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HAIKU DIALOGUE – A Walk on the Wild Side – Photo 4 & Introduction to Finding peace and contemplation… in small things

A Walk on the Wild Side – Photo 4 & Introduction to Finding Peace and Contemplation… in small things

I would like to thank Guest Editor Carole MacRury for a wonderful month of photos & poetry, & now welcome another accomplished poet & photographer Marietta McGregor, who will share her photos with us for the next few weeks…

Introduction to Finding Peace and Contemplation… in small things with Guest Editor Marietta McGregor

At times in our lives, fast-moving events of our day-to-day existence may become overwhelming. Between work and family responsibilities, daily needs and doomscrolling, days rush by in a breakneck blur and we sometimes end the week with a sense of ‘where did that go?’ We’re surrounded by the wonders of our shared universe. Maybe it’s time to become immersed in the enjoyment of one aspect of this spectacular world which amazes, delights and refreshes us. We can marvel at the night sky or clouds by day, cheer a ladybug as it climbs a twig and opens its wings, dangle our feet in a cool river, rest in a tree’s benevolent shade, stroke velvety green moss, smell ozone freshness at the coast, crunch through frosty grass, listen to morning birdsong, taste a last autumn apple. Small pauses in quotidian life may be devoted to living slower, using every sense, and sharing our pleasure through poetry. Simple gifts.

Each week for the next few weeks there will be a photographic prompt on the theme of ‘Finding peace and contemplation. . .’ with images capturing moments when we might seek inspiration if the going gets tough. I look forward to reading your personal response to the moments you’ve discovered.

next week’s theme: Photo One – bee in blossom

On a warm sunny Spring day, my husband and I visited a local tulip festival. The gardens featured stands of flowering cherry and peach trees in full riotous bloom in every shade of pink, all richly-scented. Families had spread picnics out on the sweeping lawns under the trees and were busily diving into platefuls of goodies, amid happy conversations and laughter. Above their heads too, there was a lot of buzzy activity. I liked this bee diving headfirst into the flowers. You’re invited to write a haiku inspired by the image about some small thing you enjoyed, perhaps a scent or a taste or a feeling or a memory, in a garden like this.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday February 06, 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 4 – In the Eye of a Horse:

Thanks all for your wonderful responses to the horse’s eye image. From work horses to war horses, from retired horses to therapy horses, from famous horse paintings to baby horses, you didn’t disappoint and proved once again, the variety of responses that can result from one image. Others were inspired by the eye itself, or the hair, or the idea of riding with the wind. And as I’d hoped, others with no horse experience at all, took the image in new and exciting directions, as metaphor to nursing homes, to crab’s eyes, to cow’s eyes, to the eyes of a beloved dog. It was difficult paring my commentary down to five. I had at least ten I would have loved to have talked about. Please do bring your favorites to light. I’d like to thank all of you for participating and I’d especially like to thank kjmunro for inviting me to act as guest editor this month and to Lori Zajkowski for her eagle eye and hard work behind the scenes.

These five poems reflect the aesthetics I admire most in haiku and senryu. I’m first drawn by content, by surprise and freshness of the haiku moment. Next I’m drawn by the use of language to invite the senses and speculation. All five use juxtaposition to open the haiku up to deeper levels of comprehension.

the old mare’s eyes
a flicker of stars…
horsehead nebula

Tracy Davidson

I enjoyed the poet’s use of language. The word ‘flicker’ speaks not only to stars, but to the light dancing in a horse’s eye. To be reminded of the heavenly nebula adds another connotation to the fact that the mare is old, yet her eyes are still full of light. On a much deeper level I see this old mare as part of the universe of which we too are part.

riding bareback
across the wetlands
tangled hair

Genie Nakano

It was a delight to see a poem inspired by the tangled mane of the horse and to take that image on a wild ride across the wetlands. To me, the tangled hair could be both the horse’s mane and the rider’s long hair, and the fact of riding bareback brings both rider and horse together as a single unit. Quite the image, full of wind and energy and union.

his eyes
beyond the horizon

m Rehm

This was my favorite of the senryu. It’s understated and depending on one’s own experiences with illness, there are many possible interpretations to be found between the lines. When I think of how the horse’s eye might have inspired this poet, I see wide-open eyes, in shock and lost in the moment, unseeing. Beyond the horizon, indeed is like staring blankly into the abyss, the unknown. That is my interpretation. But to me, who watches the horizon a lot, beyond the horizon will always remain a mystery with no way of second-guessing what lies ahead.

hazy moon–
wet eyes
of a foal

Teiichi Suzuki

I loved this one immediately, and could not put it out of my mind. It’s no secret I’m a fan of seasonal references to help set the scene and add resonance, both of which I find in the first line. A hazy moon suggests early spring, yet also speaks to the haziness of what might be the eyes of a foal just born. The added richness of ‘wet’ enhances the senses of all that happens in spring:  birth, wet earth, seedlings, foals. This is a beautiful haiku moment where, unlike the clarity of the horse’s eye which inspired it, this foal’s eyes are new, wet, hazy, yet full of promise. My only suggestion, if this were mine, would be to add a definite article to the second line. ‘the wet eyes’. But it remains a strong haiku nevertheless.

the show pony no longer
in his glory days . . .
nursing home

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

It is the human condition to think in metaphor, and in this poem, the statement in the first two lines is believable. Just as race horses retire and are put out to pasture, we too, leave behind our glory days and some of us end up in nursing homes, sometimes forgotten, no longer the center of attention and living a life where the past is memory and the future moves towards death.

below are the rest of the selections:

horse racing stables
my fortune written
in a Milky Way

John Hawkhead


cumulonimbus …
the inscrutable look
of grazing cows

Daniela Misso


this horse and I—
the same horizon shines
in our eyes

Penny Harter


prairie dog town
in a paddock
horses stepping gingerly

Charles Harmon
Los Angeles, California


scorching heat
a tired old horse carries
one more tourist

Marina Bellini


horses on the hill
trains rush
into the next century

Minko Tanev


a twinkle
in the horse’s eyes
rumspinga      Amish 

Marilyn Ashbaugh
Gulf Stream, Florida


no blinders
large enough—
global pandemic

Julie Bloss Kelsey
Maryland, USA


cat’s eye…
this deep knowing
of trust

Carol Judkins
Carlsbad, CA


distant mountains—
running on the path
of my ancestors

Eufemia Griffo


war horse . . .
the gleaming goggles
of a doctor in PPE

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India


without blinkers –
the round sky
of Spring

Nazarena Rampini


sweaty horse –
the spring fields mirrored
in its eye

Tomislav Maretić


If I could see me
the way you do…
my dear dog

Tomislav Sjekloća
Cetinje, Montenegro


horse therapy –
discovering paths
to a new reality

Danijela Grbelja


drinking in
the twilight in his eyes…
champ’s last race

Madhuri Pilali


buttermilk sky
in the eye of a caged mare
her home village

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang Indonesia


horses at surf’s edge
the river silt
in every wave

Deborah P Kolodji
Temple City, California


thunder and whistlejacket’s worried look

simonj UK


horse riding
the aunt says a girl
shouldn’t be wild

Vandana Parashar


in the cow’s eyes
flies buzz

Sue Colpitts
Ontario, Canada


canyon wildfire —
throughout the hot night
their hoofbeats

Mark Meyer


the view
is clear now
contact lens

hideki obayashi


an asphodel –
in the horse’s eye
stars and moon

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy


Trojan horses all the fillies

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa, USA


racing horse
how she eyes
the jockey

M. R. Defibaugh


farm auction
the mare resists
being led away

Bryan Rickert


both of us
with worry lines

Ingrid Baluchi (North Macedonia)


I hold my breath
to caress it

Daniela Misso


river source . . .
a horse sucks the moon
and my secrets

Ivan Gaćina


county fair stall
Percheron and I
eye one another

Paul Geiger


retired race horse
his fans
buzz around his ears

Lorraine A. Padden, San Diego, CA


narrow path
the knowing look
of a goat

Helga Stania


bridal party
the look she threw
the groomsman

Laurie Greer
Washington DC


craning their eyes
in the cold twilight
fishmarket crabs

Stephen Kusch
Oakland, CA


dray mare
for a few apples
the mountain moves

Dana Rapisardi


nose to nose
we confide in each other
sugar moon

Clysta Seney


those fringe years –
my teen eyes hiding
from the world

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom


past lives fleck the horse’s amber eye

Helen Buckingham


to the eye of a horse
a new beginning


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:

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 22 Comments

  1. I can’t find either the full posts or submit links to The Haiku Dialogue and only see the reply posts. I wanted to submit to this week’s photo prompt, but it’s not here. The submission period is until Saturday at midnight, No?

  2. Thank you Carole for your series of inspiring and challenging exercises and your insightful commentaries and to kj and Lori for the administration of the column. Thank you also for including my poem.

    There are some wonderful poems in this week’s selection with many thought-provoking, memorable and moving images. I also learnt several new words too! One that educated me was…

    both of us
    with worry lines

    Ingrid Baluchi

    I thought this beautifully captured the tension and uncertainty when you find yourself face to face with a large animal. A similar feeling is also conveyed in….

    cumulonimbus …
    the inscrutable look
    of grazing cows

    Daniela Misso

    For me, the first line works wonderfully. It’s quite a mouthful of a word to say out loud and therefore manages to convey the hypnotic sound of cows grazing and the fact that it is quite a laborious action. Comparing the look to ominous and potentially thunderous clouds works brilliantly too.

    I look forward to reading the responses to Marietta’s beautiful image next week.

  3. Thank you, Carole, for selecting my haiku with helpful commentary of kigo(hazy moon).
    Challenging each photo theme gave me inspiration.
    Thank you, Hellen, for thoughtful comment on my haiku.

  4. Thanks again dear poets. I too, though this collection was strong. Quite possibly, the close up, with just an eye to peer into, opened up your poems in so many different ways rather than simply trying to interpret an image, Each of you had to to dig deep into your own reservoirs of experience. And it shows! So pleased with all of the poems. And I’m thrilled to see the photo prompts continue with Marietta!
    Welcome Marietta!

    1. Thank you very much for the kind welcome, Carole! Your images and discussion have been fantastic. And the poets’ responses have been interesting and moving. You are a hard act to follow! I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks.

  5. Carole your five choices for comments resonated with me. Appreciation to all the poets. The variety is like a symphony. I wonder if any American readers segued to “My Friend Flicka” with UK poet Tracy Davidson’s horsehead nebula haiku. Still surprised how my mind works…a book I read decades ago.

    1. Thanks Clysta …I was thrilled to receive so many lovely haiku from this particular prompt and all resonating in different ways! My thanks to all…

  6. buttermilk sky
    in the eye of a caged mare
    her home village
    Agus Maulana Sunjaya
    Tangerang Indonesia
    I like this image – buttermilk sky

  7. A fine selection this week – thanks Carole. This is, for me too, a standout senryu that delves deeply into the human condition:

    his eyes
    beyond the horizon
    m Rehm

  8. past lives fleck the horse’s amber eye

    Helen Buckingham

    A mystical interpenetration of the physical phenomenon. Oo.

  9. What a wonderful selection, Carol, and well done to all featured. As a child who wished for a horse every birthday, I couldn’t help putting these two together —what a contrast!

    horse riding
    the aunt says a girl
    shouldn’t be wild

    Vandana Parashar

    riding bareback
    across the wetlands
    tangled hair

    Genie Nakano

    Thanks to Carol, kj and Lori. Looking forward to reading the responses now that Marietta has been passed the baton. 🙂

  10. Thanks so much, Carole, for again selecting my ku and for all your hard work over the past month. I think this collection’s particularly strong, the stand out poem for me being Teiichi Suzuki’s:
    hazy moon–
    wet eyes
    of a foal
    I, personally, wouldn’t add a definite article – feels more visceral to me as it is – sorry Carole!

    1. That’s okay Helen! 🙂 As I said, nothing, not even an article, can improve the power of this one. It was a favorite from the first read through. 🙂

  11. Carole, I was surprised and pleased to have my haiku selected for commentary. Thank-you for your efforts on the entire series. Thank-you also to Lori and Kathy for their efforts. Congrats to all the poets.

  12. Great selection of poems with commentary to broaden my appreciation of each one. I found Marina Bellini’s “scorching heat” surprisingly emotional. Of course, I felt sorry for the horse, then wondered about its owner’s insensitivity and greed, and the clueless tourist on the horse’s tired back. mRehm’s poem “diagnosis” made me think of someone I know in his moment of being stunned into silence. Thanks to all the poets, to Lori, kj, and Carole for inspiring photos and in-depth commentary.

  13. Thankyou, Carole, and all the unseen who work hard to bring this feature to us. It’s been a marvellous few weeks. A fabulous collection to finish on.
    Congratulations to all poets.

    Hello and welcome, Marietta McGregor. Looking forward to reading your selections and comments.

    Till then, here are a few of this weeks poems that caught my thoughts.

    this horse and I—
    the same horizon shines
    in our eyes
    – Penny Harter

    scorching heat
    a tired old horse carries
    one more tourist
    – Marina Bellini

    distant mountains—
    running on the path
    of my ancestors
    – Eufemia Griffo

    war horse. . .
    the gleaming goggles
    of a doctor in PPE
    – Milan Rajkumar

    farm auction
    the mare resists
    being led away
    – Bryan Rickert

    This really touched me. It was only a few days ago I told a friend why I wouldn’t be training another sheepdog puppy. At my age there could be a possibility this well trained loyal workmate ‘could’ be left behind and possibly sold off. NO WAY.
    I can remember many years ago seeing the auction number on a collie’s kennel, after the old farmer had passed away. Something I have never forgotten.

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