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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Ad Astra – the universe

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:  I haven’t been to a planetarium since I was in middle school, but the experience has still stuck with me through the years. Seeing the various stars of the constellations connected together to form a famous warrior, a giant bear, even a dipper or two — it helped me to see the universe in new ways. People have been organizing the chaos of existence for ages now, finding parallels between the limitless unknown and everyday life, writing the ordinary into the extraordinary. Look to the stars, especially to constellations or star clusters, for inspiration.

The deadline is midnight Central Time, Saturday November 13, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 universe:

Looking out at “the universe,” many of you set your sights on Orion, several were drawn to the comparison between stars and fireflies, and a few spent the night stargazing with owls:

Orion’s Belt …
holding up
his brother’s jeans

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

open window
the firefly disappears
in the Milky Way

Maya Daneva
The Netherlands

 

supernova…
the tawny owl
blinks once

Grace Galton
United Kingdom

 

Others found inspiration in children, seeing the expanding universe within an infant or in a child’s play:

child’s first smile expanding the milky way

Hifsa Ashraf
Pakistan

 

Beside the lake’s edge
My daughter sends waves rippling
Through Heaven’s river

Geoffrey Philp
Miami, Florida

 

On the other end, a number of you looked up to find loved ones that have left this life, turning grief into hope and beauty:

cot death
a small white feather
falls out of the stars

John Hawkhead
Bradford on Avon, UK

 

after death
are we stardust
are you, dad?

Christina Sng
Singapore

 

Thank you all for your wonderful submissions. I look forward to reading your “star clusters” haiku.

& here are the rest of the selections:

a van Gogh print
the widening galaxy
above the pines

Paul Cordeiro
Dartmouth, Massachusetts

 

in the celestial fabric
a rent
spilling stars

Christopher Seep
United States

 

all the dreams
some of them mine
starry night

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA, USA

 

milky way the kurta of a dervish twirls

Surashree Joshi
Pune, India

 

snow moon…
in the pale Milky Way
brilliant Sirius

Tsanka Shishkova
Bulgaria

 

outer space
our different kinds
of loneliness

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

constellations…
the river coursing
through our veins

Jeff Leong
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

the Orion Arm
mother lights a lamp
in the pathway of stars

Lakshmi Iyer
Kerala, India

 

leaving the comfort zone millions of stars

Eva Limbach
Deutschland

 

the night sky trembles-
please don’t tell the stars
some of them are dead

Sarah Davies
Bedford UK

 

when you swim at night
you swim in fireflies
lonely under the stars

Zrinko Šimunić
Hrvatska

 

Milky Way…
my baby gives up
the pacifier

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

 

stories at bedtime –
the request for a journey
galaxies away

Gillena Cox
St James, Trinidad

 

owl hoots
I look directly into
a spiral of stars

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa, USA

 

first freeze
the frosty sparkle
of stars

Peggy Bilbro
Alabama

 

night swimming
over my head
the Milky Way

Kristen Lindquist
Camden, ME, USA

 

a speck in the galaxy
awaiting my turn
to explode

Künney
Richmond, VA

 

a galaxy
in a shell
filled with sand

Tony Williams
Scotland, UK

 

cosmic extinction
a poacher’s shadow
on the horizon

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

cold night
a shooting star pierces
Orion’s Belt

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

endless sea
an empty kayak drifts
into the Milky Way

Bruce Feingold
Berkeley, CA, USA

 

Milky Way
throwing more wood
into the fire

Bakhtiyar Amini
Germany

 

each feather lands
on a Galilean moon
pillow fight

Alan Summers
England

 

small labyrinth –
the universe revolves
in a snail shell

Nicole Pottier
France

 

offshore sailing
stars I remember
from my childhood

Pris Campbell
US

 

stars –
how they resemble
porch lights

Dan Campbell
Virginia

 

Cassiopeia
the dark mirror
of the pond

Helga Stania
Switzerland

 

planetarium
my son admires
Saturn’s hula hoop

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

on the tip
of Orion’s sword
firefly

Terri French
RV

 

the nearness of you  stardust

Caroline Giles Banks
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

 

the view from Mars
another notch in
Orion’s belt

Pat Davis
Pembroke, NH USA

 

spiral arms our warm embrace

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

 

milky way
a forest
of stars

Amrutha Prabhu
Bengaluru, India

 

breaking up —
all the space i need
above me

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

 

hilltop hut …
below the milky way
a candle flickers

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

tracing the Milky Way
in the night sky–
the open road

Lafcadio
USA

 

a stellar tailwind
spinnin’ on the edge
of a blue star

Vicki Miko
California

 

summer forest
fireflies drift in and out
of the Milky Way

Ravi Kiran
India

 

Kuiper belt
all of this ice
between us

Deborah P Kolodji
Temple City, California, USA

 

Milky Way
revolving within me
revolving with me

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

Milky Way
with a billion small suns
I listen to my heart

Ljiljana Dobra
Croatia

 

infinite sky
may be a star knows
my name

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
The Hague, Netherlands

 

lullabies
for a billion stars
the past still lives

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France

 

Sirius rising
an owl’s flight vanishes into
a burial ground

Richa Sharma
India

 

cemetery flowers
a dewdrop holds
the Milky Way

Meera Rehm
UK

 

roadside kitchen
a splash of the Milky Way
on her dough

ਸੜਕ ਕੰਢੇ ਰਸੋਈ
ਆਟੇ ਉੱਤੇ ਦਿੱਤਾ
ਆਕਾਸ਼ ਗੰਗਾ ਦਾ ਛਿੱਟਾ

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

the mother’s death –
in the Milky Way
more light

Dan Iulian
Bucharest, Romania

 

the universe expanding my isolation

Rich Schilling
Webster Groves, Missouri

 

a cicada’s call
pierces the nebula …
River of Heaven

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

supernova
a bit of stardust
in all of us

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

star gazing
I step into
a blackhole

Mohammad Azim Khan
Peshawar Pakistan

 

the Milky Way making new wishes on old stars

M. R. Defibaugh
Chesterfield, VA

 

late night latte
the endless stars
in her eyes

Kanjini Devi
The Far North, Aotearoa NZ

 

browsing the App Store
Dad’s old book on the heavens
needs an update

Carol Reynolds
Australia

 

school star party
the telescopes aligned
in the bus circle

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY

 

a baby’s fingers
clench nothing
a star implodes

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

Voyager 1
reflected in a sunbeam
a single blue pixel

Gary Evans
Stanwood, Washington

 

wind chimes
the chill
of incandescent stars

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK

 

starry night
my cat’s Milky way
of life

Tomislav Sjekloća
Cetinje, Montenegro

 

Orion’s belt
asking for extra time
at the beach bar

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, United Kingdom

 

Milky Way –
I search for
mine

Ana Drobot
Romania

 

a thousand stars
on her midnight blue sari
moon face

(sari – traditional, Indian garment worn by women, measuring 6m in length)

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

solar system—
wild bees gravitating
toward the daisy

Anthony Rabang
Philippines

 

prussian blue and burnt umber
my brush searches
for infinity…

Claire Ninham
North Yorkshire, UK

 

expanding universe –
how do I hold myself
together

Susan Burch
Hagerstown, MD

 

rehydrated tea
from a vacuum-sealed pouch
this expanse of stars

Joshua Gage
Cleveland, OH

 

Ursa Major –
the seven petals
of the clematis

Angiola Inglese
Italia

 

starlit snow-
my footprints tracked by
the Great Bear

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

star gazing . . .
across the Milky Way
with a mobile app

Dejan Pavlinović
Croatia

 

lockdown…
sulle rive dei suoi occhi
l’ universo

lockdown…
on the banks of his eyes
the universe

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna (Italia)

 

a flight of starlings
curls into the dusk …
I count the stars

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK

 

stargazing
I name them all
for you

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

expanding universe –
filling with haiku
my blank space

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy

 

November meteors…
not enough to make
all my wishes

Elisa Allo
Zug, Switzerland

 

glowing
on the garden snail
milky way

Roberta Beary
County Mayo Ireland

 

the one
that got away
shooting star

Margaret Tau
New Bern, NC

 

summer triangle
each of us wishes
on a different star

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, CA

 

dark matter spilling into the Milky Way on the water

Pippa Phillips
United States

 

clear of city lights
we begin to connect
the dots

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

Hayden Planetarium
laser-hiking
the galaxy

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

dark matter
the way we avoid talking
about vaccines

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles

 

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 32 Comments

  1. Thank you Alex for including my poem!

    So many lovely poems, happy to be thinking about the unfathomable!
    I love these:

    all the dreams
    some of them mine
    starry night
    Stephen A. Peters
    Bellingham, WA, USA

    supernova
    a bit of stardust
    in all of us
    Mona Bedi
    Delhi, India

    stories at bedtime –
    the request for a journey
    galaxies away
    Gillena Cox
    St James, Trinidad

    infinite sky
    may be a star knows
    my name
    Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
    The Hague, Netherlands

    Sirius rising
    an owl’s flight vanishes into
    a burial ground
    Richa Sharma
    India

    a galaxy
    in a shell
    filled with sand
    Tony Williams
    Scotland, UK

    small labyrinth –
    the universe revolves
    in a snail shell
    Nicole Pottier
    France

  2. A lovely theme and some powerful and beautiful responses. Congratulations to all the poets! Many thanks, Alex, for including my poem. Thanks to Kj and Lori too! As usual, I admired a great many of the poems. One that particularly appealed to me was…

    a flight of starlings
    curls into the dusk …
    I count the stars

    Annie Wilson
    Shropshire, UK

    Such a beautiful image that captures the wonder of murmurations!

  3. Welcome Alex! I love your theme for this month. My mind and heart are always in the stars. I particularly like these poems:

    a van Gogh print
    the widening galaxy
    above the pines

    Paul Cordeiro
    Dartmouth, Massachusetts

    I am always fascinated by the way van Gogh saw his world. He gave us a gift with his vision.
    ……
    endless sea
    an empty kayak drifts
    into the Milky Way

    Bruce Feingold
    Berkeley, CA, USA

    I love the way Bruce has connected the sky with the sea.
    ……
    I have to mention two more that are lovely. Baisali Chatterjee Dutt’s stars on a sari rather than in the sky, and Alan Summer’s pillow fighting children on their space themed bedcovers. Stars are wherever we look!

    What a lovely collection! Thank you Alex!

    1. Cheers Peggy! 🙂

      Peggy said:
      “…pillow fighting children on their space themed bedcovers. Stars are wherever we look!”

      each feather lands
      on a Galilean moon
      pillow fight

      Alan Summers

  4. What an inspiring theme and sparkling collection of haiku! Thank you, Alex, for including mine.
    I thought Annie Wilson’s starling and Anthony Rabang’s wild bee imagery particularly beautiful, and Susan Rogers’ dark matter haiku very strong.

  5. Another one stood out for me as it totally represents the world through a “child’s eyes” – exquisite!

    planetarium
    my son admires
    Saturn’s hula hoop

    Tracy Davidson
    Warwickshire, UK

  6. I loved reading them all.

    1.
    November meteors…
    not enough to make
    all my wishes

    Elisa Allo
    Zug, Switzerland

    I can sure identify with this one!

    2.
    breaking up —
    all the space i need
    above me

    Alan Peat
    Biddulph, United Kingdom

    That is a melancholic one, still there is a wry humour in it.

    3.
    a baby’s fingers
    clench nothing
    a star implodes

    Mark Gilbert
    UK

    I could see this so well, the baby – perhaps in his crib in the porch, trying to grab a stars … A star somewhere is imploding while this is going on…Lovely…A cosmic event and zooming in to a baby in his crib.

    4.
    a flight of starlings
    curls into the dusk …
    I count the stars

    Annie Wilson
    Shropshire, UK

    I found this image totally delicious, especially that of the starlings “curling” into the dusk…I loved this picture…Thanks for sharing, Annie Wilson.

    5.
    the Milky Way making new wishes on old stars

    M. R. Defibaugh
    Chesterfield, VA

    That is so true…! Lovely! 👍🏻👌🏻

    6.
    expanding universe –
    how do I hold myself
    together

    Susan Burch
    Hagerstown, MD

    That one is so evocative…gave me.goose bumps….No words to explain… Speechless!

    7.
    planetarium
    my son admires
    Saturn’s hula hoop

    Tracy Davidson
    Warwickshire, UK

    This is brilliant…Such delicate humour…Couldn’t stop smiling…👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

      1. That was the intention Alex. My younger brother was always trying to wear my older brother’s clothes and him being tiny it was fun to watch.

  7. supernova
    a bit of stardust
    in all of us
    /
    Mona Bedi
    Delhi, India
    /
    I like to think that this is true.

    1. Oh it’s true, we are made of stardust, and none of us are native to this planet. We are just lucky no big entity has revoked our passports! 🙂

      stardust . . .

      the humans quietly
      reassemble

      Alan Summers
      Stardust Haiku Issue 41 – May 2020 ed. Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

  8. dark matter
    the way we avoid talking
    about vaccines

    Very nice, Susan Rogers!
    *
    Thank you Alex, for including mine, and congrats all haijin! I look forward to this every week, savouring each haiku with a freshly brewed cup of organic coffee _()_

    1. Thank you for sending in your poem! And I agree, this poem from Rogers hits in an interesting way, how the second part changes our understanding of the words “dark matter.” I thought it was powerfully done. Some other covid-related poems didn’t make the cut, but this one felt fresh and sharp.

    2. Thank you so much Kanjini Devi!
      I like yours a latte too!!
      A light night decaf latte for me and twinkling steamed oat milk stars

  9. cot death
    a small white feather
    falls out of the stars
    /
    John Hawkhead
    Bradford on Avon, UK
    /
    This one is heartbreaking.

    1. Thank you Valentina and Sandra – I’m really glad you like this – it covers a lot of space in our family

    1. You’re very welcome. And yes, Hawkhead’s poem was a major standout for me, starting with those terrible words, “cot death,” the impact of which is already a lot, but then followed by this hauntingly beautiful image of “a small white feather” falling “out of the stars,” taking us in a single breath from the horror of sudden, tragic loss to the implications of cosmic divinity. At least, that’s how I read it, as though the infant had become an angel flying through the universe, finding some comfort in that thought.

  10. Thank you Alex for including my haiku. Congratulations to all the poets here! My school’s star party is coming up next week. I loved this poet’s haiku. I thought it was a unique interpretation of the theme:

    a thousand stars
    on her midnight blue sari
    moon face

    (sari – traditional, Indian garment worn by women, measuring 6m in length)

    Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
    Kolkata, India

  11. Thank you Alex for including mine.

    When I taught at middle school I accompanied the third year to the planetarium, for me it was a fascinating experience every time more …

    1. I look forward to taking my daughter sometime when she’s older. I know there are planetariums in my future! I know your poem this week already used the theme of a constellation, but I look forward to seeing what you submit for the star clusters/constellations prompt, too.

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