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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… meeting with old friends & Introduction to Ad Astra

At this time I would like to thank our extraordinary Guest Editor Marietta McGregor for so many wonderful months of fabulous photos & poetry, & now welcome Alex Fyffe, our new Guest Editor for the next few weeks… we are headed to the stars! kj

Introduction to Ad Astra with Guest Editor Alex Fyffe

My name is Alex Fyffe, and I am honored to be the Guest Editor of Haiku Dialogue for the month of November. For this month, I would like us to look up and take inspiration from the vastness of outer space. Each week, in a series called Ad Astra (To the Stars), I will present a new topic based on the Great Out There, ranging from satellites to constellations. However, we will be avoiding our sun and moon, as they already get enough exposure in haiku, and, frankly, I think their egos are big enough as is. So we will focus more on their siblings and hopefully write some stellar haiku in the process. I look forward to reading all of your submissions each week.

next week’s theme: In Japanese haiku, the ama no gawa (lit. River of Heaven) is a popular topic. In English, the term is often translated as Milky Way or the galaxy. Issa, for instance, famously wrote about seeing the Milky Way through a hole in a shoji, a paper sliding door — showing the vastness of space contained inside the tiniest of openings. Outer space can be used to remind us of the smallness of our lives or to make us feel connected to a larger picture, like stepping off a bus directly into the face of the infinite. Write a poem inspired by our solar system or the universe at large.

The deadline is midnight Central Daylight Time, Saturday November 06, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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… meeting with old friends:

This week has brought many pleasures as well as some sadness, reflected in your haiku about the treasured bonds which form over time. The past couple of years has placed a strain on friendships as people have been kept apart by necessity. But your haiku show connections are sustained through letters, phone calls, the internet, and not least of all, memory. One touching thing about long-term friendship is that it doesn’t need to rely on constant chatter. A few of you wrote about those wordless moments when companionable silence was both comfortable and comforting.

My grateful thanks to all poets for making my time with you immensely enjoyable. I’ve loved reading all of your haiku each week. As I wake up in Australia to emails which pop into my inbox overnight, it’s a vivid reminder that even though we may live geographically distant from each other, we’re part of a rich global community of haiku poets. A big thank you to The Haiku Foundation, host and managing editor, Kathy Munro, and post manager, Lori Zajkowski, for smoothing the way for me as guest editor from Down Under. Happy writing, all!

country walk . . .
she steadies herself
with my elbow

Barrie Levine
Wenham MA USA

This understated haiku caught my attention not for what it says, but for what it doesn’t say. The reader assumes this is not the first walk a couple have taken together. We may imagine one or the other lives in the country and it’s their custom after lunch to go for a stroll, catching up on news. Whether they’re friends or family members we don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. Something on this walk is different from others, enough to be noticeable. The trail footing is a little uneven and one of the pair stumbles, momentarily resting her hand on her companion’s arm for support. With this brief touch comes the poet’s sudden realisation that a dear companion, less surefooted than she once was, is growing old, as indeed they both are. The haiku gently conveys both a close, trusting bond, and a wistful sense of time passing.

introvert—
the spring unfurling
of old plant friends

Claire Ninham
North Yorkshire, UK

A keen gardener will understand the sheer pleasure of new spring arrivals. No plants are named, but the haiku anticipates the re-emergence of perennials which have lain dormant over winter and now are popping up again in their usual spots. Of course the setting may not be in a garden. It could be along a riverbank or hedgerow, somewhere the poet walks. Line 1 sets the scene with a single word which describes a shy, retiring frame of mind, or a personal inclination towards apartness. In keeping with our theme of “finding peace and contemplation”, the haiku conveys the calm pleasures to be found not in a crowded bar surrounded by a babble of voices, but somewhere much quieter. The reader pictures the poet’s happy discovery of new fern fiddleheads, spring crocuses from bare earth, or bluebells in a wood, where they reappear season after season like old friends. The haiku could also serve as a metaphor for an introvert who, as spring unfolds, begins also to emerge from their own cocoon of winter seclusion.

sidewalk café
a butterfly lands
on the other chair

Ravi Kiran
India

It took me several readings to tease out this haiku, even though its form appears quite straightforward. One reading, colored by how our lives have been conducted within the strictures of the pandemic, is that a group of friends are meeting for the first time in a long while to enjoy coffee or a meal together. The alighting butterfly could thus be read as a symbol of resurrection and of optimistic hope for a better future. A second reading is darker. When I read “the other chair” over again, I came to think the use of “other” here could be deliberate, and the friends are gathered in the absence of one of their close company who is no longer able to join them. It is an empty chair which draws the butterfly. A haiku which appears simple, but comes with layers of meaning.

museum visits . . .
our friendship part
of the permanent collection

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

How lovely to imagine a long close friendship preserved like a work of art. I relate to this haiku as I have an artist friend who has been my favourite gallery-visiting buddy since we both retired from our university jobs. We’re looking forward to resuming our weekly lunch-and-gallery visits from next week! I can imagine the poet and their friend strolling through a gallery’s halls, pausing at a favorite work, and chatting to each other about something new and wonderful they’ve found in a painting, even after many visits and many years of looking. The beauty of a permanent collection is that these masterpieces will always belong to a museum, and the friendship has the same sense of precious worth, timelessness, and new discoveries.

high school reunion
and then the scent
of his cologne

Sanela Pliško
Hrvatska

A number of haiku this week featured reunions and some featured scents. This poem stood out for its form. It’s a single running sentence, usually something that’s avoided in haiku composition. However, here the poet has created a shift between the first line and Lines 2 and 3. Line 1 sets a general scene. Lines 2 and 3 shift and narrow down from this broad first impression to a more personal sensation, a familiar scent. Smells are highly evocative of a particular time and place. Our olfactory memory can take us there in a rush of emotion, as Proust famously wrote of madeleines softened in tea. In this haiku, a whiff of cologne captures the poet’s attention, possibly before they know the wearer is nearby. Immediately, the past rushes back. We don’t know if the sensation is welcome, or not. Some colognes worn by high school students (naming no brands here) can be assertive! But the scent sure triggers a memory. I think the single sentence works in this case because of the link and shift, which allows the poet’s emotion to be perceived in different ways.

& here are the rest of the selections:

same pipe
a few dreams
on repeat

Don Baird
USA

 

past
turns into present
meeting old friends

Vishnu Kapoor
Chennai, India

 

twenty months later
she still wears
the same smile

Jenn Ryan-Jauregui
Tucson, Arizona USA

 

war buddies
brushing dead leaves from
their headstones

Jim Niffen
South Dakota, USA

 

misty lake
our paddles in sync
voices silent

Ruth Powell
Prince George, BC, Canada

 

city landmarks
in a staggered line
old barflies

John Hawkhead
UK

 

old friends
not a word spoken
between sunsets

Christina Sng
Singapore

 

sparks in the air
between words
between us

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA, USA

 

quiet moment
before the game begins
old friends

Michael Brock
Fentress Co. Tennessee

 

catching up—
on latest movies
our lunch untouched

Hla Yin Mon
Yangon, Myanmar

 

old friends
noisy cicadas
in the days of harvest

Vincenzo Adamo
Italy

 

talking talking a sip of tea talking

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

cappuccino beards
my friend tells me
I am her lunch break

Kati Mohr
Nuremberg, Germany

 

faces unmasked—
how dear these old maps
of our shared past

Penny Harter
Mays Landing, NJ

 

sharing our past
in a game of scrabble
the silenced stare

Lakshmi Iyer
India

 

haircut
fifty years of hearing
hers is better

Roberta Beary
County Mayo Ireland

 

crowded platform—
her hat waving
goodby

Nikola Duretic
Zagreb, Croatia

 

tv on—
eating popcorn
among friends

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

 

ice lollies to ice cubes—
the warmth of the hugs
remain unchanged

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

butternut squash seeds
sizzle in butter
her many friends

John S Green
Bellingham, WA

 

meeting here now
with my longtime friend
cemetery forest

Helga Stania
Switzerland

 

graduation anniversary
an old rose garden
long without a gardener

Ljiljana Dobra
Croatia, Šibenik

 

group photo
laughter among our old clan
a toothless one

Anna Yin
Ontario, Canada

 

crossing paths
with an old friend
October light

Peter Newton
Rutland, VT, USA

 

school reunion
giggling like we used to
fifty years before

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand

 

looking for
a piece of our youth—
school reunion

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

three decades . . .
your smile’s fragrance
is the same

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

 

where we meet for drinks
a fly rests on the table—
sunlit cafe

Gillena Cox
St James, Trinidad

 

old friend
trying to decipher
his face

Firdaus Parvez
India

 

friends
old enough to wear
comfortable shoes

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK

 

father’s gone
mother’s peace
is found in memory

Rose van Son
Australia

 

I offer
parijat in cupped hands
he breathes deep

(parijat – a small white-petalled delicate flower with an orange stem and a sweet fragrance)

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India

 

a soulmate—
old memories washed down
with young wine

Franjo Ordanić
Croatia

 

end of the day—
two friends share
the same pillow

Nicole Pottier
France

 

Alzheimers—
the strangers on the
classmates photo

Aljoša Vuković
Croatia, Šibenik

 

rose garden . . .
softening as we walk
her cane’s rhythm

Keiko Izawa
Yokohama, Japan

 

old friendship
whiskey at the bottom
of the bottle

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia

 

laughing with old friends
about what we remember
and what we forget

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY

 

longtime friends
reflecting over coffee
a hint of home

Anthony Rabang
Philippines

 

school reunion
how easily we slip back
into our old skins

Anitha Varma
Kerala, India

 

those songs
sung together
gone all solo

Ram Chandran
India

 

a catch-up
with long lost friends
no need to explain my scars

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

weedy tomb
two glasses of wine
and an old man

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China

 

just today
I made
an old friend

Christopher Seep
United States

 

sharing poetry
on a petrified
piece of history

Vicki Vogt
Watertown, MA USA

 

still life—
still in the shade
still friends

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

two old armchairs . . .
the silence between us
is comfortable

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom

 

at this age
most of the others
already gone

Ingrid Baluchi
Ohrid, North Macedonia

 

friends for years
our finely tuned
silence

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

 

corner bar
familiar laughter
fills my heart

Gabriel Diaz-Aviles
United States

 

the scrapbook—
one anecdote
follows another

Richa Sharma
India

 

on Museum Street
in the secondhand bookshop
we kick up old leaves

J E Jeanie Armstrong
Canterbury Kent

 

bus tour
the old soul
of a new friend

Pat Davis
Pembroke, NH USA

 

old friends
the way we hold on to
each other’s secrets

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

Tuesday, four a.m.—
just another guitar jam
with three dead friends

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island WA USA

 

the first kiss
after months
mask to mask

Maurice Nevile
Australia

 

new life, new friends
how quickly
we connect

Carol Reynolds
Australia

 

family picnic
I realise
I’m my mother’s age

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

in wordless rhythm
friends double sculling
to a long glide

Richard Matta
San Diego, California

 

walking to school
a friend waits for me
at the corner

Deborah P Kolodji
Temple City, California, USA

 

me
and my old self . . .
time unwinding

Vijay Prasad
Patna, India

 

distanced walk
with an old friend
our shadows touch

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

 

chitchat
the old flames
in their eyes

Sherry Grant
Auckland, New Zealand

 

old friends
we revive our youth
in video chats

Meera Rehm
UK

 

tenth college reunion
notably missing
his mandarin-myrtle perfume

Padmini Krishnan
Singapore

 

in the hug
all the unspoken—
reunion

Mirela Brăilean
Romania

 

quiet afternoon
old friends sitting together
recalling our dead

Glenda Cimino
Dublin, Ireland

 

thirst quenched
sipping from Chiyo-ni’s
well-bucket

Caroline Giles Banks
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

 

walking the city
with an old friend
doing nothing

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ

 

old friends slightly faded puzzle pieces

Margaret Walker
Lincoln, NE, USA

 

old friends
final goodbyes
no words needed

Edna Beers
Renssealaer, NY

 

climate change—
my cat starts purring
to her dog

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy

 

old friends . . .
one smile
is enough

Ana Drobot
Romania

 

memories of a lost friend the equinox

Yasir Farooq
Pakistan

 

a game of chess
old friends
lethal manoeuvres

Donal O’Farrell
Dublin, Ireland

 

summer park bench
two old dogs
nodding

Brian Thompstone
UK

 

an old friend
shows up in a dream
afterlife

Tim Cremin
Massachusetts

 

estate sale
a price tag
on his absence

Lorraine A Padden
San Diego, CA USA

 

deep autumn
forty years after college
his death news

John Zheng
Mississippi USA

 

years gone by
conversation resumes
where we left off

JL Huffman
Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, USA

 

last chapter
becomes a first chapter
meeting with childhood friend!

Santhanam Gajendran
Tamilnadu, India

 

reunion
we revert to
our childhood nicknames

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

old girls’ reunion
all the wrinkles around
our ice-cream smiles

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

empty cafe—
past meetings before
the pandemic

Stoianka Boianova
Bulgaria

 

slowly shrinking—
wool sweaters in the rain
and old friends

Dan Campbell
Virginia

 

telling us
the sound of our laughter
it’s always the same

Elisa Allo
Zug, Switzerland

 

reunion
some compare salaries,
some wrinkles

Vandana Parashar
India

 

trick-or-treat
giving out candies
on zoom

Zoe Grant
Auckland, New Zealand

 

loud silence . . .
a tight hug
from the bestie

Devoshruti Mandal
Varanasi, India

 

same blue eyes
and the cinnamon perfume
of her hands

Mircea Moldovan
România

 

group picture
we still remember
our places

Susan Farner
United States

 

easing lockdown . . .
at the city cafe
we unmask ourselves

Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

birthday
I traveled back in years
with friends

Priti Khullar
Noida, India

 

meeting after years
the crystal turtle
I offer her

Mona Iordan
Romania

 

coffee with friends—
the sweet flavour of youth

café con amigos—
el sabor dulce de juventud

Julia Guzmán
Córdoba Argentina

 

remember when . . .
followed with gales of laughter
school reunion

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India

 

reading poetry
on the poet’s grave
old friends

Zdenka Mlinar
Hrvatska

 

do you remember?
old friends names
across the table

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
The Hague, Netherlands

 

meeting of the month—
at the bar table
one less

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi
Chivilcoy Buenos Aires Argentina

 

buzz of words
or thoughts with silence
the ease of old friends

Gloria Whitney
Findley Lake, New York USA

 

class reunion—
imitating “Summer of ’69”
in his voice

Joe Sebastian
Bangalore, India

 

twilight years
savoring the silence
between us

Nick T
Somerset, UK

 

get-together . . .
a friend always tells
the same joke

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania Italy

 

map gap
measuring our lives
with phone calls

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

growing louder
than our kaffeeklatsch
the silence

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada

 

five o’clock tea
former comrades of war
around the samovar

Florin C. Ciobica
Romania

 

finding each other
afresh via stereopticon . . .
twilight sets

Melanie Vance
USA

 

slipper orchids
my sister and I laze
on the porch

Margaret Tau
New Bern, NC

 

sitting in silence—
behind us the endless
sea-song

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India

 

years slip by
yet still we speak of
‛those’ shoes

Helene Guojah
UK

 

ancora insieme . . .
sotto la grande quercia
l’eco d’una promessa

still together . . .
under the great oak
the echo of a promise

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna Italia

 

the snort
in her real
laughter

Emily Fogle
California

 

black to gray hair
the bond of friendship
in our photographs

Lisbeth Ho
Salatiga, Central Java, Indonesia

 

shared secret
the evening breeze
disappears

Maya Daneva
The Netherlands

 

ginger cupcakes
to spice
our longed-for meeting

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

hospital waiting room
instant camaraderie
with a stranger

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

home
anywhere the music plays
our old songs

Didimay D. Dimacali
USA

 

hummingbird feeder
our conversation picks up
from two years ago

Claire Vogel Camargo
USA

 

her thatched cottage
40 years, a world away
roses in our hair

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, CA , USA

 

old friends cafe—
in front of the empty chair her black tea
and one for me

Elena Zouain
France

 

class reunion
they remember the friends
who are gone

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio, USA

 

left and right
friends find common ground
in the dog park

Hildy Bachman
Oakton, Virginia

 

super store
an encounter with an aunt
I was forbidden to see

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

missing my lost friend
next to me on the couch
my cat pillow

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles

 

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 31 Comments

  1. Here are my favorites from this collection:
    .
    sidewalk café
    a butterfly lands
    on the other chair

    Ravi Kiran
    India
    .
    talking talking a sip of tea talking

    Deborah Karl-Brandt
    Bonn, Germany
    .
    three decades . . .
    your smile’s fragrance
    is the same

    Subir Ningthouja
    Imphal, India
    .
    friends
    old enough to wear
    comfortable shoes

    Keith Evetts
    Thames Ditton UK
    .
    old friends
    the way we hold on to
    each other’s secrets

    Mona Bedi
    Delhi, India
    .
    .

  2. Marietta, thank you so much for such a lovely set of prompts and some really useful commentaries. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your weekly challenges. Thank you also to Kj and Lori for all the work you do to make Haiku Dialogue a weekly treat to read. And welcome, Alex!

  3. Thank you Marietta for all your interesting photos and inspiring comments. I had (and I am sure all the haiku poets) a very enjoyable literary journey.

    Looking forward to our literary experience beyond the moon and the stars with Alex (welcome!).

    Thanks as always to Kathy and Lori for THF!

  4. astronaut’s loot
    a back stage pass
    for northern lights

    opera night
    another sound capsule launched
    in the void

  5. My thanks, Marietta, for taking us on such a lovely tour over the last three months. I enjoyed each and every prompt, picture and comment.

    Thanks, kj and Lori, for all your work.

    Welcome, Alex.

  6. Marietta, thank you so much for selecting my haiku.
    Congrats to all the haikuists.
    I enjoyed your challenging themes each week
    and learned much from your thoughtful review.
    Thanks again.

  7. Dear Marietta, I have really enjoyed reading the selections and commentary and have learned so much. Thank you for including some of my own words here, it has been a real confidence boost for a beginner. Very best wishes.

  8. Thank-you Marietta for hosting this column all these weeks. You will be missed. Thank-you also to Kathy and Lori. Welcome Alex.

  9. Though I didn’t participate every week, I enjoyed all of Marietta’s prompts and reading everyone’s haiku. Thank you for putting in the time, Marietta. I know that was a lot of reading! <3

  10. Thanks, Marietta, for your wonderful photos and prompts! And it was a lovely surprise to find your thoughtful comments on mine this week. Your readings have been unfailingly insightful and stimulating–a very good run, indeed!

  11. Thankyou so much dear Marietta for your valuable time, effort and patience as the editor. Really enjoy reading your commentary and all the selection. Happy too to be familiar with many names and reading their haiku, a lovely friendship across the nations through this haikai poetry

  12. What a pleasure to read this wonderful collection of poems. I am inspired to reach out to some of my old friends. Thank you everyone who contributed, and thank you Marietta for your inspiring photos and prompts.

  13. I’m going to savour all these poems in time, and particularly your useful comments on those you have singled out and commented upon, Marietta. These weeks in your company have been a treat and much appreciated.
    Thank you for all your time and effort, and for those who work quietly behind the scenes to make this something to look forward to each Wednesday, and thank you for including my poem again this week.

  14. Thanks so much Marietta. Have enjoyed your themes, selections and commentaries the past few weeks and obviously I’m chuffed to have had mine included alongside so many revered names. Enjoy that coffee with friends.

    Thanks also to kj and Lori for all the work behind the scenes. To echo what Sari said, the weekly Haiku Dialogue is such a poetic treat.

  15. I also feel privileged to have my included here. Thank you! Thank you Marietta for your time of guest editing and welcome Alex. Wonderful haiku this week, too many favorites to name. This weekly haiku dialogue is such a poetic treat.

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