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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Ad Astra – black holes

Ad Astra with Guest Editor Alex Fyffe

My name is Alex Fyffe, and I am honored to be the Guest Editor of Haiku Dialogue. I would like us to look up and take inspiration from the vastness of outer space. Each week, in a series called Ad Astra (To the Stars), I will present a new topic based on the Great Out There, ranging from satellites to constellations. However, we will be avoiding our sun and moon, as they already get enough exposure in haiku, and, frankly, I think their egos are big enough as is. So we will focus more on their siblings and hopefully write some stellar haiku in the process. I look forward to reading all of your submissions each week.

next week’s theme: The good news is this: We won’t be around for the heat death of the universe. But if the hypothesis is true, then sometime in the unimaginably distant future, all things will more or less wind down in the end. And all memories of us will have long since vanished. Just as I have no memory of anyone who lived 100,000 years ago, no one will remember me 100,000 years from now. But it’s not as bad as it might sound: Stoics and Buddhists alike take comfort in the impermanence of all things. By remembering that everything changes, we can shake off troubling things in our lives and truly experience the beauty that’s happening now. Find inspiration in the thought that the universe may not last forever.

The deadline is midnight Central Time, Saturday December 25, 2021.

Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 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 Alex’s commentary for black holes:

A couple of entries for the black hole prompt brought up Christmas, the holiday that is supposed to bring us all together in the spirit of joy and giving. But these poets find only financial woes and empty nests, instead:

Christmas shopping
a black hole
in my wallet

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia

 

it’s Christmas . . .
another black hole
without the kids

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

As the latest Covid variant rears its ugly head in the world, so, too, is the virus spreading back into our poetry:

Covid lockdown
shrinking ever smaller
inside these walls

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, UK

 

two years of COVID
nearing the
event horizon

Susan Farner
USA

The longer this goes on, the more it might seem like a point of no return, drawing us deeper and deeper into its heavy darkness. It’s not surprising that the theme of black holes brought out some horrific images in the submissions. Loss, grief, and trauma all came to the surface:

alone at night
a stillborn baby
in her arms

Pat Davis
Pembroke, New Hampshire

 

sunny day –
the freshly dug grave
filled with light

Mirela Brăilean
Romania

 

this death certificate
immerse me
into the well

Nani Mariani
Australia

 

secret puzzle box …
the pills I promised
to throw away

Anabelle Taylor
Florida, USA

But despite the horror and sorrow that life can bring, there were also those who dared to find a little bit of humor in the face of absolute darkness:

somewhere
in a black hole
tv remote

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa

 

curled black cat—
a singularity
on the bed

Tony Williams
Scotland, UK

 

inside a black hole–
Space Force discovers all
our lost socks

Lev Hart
Canada

& here are the rest of the selections:

words of war
I find myself
down her throat

Lakshmi Iyer
India

 

my mood today
even the dark side
of the moon lighter

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Washington

 

cluttered home…
in the centre of the galaxy
a black hole

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

event horizon –
all i know
of your hugs

orizzonte degli eventi –
tutto quello che so
dei tuoi abbracci

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

 

When you cry,
he said, that great black hole
becomes your face

Sarah Davies
Bedford, UK

 

time dilating
past the event horizon
that first bite of chocolate

Christina Sng
Singapore

 

after his funeral
father’s secret
in the black bag

Keiko Izawa
Yokohama, Japan

 

splash of gravity
pulling you
away from me

Ronald Degler
Harbor City, California

 

home to office
blackhole
office to home

Kavya Janani. U
India

 

tunnelling train. . .
the blackness
of a trackman’s whistle

R. Suresh babu
India

 

parting time
pa slips into a black hole
grasping my hand

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

i am the night
and yet
your blue eyes

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz
Centerville, Ohio

 

dark world–
under the bottom of weight
a coelacanth

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

spiraling
through one more morphine shot
cancer’s black hole

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France

 

funeral chant
a calm breeze coaxing
his closed eyes

Richa Sharma
India

 

singularity—
the point where
he leaves me alone

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

under pressure
the collapse
of our partnership

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

supermassive black hole the unlived life within me

Vandana Parashar
India

 

fallen petals
how much of me
gone with you

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

empty canvas
the way the shadows
draw themselves

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

his two black holes
absorbing nothing—
winter feeder

John S Green
Belllingham, WA

 

gaping ghyll white waters give up white noise

simonj
UK

 

my shoe
trembles at the edge
black holes

Refika Dedić
Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

black hole…
where we come from
where we go

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

cold moon
the look in her eyes
with her last breath

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, California

 

in his orbit
waiting for a flicker
of emotion

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

Sagittarius A
you turn my legs
into spaghetti

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand

 

dark matter
her shadow grows larger
as he walks away

Jonathan Alderfer
Maine, USA

 

he loves me
he loves me not
petals in the void

Margie Gustafson
Lombard, Illinois

 

hiding behind
polished walls – debris
of a broken marriage

रंगीन दीवारों
के पीछे छिपे
ध्वस्त रिश्ते

Teji Sethi
India

 

all the words
I have never said…
black holes

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania, Italy

 

the weight
of unspoken ‘I told you’s
Icarus falling

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

ajar
her failing memory
still fills with laughter

Amanda White
Morvah, Cornwall, UK

 

dusk in the woods
revealing she dreads the darkness
in me

Tomislav Sjekloća
Cetinje, Montenegro

 

weight
of a snail shell. . .
home mortgage

Meera Rehm
UK

 

gravity field
all these memories
I drag behind me

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island, Washington

 

another letter
from her lawyer…
event horizon

Joshua Gage
Cleveland, Ohio

 

tornado the town gone

Pris Campbell
US

 

caught on the birdlime
the goldfinch
flutters

Bittor Duce Zubillaga
Algorta–Basque Country

 

when the light was gone
I could not escape
her pull

M. R. Defibaugh
Chesterfield, Virginia

 

pebble road
the weight
of my secrets

Jackie Chou
US

 

hands over heart
under the sheet
dress rehearsal

Caroline Giles Banks
Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

winter solstice
all my light imprisoned
in your eyes

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, California

 

guiding him out
of his sightlessness
black dog

Hazel Hall
ACT Australia

 

shock therapy
inside the black hole
all the stars broken

Anette Chaney
Harrison, Arkansas

 

the long walk
to the empty mailbox
black hole

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

 

pretending to be
someone I’m not
family dinner

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

writer’s block
I go whirl after whirl into
the black hole

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

uncorked the deadly draw of a space within

Guy Stephenson
Donegal, Ireland

 

black hole
labor into
capital

Yasir Farooq
Pakistan

 

day moon —
the lonely night
lingers on

Zahra Mughis
Lahore, Pakistan

 

fitted sheets –
her body singularity
curves space and time

Dan Iulian
Romania

 

home inspection
a slow leak discovered
near the black hole

Sarah Metzler
USA

 

tonight, swallowed by
the heart of the Milky Way—
my spiraling sorrows

Penny Harter
Mays Landing, New Jersey

 

chain link fence
screams escaping
the schoolyard

Tim Cremin
Massachusetts, USA

 

dusk . . .
the last crow vanishes
with your promise

Kathleen Vasek Trocmet
Texas, USA

 

people without shadows
for them
the stars never fall

Mircea Moldovan
România

 

weird space –
the emptiness of her lost
vision

Dorothy Burrows
UK

 

falling headlong
into my teenage angst –
box of old diaries

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK

 

vacuum cleaner –
black hole for a spider
in the corner

Tomislav Maretić
Zagreb, Croatia

 

last black hole
nothing
left to say

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

black hole–
the strong pull
of your voice

Lafcadio
USA

 

toxic colleagues –
my zest
slipping away

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

moonless night…
taking a pull
she slips back in

Peg Cherrin-Myers
Franklin, Michigan

 

truthofthem a t t e r   b   l   a   c   k      h      o      l      e

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

black hole . . .
I leave behind
the other me

Milan Rajkumar
India

 

her raven hair . . .
the weight
of darkness

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, USA

 

dark side
of the moon
menopause

Sherry Grant
Auckland, New Zealand

 

strong force —
every other year
we meet for coffee

Duende onFuego
USA

 

black hole
the time-suck
of the pandemic

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio

 

his black hole
my buried treasure
saved me

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

school night
the way a routine
implodes

C.R. Harper
USA

 

misty morning…
my gaze sinks
deeper and deeper

Elisa Allo
Zug, Switzerland

 

undetectable
in our wedding photo
black hole

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

 

giving into
the inevitable…
abandoned dog

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

Guest Editor Alex Fyffe teaches high school English in the Houston area. Although he has been writing haiku off and on for a decade, he only started submitting his work during the Global Event known as 2020. Since then his haiku and senryu have been published in various journals, including Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Failed Haiku, Akitsu Quarterly, and the Asahi Haikuist Network. Alex’s first glimpse of haiku was in a collection of writings by Jack Kerouac, and he found the work of Issa while studying abroad in Japan, but he didn’t fall in love with the haiku until he discovered the free-form work of Santoka Taneda. Currently, Alex uses haiku in the classroom to ease students into poetry and build their confidence as readers and writers. Alex also posts haiku on Twitter @AsurasHaiku.

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.

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 18 Comments

  1. Happy Holidays, Everyone!

    Thanks for including my poem, Alex. Indeed, I had fun stretching my craft with this one 😉
    Thanks also for the kind words, Dorothy, Sue, and Mark. There were so many great haiku this week. I really enjoyed the haiku of Rosa Maria Di Salvatore, Baisali Chatterjee Dutt, and Cynthia Anderson for the pull of silence in their poems. Mona Bedi’s haiku also resonated with me for its
    sense of the powerful presence of absence in our lives and art:

    empty canvas
    the way the shadows
    draw themselves

    Mona Bedi
    Delhi, India

  2. Such a powerful and thought-provoking selection of poems this week. Congratulations to all the writers and many thanks to Alex for including my poem in the column. There were so many strong interpretations of the theme, it’s impossible to pick out clear favourites. I will definitely remember the humour in Lev Hart’s lost socks and the visual impact of P. H. Fischer’s poem.
    Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy festive season and a special thanks to Kj, Lori and Alex for organising this inspiring column.

  3. Congratulations to all the poets.
    Thank you to Alex, Kj and Lori for including my poem this week.
    Many great poems, reading through all those chosen. I enjoyed some with a comical take on this weeks theme.
    Two that stood out for me are;

    home inspection
    a slow leak discovered
    near the black hole

    ——-By Sarah Metzler
    And ….

    vacuum cleaner —
    black hole for a spider
    in the corner

    ——-By Tomislav Maretic

  4. Such a variety of approaches to this theme, and thank you to Alex for including mine. I’ll highlight these:

    Sagittarius A
    you turn my legs
    into spaghetti

    Sue Courtney goes to one of my favorite places (our galactic centre).

    tornado the town gone

    Pris Campbell – this works in many ways, in four words.

    alone at night
    a stillborn baby
    in her arms

    Pat Davis – even more shattering in the context of a black hole.

    truthofthem a t t e r b l a c k h o l e

    P. H. Fischer – great to see innovation in format which complements the content.

    1. Dear Mark, thank you for mentioning my poem. Loved your ‘flicker of emotion’ too. You also mention two – from Pris Campbell and P.H. Fischer – that particularly resonate with me . I also love the humour in Roberta Beach Jacobson’s ‘tv remote’, while simonj introduces me to a new word ‘ghyll’. So many good ones, as usual, this week. Thanks Alex, kj and Lori and season’s greetings. Sue.

        1. Yes! When I first saw your submission, I had to look it up. I admire the specificity of place. Since starting here as guest editor, many poets have taught me about places in our world and beyond that I never knew before. Thank you for sharing your corner of the world!

    2. Great selections! A powerful use of minimalism from Campbell, especially in the context of recent events, and a crafty use of line and spacing from Fischer. And, of course, that devastating poem from Davis. When I was a teen, my mother had a miscarriage, and the house was haunted for a long time. I didn’t speak for three days. Those kinds of losses are about as close as our minds can come to absolute darkness.

  5. Delighted to have been among the highlighted poems, thank you Alex! Kj and Lori, too, for putting in the time and effort.
    I agree with Robert kingston; it was difficult to think of something uplifting on this subject after another year of trouble and worries. I was thinking more about the families split during these and other festive holidays, maybe for a second time, either caught out by Covid and having to isolate or unable to travel.
    Let’s hope we can turn a corner soon and see a brighter future for us all. For a start, we could have a lot of fun with next week’s theme!

  6. Thank you so much, Alex Fyffe for including mine… Many thanks also to Kathy Munro, and Lori Zajkowski. Congratulations to all selected poets!

  7. Grateful to Alex Fyffe Guest Editor for The Haiku Foundation’s Haiku Dialogue for including mine. I have enjoyed all the selections and commentaries! Many thanks to Kathy Munro, managing editor, and Lori Zajkowski, post manager. Congratulations to all fellow poets! A lot of black holes here! 🙂

  8. Thank you Alex for including mine! This week IMO includes probably some of the most difficult poetry to coordinate and include. You did well sir!
    Thank you also to KJ and Lori for continuing this magnificent inspirational page.
    Congratulations to all poets, there truly is some real heart stirring moments within.
    Wishing everyone celebrating a very happy Christmas and hopefully a more joyous new year than the past two.

    1. Happy Christmas to you, too! And thank you for the compliment, but really, picking the poems is the easy part; all credit goes to the writers.

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