Erika Schwalm

Erika Schwalm - In Memoriam


Was born in 1941 in Frankfurt. She started writing haiku with the help of Dr. Tadao Araki, Fuyuo Usaki and Tohta Kaneko. In 1988 she founded the "Frankfurt Haiku Circle" and belongs to the board of the German Haiku Society.

She is as well a teacher of Sogetsu Ikebana, which she studied in the course of many travels to Japan. Her original way is connecting ikebana and haiku. She has published two Ikebana books.

Erika is corresponding with ikebana and haiku-groups all over the world.

Copyright (c) 2001 World Haiku Association.



Erika, you will live on in our hearts and haiku!

Representing the Members of WHCworldkigo

Gabi Greve
Director of WHCworldkigo


surrounded by flowers
a life turns back
to earth

Erika, I will miss you so much! We had already made plans for a meeting in Japan !


Let me quote a few words from your last letter:

Dear Gabi,
Mit groser Freude verfolge ich Deine Seiten im Netz und die intensive und geduldige Korrespondenz.
Fuer all Deine Muhe mochte ich Dir herzlich danken.
Herzliche Gruesse
Deine Erika.

November 25, 2005


she visits
her native place
no more roses

Geert Verbeke


in the sadly universal way of things, i never told erika how much her presence on this list meant to me.

erika was a haiku buff and an ikebana buff.

so am i.

the two arts are so much the same.

consider this instruction from an ikebana text:

take about eighteen inches from the end of a magnolia branch and trim away most of the leaves, leaving a branch with a few leaves that conveys the essence of what a magnolia is.

is this not what we do with our haiku moments...scribble down the haiku moment and later, write a proto-haiku that captures the moment, then trim, trim trim until it is the essence of that haiku moment.

erika, you live on in our hearts.

and we will pass you on to others.

ooo ooo ooo

Another happy memory with Erika:

a few years back i gave a talk on haiku to the sogetsu ikebana club here in dallas. (erika was sogetsu school).

they told me that they were doing a 'linked form' of ikebana that day. each woman had brought a black 'container'. the leader brought common flowers to be included in each arrangement and each woman had brought some of her own choosing to add to her arrangement.

a woman would make an arrangement and the next was to link to it and shift the next arrangement in another direction.

'why, that is an ikebana renga', i cried.

'what???', they cried.

later i shared this story with erika. erika was the only person on the planet (that i knew) who 'got' what i was talking about. plus she had done many ikebana renga....

it is so wonderful and rare to find someone who understands what you care about.

susan delphine delaney md
plano, texas


Erika the haijin
butterfly, moves on freely
into another cosmos

Narayanan Raghunathan ~


snuffed out by a draft
the candle's scent lingers
in the moonlight

Norman Darlington


Erika, ich werde dich nie vergessen!



ich bin so traurig über die Nachricht von Erikas Tod...

Im Oktober konnte ich sie in einem Seminar ihres Frankfurter Haiku-Kreis noch einmal treffen, sie war so voller Pläne und hat mir zwei Tage vor ihrem Tod sogar von ihrer geplanten Japanreise 2008 gemailt und mich gefragt, ob ich mir nicht überlegen wollte daran teilzunehmen. Unbegreiflich, dass sie uns so kurz darauf verlassen musste. Ich kann es noch gar nicht fassen!

Eine Erinnerungs- und Gedenkseite für sie einzurichten, war eine sehr schöne Idee von dir. Ich habe ihren unermüdlichen Einsatz für das Haiku und die Menschen, die sich mit dieser Art der Dichtung beschäftigen immer bewundert. Sie wird eine sehr große Lücke hinterlassen.



Introducing Erika and her work at the World Kigo Database / Ikebana

Her last contribution to the database

Christmas Tree Ikebana, December 2005

World Kigo Database: Christmas Tree




Emperor's Birthday


Boys festival, May 2005


......................... More Contributions for Erika

Auf der Homepage steht ein Satz, der mich ganz besonders anspricht...

Thank you and come back soon ! 

Das ist, was sich jetzt viele Menschen wünschen.




my numb hands
in the winter twilight –
a friend is leaving

Sonja Koranter, Slovenia


Bad Nauheim –
May rain silently
falling into itself

(I met Erika, for the first and the last time, in May 2005, in Bad Nauheim, where the 1st European Haiku Congress was held. Erika was so full of energy, enthusiasm ...)

putting a twig
into the ikebana vase ...
it breaks

a willow tree –
its reflection reaches
the opposite river bank

a blade of grass
under the heavy snow –
still green

Alenka Zorman, Slovenia


In the winter night
a star shinning within ikebana:
her white-like-snow soul

A fallen petal -
the winter wind carries it
to the Heaven

Vasile Moldovan


For the Erika,
with a large smile
and her kind eyes,
a friend for ever

From Romania, Laura Vaceanu,
President of Constantza Haiku Society

We miss you so much our dear friend.



Gabi Greve said...

We in Bulgaria organized a contest for the young translators of haiku from the German schools - "Erika SCHWAlLM".

The students had to translate haiku by German and Bulgarian poets.In Yune 2006 the members of Bulgarian haiku club made a meeting with the winners in the 73 school - Sofia! The contest will continue in 2007 with translations of german, japanese,english and russian haiku.

I wish to you many successes!
You work so much and so perfect!

Ginka Biliarska


Erika was a very special person for the world haiku sociaty, for her German and foreign friends.

Du bist einzelne, Erika-one extraordinary woman with so many interests and activities!
I'd like to call myself your friend.

ikebana,haiga: Erika SCHWALM
haiku : Ginka BILIARSKA

roots of bamboo
deeply hidden is within-
the secret of life

/21th haiga WHA contest-2005/

lives of bamboo
in their early fall-
the secret of death



Thank you, Ginka!


Anonymous said...

one day, too,
the bamboo will leave
but not in my heart

who will notice
one more fallen leaf
but I know it is there

Ella Wagemakers

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