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HAIKU DIALOGUE – A Good Wander: The Art of Pilgrimage – Return & Introduction to Childhood Memories

A Good Wander: The Art of Pilgrimage & Introduction to Childhood Memories

Thank you, Guest Editor P. H. Fischer, for leading us all on such a journey! Now we welcome Guest Editors Sherry Grant & her daughter Zoe for an exploration of childhood memories… enjoy! kj

Introduction to Childhood Memories with Guest Editors Sherry & Zoe Grant

Childhood. We’ve all been there. No matter your age, your childhood memories are probably like mine, made of happy and sad moments. Along the way, we’ve all had to make choices. Did you turn out to be the person you’ve dreamt to be? My youngest daughter Zoe and I grew up in different countries and therefore faced different expectations and challenges. We enjoy creating arts, music and poetry together, and I often find her ideas fresh and inspiring. Our goals for the next five years will be to inspire one billion people with our music and poetry, and for families around the world to have fun creating collaboratively like we do! What was your own childhood like? What was the most memorable moment? This month, Zoe and I would like to invite you to share your treasured childhood memories.

next week’s theme: Exploring Emotions (“How” did you feel?) by Sherry Grant

When we were selecting haiku books to write reviews for Haiku Zoo Journal, Zoe and I recently came across a wonderful children’s picture book Cool Melons — Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Issa written by Matthew Gollub and illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone. Not only is the story about this famous Japanese haiku poet engaging, but the illustrations are also most beautiful. One haiku about Issa’s childhood particularly struck me, not only in its simplicity, but the sadness conveyed by the poet:

motherless sparrow,
come play
with me

— Issa (Japan), English translation by Matthew Gollub

Do you recall a particularly happy or sad moment, when you felt anxious or excited, in your own childhood? Seen through the eyes of a little one, emotions can be amplified. The world can seem so big and incomprehensible. Whether it is fear of the dark, as shown in the movie Monsters, Inc. or even not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, just capture those emotions. Imagine what it is like being born and brought up in wartime or in Issa’s time. For many of us, we wondered what we would become when we grew up, and then childhood was over in a mere blink, all too soon.

I remember when motherhood felt a little overwhelming I wrote this haiku:

all rain
and no rainbow –

— Sherry Grant (NZ), 13th Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest, 2021

Send us poems that move us and transport us to your own childhood or an imagined one. Zoe and I love baby animals, so perhaps you can also write about baby animals and how they make you feel, just like Issa did with his sparrow haiku.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday December 10, 2022.

Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry. (The Submit button will not be available until the Name, Email, and Place of Residence fields are filled in.) With your poem, please include any special formatting requirements & your name & residence as you would like it to appear in the column. A few haiku will be selected for commentary each week. Please note that by submitting, you agree that your work may appear in the column – neither acknowledgment nor acceptance emails will be sent. All communication about the poems that are posted in the column will be added as blog comments.

below is Peter’s commentary for return:

Friends, this is the time to give each other hugs, take a last selfie together, share our deets, and make promises to stay connected. I dearly hope so. And yet, we don’t know where our path will turn nor how many miles remain. What I know is that I have thoroughly enjoyed these last nine weeks together. For that, I am grateful.

Thank you to kj and Lori and The Haiku Foundation for this wonderful opportunity, for your support, guidance, and the trust you showed me during this, my first, editing gig. I have grown tremendously through this privilege.

A big thank you to all of you, readers and poets, for your comments and submissions of fine poetry. It was an honour to read thousands of your poems that took me around the globe and to the depths and heights of the human story. As we return from this good wander to our usual places, let’s enjoy this last edition of selected poems on the theme of returning.


heading home together . . .
in my backpack
a stowaway bed bug

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

The subject of this funny/not funny poem is not alone. Browse any Camino forum (any travel forum actually) and you’ll discover that bedbugs top the list of things pilgrims/travellers worry about. For good reason. These demons have a solitary goal in life – to suck the blood of humans. Unlike the beautiful vampires of Hollywood, there’s nothing sexy about finding these fanged creatures under your sheets. “If you so much as see one,” Linda, my wife, warned me before embarking on my pilgrimage, “you are not to enter our home when you return. Understood?” Her enforcement plan: “I’ll toss you a garbage bag from the balcony. On the sidewalk, you’ll take off your clothes.” She paused to consider the reasonableness of her plan. “Yes, everything off! I’ll throw you an extra garbage bag. You can wear that. Your clothes and backpack go into the other garbage bag. It all goes to the garage where it stays for a month.” I laughed. “And me?” “We’ll talk,” she smirked, “I’m serious!” “OK, I’ll warn the little devils should our paths cross.” Every evening when turning in for the night, I lifted my mattress to check the woodwork for signs of the bloodsuckers. I got off lucky, unlike the subject of Ingrid Baluchi’s poem. Thanks for this delightfully funny poem that struck a bit too close to home!

still pristine —
the journal labelled
“travel notes”

Sheila Sondik
Bellingham, WA

Like a fiddle without strings, a flag waiting for wind, or a canoe sentenced to hang in the rafters of a riverside pub, the unused travel journal in Sheila Sondik’s poem is emblematic of unfulfilled purpose. Perhaps, for health reasons or other restricting circumstances, it is in fact too late to buy a plane ticket, lace up the hiking boots, and finally make one’s mark on this forgotten journal. Here, maybe the patient pages could still hold space for another kind of journey – an interior one that documents all the dreams deferred. An alternative, more hopeful reading of this poem finds the subject of the verse having such a delightful journey full of myriad activities – mountaineering, skydiving, wine tasting, scuba diving, whale watching, etc. – that the travel journal returns home unopened, “still pristine,” not for lack of adventures taken but for lack of attention given on account of all the fun being had!

time machine
bringing back advice
we fail to follow

Elizabeth Shack
Illinois, USA

Ever get a bad case of the if onlys and the could’ve beens? I do. Imagine if there was a way to give our younger self pointers from our present place of, ahem, wisdom. And what about now? What blunders might we make today that we will regret in the future? Wouldn’t it be great if our future self could drop us a line to let us know that the tack we’re currently on will surely lead to shipwreck? Many time-travel movies, books, and television shows have shown that as tempting as these experiments may be, altering the past, even a smidge, can have catastrophic consequences back in the future. The subject in Elizabeth Shack’s senryu could fly in either direction – from the present to the past or from the future to the present. Regardless, the takeaway is that there’s no time like the present to learn from the past to sow good seeds for the future.

eight pounds—
the weight
of everything

Jonathan Roman
Yonkers, New York

Readers of the sci-fi cult classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy already know that 42 is the enigmatic answer to the question: “What is the meaning of it all?” And now we know the weight of everything. Eight pounds! Finding the right balance between abstraction and concrete imagery in poetry requires a deft touch. This engagingly ambiguous poem leaves lots of room for the reader to manoeuvre, while anchoring us with something to hold. What that something/someone is, will vary from reader to reader. We only know it/she/he/they weigh(s) eight pounds. Maybe this is a mendicant’s purse containing all the sojourner’s earthly belongings. Might this be the presidential “nuclear football” briefcase containing a nation’s nuclear codes, carried everywhere just in case everything comes crashing down? My first reading of the poem brought me back to my experience of holding my firstborn son (not quite eight pounds) in my arms mere minutes after his inaugural breath. Whatever the subject of Jonathan Roman’s poem is in fact holding, nothing else matters to them. The weight of the world, the universe, everything, is right here, right now, in their care.

out to find peace finds me

Vandana Parashar

In six words, Vandana Parashar’s senryu encapsulates the story of our lives, the narrative of life itself. At the centre of the poem, as at the quiet axis of true Self, there is a peace that passes understanding. This peace is not inert. It is a power that reverberates and animates everything, no matter how bleak or destitute the encasement. I love that the word “peace” in this senryu pulses like a heartbeat linking all that surrounds it. I read the poem as: “out to find peace, peace finds me” but Parashar subtly invites the reader to encounter the singularity of “peace” as the living force that ceaselessly searches for us even as we search for it. Appearing in a thousand guises of grace, peace surprises us less like an emotion and more as an inexorable unfurling of essence; affirming as another poet once did that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well” (T. S. Eliot, quoting the mediaeval mystic Julian of Norwich).

and here are the rest of the selections:

to find your way home
turn left at the raucous crow
then get lost again

Lynn Morrell


homeward bound…
lingering over
the last breakfast buffet

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India


mountain clouds
in my drinking water

Lakshmi Iyer


breath exchange the path we travel

Victor Ortiz
Bellingham, Washington


among the dreamers
the scent of wildflowers
on my shirt

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA


A tiny shell
in my pocket,
pining for the sea.

Caroline Ridley-Duff


laundry day
my son’s pocket full
of river rocks

Wai Mei Wong


an empty wallet full
of memories

Jeff Leong
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


shaman led
ayahuasca trip—
lost baggage

Stephen J. DeGuire
Los Angeles, CA


A year later
in my winter coat’s pocket:
Metro ticket

Jenny Shepherd
London, UK


faint light…
a one-way ticket

Luciana Moretto
Treviso Italy


without you
seeing old man’s cave
as a simple void

(Old Man’s Cave is located in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio.)

Kimberly Daw
Lakewood, Ohio


dad’s dementia returning to childhood memories

Richard L. Matta
San Diego, California USA


childhood home
the rice fields and hills
still sing to me

Madhuri Pillai


homecoming . . .
offering the village temple
childhood prayers

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India


grandpa’s hut
i return in time
for my death poem

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India


journey’s end
i unpack this

Vijay Prasad
Patna, India


return home. . .
the holy river
accepts her ashes

Meera Rehm


the night jasmine
in full bloom

Neena Singh


fragrant drive home
clutching floral arrangements
from her funeral

Kimberly Kuchar
Austin, Texas


homeward meander
the blur of a kingfisher
forging the twilight

John Hawkhead


Way home –
the swallows return to nest
under the roof

Nazarena Rampini


day outing…
in her bucket

Tuyet Van Do


journey’s end
I return to
a whole new river

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA


river pebbles…
learning how to be
like water

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany


so much brighter
than I remember
sunlight on the lough

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland


return laundry
folding the sunshine
in with the stars

marilyn ashbaugh
edwardsburg, michigan


my duffel bag
scent of the sea

Ruth Holzer
Herndon, Virginia


I add another shell necklace
to my dresser mirror

Julie Bloss Kelsey
Germantown, Maryland, USA


two walking staffs
made into curtain rods . . .
shadowed memories

Alfred Booth
Lyon, France


in the hallway stand
bathed in stained glass
his carved cane

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, United Kingdom


always a swig
before point of no return
my old man

Krishna Palle


smell of plaque
on the floss
making amends

Jerome Berglund
Minneapolis, Minnesota


four weeks gone
opening the door
to rotten bananas

Beni Kurage
Joplin, MO


after the holidays
the bitterness
of office coffee

John Pappas
United States


after my trip
to six countries…
alone again

Eavonka Ettinger
Long Beach, CA


homelessness when do I return home

Surashree Joshi
Pune, India


not sure
where I belong
uprooted sapling

Teji Sethi





John S Green
Bellingham, Washington


starting with v
learning the alphabet . . .

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa, USA


above the clouds
my heart grounded
in Daisen-in

Lynne Jambor
Vancouver BC Canada


cirrus clouds
catch on bare branches

Mariel Herbert
California, USA


aerial roots touch
the ground

Ravi Kiran


missing the family I made
along the way

Mona Bedi
New Delhi, India


her past lives behind
stray cat

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California


nothing to declare…
except new memories
and a lighter step

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


the front steps
two at a time
home again

Maurice Nevile
Canberra, Australia


back home …
what a joy to feel

Natalia Kuznetsova


welcome home
and wags

Susan Farner


back from Japan
greeting my husband
with a deep bow

Chen Xiaoou
Kunming, China


too feeble to
climb Fugi again
yet my heart summits

Christopher Seep


morning walk
a hop bush returns me
to my happy place

Carol Reynolds


back home
hearing birdsong
for the first time

Susan Burch
Hagerstown, MD


new ritual—
tea with the Buddha
in the back garden

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut


returning home
only the chipped cup
will do

United Kingdom


down to earth after
the Golden Rock

Hla Yin Mon
Yangon, Myanmar

(The Golden Rock Pagoda is a famous pilgrimage site on a mountaintop in Mawlamyine, Myanmar. An enjoyable trek on foot across thirty two hills and mountains, taking around six hours.)


sand in my shoes
telling me stories
for months

petro c. k.
Seattle, Washington


five years of desert
to cherry blossoms

Lev Hart
Calgary, Canada


filling her vase
with wildflowers
from our hike

Tim Cremin


memory’s perfume
my photos of Giverny

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec


warm blanket
drifting off to where
home used to be

Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina


wind plays
through the chimes
songs from elsewhere

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK


the squeak
of wooden stairs
late arrival

Peggy Hale Bilbro


the art of pilgrimage
my excuse for getting away
from the wife

M. R. Defibaugh
United States


I left
the old shell of me
on your beach

Sarah Davies
Bedford UK


half moon
the ocean
between us

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK


so many ships
sailing to many ports
my thoughts adrift

Dan Iulian


summer trek
I bring home the ocean
in a shell

Lori Kiefer
London UK


Camino souvenirs
deep within my pack
me, myself, and i

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA


the long walk home…
i notice myself
next to me

Kerry J Heckman
Seattle, WA


of a road less taken –
finding my voice

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA


road trip…
she returns

Jan Stretch
Victoria BC Canada


night train
she brings home
the moon

Zahra Mughis
Lahore, Pakistan


train ticket stub
falls out of my book
longest night moon

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY


last light gold leaf illumination in my own book

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California


leaving India —
of kin

Jonathan Epstein


return from Umrah
daughters have a go at
my clean-shaven head

AJ. Anwar
Jakarta, Indonesia


Mobius strip
only one line
to walk

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA


upon return
slow-burning passion
to return

Kathleen Cain
Arvada, CO


pilgrim staff
handing on
what sustained me

Laurie Greer
Washington DC


Guest Editor P. H. Fischer (Peter) lives, works and plays in Vancouver, Canada, on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. He is the winner of the Vancouver category of the 2022 Haiku Invitational of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, and is grateful to see his poetry published in a growing list of haiku journals including The Heron’s Nest, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Presence, First Frost, Whiptail, Kingfisher, Prune Juice, Haiku Canada Review and others. His top passions (besides family) are walking and writing haiku. If he could, he’d leave on another 900 km ginko today!

Lori Zajkowski is the Post Manager for Haiku Dialogue. A novice haiku poet, she lives in New York City.

Managing Editor Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada, and her debut poetry collection is contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019). Find her at:

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy.

Please note that all poems & images appearing in Haiku Dialogue may not be used elsewhere without express permission – copyright is retained by the creators. Please see our Copyright Policies.

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Thank you Peter! While I didn’t get a chance to participate very often this time, I enjoyed reading your commentary. Maybe you will be like Frosty the snowman, back again next year?

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Sarah. I’m glad you enjoyed these weeks. I do hope our paths will cross again down the road!
      Best wishes,

  2. Thank you, Peter, for leading us on this journey during the past couple of months, and thanks, also, to Kathy and Lori and all fellow participants for sharing notes and verses along the way.

    Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, made an enigmatic entry in 1950 about another journey in his posthumously published book Vägmärken, which was initially mistranslated as Markings:

    The longest journey
    Is the journey inwards.
    The one who has chosen his destiny,
    Who has begun the trek
    Towards his own ground
    (does such a ground exist?)
    Still among you,
    He is outside the fellowship,
    Isolated in your feelings
    As one condemned to death,
    Or one whom imminent departure
    Prematurely dedicates
    To each person’s final solitude.

    Between you and him is distance,
    Is uncertainty —

    He himself will see you
    Ever farther away,
    Hear your enticing calls
    Become fainter.

    Dag Hammarskjöld wrote this, of course, before the widespread use of gender-inclusive or gender-neutral language. His spiritual diary was translated and commented on by Bernhard Erling in a Reader’s Guide to Dag Hammarskjöld’s Waymarks. Erling’s book, a lifelong labor of love, is available online as a free PDF download from the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala, Sweden:

    Vägmärken also includes approximately 100 haiku, half of which Kai Falkman retranslated and commented on in his 2006 book, A String Untouched, which is available from Red Moon Press ( Falkman’s book was reviewed in Modern Haiku by John Stevenson (

    1. Thank-you, Richard! I read Dag Hammarskjöld’s book many years ago and you have inspired me to revisit it. Thanks also for these links to Falkman’s book and the review. :)

  3. Thanks, Everyone, for all the kind comments and encouragement here and over the past 9 weeks. It was a joy journeying together and there have been so many wonderful poems. Thanks for listing/commenting on your favourites again this week.

    Welcome Zoe and Sherry to HD! We’re all excited to have you both in the guest editing chair and look forward to reading your selections. :)


  4. What a wonderful run of poems! Thanks to Peter and everyone at THF. It’s been a delight to be on pilgrimage with everyone!
    Best for a happy and healthy holiday–

  5. So many haiku that fit the theme and thoughtful reflections on the return and how change occurs. One of note was Valentina’s Mobius strip haiku.
    Mobius strip
    only one line
    to walk
    A perfect description of a return from a pilgrimage, back where a person started, yet not. But then I have always been fascinated with the Mobius strip. Well done.

    Thanks for the pilgrimage, Peter. Thanks K J and Lori for keeping the column going week after week. Good luck to Zoe and Sherry Grant as you take the reins.

  6. Thanks Peter for such an inspiring set of themes along the haiku journey. A great addition to the Haiku Foundation archive!

  7. Thanks for all, dear Peter, It was an enjoyable and interesting journey, I’m glad to have taken part.
    My best wishes for the upcoming Christmas holiday.
    Good luck
    Luciana Moretto

  8. Many thanks for an enjoyable and instructive wander, Peter; and for all the work you and the team put into it.

    pilgrim’s way
    even her Ladyship
    laughs at the Reeve’s tale

  9. Thanks again Peter, for selecting my verse to be in such good company. What a treat it’s been each week reading all these wonderful verses, and your thoughtful illuminating commentaries. Bon adieu for now, I’m sure this won’t be the last we’ll see of you.
    Thanks for kj and Lori for giving us all space, and welcome to Sherry and Zoe!

  10. So many nice ideas over the last few weeks. And a few typos—I hope everyone checks their spelling before submission; with so few words, an error stands out like a thore sumb.

  11. Thank you, Peter, for sharing your pilgrimage and for including my Haiku in the selection this week.

  12. Peter, thanks for the wander ..
    Sherry and Zoe, looking forward to remembering the way back ago ..


  13. Thank you for including my haiku included this week! Much appreciation for your guest editing PH Fischer. Welcome Sherry and daughter Zoe. And thanks KJ Munro and Lori for keeping the engine running.

  14. Thank you, Peter, for sharing your pilgrimage with us and for calling on us to (re)discover our own experiences of transition. Your comments on specific poems have been nourishing and provided great insight into the poems you selected for the week. There is something very special about reading poems on specific themes from many fine poets from week to week, doorways that lead to other aspects of ourselves. Many thanks too, Peter, for choosing a few of mine to include. And a huge thanks to kj and Lori for all they do to keep Haiku Dialogue going.

    The following poems particularly spoke to me this week. Thank you, dear poets, for writing these!

    still pristine —
    the journal labelled
    “travel notes”

    Sheila Sondik
    Bellingham, WA

    above the clouds
    my heart grounded
    in Daisen-in

    Lynne Jambor
    Vancouver BC Canada
    journey’s end
    I return to
    a whole new river

    Bryan Rickert
    Belleville, Illinois USA
    Camino souvenirs
    deep within my pack
    me, myself, and i

    Helen Ogden
    Pacific Grove, CA
    new ritual—
    tea with the Buddha
    in the back garden

    Adele Evershed
    Wilton, Connecticut



    John S Green
    Bellingham, Washington

  15. road trip…
    she returns
    Jan Stretch
    Victoria BC Canada
    I would like to know where she went because I would like to go there. Thank-you Jan for a haiku that made me smile.

  16. Thank-you P. H. for selecting one of my haiku for your last column. I have enjoyed our time together. Thank-you to Kathy, Lori, and the Haiku Foundation. Thank-you also to all the poets who submitted regardless of being selected or not. Welcome Sherry and Zoe !!

  17. Thank you for your comments.

    I’ve enjoyed the journey in this series, and reading the haiku and commentary each week.

  18. Thanks, Peter for guiding us on this heartfelt pilgrimage. I’m happy that my blank journal spoke to you.
    THF’s Haiku Dialogue had become an essential and uplifting part of my week!

  19. What a journey, Peter, you have brought us on. A deep bow to you . . . namaste.
    Kathy and Lori deserve a big shout out, of course.

    Welcome Sherry and Zoe. Love your childhood memories theme with appreciation to baby animals.

    A few that I particularly enjoyed:
    breath exchange the path we travel

    Victor Ortiz
    Bellingham, Washington
    laundry day
    my son’s pocket full
    of river rocks

    Wai Mei Wong
    dad’s dementia returning to childhood memories

    Richard L. Matta
    San Diego, California USA
    journey’s end
    I return to
    a whole new river

    Bryan Rickert
    Belleville, Illinois USA
    missing the family I made
    along the way

    Mona Bedi
    New Delhi, India
    pilgrim staff
    handing on
    what sustained me

    Laurie Greer
    Washington DC

  20. I have so greatly enjoyed this pilgrimage with you, Peter. I find your writing and comments so thoughtful and thought-provoking.

    I feel incredibly privileged to share this space with so many of my favorite poets and friends. Haiku Dialogue is very much a weekly home for me. So thank you, kj and Lori for keeping it so warm and wonderful.

    I’m honored to have had a poem selected today and find it difficult to chose favorites when I truly loved so many.

  21. What a delightful surprise, and a privilege, to find my poem among the Editor’s chosen — thank you, Peter! This Pilgrimage has been a fascinating discovery of global experiences and haiku excellence, and especially enjoyable, your kind and thoughtful comments along the way.

    As always, grateful thanks to kjmunro and Lori.

    May we all find a spring in our step as we look forward to the next adventure.

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