Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, defined as a 17-syllable verse consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Lydia had illustrated a book (Wind in My Hand, The Story of Issa, Japanese Haiku Poet by Hanako Fukuda) and had visited Japan in 1964. Over the last 25 years of her life she worked on a set of poems she called her “haikus”. She knew of course that not all were in the precise form of the strict Japanese verse and this kept her rewriting and reworking the lines. (Lydia was rarely satisfied with anything she did.) In her last years she worked less on her haikus but every night from 1996 to the Spring of 1998 (she died in Switzerland, August 1998 at the age of 92) she would draw a doodle expressing her feelings and moods at the end of the day. We had often discussed the idea of putting some of her “haikus” together with an appropriate doodle. When it became clear that this might become a dream never realized, a small book was put together with the help of Lydia’s closest friends in time to show Lydia a few months before she passed away.
These poems reveal a part of Lydia that she did not outwardly divulge and that none of us really knew. I would like to share these with you as a record of one woman’s inner soul, with my deep respect for Lydia.
Click on the image and let these “forbidden vegetables” dance once again.