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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Family Portraits – Portrait Two

Family Portraits with Guest Editor John S Green

For the month of September, a total of five weeks, we will write haiku in response to photographs of human faces – portraits of sorts. These will all be images of my family – hence the title, Family Portraits. This could be termed a photo-haiga exercise – composing a haiku in reaction to a picture.

Often, the instinct is to write a description of the image. However, this is rarely satisfying. From my experience, a poem that connects in a subtle manner is more rewarding. For some excellent examples, please take a look at The Haiku Foundation’s Haiga Galleries.

Many haiga do not mention the scene at all, but simply allude to it via the haiku. The image and the words complement each other. Let’s work on that over the next five weeks. I look forward to your poems.

next week’s theme: Family Portraits – Portrait Three


This surprise photo was taken before morning coffee. You or one of your family members may have felt similar emotions. Write about where this takes you. Thanks for your poems.

The deadline is midnight Pacific Daylight Time, Saturday September 17, 2022.

Thanks to all poets who are making things easier for our Guest Editors by including in the ‘Poem’ box both your NAME & RESIDENCE as you would like it to appear in the column, along with your poems… kj

Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 & residence 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 John’s commentary for Portrait Two:

This week, I received 237 haiku from 149 poets representing 29 countries. In the end, I selected more haiku than last week. Still, there were many poems that didn’t create a rewarding juxtaposition between the photograph and haiku. This week, I had to research many words associated with marriage traditions, and therefore, learned new things – thanks. You made me laugh and wonder, two traits that make us human. Here we go:

destination wedding
the aunt who never calls

Vandana Parashar

Vandana’s humor is classic. It’s just about perfect, in my way of seeing the world, and staying optimistic.

smiles changing the weather

petro c. k.
Seattle, Washington

Here is another buoyant viewpoint. Attitude makes all the difference. One thing I’ve decided as I have more self-directed time is to not spend time with pessimists. Thanks for this, petro.

new sunrise
as if everything were
so simple

Samo Kreutz
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Now back to reality, ha! How many times can a haiku mention a sunrise and keep it fresh? Samo has done it here with maturity and wisdom.

morning sun…
kissing each other
a pair of shadows

Chittaluri Satyanarayana
Hyderabad, India


lighting the fire
we discover ourselves
casting new shadows

Patricia Hawkhead

Chittaluri and Patricia both use shadow to great effect – the subtle link to the wedding image is sublime.

myraid of emotions
in father’s eyes

(kanyadaan is giving away daughter’s hands in marriage)

Amrutha Prabhu
Bengaluru, India


at my wedding my father’s smile without him

al mio matrimonio il sorriso di mio padre senza di lui

Maria Teresa Piras
Sardinia – Italy


her brown eyes
a part of grandad
re appears

Marilyn Ward
Lincolnshire UK

The above three haiku by Amrutha, Maria, and Marilyn share similar sentiment about a father/child or granddad/grandchild bond. I, being a father and granddad, appreciate these just a bit extra.

Below are the rest of my selections. Please comment and mention specific haiku that you appreciate.

& here are the rest of the selections:

maid of honour
at my ex’s wedding
a cake with two grooms

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec


expectancy in her white dress wedding cake moon

Seretta Martin
California, USA


wedding photo
all the people
we used to know

Maurice Nevile
Canberra, Australia


wedding album
a happiness
I haven’t seen since

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA


wedding photos
one of us
always out of focus…

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut


even after ten years butterflies

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa, USA


city hall:
not so dreary
after thirty years

Charles Harper
Yokohama, Japan


wedding procession
the decorated horse
steals the show

Nitu Yumnam


Indian wedding –
the fine embroidery
on a horse

Daipayan Nair
Silchar, India


unmarried —
dodging the bouquet
a couple of times

Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo
Bombon, Philippines


home run
bouquet goes beyond
the bridesmaids

Ravi Kiran


newlyweds –
the bouquet thrown
towards the moon

sposi novelli –
il bouquet lanciato
verso la luna

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy


exchanging rings
within the silence

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, United Kingdom


the hoodoos
bear witness

Marilyn Ashbaugh
Edwardsburg, Michigan


starry sky
I seem to have fallen
into her eyes

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA


even in her poems the love
of Wangxian

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany


honey drizzle dawn
I believe in a heaven
tasting of her kiss

John Hawkhead


mehendi nite
his name deepens
on her palms

Daya Bhat


a first flash
of déjà vu . . .
apple blossoms

Alfred Booth


A tuxedo
in the wilderness

Mike Fainzilber
Rehovot, Israel


a kiss
vanilla-scented …
Saint Honoré

Daniela Misso


sea lilies
in the sand dunes
our first kiss

Tsanka Shishkova


laughter tears laughter the melody of love

Terry Whitebeach


after argument
my guitar
well tuned

Keiko Izawa


spring breeze
two birds building
a new nest

Meera Rehm
UK / Nepal


from the guy
who just got divorced
wedding toast

Susan Burch
Hagerstown, MD


the fine line(n)
of family politics –
wedding seating chart

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA


something new…
the canyon echoes
our wedding vows

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina


desert hike…
she wears blundstones
to her wedding

Lynne Jambor
Vancouver BC Canada


the veil removed
a bride meets her groom
for the first time

Chen Xiaoou
Kunming, China


the ring
of hammer on anvil
winter wedding



dandelion seed
lifted on butterfly wing
that Utah morning

Patricia Furstenberg
South Africa


six yards of gran’s love
wedding day

(the length of a saree is six yards and girls often wear the one worn by their grandmother on her wedding day)

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India


white roses
at the young girl’s headstone …
wedding bells afar

Natalia Kuznetsova


same sex marriage
all of us
on the brides’ side

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


green wedding
on the guest list
flowers and birds

Neena Singh


quiet rustle
inside a blooming poppy
the full moon blushes crimson

Padmini Krishnan
United Arab Emirates


at the end of a sentence stem- tulips

Sarah Metzler
United States


backyard wedding
the photographer requests
bigger smiles

Alex Fyffe
Texas, USA


guadando il fiume
sulla stessa foglia

fording the river
on the same leaf

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna Italia


autumn wind
the space between us
so different now

Mark Scott
Hardwick, Vermont, USA


a trail of fireflies
in the dark
if ever…

Adrian Bouter
The Netherlands


till death do us part
a wedding guest whispers
latest divorce statistics

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India


in a nest
two feathers

di sebuah sangkar
dua bulu

Christopher Calvin
Kota Mojokerto, Indonesia


the different shades
of our marriage

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India


the escape
from the maddening crowd
autumn leaves

Hla Yin Mon
Yangon, Myanmar


the newlyweds
veiled with fog
mt. pulag sunrise

Anthony Rabang
Manila, Philippines


on summer’s grass a fresh dewdrop

Amoolya Kamalnath


before and after you the blur

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK


lingering sunshine—
questioning again, how long
is forever

A.J. Anwar
Jakarta, Indonesia


harvest moon
zucchini blossoms
among azaleas

Ronald Degler
Harbor City, California


spring tide
the pulls beyond
our ken

Gary Evans
Stanwood, Washington


third time charm —
the bride in white

Roberta Beary
USA/ Ireland


the marriage of
night and day

Munira Judith Avinger
Bellingham, WA


butterfly knot
each of us
a wing

Ella Aboutboul
West Sussex, UK


outdoor wedding…
two bison wander through
providing witnesses

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio


just spring
whirligigs spin
and spin

Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina


the sound of waves
her pause before
“I do”

Kath Abela Wilson


wedding day moon her maid of honor

Sharon Martina
Warrenville, IL


saying I do
clings to the vine

Margie Gustafson
Lombard, IL USA


Guest Editor John S Green, author of Whimsy Park: Children’s Poems for the Whole Family, is widely published in all styles of poetry – especially haiku. John lived in Europe before moving to the United States at age thirteen. His daughter cooks with spice, and his wife still laughs at his jokes.

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.

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 18 Comments

  1. This is a nice haiku but is it relevant to the theme?

    harvest moon
    zucchini blossoms
    among azaleas

    Ronald Degler
    Harbor City, California

    1. I believe there’s a suggestion of forthcoming fruitfulness (“the procreation of children” is/was the stated purpose of marriage as prescribed by several churches); although the season of the harvest moon is not the season of zucchini and azalea blossom, but of the fruits (the zucchini), so there appear to be mixed seasons in this verse. The moon often symbolises love or the feminine.

      Thus an optimistic shift from the “desert” wedding scene in the photo, with which the lines are juxtaposed, deserts having associations with barrenness.

      Well, that’s my take on it.

  2. Very interesting responses! I missed this prompt, but enjoyed reading all the selected poems. These three stood out for me. The first two are recognition of our more inclusive culture while the third provides a bit of sad realism to the day of forever happiness. (For some reason I am no longer receiving the daily THF emails and I miss seeing them each morning!)

    same sex marriage
    all of us
    on the brides’ side

    Laurie Greer
    Washington, DC

    green wedding
    on the guest list
    flowers and birds

    Neena Singh

    lingering sunshine—
    questioning again, how long
    is forever

    A.J. Anwar
    Jakarta, Indonesia

    1. Hello Peggy,
      For some reason THF has been landing in my junk mail box for the last 10 days or so. If you haven’t been doing so, maybe it’s worth checking out yours just in case?

    2. Peggy, my THF emails are going into my junk / spam folder for the last week or so. Not sure why. Maybe yours are too. Just a thought. Sue.

  3. Thank you for publishing my odd haiku with a wedding cake moon. I’m curious to know…How did other poets percieved the “expectancy?”

    1. I like the way you’ve phrased it to suggest that the bride is pregnant, and using wedding cake as an adjective to describe the moon is also a great choice.

  4. I’m puzzled. I’ve always thought that poets could send just one poem. Please correct me if I have this wrong. If there were 149 poems from 237 poets then some must have sent more than one.

    1. Hi, Seretta. Poets may submit up to two poems each week. If you look carefully above the submission box, it reads, “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.” Many poets choose to submit two poems to better the odds that one of them will be selected, but many poets also choose to send only one. When I was editing, I’m sure I sometimes got more than 250 poems to read in a week, and sometimes selecting between two poems from the same poet was an added difficulty, especially when both submissions are excellent.

  5. Thank you, John, for enjoying my haiku and including it in this collection. I love all the haiku, especially that of Vandana Parashar for the subtle humor and that of Roberta Beach Jacobson, so short so true …

  6. Dear John,

    By its very nature, haiku is a pessimistic poem. With the exception of Kobayashi Issa, who remained famous for his popular humor, the other Japanese haiku authors are pessimistic.

    The essential elements of haiku, wabi-sabi, yugen, iki (preference for dark colors) abundantly denote what I said above. I sent a haiku to several friends and 80% of them understood instead of the drop of gin, a tear. What did you understand?Don’t your say “show don’t tell”?

    only she…
    on the flower from the lappel
    a drop of gin

      1. Hi Mike,
        Many thanks for your comment, and that excellent article, The Importance of a Sense of Humour in Haiku, by Susumu Takiguchi. I just read it and and it is laced with wonderful examples of funny haiku. I highly recommend it to everyone. Myself, I am drawn to humorous as well as mysterious and profoundly moving haiku. The article addresses this as a healthy characteristic for all people, not just in poetry but in living a balanced life.

  7. Thank you John for commenting on my poem – a first for me!

    I love so many poems this week – but this is one I’d very much like to share:

    the different shades
    of our marriage

    Mona Bedi
    Delhi, India

  8. I am finding it such fun to see the vast varieties of ways to approach the same image.

    I particularly enjoyed Maxianne Berger’s and Laurie Greer’s poems which brought pathos and humor to gay marriages.

    1. Me, too.
      There are so many profound wedding haiku this week. So many to give a person pause. I am enjoying reading them. Congrats to all the poets. I am proud to have one included.

  9. Thanks John! It’s a fantastic photograph, projecting laughter, and many of the haiku you chose indeed found ways to make the reader laugh.

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