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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Ad Astra – weightlessness

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 opposite of the weightlessness of zero gravity would have to be a black hole, something that is so heavy with gravity that not even light can escape its pull. Black holes have become a metaphor for feeling the crushing weight of forces outside of our control, confronting darknesses so deep that we can hardly imagine light on the other side of them, or dealing with people who seem to drain the joy out of everything. Take inspiration in the dark side of the universe, the inescapable pull of black holes.

The deadline is midnight Central Time, Saturday December 18, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 weightlessness:

Many of the poems based on the “weightlessness” prompt focused on that fluttery feeling of a first love or a first kiss. There were also several concerning body issues, whether in the form of weight or aches and pains, and the desire to feel lighter. Flying off into a dream or reverie was another common motif, as to be expected from poets. Meditation came up several times, too. And there were a handful of poems centered around allusions, from a painting by Chagall to a Tintin character. The following poem combines both the theme of love and a popular allusion:

first love wingardium leviosa

Vandana Parashar
India

The Harry Potter reference is sure to bring a smile to many faces, but the poem works mostly because of the juxtaposition of the spell with those other magical words: “first love.” Not only can we imagine that Parashar grew up loving the book series, as so many have (and continue to do), but the use of that particular spell, which makes things levitate, suggests that love, whether of people or books (or characters in books), allows us to slip off the weight of the world awhile, to drift away into a good feeling, in the arms of a special someone or in the pages of a fantastic book (both good options).

falling in love
no conditions apply

Teji Sethi
India

Sethi’s poem visually floats above the missing third line that usually ends English-language haiku. Just as the two lines drift there over the blank space created by our expectations, so does unconditional love allow us to walk on clouds every now and then.

arthritis pool—
my aching limbs rejoice
as they rise

Penny Harter
New Jersey, USA

Tubs and pools were another popular topic for this theme. Few things on Earth can make us feel as light as water; it allows us to float and to come as close to natural flight as many of us will ever get. And for Harter, the pool gives a short reprieve from the pain in her body, something we can all use from time to time.

half dose of morphine
out of my pain
out of body

Meera Rehm
UK

The other way to float away from bodily pain is through drugs, as does Rehm with a dose of morphine. Anyone who has been hospitalized and needed morphine can relate – that stuff will knock you right out of your mind, or as Rehm says, “out of body,” into a strange weightlessness, indeed.

heavy fog–
weightlessness
of skyscrapers

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

Something so massive and heavy like a skyscraper seems to become weightless in the fog. I love the contrast here of “heavy fog” and “weightless… skyscrapers.” The thing that is actually weightless is described as heavy because of its thickness, and the things that are impossibly heavy become as light as air.

& here are the rest of the selections:

body image
reminding myself I’m
1/6th on the moon

Shloka Shankar
India

 

and again
ready to take off
dreams

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

space waltz . . .
an astronaut discovers
he can dance

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

 

a talk with father
I become
feather light

Amrutha Prabhu
Bengaluru, India

 

starry night
the weight on my shoulders
lighter

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Washington

 

freediving
I am adrift
in space

Christina Sng
Singapore

 

teenage rapture
falling in love with
Chagall’s Birthday

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec

 

dreaming escape . . .
the ease with which I’m propelled
to the ceiling

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

 

tai chi crane
I glide from the landscape
into the sky

Hazel Hall
ACT Australia

 

cloud…
runs over the mountains
the shadow of my dance

nuvola…
corre sulle montagne
l’ombra della mia danza

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna, Italy

 

negative space—
the prima ballerina
spooning her shadow

Alex Lubman
Morgantown, West Virginia

 

weightless
the starlit journey home
from our first kiss

John Hawkhead
UK

 

fasting
there is no fat
in heaven

Caroline Giles Banks
Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

grandpa’s coma rehab –
his laughing tears
after pinching my legs

R. Suresh babu
India

 

sound of his voice
floats on the air
butterfly summer

Connie Pittman Ramsey
Irving, Texas

 

plunging lift . . .
the weightlessness
of the gold necklace

Aparna Pathak
India

 

childhood fantasy
the captain’s whiskey
floats in the spaceship

(the allusion is to Captain Haddock of Tintin comics)

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

murmurations
from once fragile bones
mother’s scattered ashes…

Amanda White
Morvah, Cornwall

 

a little sparrow
shoots in the air-
a drifting feather

Ram Chandran
India

 

catching his eye …
for a fleeting moment
weightlessness

Natalia Kuznetsova
Russia

 

I told them
anyone can touch the stars
can I

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa

 

milkweed wishes
a monarch is released
from the hospital

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

bungee jump
preparing for first flight
a caterpillar

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, UK

 

a harp glissando…
I’m nowhere
swathed in turquoise notes

Bittor Duce Zubillaga
Algorta-Basque Country

 

scintillating stars echo of a broken bough  fall

simonj
UK

 

afternoon nap levitating into my own space oddity

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand

 

zero-gravity
whatever love was
at first

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

deep winter
I fill the bath
until I float

Sarah Metzler
USA

 

cupcakes my weight on Mars

Deborah P Kolodji
Temple City, California

 

ocean tide ebbing
how weightless
this thought of you

Deborah Beachboard
Adna, Washington

 

floating high
above the earth
first love

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

against
the pull of Earth
a skylark’s song

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton, UK

 

free fall
a dove’s feather
lands on my palm

Vladislav Hristov
Bulgaria

 

first kiss
in the moonlight
zero-G

Dan Iulian
Romania

 

foraging mouse
a weightless falcon
hovers

Ravi Kiran
India

 

zero gravity
my mind floats
here and there

gravitasi nol
pikiranku melayang
ke sini ke sana

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia

 

zero-G
a lift
to his flat

Daniela Misso
Italy

 

soap bubbles–
the child travels
to outer space

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

dead man’s float…
the last touch of her dad’s hand
on her back

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

propelled
out of your orbit
the lightness of being

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

mountain top
once again that impulse
to fly

Grace Galton
UK

 

feather quilt
I hitch a ride
with a dream

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, USA

 

somersaulting
through the sun and saline
salt lake

Sonika Jaiganesh
UK

 

secluded pond
the clouds and I
float as one

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina

 

so light I could fly…
in my hand the weight
of a robin’s trust

Wendy Gent
UK

 

laughing and laughing..
a feather
in the wind

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy

 

turning giddy
one underwater somersault
after another

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

zero g
we become
stardust

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, Colorado

 

space sickness
weightlessly
losing weight

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

weightless
I hold
my newborn

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

weightlessness
going for the space trip
with empty pockets

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

changing her name back to her name weightless

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

 

no longer anchored
by the weight of promises
I release your hand

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, California

 

december breeze
the touch
of her linen scarf

Zahra Mughis
Lahore, Pakistan

 

first therapy session
I float
back home

Tomislav Sjekloća
Cetinje, Montenegro

 

first kiss
I glide
room to room

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India

 

floating
among origami stars
the saxophone in grandpa’s room

Mircea Moldovan
România

 

chasing a bee
my shepherd dog
defies gravity

Priti Khullar
India

 

spaced out-
a billionaire floats
above rising seas

Dorothy Burrows
UK

 

meditation
the weightlessness
of discarding I

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

first kiss
my legs feel
fluttery

Margie Gustafson
Lombard, Illinois

 

winter night…
my dreams lighter
than snowflakes

Elisa Allo
Zug, Switzerland

 

the anaesthetist counts back to eight and i drift

Guy Stephenson
Donegal, Ireland

 

playground swing–
the child flying
in space

Lafcadio
USA

 

the space between
your footprints —
wider and wider

Duende onFuego
USA

 

rope bridge
i spacewalk
across clouds

Roberta Beary
County Mayo, Ireland

 

shavasana –
my body
flying to my soul

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

antigravity
a well-timed photo
on her trampoline

M. R. Defibaugh
Chesterfield, Virginia

 

360 degree flight
over patagonia…
hatsuyume

(hatsuyume: first dream of New Year)

Keiko Izawa
Yokohama, Japan

 

in her pink faery pinafore
not even earth
holds her down

Ronald Scully
Burien, Washington

 

alter ego –
Shatner goes where
Kirk has gone before

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio

 

dream-catcher…
if only all my dreams
included flying

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio

 

for a moment
weightless as a feather
Icarus falls to earth

Greer Woodward
Waimea, Hawaii

 

The Birth of Venus
she opens the door
to the space station

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

falling
into the sky
in my head

Pippa Phillips
Kansas City

 

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 21 Comments

  1. Congratulations to all the poets featured in this week’s dialogue! Thank you also to Alex, Kj and Lori for including my poem in the column. There are so many poems to admire that it is difficult to select a favourite. One that I particularly enjoyed because of the visual image it created and its sense of movement was…

    tai chi crane
    I glide from the landscape
    into the sky

    Hazel Hall
    ACT Australia

  2. Alex, thank you so much for selecting my haiku with your impressive review.
    And congratulation to all the poets

  3. Dear Alex,

    I am delighted that my poem was included in the last week selection. Thanks a lot to you and to all the people involved in this project. It’s priceless the work you all do encouraging everybody around the world to create beauty with a few words.

    Yours sincerely,

    Bittor

  4. Thanks Alex for including mine. I think these two were my favourites, both are beautiful:

    feather quilt
    I hitch a ride
    with a dream

    Barrie Levine

    weightless
    I hold
    my newborn

    Margaret Mahony

  5. This is just such a lovely interpretation of something many of us may have seen, at least in photographs…

    heavy fog–
    weightlessness
    of skyscrapers

    Teiichi Suzuki
    Japan

    . . .and these days, we need a bit of humour, so I enjoyed this:

    bungee jump
    preparing for first flight
    a caterpillar

    Robert Kingston
    Chelmsford, UK

    Flying well before it’s time, I guess.

    Thank you, Alex, for including mine. Always appreciative of the work involved behind the scenes in these Haiku Dialogue series.

    1. Ingrid, thank you for your mention to my haiku.
      In the chill morning in Japan, I sometimes see a mountain castle floating on the fog.
      I saw thick fog flowing under the hotel window at the Lisbon.
      At that time, I felt weightlessness for a moment.

  6. Alex, thank-you for publishing mine. Also, thank-you to Kathy and Lori for their efforts. It was good to see a haiku by fellow Ohioian Nancy Brady next to mine. Congrats to all the poets.

  7. I feel like I am floating. Such a varied collection of haiku on the subject. Valentina’s Shatner/Kirk haiku was priceless (or priceline considering his ads?) Loved the Harry Potter allusion with the levitation spell. Congratulations to all the poets, and thanks Alex for including mine in the mix.

  8. Thank you so much Alex Fyffe for the wonderful prompts every week. I wrote out of my own experience of morphine shots when I had kidney stone and I couldn’t tolerate the full dose.
    Congratulations to all the featured poets!! So many lovely poems!!
    J

    1. A few years ago, I had to have my gall bladder removed. While lying in the hospital bed over the next day or two, I took all the morphine I could get! Certainly made the visit far more tolerable than the midnight television options ever could have.

  9. Hi Alex

    I think my haiku should say:

    walking on air
    the starlit journey home
    from our first kiss

    The first line is missing.

    1. You are absolutely right. There must have been some error in copying it over from the submission form. I apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for quickly finding the error. It’s a wonderful poem! I will ask and see if there is a way to edit it.

    2. I double-checked the submission, and it read like this:

      weightless
      the starlit journey home
      from our first kiss

      Some error occurred in the upload process, though. I hope we can resolve the issue.

      1. No problem Alex – don’t worry about it, you have resolved it here so I’m happy wit that. Strangely, this is the first time I didn’t keep a record of what I uploaded! So that’s why I thought it was …

        walking on air
        the starlit journey home
        from our first kiss

        but this is correct:

        weightless
        the starlit journey home
        from our first kiss

        Cheers
        John

        1. Thank you for understanding! Lori and kj were able to edit it on the site, so it should appear as intended now. Happy to have it there in the mix.

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