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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… in hidden corners – Photo Two

Finding Peace and Contemplation… in hidden corners with Guest Editor Marietta McGregor

A note for all those submitting to Haiku Dialogue – please note that the deadline for submissions has now been changed to reflect daylight savings time… thanks, kj

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: in hidden corners Photo Three – island alley

On Naxos in the Greek Cyclades it’s easy to get disoriented in one area of the main town, called Bourgos. A labyrinth of covered passageways with unanticipated dead ends, its layout was designed to confuse medieval sea pirates who landed and followed alleys which led them in circles instead of leading to the main settlement. My husband Campbell and I got lost trying to find the Venetian castle. It didn’t really matter as the narrow cobbled alleys served up surprises at every turn. You’re invited to submit your haiku (up to two) inspired by the photograph, or about hidden spots in a town or city where you’ve come across the unexpected, or just got lost.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday March 20, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 Photo Two – entryway at dusk

My happy thanks to everyone who joined us again for Haiku Dialogue. Haiku poets will often tell you they have a favourite season which inspires their best writing. For many of you who contributed this week, autumn fits the bill. Colour, scent and sound all play a part in the varied offerings, with poems that relish the rustle and crunch of fallen leaves underfoot and the play of sunlight through red leaves. As haiku are truly international, the idea of kigo has broadened and new season words or signifiers have emerged from the poles to the tropics. This reflects in the variety of experiences you’ve captured in your poems, from day/night sounds to festivals, familiar cafés or neighborhoods, vivid clothing, and fond memories. I love to read the varying takes from around the world, and am struck anew by how wonderful the international haiku community is and how lucky we are to be able to connect in this way, thanks as always to Kathy, Lori and THF.

autumn leaves
I follow
the floating night

Helga Stania
Switzerland

I was drawn to this haiku on the one hand for its musicality and lightness, and also because it brought to mind the ‘floating world’, or ukiyo, of Edo Japan (1615-1868), captured so vividly in woodblock prints. There is something mysterious afoot here. The poet uses a bright autumn kigo, then shifts away towards the darkness. We don’t know where the ‘floating night’ will lead. Will it be to somewhere known or unknown? Or into a wonderful dream? Lines 2 and 3 have a dreamlike flow which leaves the poem open to any direction the reader cares to take.

poetry reading . . .
in the tatami room
a red maple leaf

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India

A contemplative, almost meditative haiku. The poet sets us in the scene – the calm monotones of a rice straw-scented tatami room. Poems, possibly haiku, are being read. Maybe someone rings a small bell after each reading. The atmosphere encourages concentration. Yet the poet’s mind wanders a little, and as their eyes drift around the room their focus narrows to a single leaf, a tiny bright spot in the expanse of pale matting. The focus shift from a wide view to one detail in the bigger picture is similar to the technique of ‘zooming in’ found in many haiku of Buson – for example, when he writes about one tulip in a field of flowers under a wide sky.

a light also on
in my neighbor’s window
pandemic winter

Kristen Lindquist
Camden, Maine, USA

To me this haiku may be read in several different ways, some comforting, some not quite so much. A sense of isolation is apparent, and yet a reassuring presence is implied by the use of the word ‘also’. From a brief glance out of the window the poet may feel they are not alone this winter’s night – a close neighbour is awake too. Even though no contact may be possible during the day, the light brings some comfort. Everyone is in the same boat. A darker reading could be that the neighbour may have a family member who is ill and being cared for at home, so a night-light is burning, late, and is seen by the wakeful poet. The poem brings to mind a haiku by Issa, about an isolation infirmary outside Nagasaki, lamplit in a blizzard.

below are the rest of the selections:

sunset
our shadows evolve
into giants

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

autumn leaves
the steps getting there
for the view

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Wa. USA

 

autumn dusk . . .
I cling to the warmth
of your fingers

Surashree Joshi
Pune, India

 

father’s memories
in the red maple leaves
autumn light

Lakshmi Iyer
India

 

monastery—
the silence holds
a prayer song

Teji Sethi
India

 

autumn leaves—
the echo of your voice
stuck in the night

Nicole Pottier
France

 

conservation hike
a kerosene lantern
runs out of fuel

M. R. Defibaugh
Richmond, VA

 

after the storm—
leaves of the last fall
on my staircase

Muskaan Ahuja
Chandigarh, India

 

Ramadan lantern . . .
children around their mother
to put henna

Hassane Zemmouri
Algiers / Algeria

 

silent retreat . . .
sign language
not allowed

Kathleen Vasek Trocmet
USA

 

a leaf drops—
i listen to his footsteps
fade into goodbye

Gillena Cox
St James, Trinidad

 

the last leaf
has already fallen—
silent sunset

Maria Teresa Sisti
Italy

 

Gion—
I lose my way
in red lanterns

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

old town restaurant
fresh freckles
on her face

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, UK

 

spring dream . . .
beckoning me at its gate
my unborn haiku

Keiko Izawa
Yokohama, Japan

 

that particular crunch
slowing my pace
through fallen leaves

Dana Rapisardi
United States

 

burnt dusk—
I come
for shelter

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

night lights
silence accompanies
the maple leaves

Vincenzo Adamo
Sicily (Italy)

 

autumn twilight
enters the local ale-house
street violinist

Wiesław Karliński
Poland

 

my darkness recedes . . .
the welcoming light
you leave on for me

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

empty garage
step by step
autumn’s scent

martin gottlieb cohen
Egg Harbor, NJ U.S.A

 

amber light—
a fine mist wets
stone walls

luce ambrata—
una nebbia fine bagna
i muri in pietra

Daniela Misso
Italy

 

shooting stars
the child flies away
on a sky lantern

John Hawkhead
United Kingdom

 

flickering flames—
the glow of red maples
in lamplight

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

under covers
the flashlight’s glow
across my book

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

 

full moon
the joy of
bin night

Helen Buckingham
United Kingdom

 

squeezing
from one world to another
oak hollow

Ben Oliver
Stroud, England

 

a tempting alley
the brick walls closing in
on dusk

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY

 

sultry evening
the swish
of red silk

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

 

only the sky hears the night birds

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, IA, USA

 

diwali night
no one misses
the moon

Vandana Parashar
India

 

afternoon
a red maple fills
the library with light

Bret Wooldridge
Nevada

 

from dusk till dawn red dwarf

Pere Risteski
North Macedonia

 

two maple leaves
lost and found 片 pinned
on the telephone pole

simonj
UK

 

lone lamp
bringing into light
her hidden scars

Padmini Krishnan
Singapore

 

pond at night
I hug a turtle
and put him back

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, CA

 

self-taught
. . . getting nowhere
with vanishing points

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

 

bardo
shadows between the lights
and the light

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

labyrinth
of stones and moss
I let the day unwind

Pat Davis
Pembroke, NH USA

 

light
from deep places
Santa Fe dusk

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, CO

 

the lamp-post
Narnia
I’d know it anywhere

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

born in October
stepping on a carpet
of red leaves

Elisa Allo
Zug, Switzerland

 

door ajar—
secrets we are ready
to share

Tomislav Sjekloća
Cetinje, Montenegro

 

entryway at dusk—
the modest charm
of every leaf

Goran Gatalica
Croatia

 

the last sunshine
and the two of us . . .
what else?

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Italy

 

seeking my autumn
years — the last hundred steps
in candlelight

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France

 

stone lamps
among the colorful momijis—
meditation labyrinth

Julia Guzmán
Argentina

 

Boston alley
the Spanish café door glows
in the crisp dark

Pris Campbell
United States

 

autumn glow
I lose myself
in the pause

Sushama Kapur
India

 

on the steps
to the tea house we finish
our persimmon

Paul Geiger

 

moon in the window—
a spider in the corner
with its shadow

Tomislav Maretić
Zagreb, Croatia

 

under the canopy
trying to catch
a slippery dream

Mona Iordan
Romania

 

where to sleep
when the day fades
behind the lantern

Maya Daneva
The Netherlands

 

deep in the dunes
embers
slowly smolder

Margaret Walker
Lincoln, NE, USA

 

back entrance
to the restaurant
moon glow

Deborah P Kolodji
United States

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: kjmunro1560.wordpress.com.

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 21 Comments

  1. Thank you Marietta,, I love these prompts and selections.. the are full of secrets and resonances.

    I know this place one can easily walk into a different world… unknowingly..

    Gion—
    I lose my way
    in red lanterns

    Teiichi Suzuki
    Japan

    And for Deborah a special sight…evocative and real.. yet like
    a remembered dream

    back entrance
    to the restaurant
    moon glow

    Deborah P Kolodji
    United States

    1. Thank you Kath for your comment of my ku.
      Have you ever been in Kyoto ?
      Did you enjoy the night of Gion (祇園) ?

  2. Thank you for including my ku this week.
    Among the many thoughts inspired by the photo I was especially enchanted by John Hawkhead’s

    shooting stars
    the child flies away
    on a sky lantern

    These words leave you wondering if this is a poem of imagined joy or perhaps deep sadness at the loss of a child. Maybe a child moving into adulthood. “Sky lantern” – an intriguing vision itself. It is a poem that is even better read aloud.

  3. Many thanks, Marietta, for your special themes and thoughts that are inspiring so many of us.
    My thanks to Kj and Lori too.

    It is a fine selection indeed, and I am so thankful to you for including one of mine.
    Congratulations to everyone for their delightful haiku I read with much pleasure – this one in particular:

    my darkness recedes . . .
    the welcoming light
    you leave on for me

    Tracy Davidson
    Warwickshire, UK

    1. Hello Tracy! Thank you very much for your kind words. I’m enjoying all the wonderful poems from everyone! Cheers, Marietta

      1. Hello Mona! I’ve done this before, I think — assuming the last name is who wrote the post, I mean! Brain fry! Sorry! And I do thank you for your support, and I’m happy you’re enjoying the prompts. Best wishes, Marietta

  4. A lovely selection of poems. Congratulation to all the poets! Thank you to Marietta for including my poem and thank you also to Kj and Lori for the administration.

    I found Marietta’s commentary particularly helpful this week and loved all the poems she discussed.
    It’s almost impossible to pick out favourites as all were such a pleasure to read though one I particularly enjoyed was…

    full moon
    the joy of
    bin night

    Helen Buckingham
    United Kingdom

    A glorious, creative and unexpected response to the prompt.

    I am already looking forward to reading next week’s selection!

    1. Dear Dorothy, I’m very happy to hear you’re enjoying the prompts and commentaries. It’s great to read your responses, too. Best wishes, Marietta

  5. Thank you, Marietta for the wonderful photo, and everyone for the marvelous poems; this was an exceptionally strong group. Just to mention a few that stopped me:
    *
    autumn leaves
    I follow
    the floating night
    *
    Helga Stania
    Switzerland
    *
    I agree with previous comments–this one has everything.
    *
    sunset
    our shadows evolve
    into giants
    *
    Deborah Karl-Brandt
    Bonn, Germany
    *
    love the strong visuals and the counter-clockwise science! Slightly startling and shaking up our usual sense of self and time.
    *
    burnt dusk—
    I come
    for shelter
    *
    Margaret Mahony
    Australia
    *
    A moving reflection on the wildfires.
    *
    under covers
    the flashlight’s glow
    across my book
    *
    Bryan Rickert
    Belleville, Illinois USA

    *
    of course–that’s exactly the shade of the light in the photo!
    *
    squeezing
    from one world to another
    oak hollow
    *
    Ben Oliver
    Stroud, England

    *
    love the magical transition here

    *

    light
    from deep places
    Santa Fe dusk

    Ann K. Schwader
    Westminster, CO

    *
    wonderfully atmospheric
    *

    1. Hello Laurie! So glad you’re enjoying the photo prompts and finding they inspire and challenge you! I’ve had fun putting them together, and am loving your poems each week. Keep them coming! Best wishes, Marietta

  6. Thank you Marietta for including my haiku this week and congratulations to all the poets here. These two haiku struck a chord with me. Seemed to capture what I felt when looking at this photo. Just beautiful:

    entryway at dusk—
    the modest charm
    of every leaf

    Goran Gatalica
    Croatia

    autumn twilight
    enters the local ale-house
    street violinist

    Wiesław Karliński
    Poland

  7. Thank you Marietta for a wonderful selection and for including one of mine.
    I enjoyed reading them all.
    This one stood out just that little bit more for me.

    a leaf drops—
    i listen to his footsteps
    fade into goodbye

    Gillena Cox
    St James, Trinidad

  8. I love Keiko’s third line, suggesting the mental ‘pangs’ we go through to safely deliver a haiku with which we are finally happy. Who hasn’t been stopped in their tracks by such scenes as this entryway, urging the need to jot down a line or two to work at later?

    spring dream . . .
    beckoning me at its gate
    my unborn haiku

    Keiko Izawa
    Yokohama, Japan

    There’s a similar suggestion of wonder in Shushama’s poem:

    autumn glow
    I lose myself
    in the pause

    Sushama Kapur
    India

    Thank you, Marietta, for these evocative photos and for your thoughts on those selected. And thank you for including one of mine.

    1. Thank you Ingrid for taking up my haiku for your comment. It’s always nice to know how the reader reads the space in the work!

      Congrats to all the poets whose work were selected.
      Also, thank you Marietta for your continued efforts.

  9. Thanks so much for including my ku, Marietta. Some lovely poems here and I’m with you all the way on your selection of those to comment on: I love Helga’s evocation of a ‘floating night’; Milan has introduced me to the word ‘tatami’ which (having looked it up!) contrasts beautifully with the colour of the leaf. And Kristen’s, as you say, can be read in more than one way and is all the richer for it. Congratulations to all three and to everyone else whose work has been placed here.

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