Skip to content

HAIKU DIALOGUE – Paradigm Shift – the dreams of mammals

Paradigm Shift with Guest Editor Craig Kittner

“Learn about pines from the pine,” Bashō advised.

Why do you think he said that?

Animism is a birthright of haiku.

However, western culture, despite all its scientific knowledge, tends to put human experience on some rarefied plane, separate and above all the other beings and forces of the universe. An ego-laden, anthropocentric attitude that would write off learning from the pine as anthropomorphism and personification.

How does this impact your writing?

Can you shift your perspective away from the human and dress yourself in the consciousness of another form?

next week’s theme: the intelligence of trees

To the tree, sun and shade are a problem to be solved. Its form, embodied memories of actions and reactions.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday July 03, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 Craig’s commentary for the dreams of mammals:

I wouldn’t say it was intentional, but this was probably the most challenging prompt I’ve ever proposed here.

While they often serve as inspiration for making art, it’s devilishly hard to convey the atmosphere and internal logic of dreams.

Our understanding of our own dreaming is limited, and the dreaming of other animals is shrouded in mystery.

As with many things in haiku, the most successful poems here keep it simple and allow the reader to expand on the experiences they present.

the horse and I share
flying dreams

Lyntha Nelson

This haiku walloped my mind. I’ve never before considered the possibility that other animals dream of flying, though there is no reason why they wouldn’t. Then, there’s the idea that the dreaming of an animal like a horse – whose ancestors have communed with humans for many thousands of years – could be affected by human culture to the point of sharing some of our dream stuff. . . wow!

owl hoots
no eyes needed
to enter dreams

Mary Vlooswyk
Calgary, CAN

How often we rely on the visual to express dreams and haiku. Consider how prevalent the word “imagery” is in descriptions of both. And yet sound is a powerful dream maker.

in the dream
more to it than I thought
autumn moon

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, Wa. USA

More to the moon, or more to the dream? What’s it mean to be truly in the dream? Perhaps it is more than a dream.

back into the krill distant song

martin gottlieb cohen
Egg Harbor, NJ U.S.

This haiku boldly draws us into the stuff of whale dreams. Wrapped in their song and the atmosphere of their feeding.

summer heat
the cat’s sleeping paw
grabs the air

Alex Fyffe
United States

Dealing with animal dreams, the writer is tempted to make assumptions about what the creature is dreaming. By elegantly presenting the observation of a dreaming cat, Alex allows the reader to dwell on the possibilities themselves.

& here are the rest of the selections:

dusk –
asleep baby on the breast
dreams again the breast

Aljoša Vuković
Šibenik, Croatia


badger nails scrabbling
against the sett walls
hunter’s moon

John Hawkhead
Wiltshire, UK


beneath the lids of
sleeping dogs

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom


soft mew
catching fish
from his leaping dream

Anna Yin
Ontario, Canada


in a time capsule
to beyond time
who am I?

Neera Kashyap


the bird
in the cage of my chest
set free — midnight musing

मेरे सीने में
क़ैद पंछी — आज़ाद
मध्यरात्रि का स्वप्न

Teji Sethi


deep blue
whales sing
their dreams

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India


legs without paws trauma dream

Zdenka Mlinar


he wakes
to drink
sheep flock across the pink shore

Richard Thomas
United Kingdom


fruit bats the stuff of upside down dreams

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland


the mammal in me
dreams with open eyes

Pere Risteski
North Macedonia


dreaming of mother
an elephant calf
remembers her tusks

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


in a moor
i stare into moments
deer eyes

Richa Sharma


on waking 畏怖 the fox scent
from a dream



siblings and cousins
dreamless sheep

Ravi Kiran
Hyderabad, India


morning dream…
a butterfly flutters
on my nose

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India


old gray fox
the near dead weight
of his final dreams

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


cat napping
the old mouser
still in pursuit

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA


suckling sounds
i let the sleeping dog

Sarah Metzler
United States


sleeping in the beaver lodge wet dreams

Tim Cremin


squirrel dream
my old dog’s paws
still young

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, CO


a dream breeches
the surface

Pippa Phillips


midsummer dream
a wild yearling nuzzles
a human ape

Victor Ortiz
Bellingham, WA


midnight dream
my dog’s paw
in my palm

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India


his eyes fade
into dawn light…
beloved dog

Madhuri Pillai


tremors and twitches
chasing the tail
of his dreams

Orense Nicod
Paris, France


i’m above the fir trees
bird at last

Mircea Moldovan


old dog—
fetching Frisbees
in the dark

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove


scooping up
a palmful of wild blossoms –
the silent squirrel

Milan Rajkumar


only a colour
living multiple lives
in a timeless world

Cristina Povero


childhood dream
again I am
the polar bear

Kath Abela Wilson
United States


sickle moon
the sleeping cat
curls her claws

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK


dream of safety
the hedgehog
in a ball

Paul Geiger


a mare nickers
in light sleep
brown-eyed moon

Barrie Levine
Wenham MA USA


jungle dreams
I play hide-and-seek
with a tiger

Sushama Kapur
Pune, India


a dissonant phone rings
in my dream
a varied thrush answers

Pam Joy
Dyea, Alaska


winter rain
in my dream we’re young again
chasing wild rabbits

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, CA


Craig Kittner has lived a lot of places. Fourteen at last count. He was reared, for a while, in Illinois. Then North Carolina. Providence saw the start of some interesting things that DC helped solidify. Now he lives kind of near the sea and is compelled to ramble and write.

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:

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 3 Comments

  1. I can’t seem to get the submission form to submit my poems. Can you let me know if they actually did submit, or if there is a problem with the form? If so, I will try to submit again. Thanks!
    Peggy B

  2. bones
    beneath the lids of
    sleeping dogs

    Alan Peat

    Full of concrete content without entering the abstract, relying on a simple inference to connect bones and sleeping dogs.
    Maybe better as one line, only because I don’t like the linebreak on of. Nevertheless my favourite below the salt.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top