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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… in the great outdoors… by water

Finding peace and contemplation… in the great outdoors 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 themein the great outdoors watching clouds

Clouds have had whole books written about how and why they form. From clouds come rain, lightning, hail and snow and their shapes are often predictors of tomorrow’s weather. Children love finding patterns in them, like animals and faces. This photo was taken on a road in Outback New South Wales, Australia, at daybreak. I’d taken a few shots and just then sunlight broke through the clouds and I took this photo. The beams of light spilling out are an optical illusion called crepuscular rays. Some people call them “fingers of God”, “Buddha’s rays” or “Jacob’s ladder”. Do you have a favourite place where you watch clouds? What thoughts do they inspire? You’re invited to share your haiku about clouds this week.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday August 7, 2021.

Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry. (The Submit button will not be available until the Name, Email, and Place of Residence fields are filled in.) With your poem, please include any special formatting requirements & your name as you would like it to appear in the column. A few haiku will be selected for commentary each week. Please note that by submitting, you agree that your work may appear in the column – neither acknowledgment nor acceptance emails will be sent. All communication about the poems that are posted in the column will be added as blog comments.

below is Marietta’s commentary for in the great outdoors by water:

Hello again! It’s my great pleasure to be with you for the next few weeks as Haiku Dialogue’s guest editor. This week we’ve sought peace and contemplation outdoors, by water. For some of you, sounds bring back memories of childhood and a loved one’s voice. For others, plunging into the sea, river or lake is sheer hedonistic enjoyment. Some poems addressed childhood pleasures like seashell and beach glass collecting and sand castle building. You commemorated weddings and break-ups, childhood and old age, memories and changes. Animals from seals and otters to bird dogs featured. Some found darkness in the brightness of water. I read all your poems with pleasure. I found myself returning again and again to some haiku. When making difficult final choices, I looked for freshness of expression and different ways of seeing. I hope you enjoy this week’s collection.

stick in hand
her mother’s simple pleasure
freeing stuck water

Mike Gallagher
Lyreacrompaane, Ireland

This haiku was one which I returned to a number of times. The words ‘stuck water’ puzzled me at first, then I tried to enter the scene: a woman on a beach at low tide or by a stream with muddy banks. She has a stick she picked up while walking. The ebbing tide traps dead-end runnels in the sand or mud. Many of us as we get older still do childish things like jumping over cracks in the pavement. The pleasure of letting water free seems child-like, like skipping stones, so the enjoyment is understandable. Or does this haiku have a more poignant meaning? Has a daughter brought her mother to a place she loves where she can once again be the child she was? Her pleasure comes from a small act, drawing a groove in soft sand so the water runs away. A thoughtful haiku which conveys sadness.

I try to catch
dad’s smile—

Melanie Vance

A poem that made me smile. Anyone who knows, or is related to, an angler who fly-fishes may be acquainted with an onlooker’s feelings for this all-absorbing hobby. First there is the intricacy of fly-tying, after first gathering the precise type and colour of fur or feather each fly requires. Then the choice of stream, based on exactly when and where local aquatic bugs are on the rise. Considerable patience can be required. So here we have a doughty angler absorbed in his pursuit, with his child at his side. Maybe the child is also fishing, because dad has brought them along and wants to instil his passion in his offspring. The poet writes from the child’s perspective. I liked the choice of ‘catch’ here. Maybe the fish aren’t biting and dad is making cast after cast, perfecting the perfect placement of his lure. The child may be casting a fly, too, but a parental smile not a fish is what she or he wants most. If dad is totally preoccupied, the child may be waiting a while for their hoped-for catch.

lay offs
retracing my steps
on the white beach

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India

Around the world, people are facing serious disruption to their working lives. In L1, the poet sets the scene for us. People have lost their jobs and livelihoods, temporarily or for good. Many have to find other ways of making ends meet. Some can make the transition to a different and new reality. Others re-evaluate where their life has been going, as this haiku says to me in ‘retracing my steps’. The poet could intend ‘white beach’ to signify the optimistic hope that all will be well, or it could mean that what lies ahead is a blank, very different to what has come before. I found this haiku to be a haunting reminder of how we cannot take anything for granted any more. The juxtaposition has the effect of underlining a sense of uncertainty.

how quickly the last part
of our journey

Eva Limbach

Another haiku which muses on the passage of time, this time moving from the flow of a river to the flow of our lives. We can be coasting along thinking we have all the time in the world. Then there comes the sudden realisation that time seems to behave in different ways, depending on whether you’re a child in a dull lesson that drags on endlessly, someone living in lockdown as many have experienced in the past year, or someone moving into older age. We could commiserate with the poet that time seems to be rushing by too fast and we would like it to slow down, or we could be happy because a less-than-ideal period is quickly approaching an end. Either way, the poet does not try to tell us what to think, but presents us with an idea, and how we interpret that depends on us and the time of our lives. To me the poem conveys a calm feeling of acceptance.

& here are the rest of the selections:

winter beach
my thoughts escape
on the crests of the waves

Vincenzo Adamo
Sicily Italy


lovers by a lake
the autumn wind
ruffles my memories

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK


a stone
ripples in
my mind

ಒಂದು ಕಲ್ಲು
ನನ್ನ ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ

Amrutha Prabhu
Bengaluru, India


holding on
the swell of our bodies
with each wave

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA


beach walk
footprints going nowhere
both ways

Terri French


my favorite
confession booth—
under a waterfall

Dan Campbell
Virginia USA


late bloomer
I learn to skip my stone
seven times

Anitha Varma
Kerala, India


slowly, i let go
my existence

Lakshmi Iyer


disturbed water
a lone goose honks
behind the skein

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, UK


gravel beach
spilling iodine blue
through storm clouds

John Hawkhead


my nephew mutates
into a mud monster

(Buttermere is in the Lake District in North West England (Cumbria). There are two possible origins for the name “Buttermere”: “The lake by the dairy pastures” (from Old English “butere mere”); or it might be an Old Norse personal name “Buthar”, as in “Buthar’s mere” (lake). This accords with local tradition, which says that the valley of Buttermere was part of the holdings of an 11th-century Norse chieftain.)

Alan Summers


a splash—
enough to unfasten
the moon in circles

Mirela Brăilean


turn of the tide my worries washed out to sea

Pris Campbell
Lake Worth, FL


July afternoon
a brook trout swims
through the clouds

Peggy Hale Bilbro


distant waves—
sea glass shining
on the beach

Daniela Misso


high tide
almost touching my tent
a curious seal

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


evening calm
a raft of otters
cradled in kelp

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA


dog paddle
the retriever wins

Pam Joy
Dyea, Alaska


skipping stones
we discuss our
impending divorce

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ


twilight rising tide . . .
we build the sand castle
without a moat

Richard Matta
San Diego, California


dripping duckless penitent passant cockerpoo



morning breeze—
marsh harriers
airbrushing reeds

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom


river at dawn—
a heron spears
the silence

Nick T
Somerset, UK


mom’s dementia
the ebb and flow of emotions
inside her

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India


scattering ashes . . .
leaves cross over
from the far bank

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom


bird bath
i give the robins
human names

Michael Morell
Philadelphia, PA


the puppy diving
off a craggy cliff
my held breath

Kanjini Devi
The Far North, Aotearoa NZ


on the billow
a surfer tumbling
head over heels

Teiichi Suzuki


first visitor
sneaking on the beach—
cold wind

Nicole Pottier


mountain stream
rounding off the edges
of my temper

Vandana Parashar


kettle pond
my back stroke

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


first swim
the baby’s cry

Sanela Plisko


beach wedding
the waves gift
a star fish

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India


waterfall snack
a butterfly tastes
my sticky finger

Edna Beers
Rensselaer, NY, USA


hot springs
our first getaway—
taking the plunge

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California


strong winds
the firmness of a banyan
on the riverbank

Manoj Sharma
Kathmandu, Nepal


sailboats docked
in summer mist

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France


spring thaw
the emerald edges
of Lake Louise

Carol Judkins
Carlsbad, CA


lapping sound
of night waves . . .
we remember mother

Madhuri Pillai


oyster in a half shell
the ocean
in one bite

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA


roaring seashore
the tracks of a tortoise
filled with moonlight

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Ghana/New Zealand


burying dad
to his neck in the sand
squawking seagulls

Louise Hopewell


angling in the lake
grandpa counts the clouds
caught in the hook

Mona Iordan


the whole sky
my whole world
floating in solitude

Ingrid Baluchi
Ohrid, North Macedonia


placid lake
the lives
I step into

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia


fireflies by a lake
on a canvas
urban fantasies

Zahra Mughis
Lahore, Pakistan


water lilies
i am

Sarah Metzler
United States


leaf watching . . .
kaleidoscopic swirls
settle my mind

Claire Ninham
North Yorkshire, UK


Carlingford Lough
our children net green crabs
and sunshine

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland


mountain streamlet . . .
caught in an swirling eddy
golden aspen leaves

Al W Gallia
Lafayette, Louisiana USA


sunday noon . . .
busy with a castle
those tiny palms

Devoshruti Mandal
Varanasi, India


winter beach bare feet skirt the swash

Margaret Walker
Lincoln, NE, USA


adrift . . .
floral offerings
in a river

Priti Aisola
Hyderabad, India


first light
we flock to save
the stranded dolphin

Xenia Tran
Nairn, Scotland


prized shells
little toddler’s eyes
light up

Sherry Grant
Auckland, New Zealand


staying up all night . . .
the time we watched the sun rise
over the ocean

Ed Bremson
North Carolina


retention pond
a concert twanged
by frogs

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams


sea breeze . . .
a distant summer
I can’t forget

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania (Italy)


ocean waves—
last year’s footsteps
in my diary

Ana Drobot


slipping through mist
canoe paddle

Lorraine A. Padden
San Diego, CA USA


shadow on water
a dragonfly puzzled
by its own wings

Kath Abela Wilson
United States


flipping a canoe
on sand
the weight of yesterday’s rain

Barrie Levine
Wenham MA USA


park bench
she watches the sun melt
into the lake

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio, USA


of the great blue heron
morning sun

John S Green
United States


whale watching—
a boy asks the captain about

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada


seaside dusk
a smell of roasting corn
mingles with the damp

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India


body surfing
nothing between
me and the wave

Tim Cremin


salt breeze
a line of sailboats
under the horizon

Deborah P Kolodji
Temple City, 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:

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 49 Comments

  1. A lovely selection of poems and a really helpful commentary. Many thanks, Marietta, for including my poem in this week’s column. Thank you also to Kj and Lori.

    I particularly enjoyed the humour and alliteration in.

    my nephew mutates
    into a mud monster

    Alan Summers

    1. Thank you Dorothy!

      morning breeze—
      marsh harriers
      airbrushing reeds

      Dorothy Burrows
      United Kingdom

      What a wonderful haiku, very much in the zone of wildlife and natural history haiku I’m looking for in Blo͞o Outlier for issue three (submissions open September).

      I hope you have some spare bird haiku! 🙂


      my nephew mutates
      into a mud monster

      Alan Summers

      My nephew has been climbing the Lake District fells (Cumbria, England) since he was a baby, carried by his dad, following a family tradition. Unfortunately he disappeared down a mud hole up to his nose in front of us on one occasion. In seconds we knew he was safe so his parents and myself couldn’t help but giggle all the back down the magnificent Fleetwith Pike. He’s now thirteen years old! 🙂

      Fleetwith Pike is a fell in the English Lake District in the county of Cumbria which reaches a height of 648 metres (2,126 feet). The fell is a well-known feature of the area as it casts an imposing presence over Buttermere and the Honister Pass on the B5289 motor road between Borrowdale and Buttermere.

      re Buttermere:

      Large numbers of Vikings settled in the Cumbrian area during the 9th and 10th centuries and many names in the area are of Norse origin:

      streams are termed ‘becks’, from the Old Norse bekkr;
      mountains are ‘fells’, from the Norse fjall;
      waterfalls are forces, from fos;
      ravines are ‘gills’;
      valleys are ‘dales’, from dalr (ON);
      and small lakes are termed ‘tarns’, which derives from tjorn, meaning teardrop.

      There was a hidden stronghold at Buttermere where Jarl Buthar resisted the Norman invaders, from the time of William the Conqueror’s Harrying of the North in 1069 right up until the early 12th century. The Cumbrians (Lake District) fought a guerrilla war against the Normans for almost half a century.

      I’d like to think that my nephew, now a teenager, could also hold his own against wrongdoers of any ilk. 🙂

      1. Wow, Alan, what a great story! Almost like the earth wanted to conduct an act of initiation for that little boy 🙂 I’m sure it was memorable for him and hopefully positive—starting a lifelong intimacy with earth and the great outdoors! Thanks also for the primer on English terms with Norse etymology. Fascinating! Oh, and great haiku btw. The first line placename alone is so delicious on the tongue and then the metamorphosis to follow. Delightful!

        1. Thank you P. H. Fischer! 🙂

          He’s the son of an inventor and both parents make sure he experiences a lot, even under covid conditions. His father invented the Corian® squirrels!. 🙂 If you’ve ever seen Corian® worktops, cabinets, cocktail bars, or reception desks etc… and they don’t have ugly door fixings etc… it’s because a squirrel or two were involved. 🙂 Very hands on, as the sadly departed grandfather also helps to make them and batch them up. We lost people to covid, but we also have some fantastic memories.

          I hope to make another journey to the Lake District one day, but not disappear into a mud hole! 🙂

          warm regards,

      2. Many thanks, Alan, for your kind comment about my poem. I will definitely submit a bird haiku!

        Thank you also for sharing the background story to your poem and for bringing back lots of memories of the Lake District. I am very familiar with the Old Norse landscape words as I used to live in the North West. They’re great words!

  2. Marietta, thank you so much for your wonderful commentary on my haiku. I feel honored and thrilled. Thanks to kj and Lori as well.

  3. What a wonderful days I have had! I became a grandfather again and, then, my haiku is featured in Haiku Dialogue, selected by Marietta McGregor, a poet whose writing I have admired for a long time. Thank you, Marietta, and thanks to kjmunro for providing a space where dabblers lke myself can mix with some of the best haijiin writing today. Congrats to all the poets.

  4. Thank you very much, Marietta, for including my haiku. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this week’s selection and am reading with great interest the tipping, lipping, flipping discussion!

  5. Such wonderful collection of Haiku, enjoyed reading them. Honoured to be included in the selected list.
    Thanks so much.

  6. Loving the idea that one of this week’s selected haiku is sourced in Lyreacrompane (Ladhar an Crompáin), which means ‘the space between converging rivers’! Well done Mike Gallagher for channelling the water theme so fluidly from that space.

    converging rivers
    how we came together
    in space between beds

    1. I have been amazed by many things in the last few days; having my poem featured; finding someone here who can translate Lyreacrompane, and being praised by a poet whose work I respect very much.
      Thank you, John, from Lyreacrompane.

  7. Dear Marietta, nice to see you back for another stint as haiku dialogue editor. I am enjoying reading your selections. Thank you for including mine. Congratulations to all poets.

  8. park bench
    she watches the sun melt
    into the lake
    Nancy Brady
    Huron, Ohio, USA
    This one has a very restful feel to it.

      1. The USA has many parks and many benches. Some are memorial benches and some are not.

  9. water lilies
    i am
    Sarah Metzler
    United States
    Simple and elegant

  10. evening calm
    a raft of otters
    cradled in kelp

    Beautifully picturesque. And I love the alliteration.

  11. Welcome Back Marietta ! Thank-you for publishing mine. Congrats to all the poets.

    1. Thanks Valentina! I enjoyed the tension and release of the twang of your frogs!

      1. My sincere apologies for clipping your haiku, Barrie! I’ve now checked my short and long Haiku Dialogue lists and indeed, the ‘f’ did disappear between drafts. My copying error. When I read everything over before sending to Kathy, the transcript seemed fine (I’m usually very careful). So, may I beg your pardon? A little serendipity, though, and what emerged was another good poem!

  12. Dear editor, thank you for choosing my poem, and I respectfully ask for correction of a typo in the first word, , thank you, should be:

    tipping a canoe
    on sand
    the weight of yesterday’s rain

    Barrie Levine
    Wenham MA USA

    1. Oooh, I love that typo!

      lipping a canoe
      on sand
      the weight of yesterday’s rain

      Barrie Levine
      Wenham MA USA

      It feels mono no aware and yūgen.

      It’s the sort of thing I would be looking for in issue #3 of Blo͞o Outlier! If the typo is corrected, perhaps you could submit the ‘lipping’ version. 🙂

      Sometimes typos do something wonderfully special. I love ‘lipping a canoe’!

      warm regards,
      founder, Blo͞o Outlier journal

      1. Hi Alan, and the plot thickens!

        Actually, the poem I submitted was not tipping, but:

        flipping a canoe
        on sand
        the weight of yesterday’s rain

        Maybe you can weigh in on that version too. What a way to start my day — I need coffee before I say anything more!

        And thank you for your interest in my poem.

        1. ORIGINAL:

          flipping a canoe
          on sand
          the weight of yesterday’s rain


          tipping a canoe
          on sand
          the weight of yesterday’s rain


          lipping a canoe
          on sand
          the weight of yesterday’s rain

          The first two are very logical, something we might expect. I’ve been long fascinated that something from the past, such as rain from a previous day, is also in the current day. 🙂

          It’s like yesterday’s fish n’ chips in yesterday’s newspaper (before it got PC and we lost the partnership of a late night post nightclub or pre nightclub bag of chips with or without scraps, or a fish supper).

          Something concurrently yesterday and today, a bit like midnight and the wee small hours belonging to the evening and night you start on the pub crawl and then the clubs, and still in the ownership of the previous day, until the clock tips over into 7am. Well I was briefly a hell raiser as a haiku poet! 🙂

          So flipping and tipping feel logical, but “lipping” brings something unexpected to the poem, but it is all about lips, the edge of things, from an edge of a human mouth, to the edge of a mouth of water etc…


          1. Alan, the layers you have found in my poem, intended and otherwise, astound me. Having retired from my law career, maybe I need to retire from logic too, and open up my dark and disorderly side for my haiku practice — thanks for your encouragement on that!

          2. Barrie,

            “Alan, the layers you have found in my poem, intended and otherwise, astound me. Having retired from my law career, maybe I need to retire from logic too, and open up my dark and disorderly side for my haiku practice — thanks for your encouragement on that!”

            Gosh, have you been watching Deliverance again with Burt Reynolds? 🙂

            As I was in the law and order biz myself, it’s useful, but only as an adjunct, useful until it needs to be jettisoned. 🙂


          1. Thank you kj! The dialogue continues and is most energizing. My haiku poet friends and mentors are such fun and I thank them all for the repartee.

        1. Ha! I thought “lipping” was perhaps when you bring the canoe ashore and just pull the front part up on the sand/bank! I thought that was unique!

          1. Terri, agreed! 🙂

            Typos are sometimes gifts from the gods, and in this case from Marietta, unless Barrie, you accidentally left out the ‘f’ when you were inputting the poem. 🙂


          2. Terri, thank you for your take on my poem.

            Gunwale (also spelled and pronounced gunnel) is the upper edge of a vessel’s side, according to my google search today, and applies to all vessels. But in a canoe, it could be the edge you can grab to tip/flip it over and let out standing water.

            I love your poem about footprints going nowhere in two directions, still thinking about it . . . .

    2. Barrie, the lipping threw me at first, thinking it should be tipping as you indicated above. Then on reflection, I thought lipping is a brilliant choice of word especially if there was a lip on the canoe that made it difficult to totally empty it of water. I guess what I am trying to say is that your haiku works either way although I understand why you want it corrected.
      Congratulations to all the poets in their reflections on water. Thanks for including one of mine in this collection. Well done to all.

      1. Thank you Nancy for your comment focused on my canoe poem. It is going in surprising directions!

        I love your image of sun melting, so evocative . . . .

        1. Thanks, Barrie, for your kind comment on mine. Having watched the sun set on the water many times, it does seem to melt. I always think that I was on the horizon, I would hear it sizzle, too.

        2. Hi Barrie! My reply to you ended up in the general thread, so I hope you get to read it. Look forward to your work next time! Marietta

    3. Hello Barrie! I’m just waking up here in Canberra (8.00am, Thursday August 5, our Aussie EST) to the first Haiku Dialogue posts which flow in overnight. It’s a moment of great anticipation and the beginning of a week of enjoyable reading.

      Like Alan, I also loved ‘lipping’! ‘Lipping’ was a fine invention, I thought, which perfectly described how brimful of water the canoe was with the ‘weight of yesterday’s rain’. The weight of water is ‘lipping a canoe’. The water and it’s weight seems to be wholly present through the whole poem, from L1 to L3. I can ‘see’ it. So my interpretation is that in the ‘lipping’ scenario the poet is observer of the scene, whereas the use of ‘tipping’ brings the poet (you) squarely into the frame as you perform a particular action. Either way, the haiku works, but ‘lipping’ is open-ended, and thus has mystery or that ‘unknowable depth’! Looking forward to your haiku in future. Cheers, Marietta

      1. ‘its weight’ not ‘it’s’. Why does autocorrect love apostrophes? And I need coffee too. 🙂

    4. My sincere apologies for clipping your haiku, Barrie! I’ve now checked my short and long Haiku Dialogue lists and indeed, the ‘f’ did disappear between drafts. My copying error. When I read everything over before sending to Kathy, the transcript seemed fine (I’m usually very careful). So, may I beg your pardon? A little serendipity, though, and what emerged was another good poem! Cheers, Marietta

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