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

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: … far from crowds

Most of us have not been travelling much over the past couple of years. Being obliged to stay home has led to a re-evaluation of our own environment. We’ve found unexpected pleasures in hidden corners of our hometowns which we may not have previously considered visiting. Now the world is re-setting itself. Planes are flying again, suitcases are being dusted off, passports renewed. If the pandemic has a lesson for me, it’s to spend more time looking around my immediate surroundings, before I hanker for faraway places. Still, there’s a definite frisson of excitement to be found in turning a corner of a quiet pedestrian alley to find a little dress shop and a beckoning flight of stairs leading to who knows where. Looking forward to your haiku inspired by places far from the madding crowd.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday April 02, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 on a pilgrimage:

Another great week of poetry. I’m constantly amazed by the universality of poetic experience; I’ll read a haiku about a way of seeing and noting an ephemeral moment, and then, immediately afterwards into my inbox another poem arrives from half a world away, its essence reflecting a similar moment, differently expressed. I don’t sequence each week’s poems – except for those I comment on, the selection is in the order in which haiku were submitted. Thank you everyone for taking me with you on your contemplative journeys to many different times, spaces and places. I feel grateful to be part of such a rich global haiku community. Thanks to all at The Haiku Foundation for our continuing Haiku Dialogue.

pilgrims’ refuge—
in my baggage an apple
from home

Eva Limbach
Germany

Along a pilgrimage way, the poet has carried an extra small burden. Perhaps the apple was tucked into a backpack as an afterthought, either by the poet or a friend or relative, and now is a comforting link with a familiar place.

a photo’s journey . . .
across the universe
in utter silence

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island WA USA

I read this haiku shortly after watching Professor Brian Cox’s BBC program on the ice worlds of Uranus and Neptune. Data that Voyager 2 transmitted to Earth gave new insights into planetary topography. This haiku encapsulates the enormity of our universe. In L3 the emphasis of “in utter silence” adds mystery. There is no fanfare like that of Richard Strauss’s “Also sprach Zarathustra” to make our neck hair stand on end, but as that image zips across the void, still we feel the wonder.

El Camino—
far from the sea
I collect shells

Jenny Shepherd
London

Set into pavements or on walls and bridge railings along pilgrim routes you’ll often find bronze scallop shell shapes. I think the poet walking the route is gathering shells one by one in their mind as they move along the way.

p . . . i . . . . . l . . g . . . . . . r . . . i . . . . m . . . . . a . . . g . . . . e

Sharon Martina
Warrenville, IL

An interesting concrete haiku, this one. The varying gaps between letters evoke scattered groups and individuals on a journey, the periods perhaps symbolising the roughness of a gravel path.

shaman’s cave
the narrow space
between worlds

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

This haiku opens with a cave where those entrusted with arcane cultural knowledge gather to commune with spirits. These practises would often involve an altered state of consciousness. One imagines a cramped and secret entry so that the transition from one state to another can be hidden from the uninitiated. The “narrow space” not only signifies physical movement from earthly light to cryptic dark, but also a shaman’s tenuous connection with the underworld.

& here are the rest of the selections:

as we gather
our breaths . . .
passing clouds

Teji Sethi
India

 

albatross . . .
at the war memorial
a forgotten cane

Randall Herman
Victoria, Texas

 

yatra . . .
grandpa leaves behind
his wooden sandals

(yatra means pilgrimage)

R. Suresh babu
India

 

labyrinth
slowly going nowhere
I find the way

marilyn ashbaugh
gulf stream, florida

 

each bowed face
flickers with candle light
peace rally

Randy Brooks
United States

 

spring stroll . . .
at the guard rail
a bunch of roses

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

Cathedral Woods
the silence within
the silence without

Kristen Lindquist
Camden, Maine, USA

 

pilgrimage
more light than shadow
along the way

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA

 

prayer
in the temple of redwoods
bluebirds

Seretta Martin
San Diego, CA, USA

 

overcast sky
the wild flutter
of prayer flags

Ravi Kiran
India

 

travelling
I accompany the moon
until I arrive

Vincenzo Adamo
Italy

 

sunset point . . .
carrying over my darkness
to the dark

Lakshmi Iyer
India

 

pilgrimage
first step
the last step

Vijay Prasad
Patna, India

 

pilgrimage—
does my brother hear
our prayer

Aljoša Vuković
Šibenik, Croatia

 

wildflower path
leading me back
to myself

Lori Kiefer
London, U.K.

 

port to port the sea my sacred place

Pris Campbell
US

 

complete,
a lifelong journey . . .
river’s source

Christopher Seep
Ballwin, MO

 

tapping out
the steps of Kūkai—
walking staff

Stephen J. DeGuire
Los Angeles, CA

 

temple steps
the girl selling flowers
gives me a bright smile

Anitha Varma
Keral, India

 

between homes . . .
another memory carved
on my walking cane

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, United Kingdom

 

meditation . . .
I watch the ladybug
circle a lily

Carole MacRury
United States

 

pilgrimage path
the footprints
we leave behind

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland

 

crumbling path
the long winding pilgrimage
out of my self

john hawkhead
Bradford on Avon, UK

 

the bar is open,
fall on your knees and hymn
o pilgrims

Sarah Davies
Bedford

 

gourd and shell
carrying galician stars
to Saint James

Marilyn Ward
UK

 

a pair of shoes
outside the temple
the sound of a bell

Vibeke Laier
Randers, Denmark

 

a whirlpool
of immersed ashes
train to Kashi

Bidyut Prabha Gantayat
Bhubaneswar, India

 

dogtooth violet the atheist wavers

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

 

all that remains
of an old temple—
cherry blossoms

tutto quello che resta
di un vecchio tempio—
ciliegi in fiore

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

 

hillside shrine
my bones creak to the rhythm
of the trail

Pat Davis
NH USA

 

returning
to the same path
with different steps

Amanda White
Morvah, Cornwall, UK

 

touching each wall
before the estate sale
mom’s path

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama, USA

 

still early spring
secret Buddha sleeps
Mount Koya

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

mount koubru
i walk up the path
of my ancestors

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

labyrinth center
my gathered leaves
lost to the wind

Maurice Nevile
Canberra, Australia

 

sanctum sanctorum
a stone goddess’s eyes
don’t leave me

Neera Kashyap
India

 

unanswered prayers
my daughter hangs up
on me again

Vandana Parashar
India

 

inner journey—
hanging on my staff
pilgrim shell

Nicole Pottier
France

 

securing the afterlife pilgrim’s ritual bath

Richa Sharma
India

 

long pilgrimage—
the rain in the mountains
to the riverside temple

Ram Chandran
India

 

familiar path
for the first time
I set out alone

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

 

half way
I rest for a while
under the Bodhi tree

połowa drogi
przez chwilę odpoczywam
pod drzewem Bodhi

Wiesław Karliński
Poland

 

path to salvation
I take a journey
inwards

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

on a pilgrimage—
shadows of followers
on the footpath

Tuyet Van Do
Australia

 

a twisted rope
a hidden spirit
weeping cherry tree

Anette Chaney
Harrison, Arkansas

 

pilgrims’ trail
a lark’s
morning praise

Helga Stania
Switzerland

 

quietly praying
as I circle the monastery
hooded crow

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina

 

full of wildflowers
the long country drive
to grandma’s grave

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

 

stories told
of the old country . . .
heirloom seeds

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

chapel island
cold ablutions
in the leven

(River Leven)

simonj
UK

 

a bottle of water
and the desire to pray
inside my backpack

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania, Italy

 

blood of my blood the river before me

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz
United States

 

following the river’s pilgrimage to the sea

Dan Campbell
Virginia

 

Margaret Mead’s
hand carved walking stick
one step at a time

Ron Scully
Burien WA

 

Chimayo
a quest for miracles
in sleepy hills

Mary Vlooswyk
Calgary, Canada

 

road to Canterbury
paved with stones and
pilgrims’ tales

坎城朝圣路
满载笑语与欢声
香客故事多

kan cheng chao sheng lu
man zai xiao yu yu huan sheng
xiang ke gu shi duo

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China

 

Finisterre—
another pilgrim
sheds his boots

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA

 

pilgrimage’s end
leaving behind the burden
of the hiking stick

Mirela Brăilean
Romania

 

Autumn equinox—
walking down Kenidjack valley
on your birthday

(i. m. LKT born 21.09.1901)

Vivienne Tregenza
Penzance

 

Returning home
birds
on a pilgrimage

Amoolya Kamalnath
India

 

telling our mother stories . . .
the road back
to her birthplace

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

Kindred Spirit mailbox
salty tears on the walk
from Sunset Beach

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY, USA

 

her pilgrimage
last orders
on a solo pub crawl

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

staffs in the dust
a flock of starlings
to Western Wall

Mircea Moldovan
România

 

morning pilgrimage
each dewdrop carries
its own sunlight

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

respite
beneath the acacia tree
glints of starlight

Louise Viera
Bridgewater, Massachusetts

 

hilltop temple—
the wind does parikrama
with me

Vidya S Venkatramani
Chennai, India

 

hill top abbey—
the jangle of scallop shells
in souvenir shops

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

at the Virgin fountain
a few drops
for my eyes

Luciana Moretto
Treviso, Italy

 

on the Camino . . .
leaving behind
the stones of a life

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
The Hague, Netherlands

 

she walks around her lake
the morning after
that leaf still hanging on

John S Green
Bellingham, Washington

 

stopping for gas
under a clear Arizona sky
Route 66

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ

 

smooth stones
left to mark place
time remembers

Kathleen Mazurowski
Chicago, IL

 

barefoot
the faithful
walk in the steps of Saint Patrick

(famous pilgrimage site in Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland)

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

praying
with the feet
with Hail Mary

Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo
Philippines

 

At the Musée de Cluny
absorbing The Lady
and the Unicorn

Vicki Vogt
Watertown, MA USA

 

pilgrimage
weight of the cross
around the neck

Danijela Grbelja
Sibenik Croatia

 

in the footsteps
of the philosopher
Kyoto’s autumn blaze

Susan Farner
USA

 

sticks
in the mission of the pilgrimage
prayer for peace

Zdenka Mlinar
Hrvatska

 

eight-fold path
around the Bodhi Tree
saffron dust

Melanie Vance
USA

 

the hue of pink
in temple flower
walking meditation

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India

 

monoliths . . .
tracing the journey
of our beliefs

prasasti . . .
menelisik perjalanan
kepercayaan kita

Christopher Calvin
Kota Mojokerto, Indonesia

 

pilgrimage—
the perfect imperfections
of a sake cup

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

fertile fields
the atoms that remain
of my forebears

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK

 

sacred waterfall
all around the rush
of tourists

James Gaskin
Fukushima, Japan

 

Kumano kodo—
the sound of the wind
in our walking sticks

Julia Guzmán
Córdoba, Argentina

 

memories of May—
waiting for the pilgrims
I taste an icecream

Elisa Allo
Zug, Switzerland

 

family temple
the healing presence
of ancestors

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

spring rain—
the tapping
of an old walking stick

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut

 

reunion
the Echo still rocking
that dive bar vibe

Tim Cremin
Massachusetts

 

Salisbury Cathedral
retracing Dad’s footsteps
of World War II

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec

 

pushing for an extra mile the pilgrim in me

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

skimming the sacred waters butterfly mother

Roberta Beary
County Mayo, Ireland

 

Lourdes . . .
il peso delle ombre
scivola via

Lourdes . . .
the weight of the shadows
slips away

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna, Italia

 

pilgrim path
the zephyr trying on
worn out sandals

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

 

a journey begins again child’s pose

Lorraine Padden
San Diego, CA USA

 

dawn . . .
as the tide recedes
this new beginning

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

 

cemetery visit . . .
my pilgrimage
through silence

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, United States

 

pilgrimage—
dogtooth violet grows
in the same place

Tomislav Maretić
Croatia

 

on the Camino . . .
the pulse of stars
beneath my feet

(According to legend, Compostela derives from the Latin Campus Stellae, ‘field of the star’.)

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK

 

the climb of the sun
to its zenith
I return to myself

Lafcadio Orlovsky
USA

 

blue butterfly
my spirit guide
down the trail

Pamela Jeanne
Whitehorse, Canada

 

step after step . . .
I reach the shrine
with a lighter bundle

Mona Iordan
Romania

 

hitting the road—
the rucksack lighter
at every step

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

temple lodging . . .
laying out the route map
in breakfast tofu

Keiko Izawa
Japan

 

pilgrim staffs
aging in the umbrella stand
by my front door

Kris Kondo
Kiyokawa, Kanagawa, Japan

 

restored in Caprio
we sleep in the room
where the cow was kept

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

dandelion walk
wind blowing sunlight
from the river

Ash Lippert
South Carolina, USA

 

camino daffodils lead the way

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

the last meter of a song’s reach fogging breath

Pippa Phillips
Kansas City

 

driving by
our old house
lilacs in bloom

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

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 26 Comments

  1. Congratulations to all the poets for all pilgrimages around the world. Special congrats to my fellow Ohioans, Valentina Ranaldi-Adams and Tiffany Diaz. Tiffany’s is particularly poignant considering her life-saving donation. Marilyn Ashbaugh’s labyrinth haiku expressed well what I attempted, but failed to do. Greer Woodhouse’s drive by reminded me of the house I grew up in. Although I purposely don’t drive by it since I don’t want to see any changes the new owners might have made, the idea of a blooming lilac bush reminds me of Mom and how she struggled to keep one alive and finally getting one of hers to bloom. Thanks Greer for this haiku.

  2. Many thanks, Marietta, for another inspiring challenge and for including my poem in the column. Thank you also to K.j. and Lori for organising everything.

    Congratulations to all the poets. I admired so many of this week’s thought-provoking selection, it is difficult to choose a favourite. One poem that I will definitely remember is

    as we gather
    our breaths . . .
    passing clouds

    Teji Sethi
    India

    Such a beautiful image that manages to capture both the spiritual and physical.

  3. Thank you Marietta for including mine, I feel honoured. So many great haiku here.

  4. Lovely work this week, these prompts are really inspiring Marietta. It’s really difficult to pick out individual poems but I do like this as it reminds me of people I loved:

    familiar path
    for the first time
    I set out alone

    Marion Clarke
    Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

  5. Thanks for choosing one of mine Marietta. I always find your photos and prose inspiring! So many fine haiku, but briefly, here are a few favorites that I especially enjoyed.

    cemetery visit . . .
    my pilgrimage
    through silence

    Barrie Levine
    Massachusetts, United States

    telling our mother stories . . .
    the road back
    to her birthplace

    Laurie Greer
    Washington, DC

    following the river’s pilgrimage to the sea

    Dan Campbell
    Virginia

    chapel island
    cold ablutions
    in the leven

    (River Leven)
    simonj
    UK

    pilgrims’ trail
    a lark’s
    morning praise

    Helga Stania
    Switzerland

    wildflower path
    leading me back
    to myself

    Lori Kiefer
    London, U.K.

    1. Thanks, Carole, for picking out mine. It is in fine company! Wonderful work this week, from everyone.

    2. Carole, thank you for mentioning my haiku in your comment – I appreciate your recognition. I love this weekly feature, it keeps me writing on a wonderful variety of topics. I love the image in your ku, colorful and contemplative at the same time . . . .

  6. Thank-you for publishing mine. Congrats to all the poets. Thank-you to all at the Haiku Foundation for your efforts.

  7. Thank you Marietta for including my haiku in this week’s pilgrimage! So so many fine haiku – congratulations to all the poets! I am really appreciating these three haiku this week. They say so much in just a few words and have a classic feel to me. This one is a lovely relatable experience:
    blue butterfly
    my spirit guide
    down the trail

    Pamela Jeanne
    Whitehorse, Canada
    And this haiku speaks to me, quite moving also:
    cemetery visit . . .
    my pilgrimage
    through silence

    Barrie Levine
    Massachusetts, United States

    This haiku captures the essence of the theme for me:
    returning
    to the same path
    with different steps

    Amanda White
    Morvah, Cornwall, UK

    1. Thank you so much Sari for your comment on my pilgrimage poem. I love this feature and it just keeps getting better. Congratulations to you too for your beautiful work. Best wishes, Barrie

    2. Thanks so much for commenting on my haiku, Sari. I’m glad you related to it.

  8. So many profound experiences evoked by the prompt this week. Thank you, Marietta, for your commentary on “shaman’s cave.” I was especially drawn to several monoku among this week’s selections–

    “blood of my blood the river before me”–Tiffany Diaz
    “a journey begins again child’s pose”–Lorraine Padden
    “dogtooth violet the atheist wavers”–Allan Peat

  9. I am thoroughly enjoying your prompts Marietta! I’m honored my haiku was highlighted this week. So many insightful poems. Thanks Lori and KJ for your part in providing these weekly opportunities to learn more about writing and understanding haiku with world wide students!

  10. Thank you Marietta, so privileged to be included so many stunning haiku, a real pleasure to read.

  11. What a terrific response to this prompt, yet again! Great company to be in. Thanks, Marietta.

  12. Such a wonderful collection. Pleased to be amongst them. Thank you Marietta, KJ and Lori.
    I enjoyed reading these two together .

    temple lodging . . .
    laying out the route map
    in breakfast tofu

    Keiko Izawa
    Japan

    pilgrim staffs
    aging in the umbrella stand
    by my front door

    Kris Kondo
    Kiyokawa, Kanagawa, Japan

    Loving these prompts Marietta!

  13. So many wonderful haiku in this week’s selections. Thank you, Marietta – very nicely chosen. Privileged to have been included.Thank you, too, for being the editor fit this haiku adventure. Each prompt provokes a myriad of images to challenge us. Some took me several reads to explore the various paths hidden. So many wonderful untold stories here! But love something about each of the poems this week. Again–amazing how revealing the prompt image has proved!

  14. What a stunning collection of haiku- I agree with Helen Ogden that in reading them a real sense of pilgrimage is evoked – mapping, walking, revisiting, finding ourselves, familiar/unfamiliar paths – pilgrims one and all. Will enjoy re-reading each one.

  15. Many thanks for including mine… I adore this one:

    fertile fields
    the atoms that remain
    of my forebears

    Keith Evetts
    Thames Ditton UK

    1. Oh, thank you Pippa! My Evetts ancestors were farm labourers in Warwickshire until they went to work in the foundries of the Black Country. Nothing of them left except a few entries in registers and the fields they worked in. And their atoms in me, perhaps. One of them (a g-g-g-grandfather) ended his days in Anne Hathaway’s cottage, where he had worked on the farm.

      1. Thank you for the insight, Keith. I just love the notion that the ancestors are tied up in the field’s fertility, that in tending to the land you tend to your ancestors… and I like the sound design, ‘f’ is not the typical pick for a but of light alliteration, but it works with the subject matter.

  16. What a great collection of haiku. Reading these was like going on a pilgrimage, without the physical travail. It makes me want to put my boots on and hit the Camino once again. These would make a lovely chap book.

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