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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Connection through Art

Welcome to Connection, with Guest Editors Tanya McDonald & Kelly Sauvage Angel

The challenges of 2020 have taught us many things, perhaps most significantly the importance of connection—connection with others, connection with one’s self, connection with the natural world. For those who lack a strong support network, the isolation of the past several months (amid job loss, political unrest, violent crime, etc.) has proven traumatic. For others, re-crafting relationships as virtual has been to a lesser or greater degree fulfilling. Only time will reveal how successful we’ve been in nurturing our most treasured connections. We invite you to contemplate what connection means to you, how you’ve come to navigate feelings of isolation, and ways in which you might more fully tend to your relationships (including the one with yourself!) going forward.

next week’s theme: Connection through Giving/Receiving

Let’s pause to explore our personal experiences with giving as well as receiving. Certainly, the holidays tend to enhance our generosity. Hence, the bell ringers, food donation bins, etc. Yet, looking more deeply, why do we give? Is it to help another or to enjoy the feeling of altruism? How do we give—by listening, offering resources, surprising someone who could use a bit of brightening to their day?

On the flip-side, it takes trust and even courage to receive or to ask for help during these tough times. What was it like to express your vulnerability and need? How did you feel when someone came through for you in a meaningful way? Or simply show us your delight in the receipt of something unexpected.

The truth is we touch and are touched on both ends of the generosity equation. Let’s celebrate these connections by sharing what they mean to us.

The deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time, Saturday December 26, 2020.

Please submit one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme by clicking here: Contact Form. Please put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box, & include your name as you would like it to appear, & your place of residence, with your poem.

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 Tanya’s commentary:

busy hands—
a loom lulls
the baby to sleep

Shalini Pattabiraman
Dundee, Scotland

Take a moment to read this haiku aloud. Listen to the rhythm of it, where the stresses fall in each line. If it helps, nod your head along as you’re reading it. Let the meaning become secondary and listen to all the repeated sounds, the consonance of the s’s and the l’s. In the first line, the words sound as busy and buzzy as the hands tending the loom. One can picture lots of repetitive motion, lots of action. Now move onto the next line: “a loom lulls.” The sound of the words slows the pace, gives the line a slower rhythm. The s is still there, but it’s at the end of the slower double l’s, almost a whisper. Finally, the third line, where we see the result of those hands at the loom. They’re not just creating a fabric; they’re creating a rhythm to which a baby can fall asleep. And the sound of the word “sleep” itself is slow and soft. A very satisfying haiku, both in subject and in sound.

below is Kelly’s commentary:

my blue period
brush strokes
become therapy

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

As simply stated as this senryu may be, I find myself taken by the nuances of the layers, even more so than the layers themselves. The allusion to Picasso’s Blue Period, a time wherein the artist withdrew, creating works with grit that were not well-received by his critics, establishes a connection between one artist and another and quite likely the reader, who may find solace in another’s admission of melancholy. After all, during a time of catharsis, the creative often grows increasingly isolated, given a shunning by his/her contemporaries; yet, the output that may discomfort others often proves essential to the artist’s healing. At this time, the very purpose of art may be re-examined, as evidenced within Davidson’s second line, for it is within the “brush strokes,” the ebb and flow of creation, that the honest work takes place.

below are the rest of the selections:

foggy morning
I fill the invisible
with jazz

Radostina Dragostinova


snow day
peeling the paper off
a crayon tip

Tim Cremin
Andover, Massachusetts


Chagall print
in my bedroom
each night a new dream

Barrie Levine
Wenham, Massachusetts


deep blue sky
all I hear
Munch’s scream

Maya Daneva
The Netherlands


blank canvas
the day reveals itself
in small strokes

Vandana Parashar


expressing exactly
how I feel

Rehn Kovacic


how my life as a woman
opens up

Kath Abela Wilson


pandemic island—
missing friends, I write
my own characters

Dorothy Burrows


in the darkroom
your portrait
so many shades of grey

Helen Ogden


washing out brushes
dried with paint

C.R. Harper


potter’s wheel the empty vessel I become

Bryan Rickert


The Starry Night
escaping from a mason jar

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia


trumpeting jazz down to the bone

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa


crashing waves
. . . viewers enter
the canvas

Sushama Kapur


Skillful fingers
the sounds of flamenco expanding
through the hall

Dejan Ivanovic


dot painting mandalas
I cast my first stone

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, New York


on the snowy window glued paper flowers

Mirela Brăilean


tattoo making . . .
my lover’s name hidden
under a henna leaf

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India


grandma’s fingers
in my long hair
harp practice

Melanie Vance


childhood hobby
escaping the bullies
in a paper boat

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera, California


the boy’s nose
smudged with chalk
footpath galaxy

Louise Hopewell


getting to know myself
a little better

Karen Harvey
North Wales


Shakespeare’s rendition
the show must go

Hifsa Ashraf


missing the neighbor
who played Chopin
with windows wide

Dana Rapisardi


chamber music—
leaves fall in silence
behind the window

Dennys Cambarau


art exhibition
a slower pace
through the graffiti

Robert Kingston
Essex, UK


blues club
the emptiness inside it
inside me

Stephen A. Peters


doodling my way into Zen

Ingrid Baluchi
Ohrid, North Macedonia


dissolved diffusion
haze profuse, a canvas—
oh, the winter field

Lemuel Waite


a grey snail
slow to leave Monet’s garden
I will live my life

Dan Schwerin


down valley
a tin whistle joins in
robin nest quintet

Jackie Maugh Robinson


I become the girl
with the leopard

(based on the painting “The Moon Falls a Thousand Times” by Naeemeh Naeemaei)

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California


raag malhar—
the rise and fall of notes
over my window sill

राग मल्हार
मेरी खिड़की की चौखट पर
स्वरों का उतार चढ़ाव

Raag Malhar is an Indian Classical music ‘Raga’ that is associated with monsoon.

Teji Sethi


summer opera—
her fan stops fluttering
during the main aria

Tomislav Maretić


bunka shishu—
the Sensei’s advice
in each stitch

Julia Guzmán


I paint the scratches on the car
with nail polish

Dubravka Šćukanec


ambushed by a Rembrandt
I’d seen before —
sudden tears

Sheila Sondik
Bellingham, Washington


winter prayer
how your breath remains
on the stained glass

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, California

Guest Editor Tanya McDonald (she/her) is known for her bright plumage and her love of birds. An active member of Haiku Northwest since 2008, her haiku, rengay, and haibun have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She has judged various contests, taught haiku workshops, and served as Regional Coordinator for the Washington State region of the HSA. In June 2020, she launched her new, biannual, print haiku journal, Kingfisher. A Touchstone Award winner and a New Resonance poet, she lives near Seattle.

When not penning ku, Guest Editor Kelly Sauvage Angel (she/her) can be found logging miles on the Ice Age Trail. She is the author of Scarlet Apples and Cream, a long out-of-print poetry collection, as well as the novella Om Namah, recognized as a finalist in the 2016 IPPY Awards. Prolific in nature, Kelly’s work has appeared most notably in the white spaces of discarded receipts and utility bills.

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:

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.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. chamber music—
    leaves fall in silence
    behind the window

    Dennys Cambarau

    I love this Haiku. The first line raises the question- who is the observer here? Someone who is playing the music or someone who is listening?

    Are they moved by the view outside their window or does the music evoke this image in the mind? Is it evoked in the musician’s mind or the listener’s? Is the fall outside adding to the music or is the music inspired by fall and the connotations it has of time’s passing, of accepting death, of moving on beyond loss or pain, of celebrating a moment, a memory?

    ‘in silence’ reminds me of that question: if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound?

    Layered and beautiful.

  2. Thank you for including my haiku this past week! I enjoyed all the haiku posted and especially resonated with Rehn Kovacic’s
    expressing exactly
    how I feel

    That sums it up for me!

  3. Season’s Greetings to everyone involved with this inspiring column! Another lovely selection of poems this week. I have enjoyed reading them all. Many thanks to Tanya and Kelly for your insightful commentaries. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful visual image evoked by…

    The Starry Night
    escaping from a mason jar

    Agus Maulana Sunjaya

  4. These are a wonderful series of haiku in response to the prompt.

    Even among this stellar collection a couple stood out for me.
    busy hands—
    a loom lulls
    the baby to sleep
    Shalini Pattabiraman

    I appreciated the commentary that opens up this lovely poem even more

    ambushed by a Rembrandt
    I’d seen before —
    sudden tears
    Sheila Sondik
    This almost brings tears to my eyes, as I’ve had this very same experience. It just makes one gasp. Thanks for capturing one of those ephemeral moments Sheila.

  5. I particularly enjoyed Teji Sethi’s verse abd Shalini’s along with the comments. Thanks for another wonderful edition. Happy holidays everyone!

  6. Thank you Tanya for including my haiku and reflecting on it. I’m thrilled and positively encouraged. Also would love to recommend an essay that a friend shared with me after your thoughts on my haiku. It is featured in Northwest Poetry Journal (winter spring issue) and is written by Raye Hendrix.

  7. Thank you so much for including my haiku in this artful collection this week. Wednesdays and this feature are such a highlight.

  8. Thank you dear editors for selecting my haiku and the many beautiful examples for this feature. The commentary is an eloquent and revealing tutorial for this new poet. I loved this prompt as it satisfied somewhat my longing to walk through museums again and brought me there with the references to paintings, artists, and the viewer’s moment.

  9. Thank you for including me again, among some great haiku. I love this series of prompts.
    Congratulations to all the poets in this selection and to the Guest Editors Tanya McDonald, Kelly Sauvage Angel, and the Managing Editor Katherine Munro for their great commentaries.

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