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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… Photo Four

Finding Peace and Contemplation… in small things with Guest Editor Marietta McGregor

A note for all those submitting to Haiku Dialogue – our new submission form is working well – please note that we will no longer be accepting submissions sent on the old Contact Form… thanks for your understanding, kj

At times in our lives, fast-moving events of our day-to-day existence may become overwhelming. Between work and family responsibilities, daily needs and doomscrolling, days rush by in a breakneck blur and we sometimes end the week with a sense of ‘where did that go?’ We’re surrounded by the wonders of our shared universe. Maybe it’s time to become immersed in the enjoyment of one aspect of this spectacular world which amazes, delights and refreshes us. We can marvel at the night sky or clouds by day, cheer a ladybug as it climbs a twig and opens its wings, dangle our feet in a cool river, rest in a tree’s benevolent shade, stroke velvety green moss, smell ozone freshness at the coast, crunch through frosty grass, listen to morning birdsong, taste a last autumn apple. Small pauses in quotidian life may be devoted to living slower, using every sense, and sharing our pleasure through poetry. Simple gifts.

Each week for the next few weeks there will be a photographic prompt on the theme of ‘Finding peace and contemplation. . .’ with images capturing moments when we might seek inspiration if the going gets tough. I look forward to reading your personal response to the moments you’ve discovered.

next week’s theme: in hidden corners Photo One – lichen-covered seat

Hidden corners draw us in because of their sense of being away from day-to-day reality. Each spring, residents of Robertson, a country village in the rainy Australian southern highlands, open their lush gardens to the public. I saw this bench in a back garden. Tucked by a bed of bluebells (a spring kigo?) and luxuriantly cushioned with lichens, it had a magical air. I wondered how long it was since someone sat here. I didn’t sit in case I damaged the mantle of feathery lichens. Do you have a hidden corner in a garden or park you love? A place you return to for solace or calm? I look forward to reading your haiku inspired by this week’s prompt. Please submit up to two poems.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday March 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 Photo Four – tiny plant in rock crevice:

Thank you all very much for writing to February’s prompts. I’ve enjoyed being with you, and hope everyone who loves reading and writing haiku will continue seeking peace and contemplation in March, as we visit hidden corners. And a grateful thank-you to Kathy and Lori as well for their diligent support of a newbie guest editor from Down Under, and for ensuring all went smoothly despite our time differences.

This week’s prompt of a small plant in a rocky cleft inspired haiku about the various ways of surviving and thriving under difficult circumstances. A favourite theme was shoots popping up through pavement cracks, an apt visual metaphor for persistence and resilience. I took my time over your poems. When I slow down it helps to open up different meanings for me. My commentaries about your haiku are impressions of the poems as they speak to me. You will have your individual readings and reactions based on how a haiku speaks to you through your personal experience and perspective.

clinging to
a crack in the world
saxifrage and I

Dana Rapisardi
New Jersey, US

The very deliberate choice of a particular word drew me to this haiku. Line 2 could have been written as ‘a crack in the earth’, or ‘a crack in the rocks’. But no. Here we have plant and poet both hanging on to something so much more profound – ‘the world’. The poem made me think about our insignificant place on the planet and how fragile is our hold on our watery spheroid spinning through space. Line 1 thus gains even more meaning. As an aside, when I took the photograph in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, I couldn’t identify the little plant’s genus, but it doesn’t really matter – ‘saxifrage’ works for me. Someone may be able to tell me what it is.

the tundra
of her memory then
my name

Sandra St-Laurent
Yukon, Canada

This ineffably sad haiku wrenched my heart. At first there appeared to be a single image, but then I realised this was not so. The ‘tundra of her memory’ evokes a very stark vision of the blank whiteness of a fading mind. The poem’s form, bringing ‘then’ up to the end of Line 2 and thus creating a momentary pause when reading aloud, emphasises the poet’s shock at hearing their name spoken unexpectedly – a sound from out of nowhere, perhaps the only memory which remains. To me this is a powerful and deeply moving poem about loss and love.

desert camp
our camels nibble
between the rocks

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Ghana

I admire camels for their apparent stoic acceptance of their surroundings. Maybe it’s their height or haughty expressions, but they seem like independent spirits. They thrive in terrain that would challenge other large mammals, even goats. Australia is home to the world’s biggest population of wild camels. About 300,000 feral camels descended from pack animals imported in the 19th century roam the deserts of the Outback. Many are such fine specimens Australia exports them back to Arab countries for racing. This haiku uses unadorned language to paint a picture of somewhere remote and harsh. Travellers have pitched camp and their beasts are free to wander around and snatch a bit of lean pick from wherever they can find it. A haiku about survival on very little.

arid ground—
waiting for a haiku
to germinate

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

Haven’t we all been there​? This poem sums up the feeling when inspiration just doesn’t want to come. Overthinking doesn’t help much. Best to free the mind and allow the seed of a fresh idea to sprout and finally reach the light of day, even though new haiku, like some seed sprouts (parsley, anyone!), may take a long time to appear.

tiny crevice . . .
we decide to give us
another chance

Aparna Pathak
India

Like a seed lodged between rocks, this very personal haiku gradually insinuated itself. The line 1 fragment, ‘tiny crevice’, implies a fragile reality. A sheltered place in rocky ground may hold a little soil and catch some rain. Something may take root and bloom here, or it may not. To me, the juxtaposition effectively emphasises how touch-and-go a mutual decision may have been when it comes to giving a relationship (‘us’) some more time. The image in the photograph of survival in a rocky place (again, the relationship?) gives an inkling that this time, things will work out.

below are the rest of the selections:

drinking
the mystery
desert petroglyphs

Marilyn Ashbaugh
Tucson, Arizona USA

 

high desert winds
finding a niche where
it’s least expected

Michael Henry Lee

 

small pond—
a whirligig dancing
on the sky

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

no matter what happens
first crocuses
popping through the snow

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland

 

hostile terrain
how welcome
this caravanserai

Ingrid Baluchi
Ohrid, North Macedonia

 

digging deeper
to find the roots
adopted child

Vandana Parashar
India

 

tender sprouts
even stones after all
not so stony

vishnu kapoor
Chennai, India

 

grandma’s house—
scent of jasmine
among the ruins

Maria Teresa Piras
Serrenti, Italy

 

finding my niche
the tangled roots
I broke free from

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

parental home—
forget-me-not blooms
from the rubble

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

thinking I’d only
rest here
for a moment

Marita Gargiulo
CT, US

 

left to live alone
a sticker sticks
upside down

Mary Vlooswyk
Calgary, AB

 

ishitsuki
twelve minutes after
life on mars

simonj UK
ishitsuki = rock-attached (bonsai)

 

cactus flower—
finding love
in an unexpected heart

Hassane Zemmouri
Algiers/ Algeria

 

pitchfork weed
splitting the sidewalk
my thin shadow

Alex Fyffe
United States

 

wildflowers—
blooming in
sidewalk cracks

Dan Campbell
Virginia

 

cracked pavement
the zigzag patterns
of wild grass

Hifsa Ashraf
Pakistan

 

out of a crack
the day enters
into mother’s care

Richa Sharma
India

 

from a germ
of an idea . . .
new growth

Karen Harvey
North Wales, UK

 

this stark canvas
o n e          by
                            o n e             by
                                                                       o n e
stars shimmer

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France

 

desert flower
carving out this life
around the sun

Xenia Tran
Scotland

 

pandemic shutdown
. . . there
the wild things are

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

sharing my water—
the new wildflower
in our back field

Pat Davis
Pembroke, NH

 

thirty years housebound the ways we learn to pretend

Pris Campbell
USA

 

blossoming
against the odds
foster child

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA

 

I tell her—
you’re stronger
than you think

Margaret Mahony
Australia

 

tiny flowers
overlooked until
a butterfly alights

Tomislav Maretić
Zagreb, Croatia

 

breaching blacktop
the sunny blossom
of a dandelion

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA US

 

sudden sunlight
in cracks of the Western Wall
we plant our prayers

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, California

 

end of cold winter
early spring
through the cracks

Didimay D. Dimacali
USA

 

wild azaleas
through the sidewalk crack
her new resolution

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia

 

the plant’s root a sculptor’s chisel

Susan Farner
United States

 

lacklustre morning
through bricks and plaster
a glimpse of our home

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

“it’s cancer”…
my world shrinks
to here and now

Michele L. Harvey
Hamilton, NY

 

new green deal
in all the sidewalk cracks
moss

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Huntsville, Alabama

 

child’s gift—
a dandelion plucked
from a sidewalk crack

Carol Judkins

 

stonecrop edging
a sidewalk
outside the food bank

Lorraine Padden
San Diego, California

 

night jasmine
a late bloomer
catches up

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

mom’s gone
I learn now to mother
myself

Maya Daneva
Nederland

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 10 Comments

  1. Thank you, dear poets, for your wonderful poems and kind words. Looking forward to joining you next month!

  2. Hello Marietta, thank for selecting my haiku and adding a review. It was revealing to learn more about camels beyond my limited knowledge of consuming gallons of water to sustain them on their difficult trip through the desert.

  3. Thank you Marietta for this beautiful selection! I especially enjoyed

    grandma’s house—
    scent of jasmine
    among the ruins

    Maria Teresa Piras
    Serrenti, Italy

    Thank you so much for including my poem too.

    Warm regards, Xenia

  4. Congrats to all the poets !! I enjoyed reading all poems.
    Thank you, Marietta, for selecting one of my haiku.
    Thank you Kathy and Lori for your work.
    Stay safe and healthy!

  5. Thank you, Marietta, for another inspiring prompt and also for including my poem in your commentary this week. Many thanks also to Kathy and Lori for all the administration. Reading the column is definitely one of the highlights of my writing week.

    Congratulations to all the poets! Another great and varied selection to read, enjoy and re-read. From the many that lingered in my mind, this one in particular appealed to me…

    small pond—
    a whirligig dancing
    on the sky

    Teiichi Suzuki

    This great image surprised me at first but the more I thought about it, the more I found it memorable. It provides a striking moment from the natural world with the reflection of the sky on a small pond and an insect darting across the water. It also made me think about what it is to be a human being within a vast universe.

    I look forward to reading next week’s selection!

    1. Thank you Dorothy for your insightful review about my haiku.
      And thanks, Marietta, selecting my haiku.

  6. Hi to all poets, Marietta, Lori, and kj,
    I’d like to highlight two poems that resonated with me.
    tiny flowers
    overlooked until
    a butterfly alights by Tomislav M.
    I’ve often followed the flight of a butterfly in my small garden to see what it sees when it lands. It will be a few more months until the butterflies return here.
    clinging to
    a crack in the world
    saxifrage and I by Dana R.
    This poem brought me back to the first time I saw saxifrage growing in a rocky spot on a mountain trail, way back when I could climb mountains. I loved everything about it – the shade of green, the flowers, the shape of the leaves, and its ability to grow without much soil.
    Thanks, Marietta, for including mine.
    Pat

  7. child’s gift—
    a dandelion plucked
    from a sidewalk crack
    .
    Carol Judkins
    .
    The sweet image in this haiku made me smile.

  8. Thank-you Marietta for selecting mine. Thank-you Kathy and Lori for your efforts. Congrats to all the poets !!

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