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A Sense of Place: CITY SIDEWALK – touch

 

 

A Sense of Place

In his essay ‘So:ba’, given at the International Haiku Conference (SUNY Plattsburgh, NY, 2008) and published serially in Frogpond, Jim Kacian discusses the concept of ba:

“If you look up ba in any Japanese-English Dictionary you’ll find it means “place” or “site” or “occasion”. And these are all true in the most general sense—ba is a pointer to a kind of awareness that something of importance is happening in time and space.”

So here we are…

 

next week’s theme: welcome to HAIKU DIALOGUE

Next week our new format for 2019 will begin! Poems will be selected for the column to elicit discussion in the comments section of the blog. Later in 2019, guest editors with new themes for the feature will be in place – in the meantime, I will share other topics to inspire your writing…

Enjoy the week off, and sharpen your pencils for a new prompt to appear on 02 January 2019.
with sincere best wishes to each and every one of you, kj

 

A Sense of Place:  CITY SIDEWALK – touch

This is the final installment of ‘A Sense of Place’. Thanks to all who submitted – I truly couldn’t have done anything at all without your submissions! Thank you poets!
I have learned so much, and I take full responsibility for all the poems I overlooked – poems that were deserving of inclusion here, but for whatever reason were not included. The comments section of the blog has begun a conversation that I hope will continue. In 2019, we will build on this sense of community by engaging readers in a discussion about haiku… check back next week for details…

city orphanage
volunteer mother
holds my hand

Guliz Mutlu

 

crosswalk
boy scout escorts
an elderly woman

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio

Here we have two poems about hand-holding – in the first, the poet might evoke a strong reaction as the reader imagines a motherless child, and in the second, the poet describes the scene without actually mentioning the touch – perhaps the boy scout takes her by the elbow…

 

inner city kids
their game of tag
in the rain

Pat Davis
Pembroke, NH

A game of tag, of course, is all about touch!

 

Times Square
he pockets
his third wallet

Pris Campbell

After reading this poem over several times, I think I understand the light touch that is being described here…

 

Christmas morning
finger-drawn heart
on a misted shop window

Serhiy Shpychenko
Kyiv, UA

I am particularly drawn to seasonal poems this week – here we find simple language and clear images that resonate with the feelings of the holidays…

 

icy pavement…
a lady with
a cane

Tsanka Shishkova

Again, a poem that leaves a gap for the reader to fill in – in this case, the combination of ice and walking…

 

uneven sidewalk –
antiseptic stings
my knee

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

Here a different gap – a different feeling after walking on a sidewalk…

 

the pressure
of his occasional glance
red kettle Santa

Victor Ortiz
Bellingham, WA

In this poem, the poet describes an uncomfortable feeling along with the seasonal reference…

 

Here are the rest of my selections for this week:

evening rush hour
I get home
with someone’s perfume

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Kumasi, Ghana

 

Christmas street manger…
touching
the baby Jesus

Adrian Bouter

 

picking coins
back off the sidewalk
the legend of a man

Alan Summers
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire

 

packed subway car
avoiding the touch
of the homeless men

Amy Losak

 

snow at Christmas –
on the street the warm hug
of an old friend

Angela Giordano

 

cold hands –
coat pockets
in the shop window

Angiola Inglese

 

brainfever bird…
hiss of unseasonal rain
on melting asphalt

Anitha Varma

 

night streets –
your perfume on my skin

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo

 

City sidewalk at night…
Sudden touch of
Somebody’s presence

Anna Victoria Goluba

 

cobblestones –
a homeless man’s eyes
touched with mist

arvinder kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

Fifth Avenue
petting the soft nose
of a policeman’s horse

Barbara Tate

 

chilly night
i find warmth
from a Christmas display window

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

cold glass –
the mannequin
smiles

Carol Raisfeld

 

texture of the sidewalk
through bicycle tires
and wet fallen leaves

Charles Harmon
Los Angeles, California, USA

 

street carolling
a small hand touches
ornaments within reach

Christina Chin
Kuching, Sarawak

 

no love left behind
mum dragging toddler
dragging doll

Christina Pecoraro

 

barefoot on the
scorching sidewalk
involuntary dance

Christina Sng

 

Champs-Élysées
just for a moment
our minds touch

Christine Eales
UK

 

late for work
dragging my feet
through autumn leaves

David Gale
Gloucester UK

 

sidewalk stalls
the velvet touch
of a ripe peach

Debbi Antebi
London, UK

 

icy sidewalk
I still reach for the hand
that isn’t there

Debbie Strange
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

 

jostled
by the crowd
I lose my way

Deborah P Kolodji

 

rest by Yew tree
while struggling uphill
balut* hawker

(*balut – a boiled duck egg with a small embryo inside, is a delicacy enjoyed all across Philippines.)

Devin Harrison

 

touched by his music
I toss a dollar
in the busker’s hat

dianne moritz

 

blind beggar
thankfully picks up
a thrown coin

Dubravka Šcukanec
Zagreb, Croatia

 

winter solstice
the first snowflake
on the city sidewalk

Eufemia Griffo

 

red Christmas kettle
the bell ringer touches
my sense of guilt

Gary Evans
Stanwood, Washington

 

snowflakes –
on the pastry shop window
her hands and eyes

Giovanna Restuccia

 

nebbia:
impalpabile la sua tenerezza

fog:
his tenderness is impalpable

Giuliana Ravaglia

 

moonlight
on fresh snow
I linger on my doorstep

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

falling leaves
her mobile screen
at the end of a street

Hifsa Ashraf
Pakistan

 

biting cold precinct –
one hand warmed
in the other’s back pocket

Ingrid Baluchi
Ohrid, Macedonia

 

mid-day sun
the heat of gravel
under my soles

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera, CA, USA

 

bus stop chill…
a girl in yoga pants
busts a move

janice munro
Canada

 

a crowded street
nobody touches
nobody

Joanne van Helvoort

 

city sidewalk –
she kneels down
to pet my dog

John S Green
Bellingham, WA

 

surveyor’s circle
a leaf touches down
in the center

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

fuzzy fleece lined gloves
protect fingers from frostbite
walking city tour

Kathleen Mazurowski

 

frigid night air
youthful window displays
warm my heart

Kimberly Spring
Lakewood, Ohio

 

homeless man
rummaging –
I hold on to my emptied cup

Laurie Greer
Washington DC

 

holiday street market
feeling the magic
of the season

Lori Zajkowski
New York, NY

 

both feet slide
into the sky
frozen pavement

Lucy Whitehead
Essex, UK

 

collective chill of
indifferent city streets
the warmth of a smile

m. shane pruett
Salem, OR, USA

 

city side walk
the touch of a little girl
her hand outstretched

Madhuri Pillai

 

flat on my face
on the sidewalk, fireman
tests for broken hip

(It wasn’t!  But major bruises ensued.)

Marcyn Del Clements
Claremont, California, USA

 

arms loaded
love
all wrapped up

Margaret Walker

 

retracing my steps
touching the city
through a veil of nostalgia

Margo Williams
Stayton, Oregon

 

winter bar –
the rough caress
of loneliness

Maria Teresa Piras

 

near-empty piazza
a gipsy bundles up
her rosemary

Marietta McGregor

 

sidewalk stroll
the touch of his wet nose
greets my hand

Marilyn Ashbaugh
Edwardsburg, MI

 

Christmas streetscene
a punch
in the solar plexus

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

inner city alley…
the crunch of broken glass
underfoot

Mark Meyer

 

muscle car…
passing hip-hop beats
in my bones

Martha Magenta
England, UK

 

Spring saunter –
the softness
of her lips

michael ceraolo
South Euclid, Ohio

 

rush hour…
shoulder to shoulder
untouchables

Michael Henry Lee

 

looking back
to see what she stepped on –
city sidewalk

Michael H. Lester
Los Angeles CA USA

 

skyscraper town
the spring breeze lifts
a young woman’s skirt

Michele L. Harvey

 

fleeting
was his touch
deliberate?

Mike Gallagher
County Kerry, Ireland

 

sidewalk park
a rose peeps out of
the iron grill

Mohammad Azim Khan
Pakistan

 

Evening walk –
taking my friend’s hand
beneath the coat sleeve

Monica Federico

 

while holding a flower
of a sidewalk tree
selfie!

Muskaan Ahuja
Chandigarh, India

 

same old sidewalk
leading to my past…
the heart leaps up

Natalia Kuznetsova
Russia

 

Rush hour –
colorful umbrellas
zigzagging

Nazarena Rampini
Italy

 

windy afternoon
her silk shawl
on my face

Neni Rusliana
Indonesia

 

brisk walking
down town hectic crossing
left right touching

Nuky Kristijono
Indonesia

 

window shopping…
a tap on the shoulder
from an old friend

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland

 

festive sidewalk
a sudden nudge of pram over my toe

Pamela Coughlan
Singapore

 

uneven pavement
my face planted
in cold cement

Pauline O’Carolan

 

sooty snow she flips a butt toward the curb

Philip Whitley
SC, USA

 

rush hour
the pick pocket’s pull
on my bag

Rachel Sutcliffe

 

she  trips on side walk
her  long pallu
of  sari

Radhamani sarma

 

on the traffic light
another Santa
blows me a kiss

Radostina Dragostinova
Bulgaria

 

Christmas parade
sitting on the curb, my son
warms my lap

Randy Brooks

 

the hot slap
of recycled air
crowded sidewalk

Rashmi Vesa

 

walk-signal button
pressed again and again
returns hand to pocket

Rehn Kovacic

 

five finger handprint
stains the store window glass
security alarmed

ron scully

 

holiday shopping
the press of the crowd
bumper cars

Ronald K. Craig
Batavia, OH  USA

 

a child begging –
lightly touching
his face

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore

 

Mumbai streets
small tug on my skirt
beggar child

Ruth Powell

 

rushing to work
I brush past the same
shadows

Sanjuktaa Asopa
India

 

finger tracing
the year of my grandmother’s birth
rough brick cornerstone

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY, USA

 

hot city sidewalk
her bare feet fly

shandon land

 

facing the cakeshop
my squeegee squeaks
little fingerprints

simonj
UK

 

zebra crossing
the hand of the old woman
in the boy’s hand

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia

 

the city sidewalk
not quite as hard
spring breeze

Stephen A. Peters

 

lifting his toddler
to the red kettle
a  touch of class

Susan Mallernee

 

wheeling him
all the way to the ocean
I hold fast to the chair

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, CA, USA

 

long time no see !
hug with my friend
at the city sidewalk

Tomoko Nakata
Kanagawa, Japan

 

street parking
his hand glides over the curve
of my car

Vandana Parashar

 

rush hour
a tramp’s hand
on my bag

Vessislava Savova

 

X’mas toy display
tiny noses frost
the window glass

Vishnu Kapoor

 

sidewalk cafe
the coldness of rain
on a Christmas eve

Willie Bongcaron

 

 

Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada and an Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets. She recently co-edited an anthology of crime-themed haiku called Body of Evidence: a collection of killer ’ku.

 

This Post Has 48 Comments

  1. Kathy,

    I enjoyed the Sense of Place feature so thoroughly that I am very, very sad to see it end. I just thought A Sense of Place was the perfect feature and could have went on for another year, easily.

    Thank you for all that you did to make this so special while it lasted.

    Debbie

  2. Thanks, Kathy – I’ve really enjoyed reading and contributing to these collections over the weeks. I kinda dropped out towards the end of the year, but I’m looking forward to the new format. Happy New Year to you all.

  3. Wow! This thread is akin to taking a workshop in advanced haiku!
    .
    The exchange between Victor, Alan, and Gary was a particularly informative exchange.
    .
    I’ve learned to beat the bell ringer, guardian of the red bucket, to the punch by throwing out a “Merry Christmas,” and smiling directly into his or her eyes. They seem to think I’m a repeat customer (I am) and reciprocate with a “Merry Christmas,” and a smile of their own!
    ..

    red bucket of cheer—
    giving the bell ringer
    a “Merry Christmas”

    ..

    Happy New Year to all!

    1. Thanks John! 🙂
      .
      And thanks Victor and Gary! 🙂 I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting Gary in person, but hope John and Victor can teleport themselves over to Blighty sometime! 🙂
      .
      After watching episode 6 of series 2, I’m hopeful of human society:
      https://www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/mars/

      .
      .
      But here’s a Terran response:
      .
      .
      we dance
      to the puddles…
      new year
      .
      Alan Summers
      AHS Summer Solstice Haiku String 2018 theme: change
      .
      .
      Haiku may seem to be just a small poem amongst greater concerns, but a former European Union President who did a lot of good behind the scenes, and is sorely missed, regularly writes haiku. Poets do have power, but not in the extremist acts of ultra capitalism which causes havoc around the world.
      .
      Continue to be strong, be proud to be a poet, and be proud you write something so tiny as a haiku! It’s not easy to gauge the effect on ourselves, or others, but bear with it, as it’s intensely rewarding, honestly! 🙂

  4. thank you poets for all of these kind good wishes – in turn, I thank The Haiku Foundation for providing space for this feature, & for supporting & trusting me with it…
    this has been an amazing year of learning & growth for me – so much encouragement & so many opportunities have come my way…
    my goals for the feature have been more than realized – a supportive community has formed, & more importantly, so much new work has been created!
    I hope you will all continue to submit, & to share your comments here – looking forward to 2019!
    best wishes from the snowy Yukon, kj

  5. Thanks KJ for the whole year. I’ve had lots of SoP reworks and rejects published elsewhere and I’m sure I’m not the only one, so thanks for the inspiration(s). This week I would highlight Joanne van Helvoort’s
    .
    a crowded street
    nobody touches
    nobody
    .
    for its multiple meanings and clever use of the vernacular, and Lucy Whitehead’s
    .
    both feet slide
    into the sky
    frozen pavement
    .
    as it is quite striking and kinetic for a haiku.

  6. Thanks, KJ! I am delighted to be part of this exciting adventure.
    Dear Katherine,
    I would like to congratulate you on the successful realization of this project. I hope that the following year, every Wednesday will continue to be a very special day for all of us.
    Wish you and all authors a Happy New Year!

  7. Have a good New Year, Kathy. Many thanks for the opportunity, not only to have my own verses presented, here, but to read so many wonderful haiku and to be able to pop in some comments, a huge experience that I have enjoyed so much. You have done an incredible job.
    I’m looking forward to the next adventure 🙂

  8. Kathy,
    It’s a pleasure to join the chorus of kudos aimed at you for your fine work! How well you deserve every syllable of praise.
    .
    Alan, thanks to you too for your deft observations and teachings, and the gracious encouragement you unfailingly give.
    .
    Poets, as someone still a ku neophyte, I’ve learned so much from you and your intriguing posts and commentaries.
    .
    Thanks to all.
    .
    A fruitful 2019 to each of you!

    1. Thanks Christina! 🙂
      .
      It has been a wonderful and inclusive experience that KJMunro has given to all of us!
      I do like to give a differently angled commentary so that we can see things in a new light. Haiku never stays still in its development so it’s great to try to hang onto its tail(s)! 🙂

  9. Kudos to Kathy for managing such an inspiring and welcoming ‘place’ and to Alan for sharing so often his positive insights in helping us all experience haiku more deeply.
    .
    .
    One essential take away for me from Jim’s ‘So:ba’ essay is his characterization of “So here we are …” as meaning “knowledge of the situation.” And so, we’ve been sharing our knowledge of city sidewalks, often as experienced or imagined in the present, applying our five senses to what is happening there given our knowledge of what it’s like and what we’ve sensed on city streets. When Kathy asked us last week to “explore the sense of touch… what does it feel like?,” we found ourselves in a ‘place’ and sought to share a significant observation of what we felt / feel, as we’ve previously shared moments that we’ve seen, heard, smelled, and tasted.
    .
    .
    Having said that, one question I like to think about is the appropriate use of modifiers such as adjectives and adverbs. While the use of these are typically minimized in haiku, the following haiku I don’t think would be as effective without their use, even though the particular prompt this week specifies some form of touching.
    .
    Fifth Avenue
    petting the soft nose
    of a policeman’s horse
    .
    Barbara Tate
    .
    What if the adjective ‘soft’ were not used, or a different adjective or no adjective at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you? And what do the sound qualities of the ‘s’ and ‘o’ in ‘soft’ add to the sound feel of ‘nose’ in the phrase ‘soft nose,’ which sounds are then echoed in the word ‘horse’ in the next line?
    .
    .
    sidewalk stroll
    the touch of his wet nose
    greets my hand
    .
    Marilyn Ashbaugh
    Edwardsburg, MI
    .
    What if it was a ‘wet’ nose? What if the adjective ‘wet’ were not used, or a different adjective or no adjective at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you? What feel does a ‘wet nose’ add to you experience of this haiku?
    .
    .
    sidewalk stalls
    the velvet touch
    of a ripe peach
    .
    Debbi Antebi
    London, UK
    .
    What if ‘velvet’ were not used, or a different adjective or no adjective at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you? Moreover, it’s the only word with the letter ‘v’ repeated, perhaps highlighting in another way its own special felt quality in this haiku.
    .
    .
    windy afternoon
    her silk shawl
    on my face
    .
    Neni Rusliana
    Indonesia
    .
    What if the adjective ‘silk’ were not used, or a different adjective or no adjective at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you?
    .
    .
    a child begging –
    lightly touching
    his face
    .
    Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
    .
    What if the adverb ‘lightly’ were not used, or a different adverb or no adverb at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you?
    .
    .
    And in Alan’s extended comment that included a reference to Vishnu Kapoor’s ‘tiny noses,’ Alan makes mention of how ‘tiny noses’ “might frost up a computer screen” – indeed, not just any nose!
    .
    Happy New Year to all!

    1. In the same vein as Victor Ortiz’s instructive comments, I would like to critique two haiku as illustrative of what separates an excellent poem from one that is just ‘ok’. By coincidence, Victor and I chose the same setting:

      Victor’s:
      the pressure
      of his occasional glance
      red kettle Santa

      My own:
      red Christmas kettle
      the bell ringer touches
      my sense of guilt

      What I have learned from this comparison is Victor’s economy of words as well as his allowing the reader to ‘finish the image’ by simply pointing us toward a destination of our own choosing. Mine was too wordy, too descriptive (red, sense of guilt), whereas Victor relies on the reader to provide the color of the kettle – and his use of ‘glance’ hints at what I lay out too concretely. So, thank you for this lesson, Victor!

      I also need to mention to everyone that, if you haven’t taken the time to follow Alan’s links, you are missing a treasure! In addition to his very complete and insightful weekly comments, his links are invaluable aids to understanding the nuances of what makes a haiku a – well, a haiku!

      My deepest thanks to both of you gentlemen – and to you, Kathy, for making this learning experience possible. Come on, 2019!

      1. Great to see more commentaries, it’s an excellent practice that improves our own work too.
        Both good Christmas images, as those kettles must be a common sight in the USA, I guess, but less so in Britain.
        .
        Victor’s is excellent and uses the technique of a ‘reveal’ in the last line, where it is sprung upon us. Gary uses the reveal also, but in a different way. It’s still in the last line, but using ‘touches’ in the middle line we are gently pushed into the last and revealing line.
        .
        Yes, “red kettle Santa” tells us it’s Christmas, and donations are expected, and that the person is unduly aware of even an occasional glance, so great underplayed humour.
        .
        But I like how the sound of the bell ringing, and perhaps suggesting the bell ringer is making one of those disapproving glances, part of their trade, is great too.
        .
        I could see either or both of these strong haikai verses being taken up by a journal, and as ‘Failed Haiku’ takes previously published work, they could both find homes there, for instance.

        1. Hi Alan,
          Yes, I do see the red kettles particularly at this time of the year, though not really as much as in the past. But that could just be happenstance.
          .
          Thank you for your generous words. I am fond of the “reveal,” the surprise that takes the raised expectations into a different direction, at least, that’s the hope for a different kind of poetic experience. And thank you for pointing out the positive aspects of both poems.

          1. Hi Victor,

            Interestingly, I had a “red kettle” haiku that kj didn’t select for the City Sidewalks/Sound.

            I would post it here, but as mentioned by Mark, these extra Sense of Place poems often find new homes elsewhere and my “red kettle” is upcoming in another journal.

            I encountered my first red kettle bell ringer this year (or last year, now, LOL) outside of the Mall of America in Minneapolis.

            Anyway, I loved your red kettle Santa.

            Debbie

      2. Hi Gary,
        Thank you for your analysis and kind words but I must say that I find your haiku more than “ok,” and, Kathy must have thought so or otherwise she would not have chosen to present it. Like Alan, I agree that the word “touches” raises certain expectations, such as, in my mind, the “bell ringer” likely ringing a bell though of course I really expected you’d offer something more, and you do. Your surprise is that the “ringer” is ringing / pushing a very different kind of button, a psychological button, that of a specific feeling of guilt, which re-contextualizes the word “touches.” It is interesting how we both chose to write about a similar moment and feeling. Regarding that “red,” I’m pretty sure I am the pot calling the kettle “red” in the third line. Well done! 🙂
        .
        I’d like to ditto Gary’s comments regarding Alan’s links. Alan’s “Area 17” blogspot has much to offer regarding the craft and theory of haiku. Thank you, Alan!

    2. Dear Victor,
      Thank you for your kind words:
      “…and to Alan for sharing so often his positive insights in helping us all experience haiku more deeply.”
      .
      .
      Thanks to KJMunro for providing this amazing platform for everyone! 🙂
      .
      .
      VIctor asked:
      “…one question I like to think about is the appropriate use of modifiers such as adjectives and adverbs.”
      .
      It’s an interesting point, and it’s part of refining our craft, and great left and right brain exercise too! 🙂
      .
      .
      Victor says:
      .
      “While the use of these are typically minimized in haiku, the following haiku I don’t think would be as effective without their use, even though the particular prompt this week specifies some form of touching.”
      .
      .
      Sometimes we don’t need to make our haiku so minimal, and words are part of our language, so we can work out which ones to “cherry-pick”.
      .
      Victor gives this fine example:
      .
      .
      Fifth Avenue
      petting the soft nose
      of a policeman’s horse
      .
      Barbara Tate
      .
      .
      Victor asks:
      .
      “What if the adjective ‘soft’ were not used, or a different adjective or no adjective at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you? And what do the sound qualities of the ‘s’ and ‘o’ in ‘soft’ add to the sound feel of ‘nose’ in the phrase ‘soft nose,’ which sounds are then echoed in the word ‘horse’ in the next line?”
      .
      .
      Great points, and ones which will be covered by various examples for The Sound of Haiku online course I’ll be running with Karen Hoy.
      .
      Although ‘soft’ might be redundant as we’d expect a horse’s nose to be soft, it does have a comforting and tactile feel about it being included in the verse. There’s a lot of subtle “sound-play” which adds to the touch theme isn’t there?
      .
      .
      The next example posted by Victor is this one:
      .
      .

      sidewalk stroll
      the touch of his wet nose
      greets my hand
      .
      Marilyn Ashbaugh
      Edwardsburg, MI
      .
      Victor is perhaps asking if so what if it is a ‘wet’ nose? Is that obvious.
      .
      He asks: “What if the adjective ‘wet’ were not used, or a different adjective or no adjective at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you? What feel does a ‘wet nose’ add to you experience of this haiku?”
      .
      .
      I must admit that without ‘wet’ I would imagine a regular sidewalk journey, whether to work, or back home etc… and would not necessarily feel right assuming the nose (without ‘wet’) definitely belonged to a dog! It could be a child playing a game, or even someone over-enjoying the seasonal offers from local bars. A ‘wet nose’ instantly allows me to “know” it’s a dog, and not some weird and disturbing incident. Also if we are not expecting the full-on greeting of a dog, and haven’t even noticed any dogs nearby, it’s adds to that shock sensation of a cold wet nose. I feel it adds to the ‘sound’ of the haiku, but is also important to have to make sense of the ‘reveal’ in the last line.
      .
      .
      Another example given:
      .
      .
      sidewalk stalls
      the velvet touch
      of a ripe peach
      .
      Debbi Antebi
      London, UK
      .
      .
      Victor asks:
      .
      “What if ‘velvet’ were not used, or a different adjective or no adjective at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you? Moreover, it’s the only word with the letter ‘v’ repeated, perhaps highlighting in another way its own special felt quality in this haiku.”
      .
      .
      It could be said that ‘velvet’ also carries its own internal alliteration and adds to the comfort feel of something smooth and velvety, along with the soothing alliteration in the first line. The use of ‘ripe’ is clever because of its short sharp sound amongst all the soft elongated syllables. And also as there will be a sharp tang in contrast to the feel and look of the fruit. Both velvet and ripe have to be there, to play off each other. Leaving ‘velvet’ out of the poem would reduce the power of the verse.
      .
      .
      Another example:
      .
      windy afternoon
      her silk shawl
      on my face
      .
      Neni Rusliana
      Indonesia
      .
      .
      Victor says:
      .
      “What if the adjective ‘silk’ were not used, or a different adjective or no adjective at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you?”
      .
      .
      Shawls and scarves all have their different natures of weight and texture, and silk would I guess be one of the lightest of natural materials, but also carry a soothing sensation as compared to artificial materials. “Silk” also feels like an anchor word, even if it’s not a concrete noun image. It’s probably the most important word in the whole verse despite being placed in the very middle.
      .
      .
      Another example Victor gives:
      .

      a child begging –
      lightly touching
      his face
      .
      Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
      .
      .

      Victor says:
      .
      “What if the adverb ‘lightly’ were not used, or a different adverb or no adverb at all? Would the image feel be as effective for you?”
      .
      .
      Interestingly enough, “lightly” is doing more than being a mere adverb. I feel there is an extra pause ‘wrapped’ around the whole word choice of ‘lightly’ from beginning to end. Without the dash it could be read as the beggar is touching his own face as he begs, which we’ve often seen, but I’d like to think with the “dash” followed by ‘lightly’ that it might be an enlightened passer-by, who whether they give alms or not, leaves another gift, that of mutual respect and even love.

      .
      .
      Victor says:
      .
      “And in Alan’s extended comment that included a reference to Vishnu Kapoor’s ‘tiny noses,’ Alan makes mention of how ‘tiny noses’ “might frost up a computer screen” – indeed, not just any nose!”
      .
      Thanks! There is definitely a good reason to use adjectives and adverbs as long as they do more than repeat the noun or verb’s meaning.
      .
      Haiku might be tiny too, but each word often has to work twice as hard, or even more, than in a much longer poem. Haiku can be a great workout! It’s like going to poetry gym! 🙂

      1. Thank you, Alan, for offering such rich observations and demonstrating how we may all hone our haiku poetry by paying close attention to the weight of each word we use.
        .
        .
        Alan says:
        “Thanks! There is definitely a good reason to use adjectives and adverbs as long as they do more than repeat the noun or verb’s meaning.”
        .
        This is a succinct way of stating an effective use of words, particularly adjectives and adverbs, and it’s something to keep in mind particularly when we go into the edit phase of refining our haiku.
        .
        .
        Thank you also for taking us through a close reading of specific words, their sound qualities, range of meanings and feelings, and how we might consider using punctuation or the white space / gaps surrounding them. Your Sound of Haiku online course should be very interesting.
        .
        And I agree that it’s important to consider the right word to use for its suggestive quality and range of possible meanings / feelings rather than the number of words, or syllables, when crafting a haiku. Each word is definitely worth considering since so few words must, as you say, “work twice as hard” as we consider the best word to use. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s fun!
        .
        Many thanks again for taking the time to respond to these questions and perhaps others may have more to say!

        1. Thanks Victor! 🙂
          .
          It’s great that dialogue is happening as it’s the natural language of poets, and haiku has often been a communal experience, just as it was in the pre-haiku of Basho etc…
          .
          You said:
          .
          “Thank you also for taking us through a close reading of specific words, their sound qualities, range of meanings and feelings, and how we might consider using punctuation or the white space / gaps surrounding them. Your Sound of Haiku online course should be very interesting.”
          .
          We are very excited about our Sound of Haiku course, and have some wonderful people on it! 🙂
          THE SOUND OF HAIKU
          https://www.callofthepage.org/learning/haiku-courses/the-sound-of-haiku/
          .
          .
          You said:
          .
          “And I agree that it’s important to consider the right word to use for its suggestive quality and range of possible meanings / feelings rather than the number of words, or syllables, when crafting a haiku. Each word is definitely worth considering since so few words must, as you say, “work twice as hard” as we consider the best word to use. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s fun!”
          .
          The great thing about the editing process (which Basho spent weeks, months, sometimes years doing) is that it exercises the left and the right sides of the brain. In an age of every increasing numbers of people suffering from dementia in later life, it’s another method to keep the brain sharp.
          .
          It’s amazing how a different word, or just a slight tweaking of a line, or over lines, can change a haiku from being okay to something really special. I’ll be going into this in more detail with a book I am working on, that I hope to bring out next year.
          .
          I look forward to KJMunro’s next challenge for us, and even more dialogue! 🙂

  10. Dear Kathy, thank you for pulling together such a large post every week. I am particularly impressed and grateful that we were given this closing one during the holiday period— it has been a joy to read. Such a variety of moments and touches were shared. This time I noticed mentions of discomfort…feelings people don’t frequently verbalize—such as in the featured haiku of Victor Ortiz: “the pressure/of his occasional glance/red kettle Santa”. I wish you and everyone a Happy New Year and look forward to the dialogue in 2019.

  11. A profound thank you Kathy !!!
    It’s a pleasure to read so many takes on any given prompt.
    Something akin to an old kinetoscope of personal images generated by each poet’s word pictures.
    Everyone have a great New Year with optimism for 2019
    Kanpai!
    Personal Favorites in no particular order:
    rushing to work- Sanjuktaa Asopa
    Times Square- Pris Campbell
    icy sidewalk – Debbie Strange
    winter bar- Maria Teresa Pinas
    the pressure- Victor Ortiz
    Christmas parade- Randy Brooks
    side walk stalls – Debbie Antebi
    evening rush hour- Adjei Agyei Baah
    surveyors circle – Kath Abela Wilson
    a crowded street – Joanne Van Helvoort
    ( wish I would have written this one instead of mine)

  12. Next “theme: welcome to HAIKU DIALOGUE”
    .

    [The] “new format for 2019 will begin! Poems will be selected for the column to elicit discussion in the comments section of the blog. Later in 2019, guest editors with new themes for the feature will be in place – in the meantime, I will share other topics to inspire your writing…
    .

    Enjoy the week off, and sharpen your pencils for a new prompt to appear on 02 January 2019.
    with sincere best wishes to each and every one of you, kj’
    .
    .
    Thanks KJ for all your hard work, I know how much can go on behind the scenes to produce something that benefits so many people.
    .
    I cut my teeth on haiku dialogue as there was no one to be a mentor in the early days, from publishing a look back review each month for Azami journal (Japan); to being a moderator for the Matsuyama University (Japan) Shiki-temp and other email forums; to social media.
    .
    It was the regular dialogue/dialog that honed my haiku in the early days, and it’s still a wonderful experience to engage, and grow. So 2019 should be really fascinating! 🙂

      1. Thanks John! 🙂
        .
        I find that forever looking deep into haiku keeps my own work going, which is always in progress, never standing still. It’s fascinating that we really cannot ‘conquer’ haiku because ever since Shiki created/molded it, it was always going to evolve.

  13. Dear Kathy,
    Thank you for the tremendous effort you have put into both forums this year, for the learning experience they have provided us, and for the fun we’ve had in stirring up the old grey matter. It was a joy and a privilege to be a part of it.
    .
    This final week elicited the variety I’m sure you were searching: ‘touch’ as in the physical, and ‘feel’ as in the emotional or the subconsious.
    .
    Christine Eales’ momentary meeting of minds – perhaps that rare and fleeting ‘pull’ between strangers we occasionally experience in our busy world.
    .
    Debbie Strange’s poignant ‘I still reach for the hand that isn’t there’.
    .
    ‘moved’, as in Dianne Moritz’ ‘touched by his music’.
    .
    possibly a double negative from Joanne van Helvoort’s ‘nobody touches nobody’ in a crowded street, where one imagines everyone jostling together but at the same time isolated within themselves – interesting.
    .
    Margaret Walker’s beautifully simple ‘arms loaded/love/all wrapped up’, sums up the true spirit of Christmas…
    .
    and with this festive period being a joy primarily for children,
    .
    Vishnu Kapoor’s ‘tiny noses frost the window glass’ tugs at the heartstrings.
    .
    Appreciating, too, all the fascinating comments, especially Alan’s.
    .
    Have a good rest, Kathy, and to everyone, “Lang may yer lum reek!”

  14. Hello Kathy,
    Thank you for hosting such a remarkable experience. It has truly been a wonderful learning experience. And what an honor it is to be included among this fine group of poets. I am looking forward to the next iteration of this ‘workshop’. For now, though, I hope you get some rest – you have worked way too hard on our behalf!

  15. Thanks Kathy for all your work on each week’s haiku. From opening our eyes about all the kinds of windows to the senses of various locales, you have done an outstanding job.

    Thanks for selecting mine to feature; I am over the moon as the year ends. The best to you and yours in 2019.

    Now to read and savor them all. Congratulations to all the poets.

  16. Dear Kathy, having some of my poems accepted and published during 2019 in ‘Windows’ and ‘Sense of Place’ has been a wonderful experience! I really appreciate the opportunity and the great feeling it gave me. Thank you very much.

  17. THE OVERSIDE OF A LEGEND:
    .
    The “legend” is the wording on a coin giving information about a country, and its purpose.
    .
    Haiku (plural and single spelling) have their own ‘legend’ and can cover an astonishing range, or zero in to something particular.
    .
    We often find that Christmas can bring out the worst in people, whether ignoring the homeless, often victims of an uncaring society, or showcase various venal activities including thieves and counterfeiters of all shapes and sizes. We know early on, that Japanese haiku poets lost their freedom, protesting against World War Two.
    .

    So perhaps part of the legend could be showing some light on the shadows that hang around us. I feel in times of great celebrations there is a flip-side to every coin, and that we have a choice.
    .
    evening rush hour
    I get home
    with someone’s perfume
    .
    Adjei Agyei-Baah
    Kumasi, Ghana
    .
    .
    Those who go outside for work have at least three rush hours: the one to go to work, the lunch hour, and the one finding their way back home. Every day we see or bring something back home, whether by choice or by other means. The author is bringing home the scent of someone’s perfume on their clothing. It could be from the workplace, or on public transport, or perhaps having a drink or two at a bar before heading home? We continually rub up against people’s close spaces, sometimes we realise, sometimes it’s unconscious, until something tangible from one place is brought back to our home.
    .
    cobblestones –
    a homeless man’s eyes
    touched with mist
    .
    arvinder kaur
    Chandigarh, India
    .
    Although the mist may be real, it makes us see a common humanity which sometimes we deny people who are less fortunate. Opening with a simple concrete image, of an uneven surface, it’s even reminiscent of Charles Dickens and Victorian times of extreme and deliberately managed inequality, so the haiku becomes ever more powerful.
    .
    cold glass –
    the mannequin
    smiles
    Carol Raisfeld
    .
    An extremely chilling (no pun intended) haiku of the fear of things commonplace that may disrupt our assumed safe places. I remember seeing the first screening of shop window dummies aka manniquins, coming alive in two famous British TV series of the 1960s:
    Autons (Dr Who) and The Cybernauts (British Avengers)
    .

    moonlight
    on fresh snow
    I linger on my doorstep
    .
    Greer Woodward
    Waimea, HI
    .
    Often the most simple, focusing on ‘almost’ one thing can be the most powerful too. Wonderful opening lines, and the act of lingering, which is what we do as haiku poets.
    .
    arms loaded
    love
    all wrapped up
    .
    Margaret Walker
    .
    I feel Christmas is here, and some are feeling the generous spirit. I’m reminded that the meanness of the Royal Hotel in Hull (England) was replaced with open arms by the Hilton Hotel, and arms loaded for twenty-eight homeless people full of quality hotel gifts when they stayed over Christmas instead of on the cold and dangerous streets.
    .
    brainfever bird…
    hiss of unseasonal rain
    on melting asphalt
    .
    Anitha Varma
    .
    Also known as the common hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius).
    .
    I love the different smells and sensations of fresh unexpected rain, and landing on a road surface that is melting in extreme heat. I can imagine and feel the sizzle of the different actions.

    .
    surveyor’s circle
    a leaf touches down
    in the center
    .
    Kath Abela Wilson
    Pasadena, California
    .
    Wonderful combination of images from the surveyor’s too, and a leaf landing dead center.
    .

    icy sidewalk
    I still reach for the hand
    that isn’t there
    .
    Debbie Strange
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    .
    Deeply poignant.
    .

    rush hour
    the pick pocket’s pull
    on my bag
    .
    Rachel Sutcliffe
    .
    Thieves will prey on those wanting to get to the security of their home. It’s a sad fact.

    .
    winter bar –
    the rough caress
    of loneliness
    .
    Maria Teresa Piras
    .
    Adding ‘rough’ really raises this haiku above just being a strong one.

    retracing my steps
    touching the city
    through a veil of nostalgia

    Margo Williams
    Stayton, Oregon

    Wonderful! Although I quite like the idea of swapping lines two and three around.

    .

    sidewalk park
    a rose peeps out of
    the iron grill
    .
    Mohammad Azim Khan
    Pakistan
    .
    I wonder if this a large park that has several walkways, or a pocket park off a main street? Love the fact that a type of rose is slipping through an iron grill.
    .

    X’mas toy display
    tiny noses frost
    the window glass

    Vishnu Kapoor

    Interestingly in some countries tiny noses might frost up a computer screen while doing online shopping. Fewer people every year will visit actual street shops.

    .
    rushing to work
    I brush past the same
    shadows
    .
    Sanjuktaa Asopa
    India

    .
    Wonderfully atmospheric. Great last two lines that juxtapose so effectively with the opening line.
    .
    The Moon is Broken -Juxtaposition in haiku:
    http://area17.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-moon-is-broken-juxtaposition-in.html

    1. Alan,

      I wrote that haiku both ways and was undecided. Now that I reread it and your comments I think swappingines two and three would make that ku just that much more. Thank you for your words and comments on others as well. As always I am learning much from you and the many other poets among us. Thank you and thank you KJ again for selecting one of my poems.

      1. Dear Margo,
        .
        Thank you for your generosity.
        .
        Many poets have said a poem is never finished, even when it is published too. 🙂
        .
        .
        ORIGINAL:
        .
        retracing my steps
        touching the city
        through a veil of nostalgia

        Margo Williams
        Stayton, Oregon
        .
        What’s interesting is that this wonderful haiku can sustain other versions including:
        .
        .

        retracing my steps
        through a veil of nostalgia
        touching the city
        .
        and
        .

        retracing my steps
        touching the city through a veil
        of nostalgia
        .
        or even:
        .
        retracing my steps
        the city through a veil
        of nostalgia
        .
        Although I do love ‘touching’ and ‘retracing’. I actually had a haiku with three ‘ings’ published in Presence journal, so two can be fine sometimes too! 🙂

  18. Kathy –

    Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to explore our senses. I have very much enjoyed and learned from reading the many works selected each week.
    I am sure the time commitment on your part was enormous – thank you for this gift to us.

  19. As always, the more I read the more I see–hear, smell, taste, and feel–and the more impressed I am. Just on initial readings I’m especially moved by these, for phrasing, observation, and pure zip:

    rush hour…
    shoulder to shoulder
    untouchables

    Michael Henry Lee

    lifting his toddler
    to the red kettle
    a touch of class

    Susan Mallernee

    sooty snow she flips a butt toward the curb

    Philip Whitley
    SC, USA

    It’s been a fantastic tour through the various landscapes–I feel privileged to have been part of it all with kj and so many fine poets. Here’s to an equally adventurous and lyrical 2019.

    best to all–

  20. Times Square
    he pockets
    his third wallet

    Pris Campbell

    This one is clever. Even though the term pickpocket is not used, it is quite obvious what this haiku is about. Tourists who visit Times Square and other locations, you have been warned.

  21. Hi Kathy, I never expected to have my haiku selected for commentary this week. Being selected is a high note to end the year on. Thank-you for all the effort that you put into the 25 columns for A Sense of Place. Congratulations to all the poets whose poems were selected for those columns.

  22. Thanks Kathy for quite a journey through the all the nuances of ‘ba’. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a creative 2019 to you!
    .
    And thanks to all poets for sharing so many ways of viewing a sense of space. You are all so endlessly creative, and I’ve enjoyed your writing immensely!
    .
    Happy holidays!

  23. thank you so much Kathy! it was fun writing on various interesting themes throughout the year.

    wishing you a blessed new year! <3

    Hifsa

  24. Times Square
    he pockets
    his third wallet
    .
    Pris Campbell
    .
    .
    A clever (in a good way) piece of writing. For a nano-second I thought the person carried a lot of wallets, and of course some of us might have two, but three is overkill, for most places.
    .
    So of course the only way someone might have three wallets is if he lifted them, as a dipper or dip, or pickpocket.
    .
    It’s a brilliant sleight of hand/legerdemain! 🙂
    .
    Here’s a piece where 1950s Times Square and Jack Kerouac visit the present time:
    http://area17.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-beat-is-back-haibun-prose-and-haiku.html

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