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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… Photo One

Welcome to Finding Peace and Contemplation… in small 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 theme: Photo Two – milkweed pod


 

This mature milkweed pod grew in heritage grounds at Fruita, in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Lush green orchards established by migrating homesteaders in 1881 and surrounded by huge cottonwoods form a startling juxtaposition against desert-varnished red rock canyon walls. Climate change with more erratic rainfall and higher summer temperatures poses a future challenge. Milkweed nourishes monarch butterflies, and the burst pod is one element in their migratory cycle. The image could be said to have wabi sabi — the simple and short-lived beauty of worn, weathered and decaying things. Transience has always been a rich source for haiku. I look forward to your responses to the image and how small things can embody change, imperfection, or impermanence.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday February 13, 2021.

Please submit one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme by clicking here: Contact Form.  Please put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box, & include your name as you would like it to appear, & your place of residence, with your poem.

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 One – bee in blossom:

First of all, my deep bow of thanks to participating poets for your perceptive and lively responses to my prompt. I very much enjoyed reading all your poems — a fine welcome for me! There were many more poems I would have liked to include in this week’s collection. Scent, taste and sound as well as visual imagery were used to good effect. A recurrent theme was concern for bees and the role they play in nature. Several haiku made me laugh out loud with their wry humour. Many consider lightheartedness as well as lightness to be essential characteristics of haiku and senryu. We see gentle humour in many of Issa’s haiku — for example, when he writes that even when lit by a harvest moon his house is trashy. In this week’s offers, garden parties recurred as a theme, with lots of conversation and interactions between guests. Some poets riffed away from the bee image to vegetables, damson fruit, snails, owls and other garden delights, often in happy colours of yellow and red. And you saw the sensual side of honeypots, too! I’m glad so many find peace and contemplation in small things.

bees om
blossom

Helen Buckingham

Helen Buckingham’s haiku worked well for me on several levels. The word ‛blossom’ has been deconstructed, resulting in a form I would liken to a ‛concrete’ or ‛visual’ haiku. Repeated aloud, the poem’s internal assonance and use of sibilants give it the lulling sensation of a mantra or incantation. Mantras are used to aid concentration, to help focus the mind. Like a mantra, the bees’ buzz is all-pervasive and mesmerising, as anyone who has stood in a field of flowering lavender will agree. In the three words of this striking poem, the poet brings an image to life with spareness and simplicity.

summer’s amber drift
a bee bumbles about
my hawaiian shirt

John Hawkhead

This poem amused me by the picture it conjures up. I can clearly see that vivid tropical shirt! It’s probably splashed with large red hibiscus flowers a bee would find very alluring. We’ve all seen bees bumbling about colourful objects which have no nectar or pollen. After a while they move on, but it can be disconcerting if they hang around so it’s best to stay still until they realise there’s nothing for them and they leave. The kigo fragment, ‛summer’s amber drift’, aptly conveys a sense of languid warmth and relaxation. And amber is the colour of the bee. Perhaps the poet has dozed off in a garden chair, only to wake up and find they’re now a bee magnet. An enjoyable haiku.

visiting mom
the subtle taste of cardamom
in my tea

Nisha Raviprasad

I kept being drawn back to this haiku which works for me on several levels. The bee visiting a blossom is transformed into an individual visiting a parent, maybe at the end of a busy working week. A relaxing cup of tea, taken with a little sugar and in company of someone dear, can taste like nectar. I also love cooking curries. Cardamom is a beautiful and expensive spice known as the Queen of Spices. It comes in the form of small plump green or dark pods containing knobbly brown seeds, or as powdered spice. Originating in India, it’s deeply flavoured with a sweet, smoky, almost myrtaceous aroma, and can be used in savoury or sweet dishes. Scents are very evocative of place and time. We’re drawn to them by association. Drinking tea with a parent, the poet detects a familiar spice redolent of her mother’s home, and this to me imbues the haiku with a feeling of continuity and hence, well-being.

in the park
someone practices piccolo
pink plum buds

Kit Nagamura

This haiku combines colour with music in a delightfully light and jaunty way. The piccolo is the smallest of the woodwinds, and is played similarly to a flute. Its original name in Italian is flauto piccolo, small flute, and it is pitched one octave higher than a flute. What a perfect instrument to play among the blossoming plums! With the use of assonance, the poet evokes the lightly tripping melody (pink notes?) of the little piccolo drifting through the budding trees, foreshadowing the fleeting dance of the blossoms when the wind takes them. Another good haiku to read aloud.

Below in no particular order are all the other selections for this week. I hope you enjoy reading them — do please feel free to add your own responses to the poems by posting a comment.

below are the rest of the selections:

garden walk
the sparrows teach me
perfect pitch

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera, CA USA

 

park picnic
flower heads bobbing
with bees

Marion Clarke

 

a drunken bee—
from flower to flower
homecoming

Dennys Cambarau
Sardinia, Italy

 

biology class
does the bee know
that it is in the textbook

Aljoša Vuković
Šibenik, Croatia

 

the pulse
in a bumblebee’s wing
scent of roses

getaran
pada sayap seekor lebah
aroma mawar

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia

 

collapsing hut
nest of wild bees
under the roof

Tsanka Shishkova

 

closed gate
a small cloud
of ladybirds

Helga Stania

 

unwrapping the gifts
they leave behind . . .
owl pellets

Carol Jones

 

a corner of calm
after the chaos . . .
peace garden

Tracy Davidson
UK

 

wisteria pergola—
the sweet chirping
between words

Daniela Misso
Italy

 

in the garden
lost among the flowers . . .
my worries

Nick T
UK

 

fresh cut flowers—
the bee outside
befuddled by glass

Helen Ogden

 

scent of flowers
sweetness of honey
when we first met

Vishnu Kapoor

 

foxgloves . . .
a bumble bee
wiggles inside

Marilyn Ashbaugh
Gulf Stream, Florida

 

settling sun
trapped in the tapper’s gourd
a bee’s song

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Kumasi, Ghana

 

spring rains
her bucket
full of snails

Ben Oliver

 

from blossom to blossom
to my yellow blouse
honeybees

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama, USA

 

winter afternoon
watching poppy flowers
chase the sun

Rehn Kovacic

 

lavender bush the sting last spring

Madhuri Pillai

 

bee-stung lips
everyone pouts
in a selfie

Vandana Parashar

 

sun-back dress
all the gathers
in her mother’s pattern

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

a blooming gladiola—
so much work
for a bee!

Tomislav Maretić

 

so fragrant
a flower that I don’t know
along the road

così profumato
un fiore che non so
lungo la strada

Maria Teresa Piras

 

picking flowers . . .
the honeybee shows me
a better way

Pat Davis

 

sweet-tasting honey
a favorite of humans
and Winnie the Pooh

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA

 

bee swarm—
the distant buzzes and hums
of an air-conditioner

Taofeek Ayeyemi
Abeokuta, Nigeria

 

falling cherry blossom
the moon filling
the space between

Michelle Beyers

 

white poppies
stained with pollen—
spring fever

Carole MacRury

 

summer moon
flitting around flowerpots
a hummingbird moth

Tomislav Sjekloća
Cetinje, Montenegro

 

daisies . . .
the sunlight vibrates
with first bee

margherite . . . la luce del sole vibra con la prima ape

Lucia Cardillo

 

soba—
snow of buckwheat
chef’s zen

Sarika Jaswani

 

sun on lavender—
bees hum away
my blues

Dorothy Burrows
United Kingdom

 

holding their head high
a bouquet of mums
at the fertility clinic

Sandra St-Laurent
Yukon (Canada)

 

empty bird’s nest
next summer’s
morning songs

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

spring signs—
the stinging remark
of my baby girl

Luisa Santoro

 

raspberry patch
a bumblebee rests
on my sleeve

Gary Evans

 

blossom viewing
the lyth valley damsons
all for one bee

simonj UK

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 25 Comments

  1. This is such an amazing set of haiku, mixing the senses, surprising and full of sound, sight and fragrance. So many surprises! From the beginning Jackie Chou sets a wonderful tone, receptive and observant

    garden walk
    the sparrows teach me
    perfect pitch

    Jackie Chou

    park picnic
    flower heads bobbing
    with bees

    Marion Clarke
    what could be more visual and at the same time buzzing

    a drunken bee—
    from flower to flower
    homecoming

    Dennys Cambarau
    Sardinia, Italy

    biology class
    does the bee know
    that it is in the textbook

    Aljoša Vuković
    Šibenik, Croatia

    the pulse
    in a bumblebee’s wing
    scent of roses

    getaran
    pada sayap seekor lebah
    aroma mawar

    Agus Maulana Sunjaya
    Tangerang, Indonesia

    collapsing hut
    nest of wild bees
    under the roof

    Tsanka Shishkova

    closed gate
    a small cloud
    of ladybirds

    Helga Stania

    unwrapping the gifts
    they leave behind . . .
    owl pellets

    Carol Jones

    a corner of calm
    after the chaos . . .
    peace garden

    Tracy Davidson
    UK

    wisteria pergola—
    the sweet chirping
    between words

    Daniela Misso
    Italy

    1. The comment posted with finishing–!–Dynns
      with a drunken bee and Aljosa I love the perceptive –soes it know it’s is a textbook comment!
      Tsanka — the surprise of a collapsing hut! Helga the surprise of ladybirds! Daniela Tracy Carol… what a series of wonders –unforgettable treasure… so happy I could feel all this wonder thank you Marietta for inspiration and all the poets here for vibrant expressiveness!

      1. Hello Kathabela! Thank you so much for highlighting so many of your favourite poems, and your lovely comments. So glad you enjoyed all the beautiful poems! Warm wishes, Marietta

  2. Marietta Mc Gregor
    I can’t enter the contact page.

    clouds at Easter-
    the short time
    of peony flowers
    ***********************************
    if only I could
    see them flourish –
    wisteria seeds

  3. A wonderful selection of poems and congratulations to all the poets ! Many thanks to Marietta for such an inspiring challenge and helpful commentary and to Kj and Lori for the administration.Thank you also for including my verse this week. I loved all the poems selected for Marietta’s commentary and many others too! For me, one particularly memorable poem is

    holding their head high
    a bouquet of mums
    at the fertility clinic

    Sandra St-Laurent

    ‘A bouquet of mums’ is a brilliant collective noun in the context of a fertility clinic. Sandra has captured the joy of women whose pursuit of motherhood is successful. The first line suggests that buzz of happiness felt by new parents. By implication, it also hints at the anxiety of the other women at the clinic who are awaiting treatment or waiting for results etc and who may not have their heads held high. A thought-provoking poem that manages to suggest both joy and poignancy.

    I look forward to reading next week’s selection.

    1. Hello Dorothy! Thank you for the kind words. Looking forward to reading your beautiful poems in future weeks. Marietta

  4. Marietta–a wonderful photo and a wonderful selection of responses! I agree with everyone about Helen’s brilliant, resonant om poem. Another stand-out (among the so many) was this one:
    *
    settling sun
    trapped in the tapper’s gourd
    a bee’s song
    *
    Adjei Agyei-Baah
    Kumasi, Ghana
    *
    The image itself is lovely, and the language is a delight: that the sun is “settling” and not the more predicable “setting,” is a nice surprise, and the echoes of “trapped”/ “tapper” creates perhaps a kind of syncopation with the bees’ standard buzz, or, even better, helps us hear their sound as a song, not a buzz. I’ve loved reading and rereading this–especially aloud.

    Thanks, everyone, for the contributions.

    1. Hi Laurie! I’m so glad you enjoyed all the great verses. It was pleasure for me to receive them. I agree with you about Adjei’s lovely verse. The sounds are beautiful.

  5. This is an especially delightful collection of haiku and senryu! Fun, thoughtful, sweet!

    This one by Kit really speaks to me. I see the piccolo and the bees both zipping from one point to another..
    in the park
    someone practices piccolo
    pink plum buds

    Kit Nagamura

    And these two gave me two different but wonderful reactions.

    sun on lavender—
    bees hum away
    my blues

    Dorothy Burrows
    United Kingdom

    holding their head high
    a bouquet of mums
    at the fertility clinic

    Sandra St-Laurent
    Yukon (Canada)

    I could go on for every poem here, but will leave it at that. Thanks for including mine among these bee-autiful haiku!

    1. Many thanks, Peggy, for mentioning my poem. I am delighted that you enjoyed reading it. I enjoyed your verse too!
      The vision of a honey bee buzzing around a bright blouse conjured up a delightful picture of a warm summer garden. A lovely image for a cold and dull day in winter!

  6. empty bird’s nest
    next summer’s
    morning songs
    .
    Greer Woodward
    Waimea, HI
    .
    This haiku captures a moment in the present and many moments to come in the future. Very Clever.

  7. I agree with everyone who has highlighted Helen Buckingham’s haiku – three cheers for experimental forms! Every poem had its own charm – thanks to everyone.

  8. Congratulations to all the poets. Thank you for the insightful commentary, Marietta. I love Helen Buckinham’s “bees om blossom,” and the reverborating ‘z’ and ‘om’ sounds which yield a meditative quality for the reader…how clever! Thank you for mentioning one of mine.

  9. Thanks Marietta, for your inspiring image and lovely commentary and for liking one of mine. I picked up on the humor as I read through this wonderful list of poems. Maybe I needed a little laugh today and these made me smile. I get such a vision in Vandana’s haiku with all the selfie poses we see these days. And Marilyn’s bee wiggling inside foxgloves reminded me of how I used to wiggle into gloves, particularly the fine leather ones. Lucai’s poem didn’t make me laugh but did make me sigh. How often I’ve seen this dance of light on flowers, caused by the shadow of bees, yet never found the words to describe it. Such a great list of poems!

    bee-stung lips
    everyone pouts
    in a selfie

    Vandana Parashar

    foxgloves . . .
    a bumble bee
    wiggles inside

    Marilyn Ashbaugh
    Gulf Stream, Florida

    daisies . . .
    the sunlight vibrates
    with first bee

    margherite . . . la luce del sole vibra con la prima ape
    Lucia Cardillo

  10. Thanks, Marietta, for your lovely commentary, it’s very much appreciated, as is the rest of your great selection. Well done everyone.

  11. scent of flowers
    sweetness of honey
    when we first met
    .
    Vishnu Kapoo
    .
    Romantic relationships sometimes lessen in passion as the years go by.

  12. Thank you, Marietta for placing my verse in this weeks collection.
    I enjoyed reading your comments.
    Congratulations to all poets.

    bee-stung lips
    everyone pouts
    in a selfie
    – Vandana Parashar

    This made me smile, a lovely gentle humour 🙂

  13. Hi Marietta, thank you for your kind comments on my senryu. I share your high regard for Helen Buckingham’s boundary-stretching poem. It’s a brilliant example of how haiku and senryu can be experimental but still achieve the original aims of the haiku moment. I love the idea of meditational bees going about their chores. So simple but profound.

  14. Marietta, thank-you for publishing my haiku. Congrats to all the poets. Thank-you also to Kathy and Lori for their efforts on this column.

  15. Always a gift; I love opening my day with haiku dialogue. Thank you for including mine, but most of all thank you for featuring all the other delightful poems you selected. Recalling how in childhood bees were to be feared, but now bring hope and joy.

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