f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

September 21, 2007

the hands of women by pamela miller ness

Filed under: Book Reviews,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:38 pm

To mark the activities of Haiku North America 2007, in August 2007, our honored guest poet Pamela Miller Ness (current President of the Haiku Society of America, and editor/publisher of Red Lights Tanka Journal) had 250 copies of the chapbook The Hands of Women printed by Swamp Press/Lily Pond Press. This loving commemoration of the “needlewomen” in Pamela’s life is a remarkable sequence of 6 haiku and 4 tanka, which I wanted to share with the readers of f/k/a. When I asked Pamela if I could post her chapbook in full, she immediately and generously gave her permission. Therefore, you will find The Hands of Women reprinted below in its entirety. Many thanks to Pamela.

. . . . . .

. . . . . . . .

first day of the year
I take up my needles
and knit a row

She knits
a Fair Isle sweater
each stitch formed
by the hands of women
who have gone before.

first day of spring
I wind the ball
of lime green yarn

of her 80th year
she knits a shawl
all the colors
of the rainbow

hurricane over
the click click click
of knitting needles

the wee hours
weaving loose ends
into my knitting

she knits a scarf
the color of sky

winter solstice
I unravel my knitting
and begin again

Midwinter dusk:
you practice flute,
I crochet . . .
would that it could
always be so.

Binding off
the baby blanket
I wind
and store the unused yarn.
Last day of the year.

my mother & grandmothers
and all the needlewomen
who have gone before

by Pamela Miller NessThe Hands of Women
(Lily Pond Press/Swamp Press, August 2007)

Some of these poems have appeared in
Mariposa, Modern English Tanka,
Modern Haiku, Penumbra,
Sixty Sunflowers
(TSA Members
Antholgy) & Solaris Hill

If you would like a letter-press printed copy of Pamela’s chapbook The Hands of Women, please contact her directly at – DeuceDK AT aol DOT com . The $5.00 price includes an envelope for gift-giving and postage. Even if the “needlewomen” [or needlemen] you know aren’t yet haiku and tanka lovers, they will appreciate this beautifully-written and printed chapbook.


  1. Pamela, David,

    What a fine gift to receive this so-bright September day! So many of us are at that time in life when the our web of closest relationships is threadbare or torn. Thank you for all that is life-affirming here.

    Comment by Hilary Tann — September 23, 2007 @ 4:01 pm

  2. Hello, Hilary! What a lovely Comment. It’s terrible that you work right down the street from my home and we never see each other. Our mutual friend, Prof. Chang, needs to lure you and me over to his place for one of his famous meals, and perhaps a little bocce and red wine. Be well.

    Comment by David Giacalone — September 23, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

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