Thursday, November 19, 2015

Haiku Garden: Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu

"Our house in the village" by Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu

Does this little girl look familiar?

Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu
Her name is Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu and she first appeared on my blog as part of September's wrap-up celebration.

She was a stranger to me. I came upon her photograph thanks to a search for children and mirrors on Flickr Creative Commons, and was drawn to the expression in those sensitive, young eyes.

The eyes of a poet.

By the miracle of the Internet, Cristina discovered that I used her photo and reached out to me with a comment on that blog post. Little did I know, she was, indeed, a poet, specializing in haiku and haiga!  Cristina connected with me on Twitter, and once I had a look at her Twitter stream, I was captivated by her work. The rest, as they say, is history.

I gripe and moan a lot these days about how much time I spend on the Internet when I could/should be doing other things. (Like writing!) But then something like this happens, making the world feel smaller and more friendly, despite the horrendous acts of violence that are happening all around us. How fortunate for me that at Thanksgiving time—when family and friends, old and new, come together— I have a new friend from Bucharest, Romania to help me celebrate the holiday. With poetry. What could be better?

the scent of cinnamon 
in grandma's Bible
                                    ~ Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu

Cristina tells me that the picture is a (modified) photo taken in the village church. Given that she lives roughly 5,600 miles away, I asked her how she managed to effectively capture such a strong sense of the American holiday:
Thanksgiving does not exist in my country, but I used it as a symbol, a religious symbol that can replace other religious holidays that do exist in my Orthodox religious country. Considering the fact that those who heard about Thanksgiving are many and those who heard about religious feasts that are specific only to Romania are few, I made this replacement. One Romanian religious Orthodox celebration that can replace Thanksgiving is Mucenici day:

An added benefit of meeting Cristina has been learning about her village and family upbringing. Before WWII, my mother-in-law grew up in a small village in Hungary. I've never visited that part of the world, but somehow, through Cristina, I feel like I've been given a peek into aspects of my mother-in-law's childhood.

Cristina has loved poetry since she was little. While other children preferred to play ball games, she read poetry. She began writing poetry as an adult in 2007, and haiku in 2010. In 2010, she also began to translate her poems from her native Romanian to English or French.  She's been published in various e-zines, poetry journals, and magazines, some of which are well-known amongst our Poetry Friday haiku poets. Although Cristina lives in the city, usually her poems are inspired by the time she spent in the countryside or by observations of, as she describes them, "little facts of life."

I am tempted to share a few more of my favorite "little facts" from Cristina's extensive collection of short form poetry, but since that's not really the format of the Haiku Garden, I'll force myself to stick to just one. I strongly encourage you to read more of her work on her blog Minipoeme/Short Poems (I've linked you to the English versions, click on "Postări mai vechi" to page through); or on another, more personal blog, Eppur si non muove.

I'd like to close with this beautiful essay Cristina wrote in 2012 on Eppur si non muove, about her "haiku experience":
In my journey among endings and beginnings I stopped one day thinking about what opens and what closes with each step I take.  For me the answer was: light.  Life’s moments drip like stalactites in a cave, humans are melted stardust, binding to each other.  Stars do shine for those who know to look at them.  Sons and daughters of sunlight, we leave our shadows imprinted in other hearts until the Milky Way sweeps them away.

Autumn is the season that opens a door towards other existential areas, a time when blue skies become pale, when the fire of emotions dwindles, when shadows separate on forest ground.  One of these moments I opened my eyes understanding the importance of being aware of each open window of existence:  the world given to me by senses, filtered in my feelings and engraved in my thoughts.

I started reading and writing haiku two years ago.  My haiku aren’t a puzzle or a simple picture of reality.  They aren’t about describing emotions or revealing ideas.  They try to express the meaning of life events mirrored in each drop of light that enters my world.  For example a bird’s chirp has its echo beyond my senses, it touches a puddle where water ripples when petals fall and then goes further.  Me too, I am creating my own ripples in water, earth and air, being influenced in return by natural events.  Each haiku is an image of this bond or an image of the links within the universe.

Time is the most important element, because every event happens once and it is perceived as present even when senses lose their accuracy.

That’s why I tried to write my haiku looking at the world with the eyes of a child and trying to uncover the meanings of my life experience.  What I understood and what I will never understand.

Cristina-Monica Moldoveanu

Like I said, the eyes of a poet.

Thank you, Cristina, for allowing me to introduce you to the Poetry Friday community. It's an honor for me to share your work.

Warm wishes to all for peace, prosperity, 
and a happy Thanksgiving!

Just one more week to send me your kindness poem in time for Next Friday's DMC wrap-up celebration! This week we showcased young children's acts of kindness with poems by Kristi Dee Veitenheimer, Suzy Levinson, Mary Lee Hahn, and Janie Lazo.
Please join Tricia at the The Miss Rumphius Effect for today's Poetry Friday roundup.


  1. Wow. Such a story we all need this week - thank you both for sharing this across-the-world connection because of the power of poetry (& art).
    Cristina, your work is beautiful, moving. Looks like we both got serious about haiku around the same time- five or six years ago. So glad to be introduced to you here. [Your "Christmas alone –" poem on your site made me tear up. The "dirty blackboard" poem, too.] {{blessings}}

    1. Nice to meet you here Robin. Thanks for reading and liking my haiku and thanks again to Michelle for being such a wonderful host for my artistic offspring. Because holiday season is near, I wish you and all those who visit this post beautiful moments.

  2. Beautifully rich haikus and writing about them! Thanks for sharing Cristina with us Michelle, and thank you Cristina for your moving haikus and writing!

  3. This post buoyed my spirits, Michelle - thanks so much for telling us about Cristina and for sharing her work. How wonderful that you connected! )And Cristina, if you're reading this, thanks for sharing, too!)

    1. Julie, I am honored and happy that you read what I tried to express.

  4. Cristina has a beautiful spirit! Thanks for sharing her words with us.

  5. Amazing backstory; inspiring poetry: the perfect combination to gift us with, Michelle! Another thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving--you reaching out to Cristina, reaching out to you, reaching out to us. Thanks for injecting into this PF a huge dose of poetry goodness that transcends time and space! God bless you! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I love reading about connections like this, "making the world feel smaller and more friendly." I'm trying to focus on those moments that bring us together. Thank you!

  7. This is a lovely haiga. Cristina is a gifted poet.

    Sandip Chauhan

  8. Thanks for sharing the story of how you and Cristina connected. The internet really does make the world a smaller, friendlier place, if used for the right reasons. I love the photo of Cristina as a little girl and the fact that she did indeed turn out to be a poet. Love the haiku and reading her essay.

  9. No matter that you spend time on the internet, and that others rail about it, there are worlds we might never see or know without it, like this wonderful connection. Using a way of Thanksgiving in the haiku is special to us now because we celebrate next week, yet the substance will remain all the year. Thanks, Michelle, and Cristina for your lovely words.

  10. I need to thank from the bottom of my heart to all the people who read these things about me and read my haiku or liked my haiga. Thanks Tabatha, cb hanek, JoAnn, Sandip, jama and Linda and whoever else reads stories or poems on this blog. For me it was a happy moment to be able to share these little drops of poetry with you.

  11. What an amazing connection! So inspiring.

  12. I love those pictures of Cristina-Monica, and she does have the eyes of a poet that seem to see right to one's core. He poem is beautiful, too. Great post, Michelle. I like how welcoming and embracing the Poetry Friday group is. Best, Brenda

  13. Wonderful post and wonderful poem and story. Thanks.

  14. Cristina this is such a beautiful bio and interesting to learn about your life and wear your from your poems are delightful thank you for shearing your life and poems of sunshine with all of us

  15. Oh, Michelle, thank you for sharing this beautiful poet's vibrant words with us. I cannot believe this. It is an absolute miracle, Michelle. WOW. Fabulous. And you're right. In this world a story like this makes me feel much better than I did before I read it. xo

  16. It is truly a small world! It grows smaller each year, and yet, some manage to keep pushing our neighbors away. So sad.

    Cristina, I like this: "an image of the links within the universe." It is a perfect definition of haiku! I'm always looking for new and expansive definitions.

    Happy holidays to all!

  17. Ah, just lovely--both the story of your meeting and Cristina's haiga.

    Cristina, I love how you connected the cinnamon of the Mucenici celebration with American Thanksgiving. And your explanation of what haiku and poetry mean to you is profound.

  18. Alo, Cristina. Your ripples will have a wide impact some day.
    Look already how your words prompt our heartfelt responses.
    (On a personal note - my daughter enjoyed visiting Romania for a delicious coffee, walking across a bridge over the Danube. She was actually visiting the north Bulgaria grandparents & uncle of her Sofia, Bulgaria-born friend. This is far off the topic of your evocative writing, but I hope everyone indulges me.)

    pastra scris
    cu frumesetea

    (I hope I have said something close to
    "keep writing with beauty")

    1. Thank you very much, you are too kind. I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day and to all the other readers too!