it goes:

………. Bright sun, blue Charles,
………. her hand in mine. So thankful
………. for this day, so keen for more.

The Charles is the name of the river running through Boston, MA, where she lived with her wife, Sharon Marcus, and where my own grandmother lived in later life and died (but at more than double Ellis’ age of 46). This haiku especially brings tears to my eyes.

Some of you may remember Ellis as a contributor to Hibikiai Forum, as a judge of the Genjuan International Haibun Contest or perhaps, more likely, as a prize-winning novelist. Amongst her works outside of haiku were The Smoke Week (2003), The Teahouse Fire (2006), and The Last Nude (2012). She was not only a brilliant writer and fine poet, but also a most compassionate person: in fact she had been training to become a nurse. Our thoughts go out to Sharon. Her artistic legacy will survive!

Ellis’ latest haiku collection can be purchased here: http://www.harvard.com/book/haiku_datebook_2019/

This is the penultimate haiku in the book:

………. The leaves are dead,
………. but not the trees. They rest
………. with arms aloft. They wait.


6 Responses to “Ellis”

  1. Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #2: Tito of Icebox shares the sad news of haijin Ellis Avery’s passing.

  2. david mccullough Says:

    Very sad. We were lucky here in Kyoto to have the company of Ellis for a while and to enjoy her fine poetry.

  3. It’s so sad to hear the news…
    She Is a such a enthusiastic person, and I admire her.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    彼女とは一度だけしか会ったことがありませんが、あの輝くような、そして少しはにかんだような笑顔を覚えています。ご冥福をお祈りします。合掌― Hisashi

    • Hisashi says (above):
      Although for a year a fellow judge of the Genjuan Contest, alas, I only met her in person once. I do remember well, though, her bright yet slightly bashful smile. I now pray for her repose. With respect. HM

      • Hisashi Miyazaki Says:

        The anonymous is Hisashi Miyazaki, sorry.
        Stephen, thank you for your translation!

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