milky way

by Iliyana Stoyanova

Dear Maya,

We haven’t chatted for a very long time – it seems almost an eternity from that cold December day when you left this world. Or maybe we have – in the quiet moments just before I go to sleep and all new ideas come in a flash but are gone by the morning; in the midnight hours when silence and the soft clicking of the keyboard is my only company; in the morning when half asleep over the coffee I try to sit down and write, write and write… When was it we last chatted? Let’s have a chat now!

You must look down at me and think what does she want to chat about? Well, there are so many things I would like to tell you but it is your birthday so instead I am going to write about you.

flight school –
pushing the fledglings
out of the nest

We have been virtual friends for a couple of years when we finally met in person. It was a beautiful autumn day in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Or as we call it in Bulgarian: ‘golden autumn’ (златна есен).  I have organized a haiku workshop for 18-24 years old young people and we started talking about various things. We were both glad how haiku was becoming more popular in the country and more and more people were attempting to write it. We shared our skepticism that not every poet was a haijin and not every three-line poem was a haiku however we were both happy that the young people were open to haiku and willing to learn and even master this difficult genre. Anyway, the haiku workshop was a great success and I still treasure your photos from the event. Sometimes I just go through them quietly and I feel happy we shared something special:

old friends
it’s enough to just sit
in silence

The first time we actually met was on Facebook after I read some of your poems. It quickly became apparent that this was by no means incidental. We started talking and realized we had similar perceptions of modern haiku, both Bulgarian and international, and all through those brief 3-4 years we felt like we’ve known each other all of our lives.

we strip a haiku bare
of adjectives

Although your health was problematic and you were facing a huge battle of wills with the big C, you never complained and found your inner strength in writing and helping others along their haiku journey:

cloudy sky…
the crow caws out
a sunbeam

A beloved mother and sister, a talented haijin, a translator and a photographer who did not give up until your very last breath, you did not stop writing, taking pictures, being a teacher, a mentor and, above all, a true friend. I do miss you terribly but I will always carry you in my heart as a friend and as a spiritual haiku sister.

among leaves on the path
a pair of wings

On your birthday I raise a glass of your favourite Mavrud wine and simply say: I love you, big sister!

In eternal haiku friendship – Iliyana
12 September 2017