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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… in leisure time… making music

Finding peace and contemplation… in leisure time 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… flying kites

To me there is something joyful about a kite, and I can imagine these butterflies fluttering high in the air. A brisk breezy day, then a headlong dash along an open beach, down a hill or across an oval to get them airborne. Launched, the kite soars above our heads, dipping and swooping, tethered by a taut twanging string which threatens to snap at any second. Once it’s airborne, flying a kite is relaxing. It’s an excuse to get out in nature, feel the power of wind, and gaze at sky and clouds. For those of us who spend time closely focused on a screen, kite flying is said to be good for the eyesight. I invite you to write about experiences with kites, festivals which feature kites such as Children’s Day in Japan with their special koinobori or carp kites, or making your own kites to fly.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday April 23, 2022.

Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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

A very enjoyable musical set of poems this week, and again my great thanks to everyone for so enthusiastically responding to the prompt. Your musical experiences were very personal, often involving family, or road trips, or being close to nature. There were nostalgic and wistful references to songs and singers, and riffs on the many different styles of music and ways of making music, from classical jazz to a child’s battered drum. Some played or still play an instrument, others wish they did. Thank you for sharing your poetic music with us all, and thanks as always to The Haiku Foundation, Kathy and Lori for our enriching Haiku Dialogue.

pulling weeds
the creole in Papa’s
singing voice

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

Tending to a garden, whether ornamental or productively supplying the family food, is hard repetitive slog. Many like to sing as they work, believing jaunty rhythms lighten some of the burden. One of my son’s horticulturist workmates at a tree farm would sing songs of his Spanish birthplace while swinging a mattock between the tree rows. In this haiku the poet picks up a new cadence in a parent’s songs while they work, carrying the lilt of half-remembered folk tunes from a long-ago country childhood.

from the top
of the scaffolding
the urge to sing

Helene Guojah
UK

This haiku puts me in mind of my visit some years ago to the top of the Empire State Building, where I viewed old black-and-white images of the original workers balanced precariously on girders spanning the voids. I can imagine the exhilaration of being cloud-high above a city, with not even a hum of traffic to break the silence, and in those days few restraints like safety harnesses. You could open your lungs and belt out a song, never worrying that you’d hit a wrong note. I think the single sentence-form haiku works well here, impelling a quick read and thus reinforcing the sense of a joyous impulse.

mountain mist
the sound of orchids
from his flute

Teji Sethi
India

This ethereal haiku uses the technique of synesthesia to good effect. The setting is mysterious – the poet takes their reader to a mountain shrouded in fog, where visibility is low and senses may be heightened. We imagine the plaintive tones of a flute from somewhere nearby, although we cannot see the musician. The notes could be described as faintly white, just as Bashō imagines the cry of a wild duck in his famous haiku. But here the poet transposes the sweet flute notes into flowers. And not just any flowers but the waxy perfection of orchids. Paul Miller’s essay, “Haiku Toolbox: Synesthesia” discusses synesthesia as a technique to help deepen meaning when writing haiku.

music rolls
on the sound of coins
a subway serenade

Melanie Vance
USA

Buskers in subways are ubiquitous. And a certain encouragement for their continued playing is the clatter of a handful of coins into invitingly open instrument cases. In this haiku we perceive coins rolling in the case as they are tossed in by passersby, followed by the on-cue roll-out of a musical piece, the two together making up a distinctive melody repeated over and over in the course of a street musician’s day. Music to order, while the money flows. The haiku makes use of sibilants so that the words roll off the tongue just as the busker’s music, and the next train, roll through metro tunnels and into a station.

& here are the rest of the selections:

just the tune
memory accompanies
with all the rest

Dick Pettit
Nordborg

 

the volume goes up
after the sun goes down
Bach’s Cello Suites

Ronald Degler
Harbor City, CA

 

tree tops
in harmonic motion
wilderness music

Padmasiri Jayathilaka
Sri Lanka

 

first kiss
the music
between us

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA

 

wind harp
the song
of a soft spring rain

marilyn ashbaugh
edwardsburg, michigan usa

 

high school marching band
the varying confidence
of wayward tubas

Sheila Barksdale
Gotherington, England, U.K.

 

rain forest—
the song of a monkey
on my stereo

foresta pluviale—
il canto di una scimmia
sul mio stereo

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

 

beans for lunch—
whole family
makes music

Aljoša Vuković
Croatia, Šibenik

 

old flute
her music ambitions
hung up on the wall

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

charley horse
the radio alarm plays
a waltz

Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina, USA

 

dementia—
his finger
still follows the tune

Tony Williams
Scotland, UK

 

saxophone player—
carried away by a jazz tune
in the streets of New York

Nicole Pottier
France

 

siblings band:
with card-board drums and broom guitars
we ob bla di o bla da

Hla Yin Mon
Yangon, Myanmar

 

buzzing
putting some ass
in the brass

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa, USA

 

day moon
the laughing boy’s broken-skinned
drum

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

 

four hands
on the piano
a serenade flows

Ravi Kiran
India

 

temporary lull
throughout my dream
a waterspout’s song

Anitha Varma
Kerala, India

 

spring melancholy
a night bird sings
it’s okay, it’s okay

Jackie Chou
United States

 

unable to read music
the beauty
of a piano sonata

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland

 

cider bruises
my head—
twelve bar blues

David Cox
Torquay, UK

 

Learning violin—
my parents banish me
to the garage

Jenny Shepherd
London

 

Kenidjack valley—
water falls on water;
half-remembered songs

Vivienne Tregenza
Penzance

 

silent symphony
a field of wildflowers
sways with the breeze

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz
United States

 

summer bliss—
a windchime
lulls me to sleep

Paul Callus
Malta

 

toddler drummer
all the sounds
my head makes

Maurice Nevile
Australia

 

a deaf man
dancing in the rain—
rain’s music

Marius Alexandru
Chicago, USA

 

song writing
the rhythmical stirrings
of early morning

Angelo Ancheta
Philippines

 

her flute
and the hermit thrush
a relay

Neera Kashyap
India

 

spring breeze
jamming together
nature and my flute

angin musim semi
bermain musik bersama
alam dan sulingku

Christopher Calvin
Kota Mojokerto, Indonesia

 

woolly clouds
my guitar song becomes
a lullaby for my cat

Keiko Izawa
Japan

 

♯and♭—
whistling towards
bush warblers

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

boatman’s song
the oar beats water
offbeat

Sudebi Singha
Kolkata, India

 

the unforgettable music
in this one life—
first cry of my baby

Ram Chandran
India

 

kitchen music
we orchestrate
the Diwali feast

Shobhana Kumar
India

 

piano time
a neighbor stops mowing
to listen

Pris Campbell
US

 

foot tap
notes that draw me
to dance

Susan Bonk Plumridge
London, Canada

 

chords vibrate
I almost feel
the music of the spheres

Pat Davis
NH USA

 

the player gone
melody still lingering
around the house

不见援琴人
但闻仙乐入耳来
余音绕栋梁

bu jian yuan qin ren
dan wen xian yue ru er lai
yu yin rao dong liang

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China

 

not a dry eye
the rescued girl
singing rainbow

M. R. Defibaugh
United States

 

rocking my baby
humming an old lullaby
I nod off

Gloria Whitney
Findley Lake, New York, USA

 

love-in-idleness . . .
under my thumb
slight pulse at your wrist

Luciana Moretto
Treviso, Italy

 

shelter
the familiar lullaby
of a stranger

Mirela Brăilean
Romania

 

Spring . . .
the tune of my breath
in the flute

Nisha Raviprasad
India

 

night sky
the earth hums
in B flat

Karen Harvey
Pwllheli, North Wales

 

honky-tonk bar
strident notes play
pass the booze

Marilyn Ward
UK

 

bad luck and trouble
in a battered guitar case
all he ever had

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island WA USA

 

pianissimo—
an ebony note
in my persimmon tea

Pippa Phillips
United States

 

old drummer
brushing the skins . . .
mellow moon

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts USA

 

at a stop sign
the redwing blackbird’s call

Matt Cariello
Bexley OH

 

networking with my soul handpan

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

morning raga
the dew slides from one leaf
to another

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

clouds of flowers
on the old magnolia
cello symphony

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

child’s voice
a clouded carol
candlelit

Richa Sharma
India

 

spent storm
she scrapes the rust off
guitar strings

Vandana Parashar
India

 

pasque flowers
a plain and simple
hymn

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK

 

ektara strains . . .
on the evening breeze
an ancient tune

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

mystical evening
my father’s flute
behind the hill

Stoianka Boianova
Bulgaria

 

playing a waltz . . .
the love words
I don’t forget

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania, Italy

 

exit sign
three kids playing
to an empty club

Tim Cremin
Massachusetts

 

intimate karaoke
once a month
I’m King Lizard

Mircea Moldovan
România

 

a wild duet
I rap the words
to a woodpecker’s beat

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

tapping to granddad’s fiddle
we listen
by muscle memory

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

another ad—
on battery power
that musical chimp . . .

Robert Kingston
United Kingdom

 

jam session—
improvising
a shy kiss

Dan Iulian
România

 

organ pipe cacti
music for
the eyes

Susan Farner
USA

 

my cage
is a stage—
canary

Dan Campbell
Virginia

 

toe tapping
the sympathetic
tail of the dog

simonj
UK

 

cottage lake
adrift with rowboats
jazz under the stars

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec

 

earphones—
our song
shows me the way

auricolari—
la nostra canzone
mi mostra la strada

Maria Teresa Piras
Sardinia, Italy

 

sparks rising starward campfire songs

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

the sand dance
no longer quite so PC
how father made us laugh

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

 

handpan music—
memories of my friend’s hands

Música del tambor handpan . . .
recuerdos de las manos
de mi amigo

(handpan: a metal drum in the shape of a flying saucer)

Julia Guzmán
Córdoba, Argentina

 

haiku writer’s block . . .
I start playing Vivaldi’s
The Four Seasons

Marianne Sahlin
Sweden

 

50th birthday
my kids’ duet of
Ol’ Man River

Bruce Feingold
Berkeley, CA USA

 

open window
the sound of violin
accompanies the birdsong

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia

 

serendipity
encountering Chopin
at the train station

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

swaying to a riff
from the kitchen window
trumpet flower

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina

 

composing lyrics
the ins and outs
of birdsong

menggubah lirik
keluar masuknya
kicau burung

Christopher Calvin
Kota Mojokerto, Indonesia

 

my belly at 40—
the boom
of a dreadnought guitar

Chad Lee Robinson
United States

 

blackbird song—
notes forgotten
at the flute lesson

Daniela Lăcrămioara Capotă
Romania

 

spring rain
we dance in the forest
singing the Beatles

Lev Hart
Calgary, Canada

 

music radio
aspects of love
in every song

Carol Reynolds
Australia

 

fragrant breeze . . .
my inner child echoes
a cuckoo’s song

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

wind in the beech trees
the harmonica
I once tried to play

C.X. Turner
United Kingdom

 

washing up—
Leonard Cohen
hits the right note

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

spare buttons
in the old biscuit tin—
tambourine man

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

stuck in traffic
he plays my favorite song
on repeat mode

Priti Khullar
Noida, India

 

empty dome
a flute concert
fills the silence

(in the Baptistery of Pisa every day at noon)

Angiola Inglese
Italia

 

winter chill
the bare neck
of the acoustic

James Gaskin
Fukushima, Japan

 

in the air
the sound of a tenor sax—
sprouting roots

Nazarena Rampini
Italia

 

flauto dolce . . .
controcanto improvviso
d’un cardellino

sweet flute . . .
sudden counterpoint
of a goldfinch

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna, Italia

 

border conflict—
the sound of a piano
floods the house

conflicto fronterizo—
el sonido de un piano
inunda la casa

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi
Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

sea shanties—
on a wave
back to childhood

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

Clair de Lune—
my mother’s ghost
wrapped in the sheet music

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut

 

insomniac song joining the nightjars

Susan Burch
Hagerstown, MD

 

open windows . . .
a lonely sax
greets the sun

Lucia Cardillo
Italia

 

wind bells
still the sound
of loneliness

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

fluttering seagulls
as the steamer starts . . .
morning raga

Devoshruti Mandal
India

 

pump organ
little girl’s workout
at Great Gram’s

Pamela Jeanne
Whitehorse, Canada

 

linden blossoms
carried by the wind . . .
marching band

fiori di tiglio
portati dal vento . . .
banda di paese

Daniela Misso
Italia

 

music show
the bluesman’s dreads
a flying mop

John Zheng
Mississippi, United States

 

jingling bells
teenage carolers
at the door

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

old shakuhachi
finding the beauty
in one octave of play

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

little brown jug
out of tune
out of his breath

ron scully
Burien WA

 

middle school chorus
my instructor tells me
to just mouth the words

Margie Gustafson
Lombard, IL USA

 

spring breeze—
making music
out of my poems

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

spontaneous dance
to dad’s classical music
my little bare feet

Claire Vogel Camargo
USA

 

wedding canopy
how I sing Oy Mama
I’m So In Love

Kath Abela Wilson
United States

 

call and response
tufted titmouse
and I

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama

 

favourite song
my dog joins me
in a duet

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India

 

my mate’s ukulele
somewhere over
the rainbow

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

worship service
harmonizing with my wife
without words

Geoff Pope
United States

 

in-utero
our baby always kicks
to dvorak’s new world symphony

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio, USA

 

five easy pieces—
the grownups keep
on talking

Roberta Beary
County Mayo, Ireland

 

family karaoke
we join our own Queen Elsa
and Let It Go

Sharon Martina
United States

 

relampago
esperando el sonido
adentro de la conga

lightning
waiting for the sound
within the conga

Jonathan Roman
New York, United States

 

we converse
on fragments of songs
today it’s The Stones

Greer Woodward
Waimea

 

home
anywhere and anytime
our music plays

Didimay D. Dimacali
USA

 

sunroof open
we sing grandma’s lullabies
for Ukraine

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: 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 13 Comments

  1. Thank you, Marietta, for including my “worship service” — especially wonderful to show my wife.

  2. Many thanks, Marietta, for including my poem and thank you to Kj and Lori for all your work. Congratulations to all the poets. As usual, I’ve enjoyed reading Marietta’s commentary and everyone’s poems and learnt a great deal by doing so. Owing to other writing projects, I am stepping away from this weekly challenge for a while but I look forward to returning later in the year. Best wishes to everyone who contributes to this wonderful column!

  3. Thanks dear Marietta, kj & Lori for this weekly feature. It is delightful to read all the poems and the commentary which is a learning experience.

    Honoured to have my haiku featured along with such musical poems.
    This week Bryan’s haiku was truly superb!

    Congratulations to all featured poets.

  4. Splendid! Thank you, Marietta and team. This week I particularly enjoyed the senryu with off-key notes: the music of the beans, Jenny banished to the garage with her violin, the dog howling along with Sushama singing…. Leonard Cohen’s dolorous tones as Madhuri is chained to the washing-up… the teen group that manages to empty the club… Ah, the human condition.

  5. Honored and delighted to have my haiku selected for commentary, many thanks to you, Marietta. Thanks to kj and Lori. Congratulations to all poets.

  6. Hi Marietta, so surprised and pleased to have my lines selected for commentary especially as there were so many brilliant offerings to choose from. Loved your comparison with the Empire State Building. Many thanks.

  7. Another week of entertainment. Congratulations to all.
    Thank you Marietta for choosing one of mine.
    Thanks KJ and Lori.

    I thought this one had an invisible reset button;

    silent symphony
    a field of wildflowers
    sways with the breeze

    Tiffany Shaw-Diaz
    United States

  8. Such a vivid and memorable collection of poems this week too. I also love seeing the script of other languages, and their beauty. I will read them all more thoroughly. Congratulations to all poets.Thank you so much, Marietta. Thanks to kj and Lori as well.

  9. It is always a pleasure to see one of my haiku being published. Thank-you Marietta, Kathy, Lori, and everyone at the Haiku Foundation for this weekly column. Congats to all the poets.

  10. Such a lyrical collection this week, congratulations to you all. Loved the humor of the family band of bean-eaters and the banishment of the new violinist. Will read through the rest more thoroughly as the week goes by. A shout out and congratulations to my fellow Ohioans, Matt Cariello, Tiffany Diaz, and Valentina Ransldi-Adams. Thanks Marietta, Lori, and KJ for keeping this column going each week and me writing. Now, let’s all go fly a kite.

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