Skip to content

HAIKU DIALOGUE – Connections Found & Introduction to A Walk on the Wild Side

Connections Found & Introduction to A Walk on the Wild Side

With heartfelt thanks to our guest editors for the last couple of months, Tanya McDonald & Kelly Sauvage Angel, for thought-provoking prompts that inspired some excellent poetry! Today we present their final selections for ‘Connection’.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank Craig Kittner, Tia Haynes & Carole MacRury – our other guest editors for various months in 2019 – thank you! And Lori Zajkowski, our volunteer who formats & schedules all the posts – thank you!

I urge anyone who might be interested in volunteering as a guest editor for a month or longer in 2021, please do let us know! This is the only way to truly sustain the feature, & the rewards for stepping up in this way are many…

With that said, please join me in welcoming back renowned poet & photographer, guest editor Carole MacRury, for a month of magical photographic prompts…

best wishes for the New Year, kj

Introduction to A Walk on the Wild Side with Guest Editor Carole MacRury

Issa showed compassion to animals in many of his haiku, such as “butterfly flitting– / I too am made / of dust” and “spring breeze– / monkey families, too / take healing baths” (by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue). Basho also noticed and related to animals in many haiku. Many of the masters were lay monks or wrote haiku through the Buddhist belief that animals are sentient beings.
We encounter many creatures in our day to day life, through our pets, walks in the wild, aquariums and zoos to name a few. We share similar drives, to reproduce, to raise young, to protect them, to find food and seek shelter. Social skills, love, and even play are also shared attributes.
I will post four photos and with each one, please take the time to note your reaction, any emotions, any memories or thoughts that crop up. What is the body language of the animal saying to you? It may be you write a haiku about the animal, or it could be you write about something that relates to your life simply by interpreting the animal’s body language, gaze, or action towards something happening in your own life.

next week’s theme: Photo 1 – Zoo Life

I took this photo at a zoo. It was to me, a classic display of utter boredom, which made me feel terrible for the animal. She sat with a piece of paper on her head for a time, then slowly turned to me and scowled. Shortly afterward, she passed the paper on to a large male, who promptly put it on his own head and leaned against a post in a pose that echoed utter boredom and despair. Of course I was reading into this body language and empathising with their loss of freedom. Write a haiku inspired by this animal’s body language. It can be about zoos, about imprisonment, the animal itself, or something in your life that this photo brings to mind. Can you relate?

The deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time, Saturday January 09, 2021.

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.

Connections Found

below is Tanya’s commentary:

evening walk
despite the darkness

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, California

This haiku caught my attention because of its skillful use of a pivot. The second line can be linked to the third or to the first, each for different effect. One way of reading it is with the pause after “evening walk.” That sets the scene of the poem before moving on to the fact that even though it’s dark, there are songbirds. I’ve had experiences with American robins and European blackbirds singing well past dusk, so it was a pleasure to learn that someone else has had a similar experience (and written about it).

Another way of reading the haiku is with a pause after the second line, so that it reads “evening walk despite the darkness/ songbirds.” This version brings a different focus to the poem and it resonates with me every bit as strongly as the first version, which is what a good pivot does. In this reading, someone is going for an evening walk despite the darkness. How many of us have felt uncomfortable or unsafe walking in the dark? Yet this poet is going for a walk in spite of possible dangers, and is rewarded with the discovery of songbirds, which is a pleasant surprise for the reader, too. Whether the poet intended both versions of the haiku (and there could be more interpretations), I don’t know, but I appreciate the opportunity to explore different angles of an experience, all within three short lines.

below is Kelly’s commentary:

mother’s milk
around infant’s lips
lingers a fly

Vishnu Kapoor

Brimming with lush imagery, this ku by Kapoor proves a remarkable example of a piece capable of touching a reader deeply while remaining ever-so-slightly out-of-reach—the sweet spot of what I most appreciate in a poem. The setting is clear. A mother is nursing her child. I recall like it was yesterday the sensation of bringing my son to my breast, where he would nurse until sleep overtook him. Yet, as soothing an experience as this moment might be for mother and child, a fly “lingers,” quite alert, we might imagine, amid the lure of liquid pooling around the baby’s mouth. What a unique and unexpected juxtaposition!

Kapoor here has established a connection between the human and non-human realms while artfully illuminating an instance in which a personal experience is not simply one’s alone. Just as the yearning of the fly may not register for the mother, tending as she is to her child, do we truly hold an awareness of the ways in which our experiences act upon others? The more time I spend with this piece, the more I come to appreciate its koan-like quality and the way in which one poet’s observation has stirred my very depths on a day that appeared to be just like any other.

below are the rest of the selections:

my high school sweetheart
a third cousin

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Huntsville, Alabama


a forgotten love . . .
online bhangra *

*Popular Punjabi folk dance

ਮੁੜ ਜਾਗਿਆ
ਭੁੱਲਿਆ ਵਿੱਸਰਿਆ ਸ਼ੌਕ …
ਔਨਲਾਇਨ ਭੰਗੜਾ

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India


the bud blooms
for itself

Vandana Parashar


video call . . .
seeing the first tooth
of my little niece

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore


shelling peanuts – neighbours once aggrieved
now share a gossip

Teji Sethi


a sudden encounter
in a homeless shelter—
old comrades
iznenadni susret
u skloništu za beskućnike –
stari drugovi

Zdenka Mlinar
Zagreb, Croatia


a flock of new birders
adding names
to the life list

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


shooting star
the neighbor across the street
looking at it too

Stephen A. Peters


Zoom meeting
the new member’s background
the same as mine

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, New York


making face masks
remembered threads from
mother’s sewing basket

Gary Evans
Stanwood, Washington


photo album—
I find
my lost childhood

Aljoša Vuković
Šibenik, Croatia


village bubble
now we know
our neighbours’ names

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


daily walk
the dogs at the park
I know by name

Bryan Rickert


the shape of her jump—
patterns blooming
in a kaleidoscope

Shalini Pattabiraman
Dundee, Scotland


cold road at dusk—
the warmth of
a stranger’s smile

Nick T


first snow—
coming home
with my footprints

Teiichi Suzuki


Bits of egg outside the pan
his small hands stir together
the family meal

Karel Sloane-Boekbinder
New Orleans, Louisiana


we celebrate Christmas—
under the carport

Margaret Mahony


front gate gig—
our street sings
happily off-key

Dorothy Burrows


surface tension—
new social bubble
brings us together

Helen Ogden


the loved ones beyond
I connect with them
in dreams

Stoianka Boianova


In idle conversation
With the delivery boy . . .
Re-discovering his village.

Goutam Dutta
Kolkata, India


hibernation __
her friend request
to an old classmate



zoom meeting
a mosquito disturbing
the moment of silence

cezar-florin ciobîcă


a year in shelter
we learn to share
all but our shoes

Barrie Levine
Wenham, Massachusetts


jasmine fragrance
from mother’s sari . . .
miles collapse

Priti Aisola


ripe lemons
I share a dozen
with new neighbors

Seretta Martin


breadcrumbs . . .
a lone sparrow and I
become fast friends

Michele L. Harvey


free meals daily . . .
the feral cat finally
accepts a rub

Pris Campbell


online meeting—
I wonder who else is wearing
pyjamas bottoms

Franjo Ordanić


rubbing elbows
the year we learn
to cook together

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California


text messages
between strangers

Deborah P Kolodji
Temple City, California


learning kanji
in the cracks of her hand
old age home

Melanie Vance


stretch of elm branches
my belief
in a heaven upheld

Lorraine A. Padden
San Diego, California


this christmas she
recognizes me

paul geiger
Sebastopol, 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 17 Comments

  1. Thank you to Tanya and Kelly for some excellent challenges and commentaries. I have found them extremely helpful and thought-provoking. Thank you also to all the poets for a great read. There were so many memorable poems in this selection. One that I particularly enjoyed is…

    the bud blooms
    for itself

    Vandana Parashar

    Lockdown has proved to be a time of reflection for me and has also enabled me to write more often. Vandana’s poem beautifully captures this moment. Thank you.

    I look forward to reading Carole’s selection and commentary next week.

  2. Thank you Kelly and Tanya for your stellar selections and commentaries! I’ve enjoyed each of them. Thanks also for including mine this week. What fun. Welcome Carole! I look forward to your photo challenges!
    This one grabbed my eye. I can just see the colorful swirl of a youngster’s skirt as she leaps with joy.
    the shape of her jump—
    patterns blooming
    in a kaleidoscope

    Shalini Pattabiraman
    Dundee, Scotland
    And this one was a visual reminder of something I had forgotten: when coming inside from a walk in the snow, the shoes often bring a shoe shaped pad of snow to deposit on the clean floor. Wonderful memory!
    first snow—
    coming home
    with my footprints

    Teiichi Suzuki

  3. I love how Haiku Dialogue connects us around the world, how many of us are feeling similar things and making similar connections. Pyjamas bottoms, making face masks, cooking, sharing fruit and vegetables, making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, social bubbles, and many more.

    Thank you Kelly and Tanya for your time and comments. Looking forward to Carole MacRury’s input over the next weeks., including your wonderful photography. I’m so glad I found THF during our first lockdown.

    So many beautiful haiku this week. One of my favourites…

    jasmine fragrance
    from mother’s sari. . .
    miles collapse

    Priti Aisola

    Our sense of smell has such power and is so important to us from birth. We all know how a sudden fragrance can instantly take us back to past events and people. To me this poem is exotic, yet domestic and universal. Beautiful work.

  4. I offer my gratitude to Tanya and Kelly for the Connection themed haiku dialogue which inspired and delighted me. I am honored, surprised and very excited to have my haiku commented on this past week. Your comments felt spot on and even taught me about my own haiku. Sometimes I write haiku that just “feel right” the moment they are uttered and I do not change them because my intuition tells me “that’s it”. In those cases I don’t stop to think how or why the haiku works for me I just know I like it.

    Reading your comments Tanya were an extra holiday gift for me like the gift of hearing birdsong unexpectedly on a quiet, dark street. This was even more the case as yesterday was a difficult day. I learned so much from you in your response to my haiku and in yours and Kelly’s comments on the selections made in previous weeks.

    And Tanya it makes me smile that you have had a similar experience with evening birdsong. During the pandemic and the riots of last year I often chose to walk at night around my neighborhood so I would not run into many people. It was also more peaceful then. Sometimes the walk felt even darker because it carried the heavy energy of the day. But those nights when I walked down certain streets and was greeted by the pure, cheerful tones of songbirds I felt encouraged, renewed and welcomed.
    I even recorded a short video of this concert on my cellphone.

    Thank you also Carol Jones for liking my haiku.

    A blessed New Year to all wonderful poets who contribute to this dialogue. I have enjoyed all of your haiku this past year. May you each find the music of songbirds this year and be encouraged, renewed and welcomed.

  5. Thank you Kelly and Tanya for including my haiku. I am delighted to be among this moving selection.

  6. We make friends and meet many people through the years, some we keep contact with, others
    are often just somewhere in our memory,
    Your words bring a wealth of stories that could be told by many on an encounter such as this.

  7. Thankyou Kelly and Tanya for including my haiku in this collection of connection.

  8. Each week has been a mini-haiku seminar with the sterling instruction and tutorial insight of Tanya McDonald & Kelly Sauvage Angel.

    I appreciate their guidance and the examples of the shared work of fellow poets.

    I am also grateful for the work of the editorial team members for Haiku Dialogue.

  9. Hello and welcome back, Carole, looking forward to your choices, comments and photographs.

  10. Thankyou Kelly and Tanya for your delightful selection of poetry over the past few weeks.

    Just a few that resonated with me from the many wonderful verses this week.

    evening walk
    despite the darkness
    —Susan Rogers

    a sudden encounter
    in a homeless shelter—
    old comrades
    —Zdenka Mlinar

    making face masks
    remembered threads from
    mother’s sewing basket
    —Gary Evans

    online meeting—
    I wonder who else is wearing
    pyjamas bottoms
    —Franjo Ordanic

    Fabulous work, everyone.

  11. Thank you for including my haiku in this collection of connection. Much appreciation Kelly and Tanya for your guest editorship these past weeks. I really resonated with this one:
    first snow—
    coming home
    with my footprints

    Teiichi Suzuki

    A beautiful depiction of the isolation of pandemic in winter and connecting with yourself. I also appreciate the humor in this one:
    my high school sweetheart
    a third cousin

    Peggy Hale Bilbro
    Huntsville, Alabama

    So many excellent haiku here. I feel a connection with many of these poets just from reading these. Thanks to everyone past and present working behind the scenes to put this feature together each week and I look forward to Carole’s guest editing this this month.

  12. What a wonderfully curated selection of haiku over the past few weeks. Thank you Tanya and Kelly for your time and insight. I am honored to have taken part. In this week’s selection ‘a year in shelter’ and ‘rubbing elbows’ so perfectly capture how the sheltering of this past year has deepened many of our relationships; ’23 and me,’ ‘text messages’ and ‘zoom meeting’ bring home the impact technology has on our connections; ‘lockdown’ and ‘shooting star’ remind us of the solace we find in nature. And thank you to the participants for sharing the comfort of haiku with us all.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top