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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… at a tea party

Finding peace and contemplation… with Guest Editor Marietta McGregor

At times in our lives, fast-moving events of our day-to-day existence may become overwhelming. Between work and family responsibilities, daily needs and doomscrolling, days rush by in a breakneck blur and we sometimes end the week with a sense of ‘where did that go?’ We’re surrounded by the wonders of our shared universe. Maybe it’s time to become immersed in the enjoyment of one aspect of this spectacular world which amazes, delights and refreshes us. We can marvel at the night sky or clouds by day, cheer a ladybug as it climbs a twig and opens its wings, dangle our feet in a cool river, rest in a tree’s benevolent shade, stroke velvety green moss, smell ozone freshness at the coast, crunch through frosty grass, listen to morning birdsong, taste a last autumn apple. Small pauses in quotidian life may be devoted to living slower, using every sense, and sharing our pleasure through poetry. Simple gifts.

Each week for the next few weeks there will be a photographic prompt on the theme of ‘Finding peace and contemplation. . .’ with images capturing moments when we might seek inspiration if the going gets tough. I look forward to reading your personal response to the moments you’ve discovered.

next week’s theme: … exercising in a park

Exercise can be as serious or as casual as you wish. Sometimes a walk around the block is enough. A friend has a mobility scooter she enjoys using to lap her neighborhood and look at gardens. On a recent visit to a local lakeside park near where I live, there were walkers of all ages with and without dogs, cyclists, runners, kayakers, and children riding scooters and skipping stones. Do you have a favourite place where you like to go to blow away the cobwebs? And a favourite exercise? We look forward to your haiku about finding peace and contemplation while exercising.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday October 16, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 Marietta’s commentary for… at a tea party:

Thank you for your refreshing contributions on the many ways to enjoy a tea party. I savoured the aromas of the teas you brewed up and enjoyed your settings. Some haiku were light-hearted and others serious and reflective, depicting moments when a pause over tea steeping in a familiar cup conjured up memories of times shared with family and friends. Poets relished their first get-together after lockdowns eased, or wrote of solitary moments. From childhood play dates to ceremonial rituals, poetry get-togethers and garden parties, the tang of tea added an extra dimension. And I learned what snickerdoodles are! Please keep writing and submitting, and don’t forget to share your thoughts on your favourite haiku from this week’s selection on the Haiku Dialogue blog page. Thanks again to Kathy, Lori and THF!

his last high tea
my daughter and I
pretending . . .

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
The Hague, Netherlands

I found this a very poignant senryu. Line 1 shows us someone who has probably enjoyed high tea often, but now those times may be ending. Lines 2 and 3 set a loving scene of three people sitting together. They could be from three generations or two. The reader doesn’t know where the scene takes place. It could be at home, in a palliative care hospice, or in a favourite café. Wherever it takes place, tea and cakes are served and valiant efforts are being made to keep things everyday and light-hearted just as they have always been. Despite the shadows hinted at in the first line, all can treasure this moment and whatever time they may still have together.

autumn tea party
for the homeless
rain again . . .

Ljiljana Dobra

The first line here begins with a kigo so we know what time of the year it is. The days are drawing in and temperatures are dropping. A tea party is being held for town vagrants. Volunteers have baked cakes and are making hot drinks. Briefly, there is the comforting sense that as people come off the street into a warm hall they will find a welcome respite from the elements. But juxtaposed with the warmth and light of the charitable centre, Line 3 comes to an unavoidably dark conclusion – the poor of the city will return to the streets, to the inevitability of cold rain.

open mind the fragrance of tea

Deborah P Kolodji
Temple City, California

The founder of chanoyo, the Japanese Way of Tea, was a Japanese Zen monk called Sen no Rikyū, who became tea master to the samurai nobleman Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1582. Rikyū introduced a simpler, more austere form of ceremony with rustic utensils and humble settings. He’s believed to have said that the sound of tea splashing into the tea bowl is enough to wash away dust from the mind. After the matcha is poured its scent is released into silence. In the economical five words of this monoku the poet has captured a meditative moment of harmony and calm, when thoughts slow down and the mind is at peace. Everything else recedes and the poet is fully in the moment.

British high tea
the politics
of scones

Christopher Peys
Los Angeles, CA

British (and Australian) scones are round, light crumbly cakes which are split in half, often when warm from the oven, and served with lashings of clotted cream and jam. The transatlantic equivalent, US biscuits, are made with up to three times more butter and may be denser and more flaky than their fluffy British counterparts. This amusing senryu can be read in several ways. I imagine rival cooks squaring up over whose scone recipe is best and lightest, where the best cream tea in England can be had, or whether jam or cream should be added first. In another reading, with recent concerns about supply chain problems being in the news because of both the pandemic and Brexit, the poem may hint that it’s hard to avoid politics in conversation, even at an innocuous afternoon tea gathering.

& here are the rest of the selections:

tea party
the mad hatter
my child and me

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Wa. USA


tea for one
letting the oolong
linger longer

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera, CA USA


riverside tea . . .
the muddy flow
of conversations

Jeff Leong
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


tea party—
lacquered on the cup
a red maple leaf

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy


marbled tea bowl—
under the flower pattern
the shape of his hands

Nicole Pottier


I sing Do Re Mi Fa
So La Tea Do

Aljoša Vuković
Croatia, Šibenik


every afternoon
titas gather on zoom
spilling tea

Lorelyn Arevalo
Bombon, Camarines Sur, Philippines


oolong tea
talk stretches
into darkness

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom


tea ceremony
moon an arm’s length
from the tree top

Anitha Varma
Kerala, India


long rainy afternoon
and tea

Kathleen Vasek Trocmet
Texas USA


last page
last sip
lingering taste

Ram Chandran


tea ceremony
cautiously filtering
my words

Anthony Rabang


pretend cup
i sip, alone
my pretend tea

Connie Pittman Ramsey
Irving, Texas USA


tea party
in and out
aroma of jasmine

Anna Yin
Ontario, Canada


all those parties . . .

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany


her 21st
we use the tea set
we never use

Maurice Nevile


licking cream
from our fingers
cumulus clouds

Louise Hopewell


two cups of tea
shared miles apart

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ


tea party
my granddaughter shows how
I must crook my pinky

Gary Evans
Stanwood, Washington


tea party . . .
in my cup a mint leaf
smells of spring

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania Italy


mount kanchenjunga
in darjeeling tea steam
a golden shimmer

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India


a hint of the flavour
in the poet’s renku
spring moon

Lakshmi Iyer
Kerala, India


drizzling rain—
in the tea arbor
smell of utensils

Teiichi Suzuki


leaf fall—
a few sips
of green tea

Helga Stania


mountain view. . .
tea and one flower
in a cracked vase

Ronald Degler
Harbor City, California


tiny tea party
in a tiny cottage
an old couple

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China


lockdown over . . .
our smaller family
at first tea party

Natalia Kuznetsova


masala chai
half a cup
of dreams

Ravi Kiran


savoring sips . . .
the time of tea
before mugs

Pat Davis
Pembroke, NH USA


early autumn chill
I cradle my cup of tea
in the nursery

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY


tea at the Ritz
reassuring Grandma
her scones are ritzier

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


the smell of autumn
at a garden birthday party
rose tea

Zdenka Mlinar


green tea
in the samurai pose

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia


chairs moving in sync . . .
the old man shares his tea
with his wife

Al W Gallia
Lafayette, Louisiana USA


moonlight tea
the way the body
changes to silk

Vibeke Laier
Randers Denmark


family reunion . . .
mother’s secret recipe
for the best sweet tea

Ed Bremson


evening high tea—
eager haikai guests flip
dog-eared notebooks

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India


toothless grandma
butter tea served in
chipped unmatched cups

(Bhutan trek – the generosity of strangers)

JL Huffman
Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, USA


on vintage plates
dad’s favourite meringues—
tea-time wake

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom


roadside cafe
a little boy balances
a pyramid of teacups

Richa Sharma


family reunion—
three more empty chairs
this year

Dan Campbell


fall evening
reading tea leaves

Mariel Herbert
California, USA


tea party
I eat the pretend cupcake

Margaret Mahony


dawn ritual . . .
brewing prayers
in lopchu

(lopchu – orange pekoe tea – word derived from Lepcha, inhabitants of hilly areas of Darjeeling)

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India


Berlin tea room
decades later
I still say adieu

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France


aromatic candle
the green tea
ritually glows

Minko Tanev


child’s play
make believe guests
and pretend tea

Carol Reynolds


daisy petals
decorate a mud pie cake
dolls’ tea set party

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia


tea times . . .
the afternoons
we sipped away together

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


drinking tea alone
the weight
of each sip

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan


miles apart
the scent of mother’s cardamom
in my tea

Padmini Krishnan


lapsang souchong
the smoky aroma
of times long ago

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island WA USA


tea time
grandma adds a little
from her flask

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA


garden tea party
a jasmine blossom
falls in my cup

Mona Iordan


afternoon tea
I raise my cup
to the hummingbirds

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA


a damselfly floats
through the garden gate
four o’clock tea

Margaret Tau
New Bern, NC


family gathering
I hold the teapot
how his mother did

Meera Rehm


friends reunited—
from the butterfly teapot
the scent of ginger

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California


the crack
in my teacup
fingernail moon

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand


tea-party for one—
I fill our red ceramic teapot,
choose the cups we used

Penny Harter
Mays Landing, NJ


garden guests
the wallaby
and her joey

Kanjini Devi
The Far North, Aotearoa NZ


tea . . .
on the queen’s terrace
scent of jasmine

Robert Kingston
Essex, UK


Boston tea party
leaves oversteeped
in salt water

Caroline Giles Banks
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


Steaming cuppa
making the rounds
amidst poetry

Rashmi Buragohain


veranda breezes
we sip iced tea
and catch up

Claire Vogel Camargo


zoom tea party
each with our own china
and only stories to share

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove


another cup of chamomile
in the cast iron pot

Lorraine A Padden
San Diego, CA USA


grandpa’s tea glass
three sugar cubes
reach the bottom

Barrie Levine
Wenham MA USA


late marigold—
things we talk about at tea
and see in leaves

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK


garden tea party
even the crow is enjoying
our company

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India


I brew the memories
of the days gone by

Priti Khullar


gathering storm
we share potato crisps
with the wind

Neera Kashyap


cut and thrust
of the cake fork
tea time gossip

Helene Guojah


golden anniversary
sipping tea
in her favourite cup

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India


missed deadline
my freshly brewed tea

Eva Limbach


tea with my dolls
too hot for Baby Bear
too cold for Barbie

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI


children’s tea party
the tiny cups full
of lemonade

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India


old neighbour’s birthday
tea for two
with dollops of laughter

Madhuri Pillai


the kettle whistling
over a blue flame

Tim Cremin


tea in the patio—
at the same time the hummingbird

Julia Guzmán
Córdoba Argentina


scent of luck
evaporates from the fine cups
tea pai ceremony

(tea pai is the ritual of serving tea to older family members in Chinese weddings)

Lisbeth Ho
Salatiga, Indonesia


her gaze lingers long
at the samosa

ਦੇਰ ਤੱਕ ਟਿਕੀ
ਸਮੋਸੇ ਤੇ ਨਜ਼ਰ

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India


Mothering Sunday
we take it in turns
to pour

Helen Buckingham
Wells, Somerset, UK


outdoor buffet—
fallen crumbs a party
for birds

buffet all’aperto—
le briciole una festa
per gli uccelli

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy


starry sky—
the aroma of tea
still in the room

Maria Teresa Piras
Serrenti, Italia


tea cups painted
with roses in full bloom . . .
bone-thin fingers

Priti Aisola


empty teacup—
what mornings
used to taste like

Pippa Phillips
United States


everyone resembles
the garden Buddha . . .
after first sip

Melanie Vance


finger sandwiches . . .
for a moment life
stops galloping

B.A. France
Annapolis, MD, USA


high tea
stirring scrap of the moon

Florin C. Ciobica


afternoon tea
dusk filling the cups
to the brim

Cristina Apetrei


son’s tea party
Grandpa and Spiderman
honored guests

Carol Judkins
Carlsbad, CA USA


baby shower
she selects the cookie
with pink icing

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams


feeling at home—
hard feelings melt
in my cup of tea

Cristina Povero


family album—
the scent of jasmine increases
her absence

Elena Zouain


too late for coffee
too early for wine
tea time

Charles Harmon
Los Angeles, California, USA


bone china—
the way her pinky points
to the sky

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada


afternoon delight
autumn leaves
as we sip the flowers

Didimay D. Dimacali


time travel
. . . up the Faraway Tree
into the land of parties

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India


amber sunset
the sound of bells
in our wedding tea

Kathabela Wilson
United States


behind my mother’s kettle
one last honey stick

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles


Guest editor Marietta McGregor is a fourth-generation Tasmanian who has made her home between Australia’s national capital Canberra and the scenic south coast of New South Wales for over four decades. A lover of the natural world since childhood, she went on to study botany and zoology, and has worked as palynologist, garden designer, science journalist, editor, university tutor, education manager, and grants developer for the national wildlife collection. A photography and travel enthusiast since retiring, she enjoys capturing fine detail of fleeting moments. She came late to haiku, which appealed for its close observation and poetic expression of ephemeral experience. Her haiku, haibun and haiga have been widely published, have won awards and appear in anthologies.

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 24 Comments

  1. Thanks as always to Marietta & co. Congratulations all! I particularly love Tim Cremin’s:

    the kettle whistling
    over a blue flame

  2. Thank you Marietta. I am thrilled to be selected for a tea party. It’s my first time here. I am a newbie, eager to learn from everyone. An absolute pleasure and honor.

    Again, thank you. 🙂

  3. What a satisfying collection of moods and settings in this week’s poems! I enjoyed them all. Here are a few I’d like to highlight : the whimsy of Carol R.’s “child’s play” and Ingrid B’s “daisy petals”, the curious sadness of Mariel H.’s “fall evening”, and the simple beauty of Deborah K.’s “open mind the fragrance of tea”. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Deborah’s monoku – a poem I could read again and again and get lost in its potential every time.
    Thanks to Marietta, KJ, and Lori for all the work you do.

    1. Thanks, Pat, for noticing mine.
      But what about yours? It’s so easy to miss out on something that, after a second reading and some reflection, holds so much weight behind the eight words you’ve chosen.
      savoring sips . . .
      the time of tea
      before mugs

      Pat Davis
      Pembroke, NH USA

  4. A lovely brew of poems this week! Congratulations to all the poets and thank you, Marietta, for including one of mine. Many thanks also to Kj and Lori for organising this wonderful dialogue. There are so many poems to admire here, my list of favourites would be far too long. One that immediately captured my attention was…

    the crack
    in my teacup
    fingernail moon

    Sue Courtney
    Orewa, New Zealand

    I love the way the poem zooms in on a tiny visual detail and creates a strong and ambiguous image. The ‘fingernail moon’ might refer to the crescent shape of the crack or it might refer to the tea drinker carefully placing a finger over the chip to avoid drinking from it. For me, it beautifully conjures up a scene of social embarrassment.

    I look forward to reading next week’s column!

    1. Dear Dorothy, thank you so much for your comments on my haiku. I love how you interpreted it. Sue.

  5. Delighted to be selected for this refreshing collection, thank you, and this one made me smile as I remembered my daughter’s play times.

    tea with my dolls
    too hot for Baby Bear
    too cold for Barbie

    Greer Woodward
    Waimea, HI

    Maybe it was just right for Ken? I remember too how she’d set up restaurants, but somehow could never give us what we ordered, ‘sorry, there’s no chicken…’ etc. etc.

    1. Hi Maurice,

      I’m glad you liked my haiku. Thank you! The tea was just right for Ken, but a shortage of scones made it a hassle for everyone.

  6. time travel
    . . . up the Faraway Tree
    into the land of parties
    Sushama Kapur
    Pune, India
    During the many months of the pandemic, I was still able to travel back in time, in my mind and remember pleasant moments from the past.

  7. “tea for one” by Jackie Chou, reminding us of poetry meetings at a library or Japanese garden or art gallery cancelled
    by the lockdown. Never alone with poetry, yet friends can still telephone or email and stay in contact, hoping for the future.
    “amber sunset” by Kathabela Wilson, suggesting a lasting and happy marriage full of experiences and memories.

  8. Thank you for including me in this haiku tea party this week! This was a theme near and dear to me as I am a big tea drinker. Congratulations to all the poets here! So so many favorites.

  9. What a global tea party of haiku this week. From children’s tea parties to ritzy high tea and everywhere in between. Congratulations, poets and also to thf, Marietta, KJ, and Lori for keeping this column going every week.

    Found a smile on Charles Harmon’s coffee, wine, and tea time haiku. So many to like including Stephen ‘s mad hatter haiku and Valentina ‘s baby shower. Well done to all.

  10. Thank you Marietta for including my haiku. Every haiku unique. Such a pleasure every week.

  11. Dear Marietta, I was very moved to your comment to my senryu. It was just as you pictured it. The person who enjoyed his last high tea was my husband. I am not very present on Haiku Dialogue, sometimes I am to late for posting. This time I was so happy to be in time for sending this senryu, because the theme remembered me a sad but precious moment in my life. My heartfelt thanks, Marietta!

  12. Marietta, thank-you for selecting mine. Thank-you also to Kathy and Lori for their efforts. Haiku poets are fortunate to have this column week after week. Congrats to all the poets.

  13. I enjoyed this selection Marietta, particularly this one:

    British high tea
    the politics
    of scones

    Christopher Peys
    Los Angeles, CA

    There are also two significant political debates on scones that have raged for years:
    1. How to pronounce ‘scone’: either as for ‘stone’ or ‘gone’? The argument is deep and divisive as it is related to regional dialects and class!
    2. In which order do you add jam and cream to a sliced scone (jam first or cream first)? The populations of Devon and Cornwall have debated this for years and the argument can reach boiling point…

    All captured in one haiku. Nice one!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful remarks John – I am very glad this one struck a chord! My wife and I regularly rehash the Devon/Cornwall debate. Though I will continue to prepare my scones in the Devonshire style, she has made a strong, almost convincing case for the Cornish side over the years. Where do you fall on this very important matter?

      When reading the rest of these poems, I was particularly taken by some of the more playful, light-hearted verses. Quite a few brought a smile to my face, but the following made me chuckle 🙂 …

      tea time
      grandma adds a little
      from her flask

      Bryan Rickert
      Belleville, Illinois USA

    2. What a farce in these times!
      I know it so well. My parents owned a tea garden in Devon. Their home-made produce was so authentic in the sense of delicious-ness, no one complained.

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