Call for haiku on migration and borders

(Re-published from the Passaport Project blog)

Whilst we’re documenting last Saturday’s solidarity Manifestival in front of the migrant detention centre in Findel, Luxembourg, and sifting patiently through the content we’ve received so far for Issue 2 of our artistic newspaper Le monde n’est pas rond (see the call for submissions), here’s an informal call for readers to send in some haiku on migration and borders, for possible publication in the same issue.

Languages: English, French, German, or Luxembourgish.
Translations from other languages are more than welcome.

Deadline: 21st July.

No need to stick religiously to the 5-7-5 rule; we’re more interested in concision of thought, paradox, and of course image and symbolism.

Post your haiku in the comments, or send them to mondepasrond at gmail dot com. Here are some examples to get the cogs in motion.

Detail of p. 28 of Le monde n'est pas rond, Issue 1. Illustration by Olivier Potozec 'Sader'.

Issue 1 of Le monde n’est pas rond
includes a haiku by Maltese writer Jean-Paul Borg, translated into French by myself and Elizabeth Grech:

j’ai dû le sortir
devant son regard tranchant
mon passeport rouge

(English: had to take it out / before his cutting gaze / my red passport )
(original Maltese: kelli noħorġu / quddiemu b’ħarsa mqita / passaport aħmar)

And here are some of my own. The first two are translated from the original Maltese, the last two were written directly in English.

A Syrian boy
paints houses on the canvas
of his tent.

No flag, large or small,
deserves greater esteem than
the hand that sews it.

People cross borders.
It’s been that way ever since
borders crossed people.

Dear people of Mars:
are our borders visible
in your evening sky?

Images accompanying the haiku are also most welcome. Here’s an illustration by my friend Daniel Dacio, a painter based in Madrid, of the haiku that appears in the blog header above. I wrote it back in 2007 at the Istanbul airport. Whilst I was waiting in the immigration queue, a toddler, no more than four years old, was leaping back and forth across the customs barrier, laughing to himself as if aware of the subversion and poetry of his play. The Japanese translation is by Yasuhiro Yotsumoto.


Looking forward to receiving more ‘no-borders’ haiku!

One thought

  1. Neat haiku. Simple, yet profound.
    I’ve not tried getting serious with my haiku, yet. Usually, they’re about nature and the seasons, or humourous. A few of my tanka are more serious. As a poetic form, tanka lend well to showing two sides of a coin. I will give serious haiku more thought and see what happens.


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