Hifsa Ashraf — Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Winner 2021
Hifsa Ashraf is the recipient of a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems for 2021 for her poem
the mother’s lullaby
— (kontinuum: kortárs haiku/contemporary haiku 1.1)
Commentary from the Panel:
“Who hasn’t been there. You’re tired and stressed from a long day at work, and you just want to get back home as hassle-free as possible. On a deeper level the train, plane, or bus commute also makes you feel “alone in a crowd,” especially at night. More existential still, maybe you feel like “a motherless child a long way from home” in the words of that old spiritual. These and other implied circumstances set the scene for us in the opening line. And then we hear a song. Not someone’s cellphone music that we dread, but rather a mother’s lullaby for the baby she cradles in her arms. A homely act which changes nothing, and yet transforms everything, about the circumstances. We are comforted now, more at peace. Each and all of us, within the sound of her voice.”
See the complete list of winners of both Individual Poem Awards and Distinguished Books Awards in the Touchstone Archives.
This Post Has 13 Comments
Ginormous congrats Hifsa! I am so excited for you!
Love it! Congratulations Hifsa!
Thanks to the distinguished panelists for this insightful commentary.
Thanks Alan for sharing this wonderful article. 🙂
This is a wonderful haiku!
Yes, ‘the’ adds much to the poem. Thanks to Alan for the insightful ‘article’ article. I have shared it on Twitter!
Thanks John. 🙂
This is a beautiful poem, with such depth. I can’t help but think of all the refugees leaving home by train, but also how this is a metaphor for any of us traveling in the dark and the unexpected comforts that we offer one another along the way. I think too that this poem speaks deeply to the work of mothering, which has societal impact that reaches far beyond any one family. I feel comforted by this poem each time I read it, and so in its own way it becomes a kind of lullaby too. Well done, Hifsa, and congratulations!
Thanks Meredith for your great comments. I really appreciate it.
A moving poem indeed, congratulations Hifsa!
Thanks Dan. 🙂
Using the the article “the” rather than “a” is a brilliant move that simultaneously pulls the reader in close and universalizes the idea of “mother.” A beautiful poem!
Dear Matt, really glad you picked that out! I wrote an article about articles, as this neat little grammatical device is often overlooked or underused.
The definite and indefinite article – how a house passes along the train of haiku
Spot on, Matt! It is the article that makes this haiku different. Thank you.
Comments are closed.