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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… in worn, imperfect and transient things… rustic wagon

Finding peace and contemplation… in worn, imperfect and transient things 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 worn, imperfect and transient things… cast iron kettle

In rural Tasmania where I lived as a child all our cooking was done on a wood stove, which was lit early each morning and stoked with kindling throughout the day. A blackened cast iron kettle or pot sat on the hob, bubbling away. Any time you felt like a cup of tea or visitors dropped by, the water was boiling hot and ready to serve. I saw this kettle in a farmhouse museum display and picked it up. It was as heavy as I remembered. What are your memories of worn and useful household tools? Do you still use the same things your parents did? Your haiku about homely household objects are invited this week.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday September 11, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 worn, imperfect and transient things… rustic wagon:

This week with the old wagon takes us on different journeys into our past and future. The old wagon for some was a memory-jogging symbol of enjoyable family holidays and hayrides; for others it stood as testament to past lives of hardship. Your wagons may have seen war, or featured in a beloved story book. The wagon found itself re-purposed as bird shelter, twining plant support, electric car recharge station or bar décor. It also was seen as a humble relic no longer with much relevance. Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic philosophy which is rooted in Japanese culture. It hinges on the acceptance that old, worn and imperfect objects possess an intrinsic beauty. Rather than seeking elegance and value in perfection, beauty may be found in the humble and modest. I was pleased to see how wholeheartedly you embraced the themes of transient beauty and renewal. The themes for the next few weeks will further explore the idea of wabi-sabi. Please send in two haiku, in English. We’re very happy to include a translation into your own language as well. Keep up the dialogue!

electric train toy
returning me to my childhood—
station by station

Aljoša Vuković
Croatia, Šibenik

I liked the gentle sense of time passing conveyed in this haiku. How often when doing a spring clean do we rediscover an item that takes us back to an earlier period in our lives? Some will experience this feeling when playing with small children. Handling a familiar book or toy brings a sudden sense of déjà-vu which whisks us into another reality. In this poem the experience is a gradual one, a slow return journey from adulthood, station by miniature station.

tricky terrain
a few good apples too
fall off the wagon

Vandana Parashar
India

A pointed senryu, this one. As I wrote in an earlier commentary, overt metaphor is not often used in haiku although it may appear in tanka, and certainly in haibun. But covert metaphor is often seen in classical haiku and senryu, and that is what is used here. The poem could be read literally, a moment observed as a loaded fruit cart traverses a bumpy road. However, as a metaphor I think it refers to the human condition – those unexpected potholes which face the unwary on life’s travels, and from which not everyone emerges unscathed, even with the best of intentions.

blister
step by step i remember
being alive

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

The second and third lines of this haiku particularly appealed to me because of the focus on the poet’s immediate senses. I imagine a pilgrimage of some sort, perhaps begun in a state of semi-detachment. Or it could even be a long day’s walk on hard terrain undertaken during isolation. Either way, an arduous walk and the resulting discomfort is an intense reminder for the poet that this is not some out-of-body experience, but very much one of being fully in the moment. Bashō may have felt the same on his wanderings, maybe at the end of the day as he soaked his aching feet in a warm onsen.

village road . . .
the creaksong
of cow cart wheels

Sanjuktaa Asopa
India

This expressive haiku makes good use of alliteration and sound. The portmanteau word ‘creaksong’ works beautifully here, I think, as it perfectly renders the repetitive, labored sounds from the turning wheels of a heavily laden wagon. Lines 2 and 3 provide a measured cadence. A haiku to enjoy reading out loud.

& here are the rest of the selections:

old bullock cart
the crack of the whip
resounding still

Jeff Leong
Malaysia

 

One wheel buckled—
no one sleeps on this journey
to the past

Sarah Davies
Bedford UK

 

rustic wagon with my child
for awhile finding my way
back to Neverland

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Wa. USA

 

abandoned homestead
cold wind whipping
behind the tool shed

Terri French
RV

 

Rustic cart
in the courtyard memories
neatly arranged

Dejan Ivanovic
Lazarevac, Serbia

 

hanami picnic
once again the wagon
under pink tassels

Lakshmi Iyer
Kerala, India

 

fireflies
under the old wagon
the flower trembles

Refika Dedić
BIH

 

abandoned mailbox
two sparrows build a fine home
with brown pine needles

John Zheng
Mississippi

 

goodbyes
from an ox-cart
last longer

Dan Campbell
Virginia

 

faraway moon
I snuggle into the warmth
inside the wagon

Anitha Varma
Kerala, India

 

rosy east . . .
grandpa surfs fields
on the ox cart

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

galaxy—
in the abandoned kiln
dragon’s head

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

long before
green was an issue
tradesman’s barrow

Robert Kingston
UK

 

letting it go
over the years
the hollow tree

Ravi Kiran
India

 

last wagon
sent to the front line—
crashing raindrops

Nicole Pottier
France

 

hayride
our breath freezes
midair

Edna Beers
Rensselaer, NY, USA

 

at Mayo Clinic
a row of wheelchairs
waits for the faded

Jill Spealman
Illinois, United States

 

rusting in peace
the old hay wagon
we had wild rides on

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

broken trail wagon—
hours of work and dreams
left behind

Susan Roberts
Sacramento, CA, USA

 

a great wagon
its apple loads
now autumn leaves

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

the smell of autumn
a homeless man moves into an old wagon

Zdenka Mlinar
Croatia

 

road trip
refills paid on credit
fossil remains

Caroline Giles Banks
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA

 

slower times
rusting chuck wagon
at I-10 rest stop

Christa Pandey
Austin, TX, USA

 

My old age—
the wagon pulled
by grandchildren

Shilpa Bharti
India

 

a rusty tractor
in the sunset light
summer’s end

un trattore arrugginito
nella luce del tramonto
fine dell’estate

Daniela Misso
Italia

 

rustic wagon
. . . yet fresh journeys
go forth

Danijela Grbelja
Croatia, Sibenik

 

rusty brown
the wagon
the weeds

Maurice Nevile
Canberra, Australia

 

granny
rides with the gypsies
bedtime story

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

around the wagon
twines morning glory
horse retired

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China

 

a bit of green left
on the yellow bell pepper—
farmer’s cart

ਪੀਲੀ ਸ਼ਿਮਲਾ ਮਿਰਚ ਤੇ
ਭੋਂਹਾਂ ਕੁ ਹਰਾ ਰੰਗ
ਕਿਸਾਨ ਦਾ ਗੱਡਾ

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

rusted license plates —
the only remains
of my old pickup

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island WA USA

 

uneasy night
the rattling wagon aligns with
a moving constellation

Richa Sharma
India

 

antique milk churns
sprays of gypsophila
around the font

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

 

dew chilled
the bell sound leaving
the brawn kettle

(after Buson)

simonj
UK

 

full moon
and romantic carriage ride . . .
a pooping horse too

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

antique rustic wagon
over the farmer’s initials
a price tag

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

back to the sea the rose peddler and I

Eva Limbach
Deutschland

 

house party
grandpa’s old car
turns into a bar

Teji Sethi
India

 

moving camp
behind the family wagon
the cow tied up

Mona Iordan
Romania

 

old wagon
in war museum
traces of animal blood

Padmini Krishnan
Singapore

 

earthen urn
for the last journey
falls from my hand

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

put out to pasture
a nest beneath the box seat
of his cart

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

 

a wagon wheel
on the wall of the pub
we order another round

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY, USA

 

son’s bicycle
the rusted bell
still ringing

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

broken path . . .
the blessing
of uncertain steps

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

Ferris wheel
a frayed wagon holds its own
at the local fair

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

found the wheel
off my son’s toy truck
once loved

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ

 

rusty wheelbarrow
my dad’s whistling lingers on
its chipped paint

Lisbeth Ho
Salatiga, Indonesia

 

my grandmother’s hands
picked strawberries all her life
hopes and dreams cracked by the sun

(My grandparents were Issei (first generation) and picked strawberries in Santa Maria, CA.)

Genie Nakano
Gardena, CA

 

painting red
on grampa’s rusted bike
the same school house

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France

 

museum piece—
an old cartwheel flowering
stories

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

bike riding
I feel in right knee
my first time

Wiesław Karliński
Namysłów, Poland

 

long drive home
a glimpse of geese
in the bare field

Emily Fogle
California

 

behind the wagon
a field lizard
changed color

Mircea Moldovan
Romania

 

bullock track
all that we leave behind
the scent of crushed thyme

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand

 

mountain village
between the donkey’s ears
the moon

Lyudmila Hristova
Sofia, Bulgaria

 

RV road trip
a turtle tucks
into its shell

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

paint-peeled rowboat
taking in the meadow
my wandering mind

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec

 

wagon ride
the hay
in hay fever

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, CA

 

wheelless . . .
the rusty gas guzzler
now a bird sanctuary

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

growing dusk
childhood memories filling
the broken wagon

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India

 

I pull my
wooden wagon with me—
endless days

John Green
Bellingham, WA USA

 

Old wagon
along the road,
dreams of traveling

Mira Jungić
Sisak, Hrvatska

 

cart wheel
covered with flowers
rural paths in dreams

Stoianka Boianova
Bulgaria

 

old song—
on way to exile
in horse wagons

Minko Tanev
Bulgaria

 

old grandma’s pot
the best fertilizer
for my petunias

Ljiljana Dobra
Croatia

 

the rat race
now a ramble
lockdown

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

village road . . .
grandfather’s stories
of ox cart travels

ꯈꯨꯡꯒꯪꯒꯤ ꯂꯝꯕꯤ . . .
ꯁꯟ ꯒꯥꯔꯤꯗ ꯆꯠꯄꯒꯤ
ꯏꯄꯨꯒꯤ ꯋꯥꯔꯤꯁꯤꯡ

(The above script is known as ‛meitei mayek’, and the language is known as ’meiteilon’.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meitei_script)

Milan Rajkumar
India

 

from the moment
to a memory—
rusty wagon

Dr. Priti Chahar
Agra

 

the old wagon
at the rodeo gate
a replica

Ba Duong
Florida, USA

 

mountain village—
a steam locomotive
on the dead rail

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi
Chivilcoy Buenos Aires Argentina

 

windswept dunes —
dreams of great minds
still drifting

Wakako Miya Rollinger
Topanga, CA

 

weathered wagon—
well fashioned,
now worn

Joe Sebastian
Bangalore

 

last journey
vines cover his wagon
grass covers him

Susan Farner
United States

 

a stop
at the cucumber blooms—
Bee Line Express

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

children on the wagon—
between small hands
wildflowers

Angiola Inglese
Italia

 

solar panels
frame the old wagon
Tesla charging station

Melanie Vance
USA

 

summer rain
on the wagon wheel
the smell of rust

Lafcadio Orlovsky
USA

 

roots . . .
a yellow flower
before leaving

radici . . .
un fiore giallo
prima di partire

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna ( Italia )

 

jasmine tea
in chipped cups
revelling in old times

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

quiet carriage
a networking
spider

Helen Buckingham
United Kingdom

 

farm in ruins
the crickets’ song fills to brim
the rustic wagon

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

 

grown over
rotten spokes and rusted iron
room for mice

Albert Schepers
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

 

old wagon wheel—
how many stories will
I tell the children!

Tomislav Maretić
Zagreb, Croatia

 

little red wagon
rusting in the garden
bursting with roses

Charles Harmon
Los Angeles, California, United States

 

broken wagon
left on its own
a vase for daisies

E. Duffy
Minnesota, USA

 

ghost town—
the empty wagon fills
with twilight

Pippa Phillips
United States

 

home from the beach . . .
pounding sand off the seats
of grandpa’s Buick

Barrie Levine
Wenham MA USA

 

buying a scythe
at the flea market
no hay to cut

Tim Cremin
Massachusetts

 

doorstep guardian
our rusty driftwood swan
in the gardeners’ trash

Kath Abela Wilson
United States

 

earth’s turn sunflower

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

flat irons
grandma’s new
door stops

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio, USA

 

little red wagon
back and forth
to the library

Roberta Beary
County Mayo, Ireland

 

home sale
old Ferrari in the yard
never restored

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

out of service
a barn wagon full of
scarecrow skeletons

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Kumasi, Ghana

 

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 22 Comments

  1. Thanks so much Marietta & co for publishing my latest and congratulations all for being included – the standout ku for me was Roberta Beary’s:
    .
    little red wagon
    back and forth
    to the library
    .
    and I’d neither heard the song or read the book!

  2. The weekly theme makes haiku writing an interesting thing to do. Many thanks to the editor for challenging the poets to focus on transient and imperfect things.

  3. I was drawn to this one as it brings back fond memories of me and my daughter. ‘for awhile’ makes it all the more effective.
    Thanks to Stephen A. Peters, who is also from Bellingham, WA—where I reside. Would love to meet you in person!
    John

    rustic wagon with my child
    for awhile finding my way
    back to Neverland

    Stephen A. Peters
    Bellingham, Wa. USA

    1. I would love to know if you do manage to connect up with a fellow poet in your area, John. It would be great to think it may happen through engaging with Haiku Dialogue! Cheers, Marietta

      1. Thanks, Marietta. I reached out to kj Munro for a possible email exchange but havn’t heard back. We have a couple of haiku groups here in Bellingham and would love if Stephen A Peters would participate. But, that is a personal decision, of course.

        1. Hi John,
          I will, of course, respond to your email… I have just returned home from a few days off-grid, at Tombstone campground on the Dempster Highway – this is the road that leads to the Arctic Ocean – landscape of beautiful brief fall colours… we enjoyed sunshine, & then woke to a hard frost – gratitude for fleece & long johns!! thanks for your patience, kj

  4. Thank you , Marietta, for including my poem this week. Many thanks also to Kj and Lori for all your work in maintaining this inspirational column. It’s always a delight to read the responses and I loved the variety of this week’s collection. I particularly appreciated…

    galaxy—
    in the abandoned kiln
    dragon’s head

    Teiichi Suzuki
    Japan

    For me, this poem captures the thrill of a chance finding. The choice of the word ‘galaxy’ underlines the idea of a collection of treasures waiting to be discovered. The suggestion that it is perhaps a ceramic head of a fire-breathing dragon in the abandoned kiln is especially pleasing.

    1. Thanks, Dorothy for commenting on my haiku.
      I was impressed with your review that got at the heart of this haiku, especially about the word of galaxy.

  5. So many relatable haiku this week about wagons and other aging items. Congratulations to all poets. Particularly struck by Roberta Beary’s wagon going and forth to the library since I live a block from the library, doing that all the time. Thanks for including mine in this mix, Marietta.

  6. Thanks, Marietta, for including my old rowboat. I especially love, in this selection, how Lafcadio Orlovsky brings in scent.
    *
    summer rain
    on the wagon wheel
    the smell of rust
    *

  7. Thank you Marietta for including mine. What a great diverse selection. Congratulations to all poets.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading all
    Looking forward to next weeks contributions.

  8. Dear Marietta, I am delighted to have my haiku included this week. Thank you. And congrats to all the haiku poets here.

    Loves the ‘creaksong’ in Sanjuktaa Asopa’s, and the ‘rusting in peace’ in Tracy Davidson’s. And this one made me chuckle … its nice to know wagon wheels on pub walls are universal.

    a wagon wheel
    on the wall of the pub
    we order another round

    Sari Grandstaff
    Saugerties, NY, USA

  9. Thank you Marietta for including my haiku this week and congratulations to all the haiku poets here. I love Vanda Parashar’s haiku upon which you commented. I also am partial to this one:
    little red wagon
    back and forth
    to the library

    Roberta Beary
    County Mayo, Ireland
    I love the association of the wagon wheel photo to this scene. So many many wonderful haiku here this week. This stands out as one of my favorite groupings. This column is a joy in my life each Wednesday.

    1. So glad you’re enjoying Haiku Dialogue, Sari! I learn something new every week from all the responses. For example, after reading Roberta’s haiku I discovered “Little Red Wagon” was a children’s song in the US, as well as a much-loved book! Cheers, Marietta

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