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Cyril Childs and Mt. Fuji

Last week we noted that Alan Bridges’s haiku was on its way to the top of Mt. Everest, and I requested that you send in other notable uses for haiku. Sandra Simpson responded to the challenge with this fond recollection of one of haiku’s nicest people, Cyril Childs. Sandra wrote:

Beyond the Paper Lanterns, sub-titled a “journey with cancer,” is a collection of haiku, haibun and long-form poetry by Cyril Childs of New Zealand. The book details the period when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a cautious all-clear from surgery and treatment Cyril and Vivienne moved to Japan for 10 months, returning seven years later for another two months, although by now Vivienne’s cancer has returned. The self-published, limited edition book appeared in 2000, with a second printing later that same year.

A copy of Beyond the Paper Lanterns was carried to the summit of Mt. Fuji in Japan in 2000 by American haiku poet Jerry Kilbride in a climb organized by the US Breast Cancer Fund.

    mountain summit—
    white-clad priest
    releases his prayers

In a piece published in 2006 Cyril wrote: “Jerry read from the book to the climbers the night before their ascent and he carried it to the summit. After the climb Jerry had everyone write a message in the book and returned it to me. It will remain a precious thing to me and my family.”

Cyril died, of cancer, at his home near Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand in January 2012.

    thunder overhead—
    I flick the last bubble
    from her injection syringe

Please send your favorite use for haiku, your own or another’s, to us via the contact form, and perhaps we’ll feature your work here as well.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Dear Sandra, Thank you for this beautiful remembrance of Cyril Childs and his wife Vivienne. “thunder overhead” says so much. It was generous of him to share, and I will look for more of his work. I also think of Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon; her young passing, yet somehow she also matured as a poet. And how poetry can offer empathy for the hard facts and also hope and consolation.

    Best wishes, Ellen

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