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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Connection with Natural World

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

Hope you enjoy the new look of The Haiku Foundation website – have a look around – explore the new presentation – & thanks to you all for your patience as we work out some small details that may still need adjusting… kj

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 Art

Art takes many forms and affects us in different ways. We experience it with our senses and it evokes emotions, whether we are the creators or the audience. We may feel connected with others making or experiencing this art, such as at a concert. We may feel connected to a deeper part of ourselves when creating art. During the pandemic, many forms of art, especially performance art, have had to come up with new ways to reach their audiences. This week, please send us your haiku/senryu that explore your connections through art.

The deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time, Saturday December 19, 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Please submit one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme by clicking here: Contact Form.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:

all around me
dawn chorus

Olivier Schopfer

This week’s prompt inspired a good number of bird haiku. Birds, like many elements of nature, may go unnoticed and under-appreciated by us in our busy lives. One positive effect of the pandemic is that it’s been shifting our focus and our priorities, in some cases giving us more time to observe the world around us. And when we do, it is often a source of great joy, as it is in this haiku by Olivier Schopfer.

The first line, “full-hearted” speaks not only to the physical sensation evoked by listening to the dawn chorus, a swell of birdsong that builds and crests as sunlight is spilling over the horizon, but it also could refer to the way in which the birds are singing. They’re singing with everything they’ve got, for rivals and for mates. This phenomenon occurs most noticeably in the springtime when mating season is in full swing. Yet knowing the science behind why birds sing does nothing to diminish the pure, “full-hearted” joy of being surrounded by such a cacophony, especially at the start of the day, especially during a pandemic. If you’ve never experienced a dawn chorus, here’s an audio link provided by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the United Kingdom. Enjoy!

below is Kelly’s commentary:

an aged banyan
roots as deep
…….as beliefs

एक वृद्ब बरगद
विश्वासों जितनी गहरी

Teji Sethi

This haiku by Sethi humbles me. Not only does it offer an extremely resonant juxtaposition, but its depth and complexity continue to unfold in a manner that propels one into the most expansive of realms, the spiritual, while remaining utterly free of the tethers of religious dogma.

Indeed, the history and mythology of the banyan are rich, allowing our understanding to manifest in whatever guise is most meaningful to us; at the same time, one can hardly glance over the banyan’s unique anatomy with its elongated aerial roots which, while expansive, extend underground to an extent that would prove insufficient for support as a single-root system.

While the more obvious metaphorical interpretation may leave us chuckling or nodding in agreement, we would be remiss to disregard the tree’s cultural and religious significance, whether as the site of the sermon of the Bhagavad Gita or within the context of the “world tree,” with its roots stretching to heaven.

And, to whom is this piece referring? Perhaps the “aged banyan” is an older member of the poet’s community or an allusion to the depth of our collective failings—or our mythic potential.

below are the rest of the selections:

molten sky—
I bring out
my crayons

Surashree Joshi,
Pune, India


wood chip path
the length of
my lunch hour

Bryan Rickert


hugging the paperbark all that I am

Madhuri Pillai


inside an envelope
with a glassine window
seeds wait

Donna Fleischer
Bloomfield, CT


a butterfly
rests on my shadow . . .

Daniela Misso


gorse in bloom
I sit in the sun
reading a poem

Mariangela Canzi


lockdown . . .
longing for the cry
of a fish eagle

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia


beaver moon
so bright above the dark pine
the sharp teeth of my grief

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, CA


fairy lights in the magnolia tree the coming of snowmen

Alan Summers
Wiltshire, UK


morning drizzle . . .
I gather the pleasantries
at my window pane

Rajeshwari Srinivasan


from the roots of banyan
resurrecting a barbie doll
once buried

R.Suresh Babu


the nightingale answers
each cry

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India


spider’s web
wearing raindrop crystals
for her funeral

Carole Harrison


pansies . . .
our love song

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore


old age—
I change my apartment
for a tree house

Aljoša Vuković
Šibenik, Croatia


autumn approaching
my thoughts of summer
broken by a crow

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera, CA USA


curling back
in my comfort zone

Vandana Parashar


prairie dog
the raptor’s shadow
touches us both

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, CO


bare branches—
listening to the poem
without metaphor

Nicole Pottier


on the shoe
of the no gift guest
heart shaped leaf

Roberta Beary
County Mayo, Ireland


we binge watch
the stars

Terri L. French
Sioux Falls, SD


as if new power flows to me autumn crocus

Helga Stania


lotus pose . . .
Christmas rose
blooms again

Elisa Allo


no longer on mute
at dusk I return
the robin’s song

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


autumn moon
the distance between people
during last call

Stephen A. Peters


in the backyard
the neglected apple tree

Mohammad Azim Khan


scream of an eagle
a mysterious relationship
with the wild life

Minko Tanev


winter solitude
the old crow
gives me a nod

Eva Limbach


the scent of mint
passes through me

Maria Teresa Piras


eucalyptus grove
after the rain

Lorraine A. Padden
San Diego, California


winter park—
finding a red leaf
as a bookmark

Teiichi Suzuki


the owl in the elm
my morning cup of coffee

Albert Schepers
Windsor, ON, CA


mountain stroll
my shadow
over the treetops

Alex Ben-Ari


light rain
my dying cells
make room for me

Alice Wanderer
Frankston, Victoria, Australia


dancing barefoot
on dewy grass
magpie song

Louise Hopewell


bird watching
without really knowing
any by name

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, IA, USA


at the top of a stone wall the warming yellow of a sunflower

Barrie Levine
Wenham, MA


dead leaves
the bright green
Marlboro label

Alex Fyffe


flying away
the egret effortlessly
fulfills my wish

Pris Campbell


ordinary joy—
white-crowned sparrows jostling
at the water dish

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California


fishing from
each end of the pond—
the kingfisher & I

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Kumasi, Ghana


covid times
only the breeze comes in
to talk about its day

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India


as if
I was never here
new snow

Michele L. Harvey

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 37 Comments

  1. Alan? Thank you, dear poet! I will definitely have to check out Thoughtful Raven and Thought Fox now. Thank you for all your inspiration!!

    Cheers and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

  2. Thank you Kelly for the insightful commentary on my haiku. The banyan tree in India has mythological, spiritual and historical relevance. It is like a patriarch who holds the clan together. The roots symbolise its deep – rooted value and ethics that are embedded within the system.

    I was in awe of your commentary and the proficiency with which you have worded your profound perception.

  3. ach sorry for the typos. working from my iphone rather than my pro mac laptop. I don’t know why I imagine my mobile like a writing sketchbook but that is what is?

    *depiction *adore

  4. Congratulations to all the poets in this selection and to Tanya and Kelly for their great commentaries. In these poems, there are so many beautiful and memorable images and the column was a joy to read. As I love watching little egrets fly, Pris Campbell’s poem in particular jumped out at me. Likewise, Daniela Misso’s butterfly brought back a strong memory for me from this summer. Thank you!

    1. Dear Dorothy,
      Thank you so much for mentioning my haiku!
      Great collection! I have enjoyed reading all of them.

  5. Thanks for including me, among some great haiku. I love this series of prompts. The link to submit to the upcoming one isn’r working properly. It takes me to a form to report problems.

      1. Thanks. I finally assume that must be the correct form and went ahead and just sent my ones in for next week. Thanks for replying.

  6. Dear esteemed poet,
    Greetings. What a powerful image in the following, making us read and re read into the take with a showing tell.

    fairy lights in the magnolia tree the coming of snowmen

    Alan Summers
    Wiltshire, UK

    1. Radhamani sarma,

      I am big fan of winter, and of snow, and remember the various great British winters where the roads were lined with snowmen.

      Thank you for your kind words!


  7. Many thanks Tanya and Kelly! What a beautiful collection’ I particularly enjoyed reading Oliver’s and Teji’s poems and of course the insightful comments. Found Alan’s’ fairy lights’ so evocative. Congratulations everyone

  8. I feel more connected to the world (natural and human) after reading this global selection.

    I especially resonated with Jackie Chou
    Pico Rivera and how those tricky crows like to bring us back to the present.

    Thank you


  9. Thank you Kelly and Tanya for your extensive analysis on the two selected haiku. As a novice haiku/senryu poet, I learn so much that is valuable from the commentary. The themes you have chosen bring out such beautiful, evocative poems, they simply transport me.

  10. I enjoyed every poet’s connection to nature, especially Terri H. French’s:
    we binge watch
    the stars
    It made me wish I could stay up all night and watch the constellations rise and set.

  11. As the founding editor of new haikai publication “Blo͞o Outlier Journal” I get an extra thrill from reading all these amazing haiku.

    Issue #1 of Blo͞o Outlier Journal has submissions closed now, and will be out just before Christmas.
    Issue #2 will be a different genre, so no haiku or senryu submissions. More later in late Spring 2021! :-)
    A haiku issue might come back in Issue #5! :-)

    May I draw your attention to Tanya McDonald’s incredibly exciting biannual, print haiku journal, Kingfisher!

    The River Kingfisher is close to my heart. I saw one for the first time very late in life, despite living in a city dominated by the River Avon. It took going to Bradford-on-Avon as a new home town, and settling hidden from people behind some trees right by the river. I can’t tell you the excitement of seeing a River Kingfisher speed along a river, or in one instance across our park, literally under a dog’s nose, and into a small park tree once!

    My honeymoon at Ranweli Eco Lodge in Sri Lanka then meant I could take a day trip along the mangroves, and I saw mountain kingfishers, as well as almost every kind of kingfisher bird, including the European River Kingfisher, of course!

    And Karen got me to see a preview of this extraordinary documentary and chat with a drink one to one with the directors! I had a terrible crush on Philippa Forrester when I was much younger too! :-)

    My Halcyon River (2002-2003)
    Director Charlie Hamilton James
    Director Philippa Forrester

    Wildlife camera operator Charlie Hamilton-James shows his family the extraordinary life to be found on the ordinary river they live on.

    An idyllic portrait of a British river, chronicling the small dramas of the wildlife that lives in and around it. Otters hunt under the cover of darkness, mink lie in wait for unwary victims and kingfishers spear their prey, while newborn chicks learn to swim under the watchful eye of their parents.

    So when I saw Tanya’s cover choice I was taken right back to the biggest Wildlife Documentary Festival that is “Wildscreen Festival”, and yes it is a bigger event that Jackson Hole USA. :-)

    So at this stage I don’t feel it’s right for me to pick any haiku yet, but just to savor every single one of them! :-)


      1. Dear Arvinder,

        Regarding nature, when the great tsunami came to Sri Lanka as well, it was the mangroves that saved the hotel. There was no loss of life and only 2-3 chalets were damaged. Respect nature and it can respect you back! Years later, when we were there, there was another tsunami alert, and oddly we were less safe at the capital city of Sri Lanka, where we spent a night, than if we were back at Ranweli!


  12. A delightful collection of poetry. I have enjoyed reading all of them.
    Not that long go I attended a haiku workshop at, Slimbridge UK, a fabulous day, this verse brought back wonderful memories, as I too, enjoyed viewing many beautiful birds I didn’t know . . .
    bird watching
    without really knowing
    any by name
    — Roberta Beach Jacobson

    1. Yay!

      We don’t need to remember to use those dots any more to space our comments out!

      See, no dots, no more doing this…


      Once upon a time
      we needed to space out, man
      and insert our dots dots dots!

      Without dots example!

      Once upon a time

      we needed to space out, man

      and insert our dots dots dots!

    2. Hi Carol,

      That was a grand day out. Sonia lives just down the road, plus Karen’s fellow Partridge Films friend and colleague makes incredible cooked dinners! She can do French style cooking I can only normally remember in my youth in the South of France before everything got touristy!

      Ah, Slimbridge, created by Peter Scott, the son of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott!

      You made our day extra special, thank you!


      1. It was lovely to meet your friend, Sonia, she produced smashing work, and she saw the otters, which I missed :(
        The session was jam-packed, I had a job to keep up with everyone. It was a fabulous day out, I hope when things get back to normal, if they ever do, another workshop can be arranged.

        Thanks Alan

        1. Dear Carol,

          Many thanks! Back in January and February 2020 we were actually planning to unroll a number of ginko events when everything changed, and we had to self-isolate in early March.

          That was an amazing event, with our international guests present in one way or another, and so glad you got to go on two very different ginko events with us!


          bird watching
          without really knowing
          any by name

          — Roberta Beach Jacobson

          When I left for Australia, all my knowledge of British birds vanished, to an extent, and I am still catching up! So this haiku does resonate with me too!


  13. 2 Magical ones.

    fairy lights in the magnolia tree the coming of snowmen

    Alan Summers
    Wiltshire, UK


    old age—
    I change my apartment
    for a tree house

    Aljoša Vuković
    Šibenik, Croatia

    1. Dear Michelle,

      Thank you so much for mentioning my haiku!

      And I adore this one!

      old age—
      I change my apartment
      for a tree house

      Aljoša Vuković
      Šibenik, Croatia

      1. Thank you, Alan! I am a big admirer of your poetry! Yes, there are some nice treehouses in Texas I wouldn’t mind living in?‍♀️

        1. Many thanks!

          I think you will be blown away by the types of poems in Blo͞o Outlier Journal too!

          I’ve only visited Dallas, as Karen was filming, and Austin to meet up with an old Haijinx journal colleague. It was during a real heatwave, not the usual heatwaves in Texas! :-)

          You should definitely write about “treehouses in Texas” and maybe as a haibun with 2-3 haiku!


          1. Thank you, Alan, dear beloved poet. I will definitely work on that. It will be somewhat of a new form for me, though I have some that sort of look like haibun with just a bit of polishing. I adore your House on the Hill haibun, inspired by a painting. It has an ethereal quality in the sense that it seems to be a description of something dreamlike yet real, a realistic depuction of an abstraction. I also afore Ted Hughes.

            I was in Austin when my husband was on sabbatical doing research on Wallace Stevens. We swung by the treehouses just to take a peek. He had a conference to attend so we didn’t get to stay in one. Anyway, thank you for so much inspiration!!

          2. ach sorry for the typos. working from my iphone rather than my pro mac laptop. I don’t know why I imagine my mobile like a writing sketchbook but that is what is?

            *depiction *adore

          3. Thanks Michelle,

            Ted Hughes’ Thought Fox inspired me to write my Thoughtful Raven meta-haibun! :-)
            And I love ekphrastic haibun and have a special exercise for that, and used that method for my two Tate Britain Van Gogh exhibition haibun.

            Have fun checking out haibun, and of course here too!


          4. Alan? Thank you, dear poet! I will definitely have to check out Thoughtful Raven and Thought Fox now. Thank you for all your inspiration!!

            Cheers and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

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