remembering her face
in the face
of the swan
- Terry Carter
The delicate strength of Ruby
Spriggs. I always wished to capture some of it, gossamer in wind,
anchored by a grin. I would wish that I were known to her, important
to her, for to be important to Ruby was to have passed some test
that I wanted to pass. I wanted to share in her magic, the magic
that transformed wherever she was, and those in her orbit. I wanted
her to remember me, think of me, be someone she wanted to spend time with,
all this from some brief meetings and encounters.
a quiet lake
- Claudia Graf
atop a stepstool
moment of birth new shadow
Perhaps because she was a long way from home and knew hardly anyone at that HSA event, Ruby played a very low-key role there. We had breakfast with her at least once that weekend, and drove her to some connection after the retreat. Her after-image continues with me, and her calm, slight reserve, with just a glint of a rich sense of humor in her eyes.
And so, replacing a lightbulb,
I think of shadow and light, and of Ruby's later poem:
switching off the lights
On reading about Ruby's passing I drew a sharp breath and felt instantly sad. I was fortunate to have met Ruby at the Haiku Canada Retreat in May this year (Grant and Ruby came for the Saturday). When I took her picture, she was self-conscious about her swollen left arm, and hid it behind her back. She may not have been well, and apparently only had enough energy to attend one day of the retreat, but I would not have dreamed that she would pass away in less than two months.
I didn't know Ruby very much,
except through occasional correspondence and through her poems, but on
my brief meeting in May she struck me as being a lot like Pat Shelley --
they both exuded a quiet, deep-seated graciousness. Ruby's legacy will,
at the very least, include a quantity of fine haiku and tanka. I wish I
had had the privilege of knowing her better.
moment of death a lost shadow- Michael Dylan Welch
I last saw Ruby Spriggs about
two months before she died. She
sunset . . .
Just the other day I was
putting away a copy of RAW NERVZ and noticed a drawing of Ruby's and wondered
how she was. Now, I realize that she was already probably "in that
terrible rowing toward god." We will dedicate the next issue of LYNX
- Billie Wilson
- Tom Clausen
The shock of her passing and
the deep sense of loss are felt by so many of us.
- Francine Poradhalf the sundeck
.May Ruby rest in peace...
- André Duhaime
- Ernest Berry
I didn't know Ruby well enough
to write anything (in her honor) that would be meaningful, (therefore)
I must simply bow to Ruby and the wonderful work she shared with the haiku
- Christopher Herold
She seemed a dear gentle person
to me. - Winona Baker
I am really glad that Ruby managed
to see her fine haiku re-printed in still before she died. It is
always so sad to lose a fine woman writer in the Haiku & Tanka world
. . .
tonight dew on her parkbench
- ai li
So sorry to hear about Ruby Spriggs. I have always thought of her as being among the very finest haiku artists in all of North America. And in addition to her poetry, she gave a lot to Haiku Canada in its early days. What a great loss!
- James Deahl
grass of parnassus
- Raffael de Gruttola
Thanks for letting us know about
Ruby Spriggs. Though Alex and I
- Alice and Alex Benedict
storm clouds at sunset
I am very sad to hear the news; I never knew her except by her work, which I admired greatly.
- Charles Trumbull
In my original
anne's blue smoke
- Gerald England
When I first met Ruby at the wonderful Haiku Canada meeting in 1986, I bought her book, “Sun Shadow Moon Shadow.” She signed it “… With Love, keep creating.” It is the best advice a young writer can get – after all, at that time my first language was Dutch and writing in English was difficult. Not only was I taken by Ruby’s graceful charm, but also by her ability to let others blow their own horn. Without looking for it (pardon the pun, but she would have loved it!), Ruby shone in Canada’s haiku firmament.
Like many others who met Ruby in May (2001) during the HC Weekend, we would have loved her participation during the writing of the renku, but that would have been too much to have expected. Although she looked very fragile the Saturday she dropped by, grace had only strengthened her resolve to honour Haiku Canada with her presence.
Gone but not forgotten.
One of my most pleasurable moments as a member of Haiku Canada was to meet fellow members for the first time. Such was the case when attending Haiku Canada’s annual meeting in Alymer, Quebec in 1988, and being introduced to Ruby Spriggs. A beautiful, slender women with a welcoming smile, soft flowing voice, and sparkling eyes, Ruby’s quiet, gracious disposition was irresistable. I longed to know her better.
To my great delight, we corresponded frequently over the ensuing years, and became good friends. What a pleasure it was to touch the light and loving warmth of her spirit, read her gentle haiku and tanka, and create renga with her.
She also shared with me beautiful photographs she had taken as well as varied styles of her artwork. When she generously granted permission re several pieces of her delicate artwork to illustrate my 1995 haiku and sijo collections, I was deeply honored and touched -- and forever grateful.
While Ruby kept me informed of her failing health, she never complained, and concluded each brief report with optimism. Understandably, over the last couple of years, her letters became notes and arrived less frequently. Yet this cheerful, courageous lady continued to submit her work to competitions, journals, and write renga with me and others until shortly before her long suffering was stilled.
Ruby died before hearing that her tanka had earned First Place in the North American Tanka Contest, but I like to think that the news reached her on high and she joins us in celebrating her award and of all those who placed.
Loved by all who had the pleasure of meeting and/or working with her, Ruby's special 'voice' and gentle being will be dearly missed. I give thanks for having known and worked with this wonderful woman, and shall long cherish her haiku and tanka, as well as renga collections with her beloved partner, Grant Savage.
Forever in the light, dear Ruby.
- Elizabeth St Jacquessoft moonlight
SOURCES re William J. Higginson's Memorial:
William J. Higginson, "atop a stepstool," not previously published.
Spriggs, "moment of birth", from The Haiku Handbook:How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku by William J. Higginson with Penny Harter (McGraw-Hill), copyright 1985.
Spriggs, "switching off the lights", from Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac by William J. Higginson (Kodansha International), copyright 1996.
Harter, "twilight fading", from "Haiku, Spring Lake, New Jersey", from Stories from Where We Live: The North Atlantic Coast, edited by Sara St. Antoine (Milkweed Editions), copyright 2000.
Ruby Spriggs with Friends : Photo
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