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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Finding peace and contemplation… Photo Three

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 Four – tiny plant in rock crevice

In the harsh desert country of southwestern U.S.A. plants hang on as best they can. Often a rock crevice will capture a little moisture and provide shady protection against prevailing winds, and this will be enough for a single seed to germinate and put down roots. Grey-foliaged and hairy-leaved plants are well-adapted to dry conditions. The tenacity of this tiny ground cover shrub has to be admired. It has found a small niche where loose gravel and sand have accumulated, and is now big enough to cast its own afternoon shadow. You’re invited to write a haiku about what the image says to you, which may be about finding places for settling down, being nurtured and beginning to grow. Or you may like to write about toughness and resilience.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday February 27, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 Three – wind bell with monkey:

Sincere thanks to all poets who responded so creatively to this week’s prompt. You made my task as editor harder, but I’ve greatly enjoyed reading and rereading your work. It seems wind chimes may be loved or disliked for the way their sound insinuates itself into our thoughts. Wind bells ring with both happy and sad memories, reminding some poets of loss, change or times past. To others, they bring calm. Your bells could be bamboo, seashells, glass, stone, personal adornments and more, and you listened to them in many places and moments, including at the coast, at harvest time and in the snow. One impression I gained from your haiku is that the absence of a familiar sound – the moment when the wind drops – is as important to you as the sound itself.

For me as a reader, juxtaposition when used well enhances the resonance of a haiku. I also think effective word choice can strengthen a poem and the most satisfying haiku avoid clichés. For the sound of bells, I tried to look beyond the more common words. No thesaurus can provide the perfect word. Sometimes the simplest word choice is the best. 

I hope you enjoy my choices for the week and encourage you to continue the dialogue by highlighting your favourites.

wind chimes—
the tinkle of her anklets
as she lights lamps

Priti Aisola

Reading this poem I imagine it to be early evening in an almost silent house, quiet except for faint sounds. A woman who lives there – grandmother, mother, aunt or daughter – may be going from room to room lighting lamps, or walking around a rapidly darkening garden. If she’s in the garden, perhaps she walks quickly to banish the darkness as soon as she can, and her anklets sound like wind chimes as she moves swiftly from lamp to lamp. Here we have an implied but not overt simile, achieved by juxtaposition. It’s a warm domestic scene, with a sense of comfort and familiarity.

beneath the wind bell
this fluttering tanzaku
is set to music

Carol Judkins
Carlsbad, CA, US

I like the combination of the aural and the visual in this delicate haiku. Every July or August, Japan celebrates the seasonal festival called Tanabata. It’s customary to hang wishes inscribed on coloured paper – called tanzaku – from bamboo sticks. The tanzaku with its wish is animated by the wind twirling it, seemingly in time with the wind bell’s sound. One can enjoy the movement and wonder if a dancing wish is more likely to come true. It’s also interesting because the poet appears to use what Dr. Richard Gilbert refers to in his essay The Disjunctive Dragonfly as elemental animism, where the wind by way of the bell is somehow animistically choreographing the dance.

clanking halyards
live on in my wind chimes . . .
forever the sea

Pris Campbell

Readers who love everything about the ocean, especially those who ‘go down to the sea’ in boats, will recognise the sounds described in this dream-like haiku. They’re made by the ropes and fittings used to hoist the sails of a yacht. When the yacht is berthed, its halyards slap against the mast as the boat rocks at anchor, sometimes changing pitch with a wind shift. Line 1 employs assonance to convey the staccato sounds. Line 2 has a repetitive rhythm. To the poet, the wind chimes sound like being on a yacht and thus transport sailors or would-be sailors to a place which is yearned for – ‘forever the sea’. Sound, like scent, vividly recreates memories, and this haiku demonstrates that.

dawn breeze
rustling through swampgrass
bellbirds

Louise Hopewell

Being Australian, I can’t help loving this. One of Australia’s most beloved classical poems is “Bellbirds” by Henry Kendall, written in 1867. At school we learnt it by heart. Kendall wrote of mountain valleys and knee-deep grasses, steep gorges and rushing creeks. I read the poet’s haiku as a tribute to Kendall’s work. The photo brings to mind birds not human-made bells. The haiku is a shasei (sketch from nature). Bellbirds, also called bell miners, are colonial honeyeaters endemic to southeastern Australian Eucalyptus forests. They live and feed communally near the tops of gum trees and converse with each other nonstop from daylight to dusk with loud ringing ‘tink tink’ calls. Line 2 of the haiku uses sibilants to evoke the sound of wind in a valley’s grasses. Kendall’s poem also uses repetition and assonance. Line 3 of the haiku swings the camera lens up to the treetops and a different sight/sound, for me linking two distinct soundscapes – wind through a swamp and birds calling in the high canopy. I enjoyed the contrast!

below are the rest of the selections:

wind chimes
how calm becomes
visible

Deborah Karl-Brandt
Bonn, Germany

 

jingling the rhythm
in my monkey mind
stifling chimes

Lakshmi Iyer
India

 

dawn darkness . . .
temple bells fleeting
in the mist

Nisha Raviprasad

 

light breeze
remembering my mother
the sound of furin

Angiola Inglese

 

wind bell
the way her hands
weave a story

Marilyn Ashbaugh

 

pensive hour
distant church bells
answering one another

Olivier Schopfer
Switzerland

 

silencing
my shakuhachi—
a bamboo wind chime

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India

 

evening calm—
shadow of wind bell
quivering

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

coming storm
the wind’s alarm
crescendo

Orense Nicod
Paris, France

 

awakening
just as the sun topped the ridge
a single chime

Judt Shrode
Tacoma WA, US

 

twilight hush . . .
a cow’s bell keeps
the herd on track

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

homecoming
the sound of the wind bell
under the roof

Tsanka Shishkova

 

summer noon
a sleepy butterfly
on the wind bell

Mirela Brăilean
România

 

quarantine morning
only the song of wind chimes
fills our empty nest

Sari Grandstaff

 

my thoughts
in the wind bell’s silence
iron monkey

martin gottlieb cohen

 

second dose
getting the monkey
off my back

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Huntsville, Alabama, US

 

no need to ask
for whom it tolls—
our neighbor’s wind chime

Sheila Sondik
Bellingham, WA, US

 

winter storm
the wind chime tangles
untangles

Vandana Parashar

 

isolating in stillness only the wind speaks

Ingrid Baluchi

 

school bell—
another bullying story
for the diary

Hassane Zemmouri
Algiers, Algeria

 

sudden chimes
a whiff
of the parijat

Meera Rehm

 

sweet tinkling
the sound of rain
on honeysuckles

Eufemia Griffo

 

no breeze—
smacking the wind chimes
with a broom

Dan Campbell

 

the windchime shedding leaves

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Kumasi, Ghana

 

nothing
but the chimes
frozen sunrise

Bryan Rickert

 

rice offering
evil spirits
flee the jangle

Susan Farner

 

midnight chimes beside your summer seat I await a sign

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

 

bright wind chimes—
round and round the garden
grandchildren

Dorothy Burrows

 

closing the cottage
screen door clatter
silenced by the eye-hook

Barrie Levine
Wenham MA

 

memories . . .
among seashells of the furin
another summer

ricordi . . .
tra le conchiglie del furin
un’altra estate

Lucia Cardillo
Rodi G.co (FG) Italy

 

full moon night
the wakefulness
of wind chimes

Kath Abela Wilson
US

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 24 Comments

  1. What a lovely sensory experience to read these haiku. Cow bells, wind chimes, anklet chimes, rain. So very rich! There are too many wonderful ones to pick out just a couple kudos to all!

    1. Thank you so much, Peggy. So pleased you’re enjoying the prompts! Best wishes, Marietta

  2. Dear Editor Marietta McGregor:
    Thank you for reading my work and your consideration.
    Sincerely,
    Charles Harmon
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    making do
    with whatever
    palo verde

    standing tall
    waiting for rain
    saguaro

    1. Hello Charles! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the posts. I’m delighted to include your haiku. Enjoy reading and please keep submitting. Regards, Marietta.

  3. A lovely selection this week – congratulation to all the poets. Many thanks to Kj and Lori for the administration and to Marietta for a great prompt and for including one of my poems . I have re-read this week’s dialogue more than once and have found so much to admire. One that I particularly enjoyed was…

    wind bell
    the way her hands
    weave a story

    Marilyn Ashbaugh

    I liked the surprise of this comparison. It beautifully captures the skill with which a good storyteller will use every gesture to great effect. It also reminds us of how most of us use our hands to emphasise a point.
    I look forward to reading next week’s column.

  4. twilight hush . . .
    a cow’s bell keeps
    the herd on track

    Hifsa Ashraf
    Rawalpindi, Pakistan

    Hifsa’s haiku awakens memories in my whole being. Forty years ago I lived in rural south-east Iowa. We were surrounded by fields of soy beans and corn. Occasionally, an old time farmer also kept cows, a small herd of 5 or 10 creatures who supplied a small quantity of milk to local people. As children we were fascinated by Bess, the herd leader and sole bell wearer. When we heard this bell sound in the late afternoon, we knew the other cows would follow her to the barn where Grampa and Grandma would milk them. As often as possible we too rushed to the milk parlor. This poem evokes many sounds when spoken out loud.
    The soft sounds produced by tongue and lips flow from the start through the end of the poem portraying a powerful sound and image of the line of cows heading from the pasture to the barn.

    1. Thank you, John for your perceptive commentary. Glad you’re enjoying the posts! Cheers, Marietta

  5. Thank you for selecting my haiku, and congratulations to all other haijins for amazing takes on the prompt.

    I especially liked the visual approach in this one, and how the sound is still there.

    evening calm—
    shadow of wind bell
    quivering

    Teiichi Suzuki
    Japan

  6. I loved all the haikus, but this one really touched me!
    wind chimes
    how calm becomes
    visible

    Deborah Karl-Brandt
    Bonn, Germany

    1. again… if this is a submission, please use our new submission form above – we don’t accept submissions any other way… & don’t forget to fill in all the fields! thanks, kj

  7. memories . . .
    among seashells of the furin
    another summer

    ricordi . . .
    tra le conchiglie del furin
    un’altra estate

    Lucia Cardillo
    Rodi G.co (FG) Italy

    Carefree summers seem so long ago now for many of us. Lucia’s poem writes poignantly of happier times which, hopefully, will return in due course as more than just memories.

    full moon night
    the wakefulness
    of wind chimes

    Kath Abela Wilson
    US

    I like the touch of anthropomorphism here. Why shouldn’t the wind, or wind chimes celebrate a full moon?

    Many to ponder and enjoy this week, and thank you, Marietta, for your comments on those you highlighted.

    1. Sorry, Ingrid, I should have written ‘about Kath Abela’s poem’. Thank you for commenting. Best wishes, Marietta

  8. Congrats to all poets – this is such a satisfying variety of sounds and images! The commentary with featured poems is a pleasure to read – adding depth and new perspectives. I had to research a few of the foreign terms, but that’s something I enjoy doing. Thanks to all!

  9. Many thanks to guest editor Marietta McGregor for selecting my haiku. Thanks also to Kathy Zajkowski and Managing Editor Katherine Munro for their continuing efforts. Congrats to all the poets.

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