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HAIKU DIALOGUE – A Walk on the Wild Side – Photo 3

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 4 – In the Eye of a Horse

 

I’ve taken many up close photos of a horse’s eye and am always amazed how when I cease to see the body, I see into the horse in a way I wouldn’t normally from a distance. Meet the eye of any creature and you feel something pass between you as I did with this particular horse. Have you had any experiences around large animals like a horse? Do you bet on racing horses, own one yourself, or have you ever ridden a horse, or like me, simply passed the time in a pasture talking to one!

The deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time, Saturday January 30, 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Please submit one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme by clicking here: Contact Form.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 3 – Peering into Emptiness:

My thanks to every poet who submitted poems. I spent many hours reading and rereading your offers. To include as many poets as possible, I could only choose one poem per poet. At times this made my job difficult, as I enjoyed both offers. Other times, a few poets sent more than the limit of two poems. I only looked at the first two, and deleted the others, so if your best poem was number 4, it was not considered. This is to be fair to those who sent the required 2 poems. Overall, I saw concurrent themes of emptiness and I found I was drawn to those who took the photo prompt in directions that spoke to their own lives. Quite a few spoke directly to the image, and I chose what I thought the best of those. But I was amazed at the variety of human experience that resonated through this image of a parrot peering into an empty shell. Many of the poems require close reading to sense that slender thread to the image, but when you feel it, there is nothing but admiration. I may pick out a few more favorites in the comments section later, but I hope that you too, will choose your favorites and honor the selected poets with a few words. I believe in most cases, showing not telling has more heart and openness, and that juxtaposition can add depth to a poem, and the power of the image lingers longer in our minds than philosophical or didactic statements. It is all about experience, connection, and authenticity. These five poems offered me all of that and more.

empty snail shell
a silverfish
calls it home

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

This is one of the more unique responses to the image of a parrot holding an empty walnut shell. This poet was moved to write about a different type of empty shell entirely. It’s a perfect haiku with a strong image in the first line, and a resonating phrase in the second two lines. Note also, the sounds in this haiku with the sibilance of ‘snail, shell, silverfish’. There is a lot to unpack in this poem. It opens its layers like a flower the deeper you enter. Silverfish are mostly found in homes, so I am guessing the snail shell is a found object and on display among other treasures inside someone’s home. Instead of philosophizing, or telling us what to think, this poet suggests and asks that you fill the beautiful space between the image and the phrase with your own musings. A shell, once filled with life, now hosts another life. The connotations of the word ‘home’ reminds us it was once the snail’s home, that it might have ended up inside a person’s home, and finally found additional use to become home for a silverfish. I see the cycle of life, how death can be a beginning, not an ending and emptiness can be filled.

full moon . . .
my bowl
is not enough

Melanie Vance

Another haiku that opens with a strong image and follows with a thought-provoking phrase. The first thing that came to me was the poet opened with a ‘full moon’, after viewing an image of a parrot peering into an empty shell. Fullness as opposed to emptiness. I felt this was the slender thread that helped me see what might have been the poet’s inspiration. The bowl in the second line brings me to sustenance, our bowl, whether empty or filled, can it compete with the full moon? This poem made me think of what lies beyond emptiness. We can have an empty bowl, a full bowl, wealth or poverty, death, or life, but can we live without a full moon? The constancy of the moon’s cycles, the fullness of the moon, goes beyond what we might perceive as our need and reliance on what we see as our bowl. ‘my bowl is not enough’, but the full moon will always fill us in so many ways.

drinking
with an old friend
the mead moon

Orense Nicod, Paris France

Another unusual take on the evocative image of a parrot staring into an empty shell. I sense that the poet felt the loneliness of the scene, felt empathy towards the bird yet might have been inspired to write a reaffirming haiku to counterbalance what we might feel as pity towards what we might think an empty life. Instead, we are treated to the silent companionship of drinking with an ‘old friend’, be it a metaphor, a real-life friend, or even, as I began to suspect, the ‘mead moon’ as drinking buddy. It has a sense of solitariness, without loneliness. Mead moon is an early harvest moon, a time of celebration, rebirth, not to mention a special wine with a lot of history behind it. Altogether an uplifting haiku that reaffirms the difference between choosing aloneness or loneliness as a state of mind.

black coffee
stirring the nothingness
of the day

Marina Bellini

This senryu grew on me. Right away I fell in love with the figurative language of ‘stirring the nothingness of the day’. Then I looked closer and like the jolt of caffeine ‘black coffee’ might offer, I suddenly felt the connection between the first line and the following two. I love surprises! Why would you stir black coffee? Such is the power of connotations, of word choices, of juxtaposition. The idea of stirring coffee that doesn’t need stirring enhances that sense of ‘nothingness’, or perhaps ennui. It’s a poem I can so easily visualize, the slow stirring, the blankness of expression, the ‘nothingness’. It could be a poem for the times, as we live our days under the restrictions of Covid. Yet haven’t we all had days of ‘nothingness’? Days our minds shut down and we move about on remote control. The slender thread I feel towards this poem as inspired by the image is empathy towards the sameness of the parrot’s life living under a dome.

at the edge
of dignity
bread lines

Carol Judkins
Carlsbad, CA

I am impressed by the way this poet’s heart took that empty walnut shell straight to the lack of food for so many, not only around the globe, but finally, here close to home in a way we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. I am haunted by the words ‘at the edge of dignity’. For many, it is the first time they have ever had to ask for help and probably never thought to find themselves in this situation. We are raised to take pride in our ability to put food on the table for our loved ones. How shattering it must be to have done so all your life and suddenly find yourself in a bread line. The poet could have said food line, foodbank, but ‘bread lines’ brought back our past and signifies the importance of bread as manna, or the Bread of Life. Even more it’s a reminder to respect the dignity of all those who find themselves in need.

below are the rest of the selections:

the freedom
we thought we had
travel ban

Bryan Rickert

 

pack up call
a palmful of moonlight
in the beggar’s bowl

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh,India

 

sunrise
the silence
of an empty inbox

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera, CA USA

 

the way she places
her china teacup
on its matching saucer

Olivier Schopfer, Switzerland

 

refugee tent
as if glances
could fill the bowl

Helga Stania

 

temple bell
opening the door
to a new life

Robert Kingston

 

in a nutshell –
the void between stars
is filling my dreams

Cristina Angelescu, Romania

 

waiting for Dad…
his pockets
empty

Margaret Mahony

 

empty shell
the memories
mom tries to claw back

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

lockdown —
staring into the depths
of my empty cup

Helen Ogden

 

walnut shell
what was my life before
my daughters were born

Vandana Parashar

 

the monk
emptying his mind
alms bowl

Kanjini Devi

 

the widow’s hands
embrace his empty cup
old tea stains

Jan Dobb
Canberra, Australia

 

flirting
with the void
old age

Pat Davis Pembroke, NH

 

an empty shell-
my struggle to write
haiku

Dorothy Burrows

 

forlorn parrot
his one word:
hello!

Merridy Cox
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

 

midnight jazz
in the Milky Way
hidden solitude

Tsanka Shishkova

 

tangled twigs —
a distant parrot enters
the fog

Taofeek Ayeyemi
Abeokuta, Nigeria

 

shell game
the flash and dazzle
of a smooth talker

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

second wave
rows and rows
of empty shelves

mRehm

 

cold night
the cat’s tongue
warms my void

Keiko Izawa

 

conservatory view
beyond the blossoms
the snow

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, CO

 

face-time . . .
sharing peanut butter
kisses

Carole Harrison,
jamberoo, Australia

 

empty wine bottle –
summer romance
turns to fall

Alan Harvey

 

birdsong
despite the cage
around it

Michele L. Harvey

 

a remnant
in the walnut shell …
father’s big dream

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia

 

caged bird
. . . the call of sky
in every feather

Sushama Kapur

 

family reunion
auntie’s glass
always half empty

Corine Timmer

 

one thousand
square foot house –
my pandemic birdcage

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

line at the food bank
the distance
between meals

Lorraine A. Padden

 

lockdown
the parrot repeating
to be or not to be

cezar-florin Ciobîcă

 

one walnut
really hate
this new diet

Paul Geiger

 

virtual church
a PayPal link in Chat
during the offering

John S Green
Bellingham, WA

 

toasting the new year
with a broken glass
optimist

Charles Harmon
Los Angeles, California

 

‘bird brain!’
I smile secretly
at the compliment

Dana Rapisardi

 

gazing into
our spalted maple bowl —
star trails!

Sheila Sondik
Belingham, WA

 

quantum mechanics
my parrot understands it
as much as I do

M. R. Defibaugh

 

sold to highest bidder a soul

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, IA, USA

 

generations in the zoo –
a parrot considering
what is freedom

Tomislav Maretić

 

clear night stardome quiet

Tim Cremin
Andover, Massachusetts

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 26 Comments

  1. Thanks to Carole MacRury for including my poem and to John Green and Robert Kingston for mentioning it. Always an honor to be featured alongside you all!

    Here are a few that grabbed my attention for whatever reason on my first read-through.

    tangled twigs —
    a distant parrot enters
    the fog

    Taofeek Ayeyemi
    Abeokuta, Nigeria

    I like the mystery of this one. Tangled, distant, fog…

    an empty shell-
    my struggle to write
    haiku

    Dorothy Burrows

    We’ve certainly all been there!

    temple bell
    opening the door
    to a new life

    Robert Kingston

    It sounds like following that bell made a difference. I see one connection being that the temple is a sanctuary that offers more freedom than captivity. Well, there is also the emptiness sought.

    1. “Well, there is also the emptiness sought.”

      Interesting, this is a serene concept to me. Perhaps, even a positive outcome, an emptiness, then fulfillment realised, however emptiness simply is.

  2. Super ku.
    Thank-you, each poet, editor, host and Haiku Dialogue personnel.
    I feel as if I have been well-schooled these many weeks.

  3. Many thanks to Carole.
    Here are a few I especially liked:
    .
    quantum mechanics
    my parrot understands it
    as much as I do

    M. R. Defibaugh
    Clever poem.
    .
    ‘bird brain!’
    I smile secretly
    at the compliment

    Dana Rapisardi
    Just plain humorous. Respect for all living things.
    .
    midnight jazz
    in the Milky Way
    hidden solitude

    Tsanka Shishkova
    I can relate
    .
    the widow’s hands
    embrace his empty cup
    old tea stains

    Jan Dobb
    Canberra, Australia
    Wow, this one really sunk in after letting it rest. Lovely.
    .
    drinking
    with an old friend
    the mead moon

    Orense Nicod, Paris France
    How to use moon in an original manner—nicly done with an old friend.
    .

  4. A wonderfully thought-provoking collection of poems this week and a really helpful commentary from Carole. I enjoyed reading the entire selection and found many poems memorable. One I particularly admired because of its unexpected theme and playfulness was

    shell game
    the flash and dazzle
    of a smooth talker

    Laurie Greer

    A lovely response to the image – and so true!

    Many thanks to Carole for including my poem in the column and thank you also to Lori for all the administration you do. I look forward to reading next week’s selection.

  5. waiting for Dad…
    his pockets
    empty

    Margaret Mahony, loved this Haiku. It touched my heart. Imagined a child waiting for her father to return, with food, candies… finding his pockets empty and the disappointment of going to bed hungry one more night…

  6. Thanks so much for your comments, Carole. Your commentary on each helped increase my appreciation of each of them!!
    Carol

  7. Thank you so much for including my entry and for your astute commentary. My first publication. It really made my day!
    So many amazing entries. I especially liked

    full moon…
    my bowl
    is not enough

    I love how it can be both visual and literal but also metaphorical with so many possible interpretations. It spoke to me about how we may always wish for more but also how the experience of the moment can sometimes fill us to the brim. Such poignant fullness of being brings us back to our limitations, our mortality, the bowl that can only contain so much. Really enjoyed all the layers in this.

    1. Thanks Orense! I love to hear that this is your first publication. Congratulations! I’m sure we’ll see more of your work. It’s a wonderful poem. Also, I enjoy your cmmentary on ‘full moon’. I think some of the best poems are grounded in a solid image yet open themselves to interpretation depending on the reader’s experiences.

  8. Thank you Carole for including mine. Thanks alo to Lori and KJ for keeping this awesome feature going.

    This one by Matt amused me

    quantum mechanics
    my parrot understands it
    as much as I do

    M. R. Defibaugh

  9. lockdown
    the parrot repeating
    to be or not to be

    cezar-florin Ciobîcă

    Alas, my own Hamlet reference failed the audition.

  10. Thank you very much Carol for the selection and thoughtful commentary on my haiku. I enjoyed every haiku entry. Thanks to Lori and Kj as well.

  11. Thank you Carole for including my poem and thank you Pat for your comment. I loved every poet’s contribution.

  12. Thank-you Carole for publishing one of mine. I found the comments about
    your selection process interesting. Congrats to all the poets.

  13. Much food for thought and lovely critiques by Carole for wonderful poems.

    tangled twigs —
    a distant parrot enters
    the fog
    …. Taofeek Ayeyenni, Abeokuta, Nigeria

    Makes me think of this troubled time and how we are all looking for answers. Strong images and ‘sound echoing sense’ of ‘tangled twigs’, ‘distant’ and ‘fog’ plus all the space for dreaming, make this excellent haiku resonate with me.

    caged bird
    . . . the call of sky
    in every feather
    …. Sushama Kapur

    Another excellent haiku, beautiful and poignant. Love ‘the call of sky/ in every feather’.

  14. You are all awesome poets and for me the pleasure was in learning more about each of you in the way you connected to the image. We all know those who see life as a cup half-empty and those that see it as a cup half full.
    And of course, at reunions you have all types mingling together. But for me, something else came to mine, purely from my own experiences of family reunions, and their free drinks, and those relatives who never were found with an empty glass! LOL

    family reunion
    auntie’s glass
    always half empty

    Corine Timmer

    the way she places
    her china teacup
    on its matching saucer

    Olivier Schopfer, Switzerland

    Although its a sentence and I love a good juxtasition or a pause, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the fragility and tenderness of this moment. It’s a beautiful visualization and one I’m sure I’ve seen before when having tea with my older relatives. Yet there is also that other little word ‘matching’, that gives this even more resonance as it speaks to the properness, perhaps pride of the person who owns this tea set.

  15. So many to meditate on. Marina Bellini’s “black coffee” really got to me, and the commentary, too. Margaret Mahony’s “waiting for Dad… ” tore at my heart strings – I’m sure many Dads have empty pockets these days. Valentina Ranaldi-Adams’ “one thousand” expressed what I feel in my own home, especially now that I live alone. Roberta Beach Jacobson’s “sold to highest bidder a soul” brought to mind the slave auction block, when people were sold along with their souls. Thanks to everyone for “peering into emptiness” safely through poetry. And thanks to Carole, Lori, and kj for all the work of giving us this forum.

    1. Hi Pat, I hope you are not too lonely in your house and that reading poetry helps past the time.

      1. Hi Valentina,
        Yes – poetry helps keep me grounded – both reading it and writing. My husband passed away in September of 2019, I’m glad he did not have to face the coronavirus restrictions and the state of our fragile democracy. Pat

  16. birdsong
    despite the cage
    around it
    This went straight to the heart. The despair of animals, or people, in captivity. And the connection for us all, being in lockdown, yet still trying to find the song in our hearts.

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