Men's hostel employee's haiku awarded first place at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
The Catholic Charities Men's Hostel has a poet in its ranks. Marianne Werner, who writes professionally under the last name Baharustani, won first prize at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival's Haiku Invitational earlier this summer. She has dedicated her poem, "Cherry Blossoms," to Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.
The poem is about a person being alone in an airport, and the "cherry blossom" is found on the person's suitcase.
"I thought a lot times in his life he has been alone in airports," she said. "I would want him to carry the people of his diocese in his heart, in his mind, and in his prayers like the cherry blossom on the suitcase."
Werner said she greatly admires the archbishop for being good with people, being involved in the community, and supporting education. "I think we have been blessed with him."
The Holy Name of Jesus parishioner, a poet since childhood, said she had many years of training in poetry while growing up in her native Germany, where her school focused heavily on literature.
She had previously participated in the festival event three times, and she said the competition is fierce because it attracts thousands of poets from around the world.
Scott Small, manager of the Men's Hostel and Werner's boss, was impressed with Werner's poetic talent, but also in the way she used her victory to evangelize.
"She has such love and courage for the Church," he said. "She is willing to put herself out front for the Church in so many ways.
Small appreciated her victory on a personal level as well. He told The B.C. Catholic he used to be a visual artist who was blessed to be able make an income from his work, "so I am pleased whenever I see anyone at any level is recognized by others for their talents."
Werner's poem has been published with the other winners on the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website. The poem will also be published in the spring editions of the Canadian Ricepaper magazine, Haiku Canada newsletter, and in the American magazine Ripples.