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HAIKU DIALOGUE – A Walk on the Wild Side – Photo 2

A Walk on the Wild Side: Relating to the animal world – with guest editor Carole MacRury

Issa showed compassion to animals in many of his haiku, such as “butterfly flitting– / I too am made / of dust” and “spring breeze– / monkey families, too / take healing baths” (by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue). Basho also noticed and related to animals in many haiku. Many of the masters were lay monks or wrote haiku through the Buddhist belief that animals are sentient beings.
We encounter many creatures in our day to day life, through our pets, walks in the wild, aquariums and zoos to name a few. We share similar drives, to reproduce, to raise young, to protect them, to find food and seek shelter. Social skills, love, and even play are also shared attributes.
I will post four photos and with each one, please take the time to note your reaction, any emotions, any memories or thoughts that crop up. What is the body language of the animal saying to you? It may be you write a haiku about the animal, or it could be you write about something that relates to your life simply by interpreting the animal’s body language, gaze, or action towards something happening in your own life.

next week’s theme: Photo 3 – Peering into Emptiness

Unlike the eagle, this parrot is kept in captivity in an exotic bird and plant conservatory. While the birds could fly freely, they were still living under a dome. There is something filled with grace in the way the bird held on to an empty walnut shell. It peered into it for a long time. It reminded me of a beggar and his bowl. What does this image remind you of? Feel free to write about the image, the bird, its domed environment, or anything that it might remind you of in your own life.

The deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time, Saturday January 23, 2021.

Please submit one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme by clicking here: Contact Form.  Please put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box, & include your name as you would like it to appear, & your place of residence, with your poem.

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 Carole’s commentary for Photo 2 – Angry Bird:

My thanks to everyone for sharing your responses to this image. The bald eagle of course has symbolic meaning for the USA so I expected a few haiku written to our troubled times. Also, the sight of a once proud eagle facing his last few days certainly brought to mind our own aging as well as that of relatives and friends. Some of you used details of the eagle and its story to spark distant links in sometimes funny, sometimes poignant ways. You have to read closely to find those slender threads but it is very satisfying when you feel just how the poet connected to the image. It was difficult to choose which to comment on as I would have loved to have remarked on so many! So please do bring forth favorites of your own. The following five haiku were favored because of the use of juxtaposition and resonating word choices. All five are well-crafted responses to the prompt and invite speculation. None of these haiku describe the image or rely on the image in any way. They stand on their own very well.

egg moon—
the old eagle
lost his mojo

Corine Timmer
Faro, Portugal

‘egg moon’ caught my imagination right away because I’ve photographed the moon when it was the color of an egg yolk. But as it’s used here it symbolizes renewal and rejuvenation. It’s a spring kigo that speaks to birth and the creation of new life. This is a poignant reminder that life goes on even as the eagle’s life is about to come to an end. In this case the eagle has ‘lost his mojo’, a lighthearted way of saying, his nesting days are over. A well-crafted haiku utilizing alliteration and assonance with the o and m sounds. Of course, if you are like me, who believes that metaphor is part of the human experience, then you may well also associate this old ‘eagle’ with certain people in your lives.

sea change
gulls hijack
the dawn

Helen Buckingham

Not a single word could be removed from this sparse evocative haiku. Living by the sea, I know how it changes, and the birds react to these changes. Rough seas, calm seas, low tide, high tide. There are times birds flock to feed, times they flock to soar. I live in an area where seagulls number in the thousands, and yes, they do ‘hijack the dawn’. Such a wonderful phrase. This offers a clear image and for me, it also offers sound. One might ask, what about the eagle? Well, for me, this is one of those slender threads that lead back to the eagle and the annoying gull that sensed the eagle’s weakness that day. Just as the eagle will die, the gulls will have their day, and the sea is forever changing.

winter moonlight
his last breath
in isolation

Didimay D. Dimacali
USA

Another beautiful haiku that goes beyond the image and offers us a poignant look at dying, whether it is the old eagle, or someone passing away from Covid without the comfort of loved ones by their side. Winter moonlight itself connotes a rather cold and lonely setting for a death. The moon so far away, the loved one too, out of reach, in isolation. This is certainly a poem for the times, but it can also speak to the larger picture of how we all must face death one day. A clear image and a resonating phrase with each word earnings its place.

newborn
all the years
i’ll miss

Roberta Beary
County Mayo Ireland

I could sense that open space between the first line and the phrase. It felt like the flash of a lightbulb. The sudden awareness of not having enough years left to see a newborn grow up into adulthood. That the majority of their life will go on without us. It immediately takes me back to all the sepia photos of relatives, realizing that we too, will be a sepia photo to the newborns in our lives one day. Birth and death are so deeply intertwined and I appreciate where the prompt took this poet’s thoughts.

bird sanctuary
the national emblem
gets hand fed

Bryan Rickert

This one offers multiple interpretations, so I’m not going into detail about all the ways it resonated with me except to say it made me question our national symbol which is supposed to represent strength and dignity and reminds me also, that bald eagles were once on the verge of extinction. All weighty thoughts and worries that makes me ponder this act of hand-feeding our national emblem. Certainly to me, a bird sanctuary is a positive image and offers a sense of refuge, but then ‘hand fed’ leads me along different avenues. At any rate, as a frequent visitor to bird refuges, I have to admire the cleverness of showing our national emblem in this way. A stark contrast to the impending death of a wild eagle. I enjoy the sounds in this haiku, the assonance in ‘national/hand’, and ‘emblem/fed’.

below are the rest of the selections:

reprise-
my parrot repeats
my curses

Aljoša Vuković
Šibenik, Croatia

 

getting older
all those recipes
i never used before

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

late for her appointment
Gran’s insistence
on lipstick

Marion Clarke

 

banyan roots-
detangling my hair
grandma’s knotted fingers

Nisha Raviprasad

 

old bald eagle –
stars and stripes fading
on the flag

Juliet Wilson

 

another friend gone
I wonder who will give
my eulogy

Vandana Parashar

 

car keys
my last hold
on independence

Pat Davis Pembroke, NH

 

ravaged by age
the bald eagle
even balder than me

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

tattered feathers
I tuck my head under
my shadow

John Hawkhead

 

another year
my toenails grow
further away

Pris Campbell

 

fret not
king of birds…
the call comes

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

Inauguration Day
a fresh clutch of feathers
at the nest edge

Robert Kingston Essex , UK

 

grey moon
the sharpening point
of the old writer’s pen

Keiko Izawa

 

older and older—
my dreams of flight
grounded

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

50th celebrations
all the wrinkles
in my birthday suit

Louise Hopewell

 

back home visit
same old same old
but older

John S Green
Bellingham, WA

 

unattached
feathers stir in the wind…
widowhood

Michele L. Harvey

 

old parakeet
teaching grandpa
new words

Mona Iordan

 

black-robed justice
RBG takes her place
among the eagles

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

old age –
wearing out
the snooze button

Nick T
UK

 

becalmed
an old sailor
drifts away

m. shane pruett
Salem, OR

 

old eagle
first canyon light
still hers

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, CO

 

snow falls
the featherweight
of final layers

Kit Nagamura

 

late autumn
we finally buy
a grave

Barbara Kaufmann NY

 

elephant graveyard –
the silence descends
in circles

Cristina Angelescu, Romania

 

a lifetime
between stitches
mom’s tattered shawl

Lorraine A. Padden
San Diego, California

 

poppy field
out of the blue
hot flashes

cezar-florin ciobica

 

on a park bench
newspaper covers
another ragged cold night

Paul Geiger

 

I spot a silver hair
shining
among my worries

Cristina Povero 

 

autumn dusk
the old man bears
the weight of the moon

Barrie Levine
Wenham, Massachusetts

 

no more bucket lists
in the drawer
just a DNR order

Melanie Vance

 

phase 1B
the long silver line
to the clinic

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

EcoTarium
the eagle dreams of death
in the wild

Tim Cremin

 

no flutter of wings
Grandma leans heavily
on her walking stick

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

feathered friend
in spite of all
we are alone

Ingrid Baluchi, North Macedonia

 

gravitational pull—
a lesson in physics
from my mirror

Helen Ogden

Guest Editor Carole MacRury resides in Point Roberts, Washington, a unique peninsula and border town that inspires her work. Her poems have won awards and been published worldwide, and her photographs have been featured on the covers of numerous poetry journals and anthologies. Her practice of contemplative photography along with an appreciation of haiku aesthetics helps deepen her awareness of the world around her. Both image and written word open her to the interconnectedness of all things; to surprise, mystery and a sense of wonder. She is the author of In the Company of Crows: Haiku and Tanka Between the Tides (Black Cat Press, 2008, 2nd Printing, 2018) and The Tang of Nasturtiums, an award-winning e-chapbook (Snapshot Press 2012).

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: kjmunro1560.wordpress.com.

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.

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. I keep coming back to this week’s selections. So much that rings true. Thank you, Carole, for creating this forum.
    I enjoyed John’s use of humor. I laughed out loud, and then echoes of meaning kept coming back to me:

    back home visit
    same old same old
    but older

    John S Green

    1. Thanks Sheila, I laughed at John’s too and yes, the variety of responses is amazing. kj Munro and Lori created and maintain Haiku Dialogue, and then ask guest editors to take a month or two. I like January, this is my 2nd time. Other editors have offered really inspiring prompts too, all year round. Haiku Dialogue is a great pick-me-up for the muse! 🙂

    2. Thanks for the kind comment, Sheila. This thread from Carole has garnered excellent responses. Something about a good picture to respond to, it seems.
      Here are a few of my favorites this week:
      .
      old age –
      wearing out
      the snooze button

      Nick T
      UK
      My kind of humor. I don’t use an alarm anymore but my wife does, and it is a bit fun to listen to her groan as she pulls herself out of bed.
      .
      another year
      my toenails grow
      further away

      Pris Campbell
      So clever, and true. I have my wife cut my toenails now!
      .
      newborn
      all the years
      i’ll miss

      Roberta Beary
      County Mayo Ireland
      This strikes home. My only child is 34 and just said, for the very firsr time, that she wants a baby. I’ll be 64 this year, so I am so relieved that I won’t miss too many years. I was thinking my daughter might choose to be child-free, which I would be okay with, but still a bit sad.

  2. My deepest thanks to Lori , kj, and any other genie behind the scenes who restored the photographic display to Haiku Dialogue Prompts. It is now the same as when I edited HD last January. Do experience the photos the best way folks, and click on them to enlarge them. Especially the eagle, to see and feel his age, and if you can do find the ape photo because getting up close and personal with that one is unforgettable. So happy this was fixed! My grateful thanks for your efforts.

    While I’m here, a small reminder….two poems only. A few have sent up to four and I only consider the first two. Thanks everyone! Let your muse be inspired by this closer look at the images.

  3. Dear Carole, Lori & kj many thanks for the beautiful selection and commentary on the photo haiku of A Walk on the Wild Side. All the verses were beautiful…some poignant, some funny, some unique and interesting…I enjoyed reading all of them.

    This photo feature triggers so many different responses and emotions in the poets and the subsequent reading of selected haiku with the commentary becomes memorable. I am honoured to have my ku in the Editor’s selections. Congratulations to all poets and accolades for Corine, Helen, Didimay, Roberta & Bryan for being at the top!

  4. Thank you, Carole for your commentary. As a COVID survivor and a licensed nurse who continue to hear the wailings in the long term care facility where I work and around me, last week’s photo resonated.

    I am grateful to all the poets who share their beautiful life and soul reflected in their literary masterpieces.

    Stay safe and well!

    1. My heart goes out to you Didimay, and thank you for what you do….I know it can’t be easy these days. Yes, my eagle stunned me too…it’s the first time I’ve ever laid eyes on a truly old and dying bird…one dying of natural causes…fortunately, no Covid as so many are today….stay safe!

  5. Congratulations to all the poets featured this week and to Carole for the helpful commentaries. There are so many great responses here. I was particularly taken with

    late for her appointment
    Gran’s insistence
    on lipstick

    Marion Clarke

    This is such an unexpected but brilliant image that manages to combine humour and poignancy. I also liked the repetition of ‘s’ sounds in ‘insistence’ and ‘lipstick’ – I can hear as well as see the old lady over-applying her lipstick. Wonderful!

    1. I loved this one too. Especially as it related to that tattered eagle…I had a gran who wouldn’t be caught dead without her lipstick and was always properly decked out…;-)

  6. Loving this week’s selections and I’m singling this one out because I recognise it so well:
    .
    late for her appointment
    Gran’s insistence
    on lipstick
    .
    Marion Clarke

  7. Lots of food for thought and poems I can relate to. A lovely collection and to name just a few….

    another friend gone
    I wonder who will give
    my eulogy
    … Vandana Parashar

    Gentle and relevant, with a lovely rhythm. Even Vandana’s name seems part of the poem.

    car keys
    my last hold
    on independence
    … Pat Davis Pembroke, NH

    So true for many. For my parents, it became the most important thing and when finally Mum had to stop driving she was so upset and angry with the world. Such a metaphor. . .

    old parakeet
    teaching grandpa
    new words
    … Mona Iordan

    A chuckle here, for the old man who maybe feels more connection with the bird than with people…

    elephant graveyard
    the silence descends
    in circles
    … Cristina Angelescu, Romania

    I love this one, sad and beautiful, with sound echoing sense and lots of dreaming space. “the silence descends in circles” is just so beautiful. One for sitting with and pondering…

    Thanks Carole for your great prompts and words.

    1. I enjoyed Crisina’s also Carole. To me, ‘the silence descends in circles’ brought buzzards to mind…the way they circle over dying things…

    2. What a great response to your old eagle, Carole!

      Well done to Corine, Helen, Didimay, Roberta and Bryan—these verses were very deserving of commentary.

      Perhaps because of the times we are in, I also enjoyed the light touch of Aljoša’s curse-repeating parrot, Mona’s old parakeet teaching grandpa new words and Nick T’s overused snooze button, as well as the dark humour of Pris and Tracey’s verses on the ravages of age.

      All responses resonated in different ways, including Vandana’s diminishing list of friends, Deborah’s musings on unused recipes, the reluctant purchase of a grave in Barbara’s, the weight of despair in Barrie’s and silence in Cristina and Kit’s verses. The very tactile nature of Nisha’s banyan roots also appealed.

      Okay I’ll stop there or I’ll end up quoting all the verses! Well done to all…I know my grandmother would be very pleased to find herself among these.

      (Btw, Carole, with an early February birthday fast approaching, Helen’s gravity-reflecting mirror and Louise’s wrinkled birthday suit were a little too close for comfort—but they made me smile! 😄 )

  8. Wonderful selection Carole. I am always amazed at the variety of responses to the prompts. These two stood out for me, Paris’s for the humor in facing the effects of age, and Roberta’s for her poignant recognition of the passage of time.
    another year
    my toenails grow
    further away

    Pris Campbell

    And this one:

    newborn
    all the years
    I’ll miss

    Roberta Beary

    1. Peggy…Pris made me laugh….I bet a lot of could relate to this one….and I can see how maybe the old eagles talons brought this to mind…:-)

  9. Wonderful selection, thank you Carole, Lori and poets.
    Easy to feel for this old eagle, but it has lived its full life in freedom. Birds aren’t meant to be in cages.
    My father kept African Greys and loved them well. I remember, however, the joy and thrill I felt watching a couple of these parrots screeching by our hotel window in Kampala each morning…a bird I had up until then seen only in solitary captivity.
    Among the variety of poems this week, these two made me chuckle. How true, Pris Campbell:
    another year
    my toenails grow
    further away

    and if only we had feathers…
    50th celebrations
    all the wrinkles
    in my birthday suit
    Louise Hopewell

    Thank you for including one of mine.

  10. Thanks for choosing and commenting on my haiku, Carole. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Congratulations to all! From the rest of the selections one grabbed my attention immediately as I can relate to it. It made me smile. I’m amazed that the image made Marion think of this. Wonderful!

    late for her appointment
    Gran’s insistence
    on lipstick

    Marion Clarke

    1. Thank you, Corine. My grandmother Ellen (Nellie) Campbell was a fun-loving lady, much loved and missed by her twenty grandchildren since 2000. Thinking about it, Gran has inspired quite a lot of my writing. Carole’s photo and words somehow made me think of her.

  11. Thanks so much, Carole, for your appreciative comments. I love all your other top choices
    this week. Roberta Beary’s really packs a punch, with plenty of scope for interpretation, all within five short words:

    newborn
    all the years
    I’ll miss

    1. Helen….yes, Roberta’s touched me deeply. I’ve reached the age where I try not to ‘count’ Christmas’s….think about how many I have left! 🙂

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