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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… in quiet spaces… far from crowds

Finding peace and contemplation… in quiet spaces 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: … in leisure time … playing board games

This exquisite chessboard in a Limoges museum of porcelain may have been destined for a collector’s cabinet rather than to be used for robust family games. Chess in the Western world dates back beyond the Middle Ages, but its precursor, chaturanga, emerged in India many centuries earlier. International chess tournaments are tense affairs – pulse rate highs are the norm for acute tactical plays. Not a blueprint for peace and contemplation you’d think! However, some games are calming, their repetitiveness a plus. Solitaire for example has been likened to light meditation. This week you’re invited to write haiku about an indoor game or games you enjoy as a leisure pursuit.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday April 09, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 far from crowds:

When selecting poems for Haiku Dialogue I try to look for different ways of seeing, and for haiku which address familiar moments with fresh eyes. I reread your haiku a number of times. For me the most useful technique in creating haiku which show rather than tell is the effective juxtaposition of images which combine to invite the reader to complete a poem. And I always enjoy an element of surprise! For inspiration this week you sought out quiet uncluttered spaces both of this world and beyond. Scent and sound played a part. Some haiku evoked a sense of melancholy in a world of continuing uncertainty. If your poem isn’t included this week it may be because there were several along the same lines or with similar imagery. My grateful thanks as always for your wonderful work. Please do keep submitting and commenting on your favorites. Thanks to Kathy, Lori and The Haiku Foundation.

old river trail
the sound of water always
just round the bend . . .

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut

This haiku reminds me of a quote attributed to Heraclitus that we cannot step into the same river twice. The river moves on, as indeed does the person. I imagine a shallow broad river valley where the river meanders between rocky shoals. On a well-trodden trail which follows the river, the poet anticipates what lies beyond the next curve, whether rapids or still water. By being attuned to the sound of moving water, they anticipate the river’s own flow. A very calming thought.

deep night
tapping of geta
through the alley

John Zheng
Mississippi

Here the reader may choose to be transported into alleyways of a geisha district like Ponto-chō in Kyoto, or the dark corners around one of Japan’s oldest hot springs, Dogo Onsen in Matsuyama. In both of these places, geta, a type of wooden-soled sandal, may be the traditional footwear of choice. Sometimes geta are worn in the rain as they elevate the wearer above puddles. Their distinctive click-clack is often heard as geisha travel to and from their evening performances. The alleys may be dimly lit only by lanterns, so any echoes are even more mysterious.

that risotto
tucked between buildings—
summer rainstorm

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

Having once been caught in a deluge in Naples, I can relate to the need to flee from streets running like rivers into the nearest welcoming dry space. Fortunately, thanks to an unexpectedly good meal, the rain becomes not an irritant that interrupts a day’s sightseeing, but the catalyst for a great memory.

abandoned canal
the current gently turning
a bicycle wheel

James Gaskin
Fukushima, Japan

This haiku resonates even more poignantly given the current world situation. The canalside, once possibly the pleasant centrepiece of a town where people gravitated to stroll, ride bikes or chat in waterside cafés, is now empty, people having left because of a disaster or for other reasons we can only guess at. While the water continues to flow as it always has, only traces of the inhabitants remain, such as a discarded bicycle upside down on the canal bed and not yet rusted into stillness.

Some dawns make
you unlock the latch
on the canary cage

Dan Campbell
Virginia

A light-hearted single-sentence senryu to close this week’s commentary. What is the poet getting at here? My first thought is that canaries are spectacular singers, and this cascade of sound/noise can register as either positive or negative depending on the state of one’s head when waking up. Interestingly, there’s no choice – the poet is obliged to release the bird. A literal reading could be that the sunrise is so brilliant the poet feels part of something big and wants to share this freedom with a small captive. Or is opening the canary’s cage a deeper metaphor for the poet’s own urge to escape into this bright morning? Anyway, it made me chuckle.

& here are the rest of the selections:

siesta silence . . .
I practice my Spanish
on an alley cat

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

 

after two years . . .
updating the mental map
of my city

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

meandering clouds
I wander where my feet
take me

Anitha Varma
Kerala, India

 

frog pond
all that talk among frogs
spring moon

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA

 

Kintyre
scallops and stars
skinny dipping

Amanda White
Morvah, Cornwall, UK

 

Rainy winter day—
a street mime performs
to nobody

Nikola Đuretić
Zagreb, Croatia

 

snowmelt joins
the Battenkill
and the trout sings

Matthew Cariello
Bexley OH

 

group home . . .
I drift into the chug
of a distant train

Jackie Chou
United States

 

minding the gap
this loneliness within
a packed subway

Ravi Kiran
India

 

below the streets,
the dust of plague roads; each night
you play the ghost

Sarah Davies
Bedford

 

quiet ocean
the king tide
within me

Daya Bhat
Bangalore, India

 

a leaf falls
on my shadow . . .
temple pond

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India

 

prie-Dieu
slowly she unwraps
herself

Randall Herman
Victoria, Texas

 

only the voice
of a magnolia
i am healed

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz
United States

 

six hundred paces
to castillo del faro
salty lips

Guy Stephenson
Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Ireland

 

tour group talk—
we leave our guide
to walk a different path

Lorraine Schein
Queens, NYC

 

silent monastery . . .
leaves tick
against stone

Christopher Seep
Ballwin, MO

 

winter beach
wave after wave
returns me home

marilyn ashbaugh
warren dunes beach, lake michigan

 

Finally . . .
folding the day
the moon in my room

Nisha Raviprasad
India

 

far from crowds
sprouting avocado pit
on my windowsill

Tuyet Van Do
Australia

 

such silence
a dusty library aisle
with no one

Neera Kashyap
India

 

temple ruins
i look around
for a monk’s day

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

wanderlust . . .
from somewhere
to somewhere else

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

oars set aside
reading “Travels with Charlie”
aloud to the dog

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

at last the summit loneliness

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton, UK

 

high firs
I tune myself
into silence

Helga Stania
Switzerland

 

quiet street—
she checks her phone
lost in thoughts

Nicole Pottier
France

 

a path
to upward thoughts
a sparrow

Susan Bonk Plumridge
London, Canada

 

a lonely street
from me to the moon—
songs of crickets

la strada solitaria
da me alla luna—
canti di grilli

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

 

on the other side
of my sickroom window
the afternoon

J E Jeanie Armstrong
Canterbury UK

 

early swim
while swans
still outnumber the boats

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

travel diary
more and more
of me is revealed

Priti Khullar
Noida, India

 

empty park
a dragonfly stares at me
with crimson eyes

Padmasiri Jayathilaka
Sri Lanka

 

morning mist
wedding tourists posing
at the temple hall

Gisela Doi
Nara, Japan

 

old town map
the native names
that still exist

Pat Davis
NH USA

 

down the steps
to where time stands still—
we talk in whispers

Paul Callus
Malta

 

mid-life crisis
climbing an oak tree
to feel young again

John Hawkhead
Bradford on Avon, UK

 

inner dunes—
the birds sings
more melodiously

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
Netherlands

 

around the corner
visiting a small church
I’d never visited before

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania, Italy

 

backstreet bar
a chalkboard sign that says
“no tourist menu here”

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland

 

on this hill
the universe is so beautiful
there is a swing

Nani Mariani
Australia

 

stop to view
ume . . .
then stop again

(ume is the Japanese plum or apricot, and flowers in late winter)

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

desert garden
monarch butterfly
shares my solitude

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ

 

rice fields
the coolness of a mud path
to a shrine

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

night harbor
foghorns pull me
into unknown me

Keiko Izawa
Japan

 

I visit your grave
lay flowers,
remember your voice

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

dialogue . . .
night breeze soothes
the river’s day

Richa Sharma
India

 

the moon floats
on black ocean
night swimming

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

forgotten street
I give it
a friend’s name

Srinivas S
India

 

calm beyond
the east cliff crowds
st. hilda’s snakes

simonj
UK

 

crowded beach—
I return to
self-isolation

Jonathan Aylett
Liverpool, UK

 

wild cherry
finding
my runaway dream

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

quiet corner shop
I browse for famous films
of celebrities

Hla Yin Mon
Yangon, Myanmar

 

cobblestone alley
the juxta puzzle
of my random thoughts

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

terrace garden
how the stars understand
my silence

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

wrong turn how we found the laughing buddha

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

summit cairn—
leaving the stone
where it lies

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

 

Alpine hut
all night long, one cow bell
echoing the other

Lori Kiefer
London, UK

 

off-season beach town
even the hermit crabs
find a vacancy

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY, USA

 

alone at last!
my cozy pied-à-terre
on Enceladus

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island WA USA

 

wildflowers
the land my neighbors
let go

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

 

backyard bliss
the family togetherness
of the magpie trio

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

beyond
the last sidewalk
woodland fern

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama

 

skylark’s song . . .
the hillside
unfolds

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK

 

beach holiday
with each heave of the ocean
a glint in her eye

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

abandoned creek bridge
leaning on the rail
willow branches

Marianne Sahlin
Sweden

 

pruned roses . . .
the country house
among the birches

Angiola Inglese
Italia

 

the cowboy alone
with his horse
frayed grasses

Chad Lee Robinson
United States

 

off the grid
my inner compass
finds true north

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA

 

snow globe
of a day . . .
safe inside

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, United States

 

up from the sea
through cobblestone alleys
best coffee in Chile

Susan Farner
USA

 

first time abroad
being an alien
in an alley

Christopher Calvin
Kota Mojokerto, Indonesia

 

rural isolation
finding peace
and myself

Carol Reynolds
Australia

 

away from crowds
visiting ancient Egypt
in my book

置身尘嚣外
沉浸茫茫书海里
探访古埃及

zhi shen chen xiao wai
chen jin mang mang shu hai li
tan fang gu ai ji

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China

 

within the fragrance
of a plumeria lei
my vacation begins

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

village vibe—
butterfly pea flower bread
at the pop-up shop

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

Jersey coastal a black storm isolates

Pris Campbell
US

 

neighborhood park—
a little stroll every day
and a new haiku

Gordana Kurtović
Croatia

 

summer morning
the name of a flower
i almost forgot

Vibeke Laier
Randers, Denmark

 

dupatta dyers—
billowing overhead
rainbows of chiffon

(Dupattas are long scarves worn over traditional clothing throughout the Indian subcontinent made from lengths of fabric, which, after dyeing, are strung out across back alleys to dry.)

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

 

early spring walk
a green gate opens
to nowhere

Roberta Beary
County Mayo Ireland

 

quiet dreams
of faraway places
expired passport

C.X. Turner
United Kingdom

 

diwali shopping
slipping away
to meet him in the alley

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India

 

woodland glade
where the stream emerges
the length of a thought

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec

 

sparrow song
the yew tree remains
uncut

Bisshie
Switzerland

 

lockdown stroll—
up the back street alley
i find a new self

Joe Sebastian
Bangalore, India

 

Alaskan wildness
finally a place where
I can be myself

Margie Gustafson
Lombard, IL USA

 

library—
book lovers gather
in their minds

Stephen J. DeGuire
Los Angeles, CA

 

high mountain
breathing in the scent
of the snow

Eufemia Griffo
Italia

 

crowd
the collective
loneliness

Vijay Prasad
Patna, India

 

a spring sky
under the spring sky
bluebonnets

Melanie Vance
USA

 

only one walking
on the pier—
snowy afternoon

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio, USA

 

Gregorian chants
Sunday afternoon
drive-in mass

Didimay D. Dimacali
USA

 

sunset
in the eyes of silence
an old vineyard

zalazak sunca
u očima tišine
stari vinograd

Zrinko Šimunić
Croatia

 

leaving the hospice
a flowering twig over
the walled garden

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

 

heavy lockdown—
day after day I find
trails of new perfumes

lockdown pesante—
di giorno in giorno trovo
scie di nuovi aromi

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy

 

The less travelled path
the deer and I
breathe the same air

Jenny Shepherd
London

 

outback airport . . .
the ticket lady kisses
the pilot goodbye

Kathleen Trocmet
Texas, USA

 

post-pandemic—
I still see diamonds
on wet cobbled streets

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

daily walk
ducks on Henner’s Pond
social distance friends

Pamela Jeanne
Whitehorse, Canada

 

summer solstice—
a boy in a rowboat
fishing for himself

Alex Lubman
Morgantown, WV USA

 

doom metal playlist
the lowcountry farmsteads
now seem ancient

Ash Lippert
South Carolina, USA

 

fan tan alley—
a sprig of rosemary
in the soap

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

sharing the turtle’s hope
its long trek ’cross campus
to plant the future

Kath Abela Wilson
United States

 

repainting
the basement’s ceiling
open to blue

Anna Yin
Ontario, Canada

 

wanderlust . . .
the escape path
of a rainbow’s edge

Pippa Phillips
Kansas City, MO

 

pandemic friend
this tree
just this one

James Lindley
USA

 

10,000 steps
with a book
towards solitude

Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo
Bombon, Philippines

 

sleeping dog
this patch of sunlight
I just notice

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India

 

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 27 Comments

  1. Happy and humbled to be included. Thank you so much Marietta for accepting my haiku. Thank you too Lori and Kath. God bless everyone. 😊🧡

  2. Thank you Marietta for including my haiku. I’m delighted and also loved reading the variety of haiku on here.

  3. Thank you for your lovely comment, Marietta. It is amazing how certain memories can stay fresh for so long. “That risotto” comes courtesy of Siena—just four hours north of Napoli!

  4. Thanks for selecting mine. As always had so much fun to read and write….

    a lot of new thoughts and emotions.. There are many I want to read over and over… here is one:

    deep night
    tapping of geta
    through the alley

    John Zheng
    Mississippi

  5. Many thanks to Marietta, Kj and Lori and all the poets for this week’s wonderful column. I am thrilled to have my poem included. As usual, there are many thought-provoking and memorable poems; James Gaskin’s ‘abandoned canal’ seems especially powerful. Another that I shall definitely remember is…

    cobblestone alley
    the juxta puzzle
    of my random thoughts

    Hifsa Ashraf
    Rawalpindi, Pakistan

    I love the idea of cobblestones being like random thoughts that somehow all fit together. There seems to be a leisurely pace to each line which beautifully suggests the idea of wandering and wondering. Fab!

  6. I come back to this beautifully crafted haiku time and again:

    Some dawns make
    you unlock the latch
    on the canary cage

    Dan Campbell

    thank you Dan

  7. Thank you Ms. Marietta for including my little Haiku here, on the Haiku Dialogue, an inspirational source for us beginners. It is so very exciting to take part and to have a chance to read so many Haiku from poets from different regions, with your resourceful commentaries. Thank you also to Ms. Kathy and Ms. Lori for all your work and Brava to all the participating poets.

  8. Another stellar collection of off-the-beaten-track haiku! I loved reading them all. Thank you Marietta for the thoughtful prompt. The following two – right together – captured my imagination. Even if there had been no definition of dupatta the poem evokes such a beautiful image. And Roberta’s green gate to nowhere is so inviting. Thanks to Ingrid and Roberta and the other poets included.

    dupatta dyers—
    billowing overhead
    rainbows of chiffon

    Ingrid Baluchi
    North Macedonia

    early spring walk
    a green gate opens
    to nowhere

    Roberta Beary
    County Mayo Ireland

    1. Peggy, thanks for your comments, and yes, it happens quite often that poets’ thoughts of a similar nature read one after the other. I love Roberta’s poem because it leaves much to the imagination…walking away somewhere beautiful, lonely and peaceful, and/or walking off into your own thoughts.
      Your own poem fits well with Roberta’s here, too:

      beyond
      the last sidewalk
      woodland fern
      Peggy Hale Bilbro

      Lucky indeed are those who can escape for a while.

      I was struck by this one — particularly the last line:

      wildflowers
      the land my neighbors
      let go
      Bryan Rickert

      So often we seem to have the need to own and control, without realizing the benefits of nature taking its own course where possible, giving us pleasure as it does so.

      Much to stimulate the mind, Marietta…thanks for these many opportunities.

      1. Thank you for your kind words Ingrid. That sense of escape is what made this prompt so appealing to me.

  9. Thanks for including my haiku Marietta. I love reading all the different takes on the prompts. They are all so good. These two stood out for me this week:

    at last the summit loneliness

    Keith Evetts
    Thames Ditton, UK

    minding the gap
    this loneliness within
    a packed subway

    Ravi Kiran
    India

  10. I so look forward to Wednesdays, to sifting through all the wonderful, world-wild haiku perspectives on each week’s theme. Delightful! Thank you one and all.

  11. Thanks to everyone for the great verses and thank you Marietta for your insightful and interesting comments!

  12. Thank you so much Marietta McGregor for including my poem. Thanks to KjMunro and team Haiku Dialogue for the wonderful prompts and selections week after week.

  13. Many exhales while reading these lovely poems. I feel my shoulders dropping as I read them. Here is one that I found striking:

    high firs
    I tune myself
    into silence

    Helga Stania
    Switzerland

  14. Wow! This reads like an off-the-beaten-track haiku travelogue. I am grateful to be included here. So so many wonderful haiku to appreciate and savor. I love the locals vs. tourists humor in this haiku:

    backstreet bar
    a chalkboard sign that says
    “no tourist menu here”

    Olivier Schopfer
    Geneva, Switzerland

    Thank you Marietta for your thoughtful commentaries and prompts keeping our Haiku Dialogue going! Thank you Kathy and Lori for all your work and grateful to all the poets here for participating.

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