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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… in quiet spaces… in a gallery

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 a cloister

In medieval monasteries cloisters were covered walks which linked holy areas with living and working spaces. They provided areas for exercise, meditation and communication. The word ‘cloistered’ has entered the English language, meaning to be kept apart, sequestered or sheltered from the outside world. For a while, Vincent Van Gogh found peace and relief from his demons in the scented gardens of a cloistered courtyard near Saint-Rémy de Provence, where he painted some of his greatest works. Do you have a quiet retreat? I look forward to your haiku inspired by cloisters.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday March 19, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 in a gallery:

My deep bow to everyone for the delightful images you conjured from this week’s prompt. Favorite artists and works popped up in many haiku. You wrote about personal spaces for reflection and artistic inspiration at home, in galleries and in museums. Sadness at the direction of current world events permeated a number of poems. Projection, transformation and transmutation also featured as you connected with works on a personal level. I’ve written short notes on a few more than usual. I hope you enjoy the selection. Please do add your own thoughts.

hospital corridors
splatter paintings
strangely soothing

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

I picture what the poet refers to – those generic paintings or prints with which decorators love to ‛pretty up’ blank wall space or match the decor. In a hospital where so much happens that’s confronting, the choice of anodyne art could be deliberate, appealing to a broad cross-section of people. It may even be more calming in a fraught situation to let one’s attention stray into a splashy color field rather than a figurative work. The poet makes an interesting word choice with ‛splatter’, which not only brings to mind covers of penny dreadfuls, but also resonates with a hospital setting. The smooth assonance in L2 and L3 manages to calm down that lurid impression.

at the helm
the Temeraire’s slow move
into darkness

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, United Kingdom

A fighting ship from the Battle of Trafalgar is on her final voyage, being towed up the River Thames to scrapyards. Going deep into Turner’s iconic painting, the poet writes as if observing the scene from a vantage point aboard the great ship itself, which in the painting appears ghost-like against a clouded background. The haiku uses a measured rhythm, its muted tone suggesting the ship’s gradual fade into history.

handprint painting
from the cave wall
to the fridge door

John Hawkhead
UK

Hand stencil paintings in caves located in Australia’s Kimberley region are believed to date back to 40,000 years BCE, although this has not been confirmed by radiocarbon dating. Certainly there is clear evidence that people have created art since prehistoric times. A preschooler’s artwork of handprints on butcher’s paper proudly clipped under fridge door magnets represents a nicely visual link between modern humanity and our ancestors.

in the gilded gallery
I let my hair down
Pre-Raphaelite

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina

In this haiku, “Pre-Raphaelite” conjures knights in shining armour, caparisoned palfreys, beauties with flowing auburn tresses and the Lady of Shalott on her doomed voyage to Camelot. Many paintings from this period portrayed determined women with strong features, a contrast to more delicate earlier depictions of femininity. The poet’s instinctive reaction to these lush paintings could be literal, or visceral.

winter
at the art gallery
a monochrome exhibit

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland

This haiku recalls a late January visit I made to MoMA, in New York City. It had snowed the night before. While the art on show was brilliantly colorful, I happened to glance out into the gallery’s courtyard, where leafless trees and sculptural furniture created an outdoor scene in black and white, an exhibit worthy of a fine art photograph. The poet has used the device of a pivot line, enabling L2 to be read with either L1 or L3.

the girl’s watercolors
in all rooms
my museum

Mircea Moldovan
România

I was drawn to this gentle haiku – yesterday my young granddaughter made me a gift of one of her paintings. This haiku encapsulates the loving bond between generations. The poet is surrounded in their own home by works of art they love. No need for art in galleries, the joys are in every room.

sculpture gallery
the innumerable moods
of a stone

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

Sculptors choose to work with many different kinds of stone, from marble to sandstone, granite, porphyry, rhyolite, chalcedony, jasper, alabaster and others. Artists exploit inherent qualities such as color, venation, hardness and grain for their special characteristics. As the poet writes, stone can convey expressive variety, from the relaxed tranquillity of Canova’s marble “Pauline” to the contorted agonies of the “Laocoön”. This haiku also brings to mind how sculptors ‛read’ stone. In Florence’s Accademia Gallery looking at the “Prigioni” (Prisoners), an art historian once told me how Michelangelo could see figures in the stone he was about to carve. He is reputed to have said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”.

into the depths
of O’Keeffe’s flowers
I am a bee

Pat Davis
NH USA

So easy to disappear into the monumental, close-focus flowers of Georgia O’Keeffe. Here the poet is drawn into a corolla’s throat, assuming another form of being in the mythological sense. Transformation and transmutation have often been the subject of haiku and poetry in general. In this haiku there is the sense of the poet becoming one with the flower, and one with the painting and artist – a calm separation from self which will last as long as the poet wishes.

& here are the rest of the selections:

online gallery . . .
the magnification scope
not big enough

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

gallery empty
an art museum guard
studies the ceiling

Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina

 

spring collections
touring Chelsea in my knock-offs
to people watch

Ash Lippert
South Carolina, USA

 

minimalists’ hall
listening to dead artists
whisper

m shane pruett
Salem, OR, USA

 

pipe exhibition—
am I feeling the smell of
the tobacco smoke?

ljoša Vuković
Croatia, Šibenik

 

my gaze turns
to a moving portrait
framed by the door

J E Jeanie Armstrong
Canterbury UK

 

paisley pattern . . .
grandpa always had
a blue handkerchief

Ronald Degler
United States

 

vanitas—
the fruit i met as a boy
untouched

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

 

impressionist painting
am I part of the picture
or is it a part of me

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA

 

walls laden with enigma Mona Lisa

Teji Sethi
India

 

I look into
the painting, and only
see myself

Sarah Davies
Bedford, UK

 

silent gallery . . .
Rembrandt’s portrait smiles
at a squeaky shoe

Marilyn Ward
Lincolnshire UK

 

hidden
in the depths of his shadow
aquarelle haiku

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, Iowa, USA

 

the old pond—
Renoir’s brushstrokes
on water lilies

il vecchio stagno—
le pennellate di Renoir
sulle ninfee

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

 

in the gallery
Mona Lisa’s eyes
lock with my eyes

Anita Bacha
Mauritius

 

art gallery tour
I linger longer
in the Blue Boy’s gaze

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera California USA

 

blown glass our fragile world

marilyn ashbaugh
Gulf Stream, Florida

 

a docent
details finer points
of Seurat

Stephen J. DeGuire
Los Angeles, CA

 

Gogh display
i walk a lost night
in the old boots

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

Marilyn Monroe
in Warhol’s silkscreen
a pink sigh

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

not a Van Gogh
still, sunflower seeds
take root in my heart

Gloria Whitney
Findley Lake, NY USA

 

a blue dot
centred on a blank canvas . . .
thought blotter

Neera Kashyap
India

 

gallery visit
at ballerina’s painting a girl
in wheelchair

Mirela Brăilean
Romania

 

quiet museum—
the air fills with cries
of waterloo

Hla Yin Mon
Yangin, Myanmar

 

spring photo
the scent of her
over my shoulder

Chittaluri Satyanarayana
Hyderabad, India

 

Van Gogh—
my gaze plunges into
the big blue

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia

 

my feelings for her—
hanging on the wall
abstract art

Ravi Kiran
India

 

equine therapy
I wrap myself
in Whistlejacket

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

as if a breeze
touched my skin—
Water Lilies

Helga Stania
Switzerland

 

childhood memories
retrieved from long ago—
Norman Rockwell

Penny Harter
Mays Landing, NJ

 

all over the gallery
hanging
ekphrastic haiku

Ram Chandran
India

 

deep contemplation
at the Guggenheim
alone with a Rothko

Rehn Kovacic
Arizona

 

loosening brush strokes still life in the vase

Lorraine A Padden
San Diego, CA USA

 

practising in front of Cézanne’s ‘Dish of Apples’ my own still life

Amanda White
Morvah, Cornwall, UK

 

portraits
of women disfigured by war . . .
the children

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France

 

stained glass Ukraine
free spaces filling
with crimson frit

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

a horse neighs
without a sound
picture gallery

参观美术馆
人语马嘶无声响
只因在画上

can guan mei shu guan
ren yu ma si wu sheng xiang
zhi yin zai hua shang

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China

 

Vincent
see what they did
to Sunflowers

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK

 

asked to leave the gallery  darkling thrush

simonj
UK

 

painted mazes—
losing your train
of thought

Shrehya Taneja
Delhi, India

 

art gallery
the rush of dopamine
as I walk in

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

art gallery
the curve of her neck
against the window

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

coloring
the grey side of me
gallery

mewarnai
sisi kelabuku
galeri

Christopher Calvin
Kota Mojokerto, Indonesia

 

meditation i whisper the artist’s whispering

Devoshruti Mandal
India

 

cosy landscapes
until I notice a cloud
shaped like a tank

Sheila Barksdale
Gotherington, England, U.K.

 

renovation work—
among master paintings
smell of wet paint

Nicole Pottier
France

 

in the gallery
a trace of pain in the pictures
Frida Kahlo

Gordana Kurtović
Croatia

 

watching
backs of heads look
at the mona lisa

Paul Millar
UK

 

Victory Boogie Woogie—
feeling the rhythm
through my eyes

(painting by Piet Mondriaan, Kunstmusem, The Hague)

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
The Hague, Netherlands

 

nude
in the background
museum selfie

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

 

the whisper of footsteps from
the gallery’s polished floors . . .
ars longa

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

the piercing silence
of The Scream
storm outside gallery

Meera Rehm
UK

 

storm clouds—
sheltering with Renoir
by The Umbrellas

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

my first—
Rédon sweeps me
into his heart

Pris Campbell
US

 

Picasso’s Guernica
all the colours of life
in black and white

Vandana Parashar
India

 

still life
away from war
still life

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

museum visit
waiting for her beside
the ceramics exit

Alex Fyffe
Texas, USA

 

alone
at the window
in a Hopper painting

Nazarena Rampini
Italia

 

fifth solo show—
there I am again
hiding in the back

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island, WA USA

 

sumi-e brush strokes—
the herons fly
on rice paper

Julia Guzmán
Córdoba, Argentina

 

gallery opening
the pictures watch us
sample wine and cheese

Lorraine Schein
Queens, NYC

 

cherry blossom
the new Picasso exhibit
of his rose period

Marianne Sahlin
Sweden

 

mixed border . . .
in a bag of seeds
Monet’s garden

Angiola Inglese
Italia

 

after hours
the Rembrandt steps out
from the canvas

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

their muse
on canvas
for generations

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

washrooms?
Ma’am, turn left after
the dinosaur’s tail

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec

 

“Monet in Chicago”
shelter from the
COVID storm

Susan Farner
USA

 

landscape painting
what’s at the end
of the road

Carol Reynolds
Australia

 

self portrait
my reflection
among the irises

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

Klimt
I tilt my head
to the right

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama

 

looking at you
from every angle
in the gallery

Pippa Phillips
Kansas City, MO

 

gallery silence
I take a closer look
at the birds

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

the oneness of us all bush gallery

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

another empty page
in my sketchbook
still life

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

moth
in the museum
closing time

Ron Scully
Burien WA

 

pointillism
making sense of the world
dot by dot

Jonathan Roman
United States

 

gallery wall
three queens hang
askew

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

 

Turbine Hall—
ghosts of machines
in silent awe

Jenny Shepherd
London

 

crowds
blocking the Mona Lisa
yet she smiles at me

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

stealing
from the art gallery . . .
inspiration

C.X. Turner
United Kingdom

 

empty space
on a gallery wall
framing my loss

Patricia Hawkhead
Bradford on Avon, UK

 

the cracks
in Monet’s clouds
indoor voices

Tim Cremin
Massachusetts

 

gallery garden
the new installation
of a paper wasp

James Gaskin
Fukushima, Japan

 

modern art
a sunray falls upon
the dead fly

Eva Limbach
Germany

 

art gallery—
the war stays out
for a moment

Galleria d’arte—
la guerra resta fuori
per un istante

Maria Teresa Piras
Serrenti – Italy

 

gallery ginko . . .
the Zen garden painting
my go-to muse

Joe Sebastian
Bangalore, India

 

art gallery—
trying to avoid
more scenes of war

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA

 

at the door
of the dream I spin
the colour wheel

Geetha Ravichandran
India

 

pioneer women—
a gallery
of hard lines

Chad Lee Robinson
South Dakota, USA

 

galleria d’arte . . .
sulla mia tela vuota
mille girasoli

art gallery . . .
on my empty canvas
a thousand sunflowers

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna Italia

 

leaving The Met—
Gertrude Stein
hanging on my shoulder

Adele Evershed
Wilton, United States

 

revisiting
Sheher in the City
annual expo

(The older part of Lahore, or Old Lahore, is colloquially known as the Sheher to us locals. Sheher is actually the Urdu word for “City”.)

Zahra Mughis
Lahore, Pakistan

 

art museum date
the water lilies
make quite an impression

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY, USA

 

masters’ paintings—
in every brushwork
points of escape

quadri d’autore—
in ogni pennellata
punti di fuga

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy

 

twelve lines
in the Matisse nude
did he count them?

(“nu assis, jambes croisées II,” 1941-42)

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, United States

 

another girl
with a pearl earring
—shadows in light

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India

 

winged horses soar
in sugar plum clouds . . .
refrigerator art

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

art gallery
among masterpieces
a cobweb

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

 

back street gallery . . .
afternoon sun spotlights
a faded portrait

Al Gallia
Lafayette, Louisiana USA

 

Moulin de la Galette—
I drop my heavy heart
and join the dance

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

solo exhibition—
gazing at the work
gazing at the price

Keiko Izawa
Japan

 

a painting
getting the last word
gallery silence

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, CO

 

locked in
the scream
the scream . . .

Anna Yin
Ontario, Canada

 

opening night
they came to be seen
instead of seeing

Genie Nakano
Gardena, CA

 

an hour lost
finding myself in O’Keeffe’s
“Rust Red Hills”

Sharon Martina
Warrenville, IL USA

 

museum basement—
the laughing buddha makes room
for a bog body

Alex Lubman
Morgantown, WV USA

 

artist reception
subject and object
switch places

Jenn Ryan-Jauregui
Tucson, Arizona USA

 

each brushstroke
on the canvas—
a window half open

Lafcadio Orlovsky
USA

 

museum round
touching the snowman
that never melts

Sandra St-Laurent
Yukon, Canada

 

poets’ audio tour
my rooftop lion roars
from its glass case

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

humbled
in this hushed hall I bow low
Yukei Teshima

(Shosho, a contemporary form of Japanese calligraphy was developed in the 1950s by the master calligrapher, Yukei Teshima. A gallery in The Hikaru Memorial Museum in Takayama, Japan is dedicated to his art.)

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, California

 

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 33 Comments

  1. Beautiful haiku and very interesting your comments. Happy with the selection of my haiku. Thanks, Marietta

    1. I agree. I very much enjoyed the selection of this week’s haiku. Thank you Marietta for including mine as well.

  2. Thanks for including my poem among this week’s selection, Marietta.

    I especially appreciated Alan Peats’

    vanitas–
    the fruit i met as a boy
    untouched

    which made me think about the passage of time, and our ability to create works of art that outlast us and speak to humanity through generations (I loved the subtle sensuality and how the speakers’ grappling with their mortality is highlighted in the use of the lowercase ‘i’)

    and marilyn ashbaugh’s

    blown glass our fragile world

    which was beautifully light and ephemeral, and made me think about the environmental impact of glass blowing.

    Thank you for the prompts and all your work putting these issues together!

  3. A lovely selection of haiku in response to another enjoyable challenge. I was delighted to have a poem included. Many thanks, Marietta, for your insightful commentary and to Kj and Lori for all your input. Congratulations to all the poets featured. Of the many I admired, I particularly enjoyed the humour in…

    silent gallery . . .
    Rembrandt’s portrait smiles
    at a squeaky shoe

    Marilyn Ward
    Lincolnshire UK

    I loved the theatricality of this poem. Fab!

  4. Every week I am so inspired by this community of world wide poets. It’s exciting to share my love of haiku with so many talented individuals. Your prompts are wonderful, Marietta, as is your commentary. Thank you, thank you.

  5. Delighted to read the beautiful collection of haiku on the prompt. Thanks Marietta for including my dopamine rush! Your commentary on the selected haiku is interesting and educative. I am going back again and again to read it. Congratulations to all poets whose haiku are featured.

  6. Thank you. Marietta, for publishing my poem. I was tickled to see it as it is one of my favorites that I’ve written so far. I’m rather new and it gives me the encouragement to keep writing. 😊

  7. A couple caught my attention with their repetition:

    still life
    away from war
    still life

    Firdaus Parvez
    India

    This is so good– the repetition semantically displaces the fragment and makes you reassign its meaning, super cool.

    locked in
    the scream
    the scream . . .

    Anna Yin
    Ontario, Canada

    Another case where repetition makes you reconsider the meaning of the fragment– here, from picture to what is depicted.

    Really interesting!

    1. Thank you Pippa for your comments. Cheers!

      Also thank Marietta for the prompt and selecting mine. Congrats to all of us!

  8. stealing
    from the art gallery . . .
    inspiration
    /
    C.X. Turner
    United Kingdom
    /
    I often steal inspiration from different places for the haiku I write. Kudos to C. X. Turner for a well-written haiku.

  9. A real bumper crop of inspired work this week – thanks Marietta for the prompt and selecting mine for comment.

    I really like this clever play on words:

    stealing
    from the art gallery . . .
    inspiration

    C.X. Turner
    United Kingdom

  10. Honoured and delighted to have my poem selected for commentary with my thanks to you, Marietta!
    As it happens, this past fortnight for me has been filled with hospital visits, and the “splatter” paintings I mention are real and individual works of art, which have helped to draw the mind away from concerns – both of personal health and the current state of the wider-world.
    I recall a time when hospitals, for reasons of hygiene, were painted plain shades of pastel, usually two-tone, where only the rubbings of backs of waiting chairs provided a source of imagination and mental stimulation. Perception has moved on since then, in a positive direction.

  11. Wonderful!
    So many interesting references!
    A real best of museums, I should say! Now I want to visit them all!

    Thank you- merci- for including my never-melting snowman in your selection! It’s a fresh discovery from le Musée des beaux-arts de Québec! I really enjoyed your selection! What a tour!

  12. A rich crop of thoughtful and thought-provoking poems; and excellent commentary. I’ve read ’em twice already. Thanks for all the work you and the team do, Marietta.

  13. I too am so thrilled to have my haiku included here this week. Congratulations to all the poets. Thank you Marietta! I was excited to have a haiku prompt of a place I have actually visited (The Clark). I was there for a Monet exhibit many years ago and that inspired my haiku. I very much appreciated these two haiku:
    another girl
    with a pearl earring
    —shadows in light

    Sushama Kapur

    the cracks
    in Monet’s clouds
    indoor voices

    Tim Cremin
    Massachusetts
    Pune, India

  14. Thank you Marietta for selecting mine and providing a succinct commentary. Turner did so much for painting such scenes as light, fog and quality sea faring in watercolour and oils.
    I have stood in front of this one several times, each time seeing different perspectives.
    Congratulations to all poets, it’s always a pleasure to read your poems.
    As always a big thank you to KJ and Lori for the work they do in keeping the thread alive.

  15. Thank you Marietta, so pleased to be included, loved the prompt this week.
    Congratulations to all poets.

  16. Marietta, thank-you for publishing my haiku. It is always a pleasure to have a haiku selected. Thank-you to both the poets who were selected and those who were not for your efforts.

        1. I believe it is a single space on the form – a lot of the formatting doesn’t come through – perhaps this was an auto-correct? In any case, feel free to include a note with any poem that has special formatting & we will do our best… & we can make corrections later, as well… thanks, kj

  17. Congratulations to everyone – I loved this week’s prompt and am very happy to see my poem in the Comments Section – Thank you, Marietta!

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