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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Ad Astra – impermanence

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: Space has famously been called the final frontier, and it has inspired a whole genre of planet-hopping adventures, in some ways replacing the old frontier westerns of days past. Having explored the Earth’s surface, we turned our eyes to that frontier that still lies beyond our grasp, allowing our imaginations to run free considering all of the possibilities: colonizing and terraforming Mars, discovering new technologies to reach distant stars, sending generations across space to find a new home, building and populating artificial colonies. Our best and brightest visions of the future are full of the hope that our ingenuity and adaptability will open up new worlds for us. To end our exploration of the space theme, I would like to prompt you to write a poem based on the exploration, innovation, and hope that the new frontier of space offers us.

The deadline is midnight Central Time, Saturday January 01, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 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 impermanence:

galaxies I’ll never see autumn leaves red shifted

Eric Lohman
Powder Springs, Georgia

Lohman combines the imagery of red autumn leaves with the concept of an expanding universe moving farther and farther out of reach. As our seasons change and we approach the end of our limited lives, we leave behind a vast unknown of potential experiences, sights, and sounds. Most of the universe becomes increasingly impossible to grasp with so little time left to us.

dead star
the robin eats
winter berries

Richard Barnes
Cincinnati, Ohio

Barnes also effectively connects the local with the universal to capture the sense of things ending. As the star dies, nature, too, is in its dead season. And yet, despite all this death imagery, the berries are red, and the bird is eating, alive and bright despite the changes around them.

first lesson
in mono no aware
funfair goldfish

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

Herbert references the Japanese concept of mono no aware, the melancholy feeling of knowing the impermanence of things, grounding her haiku in its Japanese origins. But that first awareness of death, often with a pet, is grounded in everyday human experience. The past of Japanese art and philosophy, the author’s past in discovering death through the goldfish she won at the fair, and our memories of similar experiences all come together, folding time and experience together into a beautiful poem about this ephemeral existence.

born to die …
I whisper a secret
in the snowman’s ear

Eva Limbach
Germany

Opening with the familiar phrase “born to die,” Limbach acknowledges her own impermanence but also plays on the term by introducing the snowman in the third line, another being destined for the same fate. But recognizing this commonality between them, perhaps, she feels the urge to share something with the snowman while they are both here, something she can only share with this dying creation who will carry it to his watery grave.

after the breakup
painting my toenails
black

Anabelle Taylor
Florida, USA

Taylor sketches the scene of a woman dealing with the change in her relationship, something that she may have hoped would last forever, now over far sooner than that. By painting her toenails black, she acknowledges a void inside of her, a desire to accept the emptiness by taking it on, using her emotional state to decorate her body. This simple act of painting her toenails is, for her, an artistic expression of the end of this thing in her life, reclaiming emptiness as her own, as something she can handle.

& here are the rest of the selections:

eternity
I among the wildflowers
in the moment of now

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Washington

 

returning to dust
my left hand
leads the way

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, UK

 

time to discard
this dried rose kept for years
in the family bible

Penny Harter
Mays Landing, New Jersey

 

engraved
into his wedding ring
this too shall pass

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

for one last time …
an extra cup of cappuccino
looking at the sea

Lakshmi Iyer
Kerala, India

 

… still the wind
among the leaves
still dust……

Angiola Inglese
Italy

 

one day
we will be together again
stardust

Christina Sng
Singapore

 

this sunspot on my cheek fading light

Sarah Metzler
USA

 

through an auto door
a desolate field
of the big city

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

autumn winds
still a lot of leaves
clinging on to the branches

Ram Chandran
India

 

the Universe almost done making stars a tourist leaves

Alan Summers
England

 

stardust
the river receives
grandfather’s ashes

Khoa Ngo Binh Anh
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

wind-spent
the moment i will exit
my soap bubble

Richa Sharma
India

 

family scrapbook
once someone knew
the sound of her voice

Pris Campbell
USA

 

a spider’s universe dew-filled

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

not endless after all
I throw out
what’s left of his ego

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

night night
the music box
stops

Tim Cremin
Massachusetts, USA

 

tang of
fallen apples
laying her to rest

Christopher Seep
Ballwin, Missouri

 

nothing
but a reverie …
cotton thistle

Teji Sethi
India

 

the child
that was my whole world
now the stars

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, New York

 

afternoon walk
a poem she starts to sense
drowns in dimsey light

(dimsey: Cornish dialect for dusk, dimming light, twilight)

Amanda White
Morvah, Cornwall, UK

 

after the universe
another try
at sentient beings

Pat Davis
New Hampshire, USA

 

our son
becoming
Miss Universe

Peg Cherrin-Myers
Franklin, Michigan

 

October garden
pulling whatever
is left

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa

 

starry night
fades into
obsidian

Kathleen Mazurowski
Chicago, Illinois

 

i go in
as you walk out
revolving door

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

snowflakes fall
and vanish in my hands…
another stillbirth

Vandana Parashar
India

 

a black lab laps the tears of snowmen spring

simonj
UK

 

time to time && somewhere :: clear bells

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton, UK

 

flood alert-
within the pub’s walls
chalk ammonites

Dorothy Burrows
UK

 

origami skiff
all the cracks
left by the folds

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

dancing mayfly. . .
I too know
the moment of now

Meera Rehm
UK

 

kitchen skylight
what moves on whether
chores get done or not

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

Inca ruins
in the cracked walls
fresh green grass

John Zheng
Mississippi, USA

 

moonlit walk
I become the shadow
becomes me

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

all that is left
of that first kiss
butterfly dust

Ravi Kiran
India

 

loving each one—
the 10,000 things
I’ve become

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

particle decay —
an entire life lived
in nanoseconds

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island, Washington

 

bowed
the sound
receding

Richard Bailly
Fargo, North Dakota

 

alone the light goes out

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

winter stars
we are already
stardust

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, Colorado

 

New Year’s Eve
the time it takes for the sparkler
to burn out

Marianne Sahlin
Sweden

 

morning glory bloom
a life
in the sun

Susan Farner
USA

 

snowman –
standing in a puddle
of tears

Dan Campbell
Virginia, USA

 

shrinking and shrinking
a milky way
in the sink

menyusut dan menyusut
bima sakti
di wastafel

Christopher Calvin
Indonesia, Kota Mojokerto, Jawa Timur (East Java)

 

clearing brambles
from an eroded grave stone
the name is gone

Deborah Beachboard
Adna, Washington

 

finite universe
thank goodness
no more deadlines

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

 

birthday dinner
the waitresses
younger every year

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

winter hush –
i return
to my mineral self

Vijay Prasad
Patna, India

 

new year countdown
only memories remain
at the dinner table

Anthony Rabang
Philippines

 

universe . . .
from one particle
to the next

Milan Rajkumar
India

 

kintsugi sky
this moment
turns gold

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

fresh marigolds
fragrance wafting
on the body bag

Geetha Ravichandran
Chennai, India

 

leaving empty-handed
the peace
of nothing more

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, USA

 

alone now
my paraphernalia
and I

Carol Reynolds
Australia

 

falling leaves…
my daughter asks me
if we are immortal

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

 

long licks
off the ice-cream cone
climate change

John S Green
Bellingham, Washington

 

Christmas Eve –
in the mirror granny
wearing my pearls

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

holding time
in my hands
forget-me-nots

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina

 

youtube couple
the videos end
in 2015

Duende onFuego
USA

 

morning breeze
blowing steam from
a cup of tea

Lafcadio
USA

 

red giant
all become
stardust

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio

 

sings along
to Auld Lang Syne
last plum leaf

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

the longest night
a universe
of dust

Jonathan Roman
Yonkers, New York

 

the Milky Way
a boarded-up Toys R Us
in the empty mall

Bruce Feingold
Berkeley, California

 

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 23 Comments

  1. Happy New Year!

    Thanks to Alex for all the space themed prompts and to Kj and Lori for organising this lovely column. I am delighted to have a poem included. Congratulations to all the poets!

  2. Thanks dear Alex for including my spider’s web monoku. The unique Ad Astra theme gave us much food for thought and such lovely haiku & commentary.

    Grateful to you, kj & Lori for Haiku Dialogue that connects so many of us here. Wish all poet friends a wonderful 2022.

  3. This message is for Richard Barnes. I saw that you live in Ohio. There is an active
    group of Ohio haiku poets on Facebook. The group is called Ohio Haiku. We are inviting you
    to join our group.

  4. Happy new year wishes to you Alex and to all of the participating poets,, may our haiku muses inspire us in 2022!

  5. Congrats to all the poets. Well done. There are so many outstanding ones. Ones that are poignant; others that are humorous, and some that could make one cry.
    I particularly liked Neena Singh’s spiderweb (although spiders creep me out totally); Pris Campbell’s the sound of her voice; Sari Grandstaff’s the child to mention only a few.
    Thanks Alex and crew for including one of mine in this collection.

    1. Thanks dear Nancy for your appreciation. We call this web a “Maya Jaal” a web of illusion which holds us all captive even though we know it’s reality…ephemeral as dew.

  6. What an immense theme this week! And especially tricky because of course none of us will, or will be able to, witness the end of the universe which is predicted to be slow, gradual and never-ending. So a lot of us metaphorized it into something a little closer to home. Thank you for including mine. Here are some that I thought hinted at the scale and enormity of the theme:

    the Universe almost done making stars a tourist leaves – Alan Summers

    a spider’s universe dew-filled – Neena Singh

    night night
    the music box
    stops – Tim Cremin

    afternoon walk
    a poem she starts to sense
    drowns in dimsey light – Amanda White (I think the third line is a pretty accurate description of what the end of the universe will be like)

    starry night
    fades into
    obsidian – Kathleen Mazurowski (This is the end of the universe, and beautiful)

    moonlit walk
    I become the shadow
    becomes me – Mona Bedi

  7. Thank you so much Alex for including my poem! Love your weekly prompts that made my knowledge of the universe a little richer.
    Congratulations to all featured poets! Many thanks also to kjmunro and Lori.

  8. Thank you Alex for including my haiku. Congratulations to everyone here! A terrific selection of haiku on impermanence with which to end our Haiku Dialogue of 2021! Much appreciation for Alex’s editing of this weekly feature. Thank you Kathy and Lori for steering the Haiku Dialogue ship so well. Looking forward to continuing our haiku dialogue in 2022.

  9. Thank you Alex for including mine!
    Congratulations to all poets!
    Many thanks to KJ and Lori for their continued great work.

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