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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Ad Astra – satellites

Ad Astra with Guest Editor Alex Fyffe

My name is Alex Fyffe, and I am honored to be the Guest Editor of Haiku Dialogue for the month of November. For this month, 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:  Gustav Holst’s The Planets is one of the most popular works of classical music from the 20th century, even famously inspiring John Williams’s Star Wars soundtracks. I have always loved writing while listening to music, so I would like to encourage everyone to write haiku while listening to The Planets, taking inspiration, perhaps, from “Mars, the Bringer of War” or “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity,” or one of the other tracks. You can listen to the complete suite on YouTube or on other music services. But if you are unable to listen to the suite or find music distracting when composing haiku, simply take inspiration from the planets themselves. You might consider their mythic connotations, their appearance, or anything else about them that strikes your fancy.

The deadline is midnight Central Time, Saturday November 27, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 satellites:

There were a lot of unique ways of approaching the topic of satellites/space debris, many poets finding similar examples of clutter surrounding them in their regular lives:

floating debris…
this song
on the airway

Shalini Pattabiraman
UK

Few minor annoyances are more grating than getting an earworm of a song stuck playing on repeat in your head all day after hearing it in the car or at the store, a bit of pop culture “debris” lodged deep inside your mind so that you find yourself humming it hours later. Pattabiraman captures this idea of everyday noise pollution very well here, a fragment of a song that may have been circulating since the 1960’s (though, in my mind, it’s probably from the 80’s).

flying ships
on the moonless sky –
the old carousel

navi volanti
sul cielo senza luna –
la vecchia giostra

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

Cambarau’s ships in the dark sky turn out to be on a carousel, or is the spinning world itself a metaphorical carousel? The imagery here – ”moonless sky”; “old carousel” – is strangely haunting, almost gothic, and gives the poem an uncanny power.

satellites
we circle
the waiting room

Mary Vlooswyk
Calgary, Canada

Here, “we” are the satellites circling a waiting room. I imagine a family waiting to hear news from the doctor about how everything went. This was certainly the case when my father was under for double bypass surgery some years ago now. Our bodies moved to and fro, like some kind of ritual, as though pacing would speed up the clock. This poem resonates with anxiety.

headed back home
after dropping out of school
decaying orbit

F. J. Bergmann
Madison, Wisconsin

Similarly, Bergmann’s subject is a human satellite, but this one is in danger of crashing and burning. What an awful feeling, after expanding your horizons so far, to be forced back home, tail between your legs, spiraling inward to the place where you started from. It can feel like a complete and total collapse at the time. But sometimes, if we don’t burn out on reentry, we can repair and launch again – here’s hoping Bergmann’s subject finds their own orbit once more.

surrounded by mountains
I feel the snow falling
inside me

Vincenzo Adamo
Sicily, Italy

Adamo’s poem also touches upon the mood of the speaker, dwarfed on all sides by mountains. Whether or not the snow is coming down from the mountains, the speaker’s interior landscape is falling snow, down to his very bones. Is it a cold, stark image of isolation? Or does the speaker feel serene, comforted by the walls around him, by the beauty of the snow that fills his mind? There is just enough ambiguity to the language to tap into whichever feeling the reader connects with.

still moving
along with me
all his stuff

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

Whether it’s space debris or just debris that takes up space, I think we can all agree that our lives can quickly become cluttered. Wilson touches upon the way we go through life holding onto things that aren’t even ours, that belonged to someone else, packing them up and carrying them with us from place to place, year after year. This could be read as a tender portrait of someone who has lost an important person in her life and still keeps him with her by holding his things close. Or it might be a slightly less sentimental look at the way we refuse to clear out all the “stuff” an ex left behind, and so it follows us around endlessly. Either way, we’re all holding onto baggage, memories that will continue to orbit round us for the rest of our lives.

& here are the rest of the selections:

orbiting me
as I wander the mall
tiny satellites

Christina Sng
Singapore

 

happy hour
the artificial smiles
hovering around me

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Washington

 

what I didn’t say–
a satellite
in graveyard orbit

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

the question
who she loves better…
little sister

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

back to my homeland
still orbiting around me
the war debris

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

so different
the moonlight…
squid ink

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania, Italy

 

her smile
of a thousand orbits
— first crush

Jeff Leong
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

Laika the space dog
arcs eternal across
her master’s sky

Sarah Davies
Bedford, UK

 

drones a mind of their own

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa

 

an old friend
met under wind-blown leaves . . .
so many ghosts

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France

 

moon gazing
eclipsed
by a satellite

Ronald Degler
Harbor City, California

 

space debris…
how inertia explains
my in-box

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

cobwebs
gathering debris
corner of my mind

Ram Chandran
India

 

interstellar
the debris of thoughts
collide

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

the heavens turn
into shrapnel—
satellite killer

Lev Hart
Calgary, Canada

 

space debris
spiralling through darkness
dad’s ashes

john hawkhead
UK

 

I.S.S. fly-by
the wide-eyed wows
of my children

(I.S.S. – International Space Station)

Pat Davis
Pembroke, New Hampshire

 

the right price
for childhood memories
garage sale

Ravi Kiran
India

 

grown-up kids
I’m no longer the centre
of their universe

Vandana Parashar
India

 

falling stars
all the wishes
that get buried

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

satellite malfunction
messages struggle
through my tired brain

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

through a lens…
the rings of Saturn
through a ring of junk

Alan Peat
Biddulph, UK

 

orbiting
my breakfast debris
an army of ants

Anna Yin
Ontario, Canada

 

mulling over
the satellite debris
cicadas

Meera Rehm
UK

 

beloved poet
around his mind revolves
a small, bright satellite

voljeni pjesnik
oko uma mu kruži
mali, svijetli satelit

Zrinko Šimunić
Hrvatska (Croatia)

 

satellites
the santa claus story
made easy

Carol Reynolds
Australia

 

the miracle
of GPS
I look for me

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama, USA

 

Lagrange point
……an illusion
……..of calm

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

clear night his child points overhead Celestis orbit

Peg Cherrin-Myers
Franklin, Michigan

 

Kessler Syndrome–
the sting of her affair
years after the fact

Joshua Gage
Cleveland, Ohio

 

another billionaire
whizzes by
black hole

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

a saturnidae moth
flies into the bonfire—
Cassini

John S Green
Bellingham, Washington

 

heavy traffic –
on every corner
I lose signal

Nicole Pottier
France

 

one planet
thirteen moons-
our mother hen

Satyanarayana Chittaluri
Hyderabad, India

 

satellite
our words scattering
in space

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

desert sky–
where showers fell
the bones of satellites

Laurie Greer
Washington, D.C.

 

new moon
I tell him this year
will be different

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

holding within
the secrets of the cosmos
a falling star

Teji Sethi
India

 

orbiting debris
bumper cars
in a vacuum

Susan Farner
USA

 

autumn winds
fallen leaves cuddle
under lawn chairs

Archie Carlos
Minnesota, USA

 

my children all grown up
their dirty laundry
keeps circling back

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, New York

 

rough drafts
wads of words orbit
the recycling bin

Caroline Giles Banks
Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

3 a.m. black hole
every little piece of guilt
circles through my mind

Dana Clark-Millar
Bend, Oregon

 

light pollution
the wishes we never made
on falling stars

Jonathan Aylett
Liverpool, UK

 

awake—
thoughts circling
in a clear sky

Donal O’Farrell
Dublin, Ireland

 

space junk echoes of Laika

Deborah Kolodji
Temple City, California

 

all the junk
in all the junk drawers
a multiverse

Vicki Miko
California

 

satellite train so long the scent of musk

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand

 

meteoroids . . .
doomsurfing
in bed

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

 

steaming pie –
around grandmother
grandchildren

Mirela Brăilean
Romania

 

satellite trash
over our heads
a hill of plastic

Zdenka Mlinar
Hrvatska (Croatia)

 

clean window
I never wiped
the star dust

Mircea Moldovan
România

 

quiet stone –
a thought
circumambulates

Vijay Prasad
Patna, India

 

so many moons
yet to be named…
my to-be-read list

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

space debris-
dim streetlight illuminates
the foggy night

Joe Sebastian
Bangalore, India

 

passing them on
to the children
debris fields

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois

 

night sky
I unload my worries
to the universe

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

churning our numbers silent satellites

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, California

 

out there
all our yesterdays
still tracking us

Dorothy Burrows
UK

 

full capacity–
no more space
for all the junk

Lafcadio Orlovsky
USA

 

game of glances
orbiting around
I explore the sun

gioco di sguardi
mentre ti orbito intorno
esploro il sole

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy

 

Curiosity
long distance travelling
with the moons of Mars

Minko Tanev
Bulgaria

 

spy satellite
a bumblebee inside
a morning glory

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

 

at a distance
orbiting his family
dark side hidden

Charles Harmon
Los Angeles, California

 

dead satellites—
a graveyard
without shadows

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, USA

 

porch lamp
mosquitoes circling me
instead

Mona Iordan
Romania

 

space junk . . .
unravelling my collection
of treasured memories

Carole Harrison
Australia

 

Sunday lunch –
all my satellites
around me

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

gravity well —
the pull
of my heartstrings

Duende onFuego
USA

 

junkyard gods
fragmenting
satellites

Pippa Phillips
Kansas City, Missouri

 

nightlife…
triptych of the planets
and light trail of the ISS

Elisa Allo
Zug, Switzerland

 

satellite
the letter to my crush
remains unsent

Khoa Ngo Binh Anh
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

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 20 Comments

  1. So many stellar poems in this week’s selection! Congratulations to all the poets! Many thanks , Alex, for including one of mine and thanks again to K.j. and Lori for all your work. There were lots of poems that I really enjoyed but I loved this one for its humour…

    drones a mind of their own

    Roberta Beach Jacobson
    Indianola, Iowa

    I look forward to next week’s selection.

  2. I’m really enjoying these starry themes, thanks to Alex and Lori for including mine. I particularly liked:-

    still moving
    along with me
    all his stuff

    Kath Abela Wilson uses ‘stuff’ instead of ‘junk’ and for me widens it to include even more possibilities.

    orbiting me
    as I wander the mall
    tiny satellites

    Christina Sng – a wonderful image, dragged back down to earth by ‘the mall’ in line 2.

  3. Thank you, Alex, for including my haiku! Another good prompt and lots of thought-provoking poems! I especially like these :

    an old friend
    met under wind-blown leaves . . .
    so many ghosts
    Alfred Booth
    Colombes, France

    interstellar
    the debris of thoughts
    collide
    Firdaus Parvez
    India

    satellites
    the santa claus story
    made easy
    Carol Reynolds
    Australia

    the miracle
    of GPS
    I look for me
    Peggy Hale Bilbro
    Alabama, USA

    orbiting debris
    bumper cars
    in a vacuum
    Susan Farner
    USA

    autumn winds
    fallen leaves cuddle
    under lawn chairs
    Archie Carlos
    Minnesota, USA

    awake—
    thoughts circling
    in a clear sky
    Donal O’Farrell
    Dublin, Ireland

    space junk echoes of Laika
    Deborah Kolodji
    Temple City, California

    full capacity–
    no more space
    for all the junk
    Lafcadio Orlovsky
    USA

    dead satellites—
    a graveyard
    without shadows
    Barrie Levine
    Massachusetts, USA

  4. Thank you Alex for including my haiku among this week’s selections. An interesting theme that opened to many interpretations. I appreciate this poignant haiku:

    grown-up kids
    I’m no longer the centre
    of their universe

    Vandana Parashar
    India

    1. Good choice! I heard recently that once children leave home, they have already seen their parents far more than they ever will again–parents go from seeing them every day to seeing them only on holidays to seeing them maybe two or three times a year, generally speaking. But it’s only natural that they should build their own universes and come into their own identities outside of us, that our homes should become their laundry mats, as in your poem. There is a melancholy to the thought, but I think we must also be proud to see them step out into their own.

  5. Thank you Alex for mentioning my verse. Your prompts have been fun. And Shalini’s verse is absolutely gorgeous and unique. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome! I’m happy to hear that you’ve been liking the prompts. There are a handful more on their way, so look forward to those!

  6. I shall be grateful to you Alex, kj and Lori for including my this week.
    the selection of all other haiku’s so nice and thoughtful. Thank you once again.

  7. Thank you Alex – delighted to see my starlink-inspired haiku orbiting around all the stellar contributions this week.

    This one particularly intrigued me:

    clear night his child points overhead Celestis orbit

    Peg Cherrin-Myers
    Franklin, Michigan

    I didn’t know until I googled Celestis that it was possible to send ashes into space!

    1. When I first read this one, I also had to look up Celestis. I had vaguely heard about sending ashes into space before, but I had never seen anything concrete about it. This was definitely a stand-out unique take on the theme.

  8. So many wonderful poems this week, I enjoyed reading them all. Thank you to, Alex Fyffe, Lori and Katherine for adding my poem. Many stood out while reading and especially this one;

    what I didn’t say
    a satellite
    in graveyard orbit

    By Cynthia Anderson

    I think we all have something we wish we could have said to a loved one.
    Look forward to next week.

  9. Can relate to so many this week. All that space clutter!
    Thank you Alex.
    Also my standout :

    surrounded by mountains
    I feel the snow
    falling inside me
    .
    Vincenzo Adamo
    .
    … and these caught my eye:

    falling stars
    all the wishes
    that get buried
    .
    Arvinder Kaur
    .
    night sky
    I unload my worries
    to the universe
    .
    Madhuri Pillai

  10. Hi Alex, so much good work to choose from this week, but I agree this is a standout piece of work:

    surrounded by mountains
    I feel the snow falling
    inside me

    Vincenzo Adamo

    1. Yes–it’s great to see so many people take a liking to Adamo’s poem. There is something powerful about it. The weight of the mountains, the softness of the snow, the external internalized. That first line stands over the rest, overshadowing them, like the mountains themselves, and then it is followed by a flurry of snow, only to be concluded with the shortest line, the one that takes us inside. The crafting is excellent.

  11. A lovely selection of poems and a really helpful commentary. Many thanks, Alex, for including my poem in this week’s column. Thank you also to Kj and Lori as well. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this week’s selection, too. There were so many poignant and vivid poems this week that it is challenging to select a favorite. These are a few of that I particularly enjoyed were:
    night sky
    I unload my worries
    to the universe

    Madhuri Pillai
    Australia

    so many moons
    yet to be named…
    my to-be-read list

    Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
    Kolkata, India

    grown-up kids
    I’m no longer the center
    of their universe

    Vandana Parashar
    India

    what I didn’t say–
    a satellite
    in graveyard orbit

    Cynthia Anderson
    Yucca Valley, California

  12. Another fun collection of haiku and senryu! These are the three that stayed with me. They are so true to life!

    still moving
    along with me
    all his stuff

    Kath Abela Wilson
    Pasadena, California
    ……
    3 a.m. black hole
    every little piece of guilt
    circles through my mind

    Dana Clark-Millar
    Bend, Oregon
    …….
    my children all grown up
    their dirty laundry
    keeps circling back

    Sari Grandstaff
    Saugerties, New York

  13. A good crop of space debris! Especially, for me:

    night sky
    I unload my worries
    to the universe

    Madhuri Pillai
    Australia

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