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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Ad Astra – the planets

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: Because stars, those distant suns, are so very far away, it can take a few minutes or even a few years for their light to reach us. It would even be possible to see a star’s light after it has already died. It is easy to draw parallels: the way a person’s impact on our lives outlives them; how we still think of older actors the way they appeared on screen in the 60’s – many things continue to shine long after that initial burst of energy has cooled and settled; like a photograph of ourselves when we were younger, we may have changed, but we can still stare into the light of that moment from decades earlier. Write a haiku inspired by this phenomenon of seeing light that was emitted long ago, or about the lingering remains of something or someone that is changed or no longer there.

The deadline is midnight Central Time, Saturday December 04, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 the planets:

home schooling
the solar system
in a fruit basket

Anthony Rabang
Philippines

Many parents can relate to seeing the solar system in miniature on a regular basis. My toddler is obsessed with the planets and the moon and often carries them around the apartment. The detail of the fruit basket adds a delectable quality to the poem, as though the planets are freshly plucked, perhaps ready to be savored at a late picnic in the park.

Venus
the sweet sound
of her name

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

Venus was among the popular planets for this prompt, understandably so — beauty and love provide so much of our joy in life. Ciobica captures this feeling well; whether the name Venus is sweet or the sound of a lover’s name puts the poet in mind of the beauty of Venus, the poem hints at the mythic wonder of desire, sighing with pleasure at the mere whisper of a name.

a Martian-
the only boy in the
ballet class

Franjo Ordanić
Croatia

This is a clever twist on the theme, showing how alienating it can feel being the one outsider in a group. Ordanić might be playing on the idea that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus,” and in this ballet class, the “Martian” is the only one in a room full of Venusians! Despite how isolated he probably is made to feel by some on the outside, he has the courage to do what he loves, which also makes him a “Martian” in the David Bowie sense, someone unafraid of how the outside world perceives him, striking his own path in a world that is frequently shortsighted.

no longer certain
of my place in this world
Pluto

Christina Sng
Singapore

From the outlier “Martian” of the ballet class, we move on to the outlier “planet” in the solar system. Like the planet itself, the word “Pluto” hangs at the tail end of the poem, isolated from the rest of the words — perfectly placed to describe the feeling of uncertainty that Sng explores in this haiku. For the greater part of a century, Pluto was considered a planet — I was taught that it was the ninth planet from the sun when I was in school — but that all changed around the time my current students were born. Pluto didn’t change, but our definition of a planet did, and now he’s just drifting out there, a dwarf circling giants.

ninth planet
I silently exit
her universe

Ravi Kiran
India

Kiran’s poem could be a companion piece to Sng’s. Both poets connect to the ex-planet, no longer fitting in, no longer feeling connected. In this case, after being part of “her universe” for some time, the poet, much like Pluto, quietly steps out, the relationship forever changed. He may still feel he is the “ninth planet,” but she no longer counts him.

& here are the rest of the selections:

riding the red-eye
staring into the darkness
Jupiter’s journey

Jonathan Aylett
Liverpool, UK

 

another war
Mars bright
in the sky

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Washington

 

new journal all planets in the horoscope

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

shards of glass
spheres scattered
across the sky

Željko Vojković
Croatia

 

breathe in breathe out
infinite worlds
contract and expand

Kon Markogiannis
Thessaloniki, Greece

 

buddhist temple-
planets
revolve on a prayer wheel

Ram Chandran
India

 

life on Mars
the luxury
of private space

Pat Davis
Pembroke, New Hampshire

 

the earth —
our lifetime
in her womb

Amrutha Prabhu
Bengaluru, India

 

Gustav Holst — Mars
I levitate
with the note

Aljoša Vuković
Šibenik, Croatia

 

blue planet
the fatigue of light years
washes off

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

red planet-
a ripe orange
in solitude

Vincenzo Adamo
Sicily, Italy

 

birthstone ring
pushing my existence
beyond certainty

Richa Sharma
India

 

Saturn –
on his aged finger
the wedding ring

Mirela Brăilean
România

 

Bringer of Jollity
a telescope
under the Christmas tree

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

custody battle
a child crayons the moon
without a planet

John Hawkhead
UK

 

war of words
she tells me
I am from Mars

Teji Sethi
Bangalore, India

 

once a planet
dwarfed —
Pluto

Linda Ludwig
Inverness, Florida

 

Valentine’s Day
Mars and Venus
almost kiss

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

tipsy Uranus
green-gilled and flat on his side
can’t stop spinning

Alex Lubman
Morgantown, West Virginia

 

marching band
the whole street rattles
in the tempo of Mars

John Zheng
Mississippi, USA

 

aligning
Jupiter and Saturn
the veins in my hand

John S Green
Bellingham, Washington

 

an empty dream–
Jupiter furls
thin clouds

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

saade saati. . .
and I thought I ruined
everything by myself

(Saade Saati is a period of seven and a half years of the planet Saturn. This is a phase feared by many in India who who believe in astrology. Generally, people face a lot of difficulties and challenges during this period. But it can be a period of growth as well.)

Surashree Joshi
Pune, India

 

children in school
the harried mother
steps on venus

Padmini Krishnan
Singapore

 

fading into dawn’s crescendo Venus

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand

 

dandelion seeds seeking a new Earth

Lev Hart
Calgary, Canada

 

Between
Venus and Mars
Heaven breathes

Rashmi Buragohain
India

 

Vedic chanting
attempting to control
the Navagraha

(Navagraha are nine heavenly bodies and deities that influence human life on Earth in Hinduism and Hindu astrology)

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

almost deaf—
Jupiter sings her
its silent song

Pris Campbell
USA

 

a needle on Venus —
love getting stuck
on a groove

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

 

evening star
all eyes on him
on a knee

Vandana Parashar
India

 

Holst’s Planets–
what gets me through
War and Peace

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

Jupiter’s
non-partisan
polar lightning

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

Voices from Neptune
our silence is lost
in the void

Nazarena Rampini
Italy

 

Pricus’ horns to the sky
hoofs to earth
winter solstice

Seretta Martin
San Diego, California

 

still a mystery
the same planet –
Pearl anniversary*

sempre un mistero
lo stesso pianeta –
nozze di Perla*

(Pearl anniversary: marriage, 30 years)

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy

 

sickle moon
I search
for Venus

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

morning star
remembering I too
am enlightened

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, Arizona

 

Venus and Mars
my birth planets
tussle over me

Mona Iordan
Romania

 

family of planets
no escaping
the sun’s gravity

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

all night vigil
the morning star
greets me

Susan Farner
USA

 

classroom…
my planets
around me

Chittaluri Satyanarayana
Hyderabad, India

 

Venus sparkles
on her nose pin
bedroom window

ਖ਼ਾਬਗਾਹ ਦੀ ਤਾਕੀ
ਉਹਦੇ ਕੋਕੇ ਤੋਂ
ਤਾਰੇ ਦੀ ਲਿਸ਼ਕਾਰਾ

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

palmistry
even the mount of Jupiter
not far away

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

rings of Saturn –
she flips the photo album
of our marriage

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India

 

I’m a maybe,
I’m planet nine- I gather
myself in darkness

Sarah Davies
Bedford, UK

 

eala earendel
a sigh dissipates
in the dawn

simonj
UK

 

saturnine …
the awe of the night sky
softens his gaze

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

Saturn’s rings
just out of her reach
baby mobile

Jenn Ryan-Jauregui
Tucson, Arizona

 

her head
bright as Venus
snowflakes above the hospital

Mircea Moldovan
România

 

ethereal voices
in a wordless choir
Neptune’s blue

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

mercurial orbit
writing postcards
from home

Kathleen Mazurowski
Chicago, Illinois

 

blue planet …
another revolution
without you

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

evening star
can I make a wish
on a planet

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama, USA

 

Oumuamua flyby
thoughts of life
on other planets

Kathleen Vasek Trocmet
Texas, USA

 

chromatic scales
the songs the planets play
in my mind

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island, Washington

 

Saturn…
counting the rings
around my neck

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton, UK

 

a second candle
in the stone lantern…
TrES-2b

Joshua Gage
Cleveland, Ohio

 

all the boys
stare at her starry-eyed
Venus glides on by

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

Morningstar Gala
Venus sparkles
in the predawn

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio

 

celestial –
still the beauty of Saturn
as we fade away

Dorothy Burrows
UK

 

Dad’s record collection
at five he claimed the Planets
belonged to him

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

ahh aligning
my solar chakra
chocolate nougat

vicki miko
California

 

moon walk—
I watch my planet
turn in silence

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, USA

 

boat people…
searching the many moons
of Saturn

Maya Daneva
The Netherlands

 

morning after—
along with Venus
the last to leave

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, California

 

the Magician—
Oberon and Titania
tilt their heads

C.R. Harper
USA

 

two moons
the fears
I can’t talk about

Lafcadio
USA

 

shining Venus –
the beauty of the world
in a tiny fleck

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

fancy dress—
stitching Pluto back
on the solar system

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India

 

Holst—
a neighbour’s axe
between tracks

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

after the party
he guides her towards
another planet

M. R. Defibaugh
Chesterfield, Virginia

 

sound carrying
through the water
on Europa

Pippa Phillips
USA

 

before and after
all the stars –
Venus

Tomislav Maretić
Zagreb, Croatia

 

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 28 Comments

  1. home schooling
    the solar system
    in a fruit basket

    Anthony Rabang
    Philippines
    .
    It’s not often when the editor’s choice is my favorite but this time it is so. I absolutely love this poem, Anthony. The only thing I enjoy more than poetry is early childhood education, and this has both!

    Happy December, everyone!

  2. Thanks, Alex, for another great prompt and commentary and to Kj and Lori for all your work. Congratulations to all the poets! As usual, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the column. One of the poems that I will definitely remember is…

    life on Mars
    the luxury
    of private space

    Pat Davis
    Pembroke, New Hampshire

    Topical and thought-provoking. Fab!

  3. omuamua flyby…
    The only haiku on that subject that I have seen, besides one that I wrote at the time of the event. Nice work, Kathleen!

  4. Laurie Greer:

    Holst’s Planets–
    what gets me through
    War and Peace

    Well done, you, Laurie. I would attempt it again with this suggestion if I could multi-task in such manner.
    Now there’s a thought. When we think of all the twinklies twinkling up there in the night sky, there are probably more of them than all the words ever committed to paper.

    1. Good point–the near infinite number of stars out there is hard to wrap my mind around. And yet, I’ll still probably never get around to War and Peace, soundtrack or no…

  5. Thank you Alex for including my haiku, amazing collection I enjoyed each one. Thank you Mark for your comment much appreciated.

  6. Thanks Alex for this theme and for including mine. It prompted me to(re)discover Holst’s Planets and go ekphrastic, but there were many ways that the subject was approached. I particularly liked Margaret Mahony’s poignant take:

    sickle moon
    I search
    for Venus

    1. Ever since I was introduced to ekphrastic writing in college, I’ve been drawn to it. As a teacher, I had the opportunity to take a class to the museum one year, and each student had to choose an artwork that they connected with, analyze it, and write a poem about it (we had studied X. J. Kennedy’s take on “Nude Descending a Staircase” and W. H. Auden’s “Musee des Beaux Arts” beforehand as examples). I would like to do that again in the future.

  7. fading into dawn’s crescendo Venus
    .
    Sue Courtney
    Orewa, New Zealand
    /
    This haiku makes a nice reference to the fact that Venus is the morningstar.

      1. Thank you Mark. When I wrote this it was about the crescendo of the birdsong, but you have made me look at my own haiku another way 🙂

        1. It’s always a bit of a funny feeling when someone comments on your work with an interpretation that had never occurred to you before. Language is so slippery and fluid that it can easily get away from us and transform from the pen to the eye.

          1. I think its great. Ambiguity is one of the things I love about haiku. And now Keith has added another, more sensual interpretation. Being a closet haikuist for many years until a few months ago, it is so rewarding to see these comments, especially not knowing the ambiguity was there.

    1. Thank you Valentina. When I was reading through this week’s incredible selections I stopped at yours too, with again the reference to the morning star. It resonates a lot as my kitchen and my bedroom windows face east.

      Morningstar Gala
      Venus sparkles
      in the predawn

      Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
      Fairlawn, Ohio

  8. ahh aligning
    my solar chakra
    chocolate nougat
    .
    vicki miko
    California
    .
    All the chocolate lovers in the universe understand the subject of this haiku.

  9. This week’s selection of haiku is wonderful, and I loved the musical prompt.

    I appreciated the sense of space–including personal space–on Mars in both Pat Davis’ “life on Mars” and Vincenzo Adamo’s “red planet-.” And I was happy to see Nazarena Rampini’s “Voices from Neptune” and Mark Gilbert’s “ethereal voices,” as this final movement really lingers.

    Even though Holst declined to compose for Pluto after it was discovered in 1930 (just a few years before Holst’s death), thank you to Christina Sng, Ravi Kiran, Linda Ludwig, Sarah Davies, and Sushama Kapur for writing about Pluto in such relatable ways.

    1. Hi Mariel, Thanks for enjoying my poem. I imagined that life in pods or small spaces is what the first brave residents of Mars might be facing. Thanks to Alex, too, for including my poem with this week’s amazing offerings. Pat

    2. Thank you for the kind words and the thoughtful commentary. If Holst had composed for Pluto, I wonder what he would have subtitled it… Bringer of Depression? Bringer of Disappointment? Pluto, Bringer of Broken Dreams…

  10. Alex, thank-you for publishing mine. Thank-you also to Kathy and Lori for their efforts. Congrats to all the poets.

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