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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Paradigm Shift – the persistence of weeds

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 dreams of mammals

All us mammals dream, and thus experience worlds unique unto ourselves.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday June 26, 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Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 persistence of weeds:

boundary dispute . . .
a weed grows
from the crack on the wall

Kavitha Sreeraj
Hyderabad, India

What’s the truth of this dispute? A question that rarely leads to consensus. Here, I’d like to think it’s the border between the human desire for control and the natural drive toward biodiversity. With nature gaining a foothold in the cracks of civilization.

going native
how the invasives
settle in

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA

According to Wikipedia, “An invasive species is an introduced organism that negatively alters its new environment.” I believe there’s a certain pot-calling-the-kettle-black hypocrisy when humans label other species with this term. A sentiment I feel reflected in this haiku.

earthquake rubble
datura potted
in a corpse hand

JL Huffman
Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, USA

Life springs from death, and our bodies are potential food for other forms. An effective reminder that we are not as removed from nature as our egos tend to think.

spring again…
in a garden full of weeds
a rose is blooming

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania (Italy)

Weeds are only weeds when they grow where we don’t want them. Nature is quick to reclaim a place that we’ve abandoned. What then becomes of the things that we had planted?

no one’s home now the weeds

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland

Again, what’s in the name “weed”? In any spot that lacks our touch, nature spreads her pioneers. I for one find some comfort in that fact.

there where
nobody bothers . . .
weed flowers

Meera Rehm

I love the word “bother” in this haiku. One could read it as referring to a place no one cares to tend or as a place no one disturbs. And left alone, nature brings forth flowers.

ground elder
what on earth
do I know

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK

Ground elder resembles elderberry, and perhaps the poet can’t tell the difference; however, his statement resonates much more deeply. Approaching haiku, it serves you well to keep his question in your mind.

green desert…
a glare of dandelions

Claire Ninham
North Yorkshire, UK

Those chemically bombarded stretches of lawn, little green deserts sustaining nothing but useless grass, and the stalwart dandelion trying hard to make things better. Not to mention, bring some color.

where nothing grows mustard field

Victor Ortiz
Bellingham, WA

Weeds are beautiful for the very attributes that annoy the gardener. Quick to sprout and hearty, softening the harsh environs we write off.

& here are the rest of the selections:

city lake —
a cluster of hyacinths
clasping its breath

Teji Sethi


field mice
in the broomsedge
the scythe takes a break

Tom Bierovic
DeLand, FL, USA


fire in the hills-
from the ashes
the new herb

Vincenzo Adamo
Sicily Italy


small pieces of dodder
learning to survive
after the defeat

Bakhtiyar Amini


is there no limit
to your wantonness

Jim Force
Calgary, AB, Canada


botanical garden…
the common weeds

R. Suresh Babu


summer noon. . .
beside the bonsai tree
a lone grass

Milan Rajkumar
Imphal, India


after the forest fires

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia


on the pauper’s grave

Ingrid Baluchi
Ohrid, North Macedonia


neighbour’s rockery
the impudence
of a dandelion

Eva Limbach


Day of the Dead-
only the burning ivy
on the old cross

Genovel-Florentin Frățilă


sole survivor
the struggle through concrete
to see the sun

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


summer morning
the weed keeps
a lost child’s shoe

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia


old pain again
the unwanted plant
now has a flower

Anitha Varma
Kerala, India


the weed returns
to reclaim

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India


thumb out
but no ride
roadside weeds

Kristen Lindquist
Camden, Maine


summer lingering
in the dry creek bed

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA


night dews
summer weeds taking
a bath

Teiichi Suzuki


newly arrived
the fragrance of weeds
on wagon’s wheels

Xiaoou Chen
Kunming, China


covidtime weeds at their best

Manoj Sharma


meeting you
i have no wish to make
sidewalk dandelion

Richa Sharma


living below
the rose bush
location, location, location

Margaret Mahony


dew drops
on the weeds
the milky way

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India


speeding train—
a railway weed catching
a glimpse of shade

Franjo Ordanić


between mowings
the teeth of the whitetails

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


Life snuffed out
By chemicals …
My place in the sun?

Ba Duong


wasteland dusk
the lingering light
in lantanas

sanjuktaa asopa


hot stones
lonely poppies
push through

Mariangela Canzi


both sides
of the border wall —
dandelion clocks

Alan Peat
Biddulph, United Kingdom


black nightshade
leaving the garden
with a corsage

M. R. Defibaugh


summer rain
all the plants
I never planted

Vandana Parashar


the red poppy
the golden wheat

Mirjana Blašković
Metzingen, Germany


chain link fence
woven back to earth

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, CO


a clutch of grass
the whole sand dune
keeps its place

Ronald Scully
Manchester NH


bombing –
at the base of the doorway
a fern

En la base del portal
un helecho

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi
Chivilcoy. Buenos Aires. Argentina


airborne seeds
high on a wall

Alfred Booth
Colombes, France


rubbish dump –
a flower of Africa
in the old fridge

Maria Teresa Piras
Serrenti – Italia


ancient monasteries –
the grass among the stones

antichi monasteri –
l’erba fra le pietre

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna (Italia)


julep cup…
a sprig
of weed

Margaret Walker
Lincoln, NE, USA


monsoon …
a sprinkling of mint
in the wild amaranth

Priti Aisola
Hyderabad, India


natural habits
under the sun
still weeds

Luisa Santoro
Rome, Italy


dairy warehouse
field of buttercups

paul geiger


black clouds…
seed of the thistle
ready to fly

Tomislav Maretić


laughing Buddha
weeds growing
between his toes

Florin C. Ciobica


so many years ahead so many behind ruins in the weeds

Alex Fyffe
United States


dame’s rocket
the purple bruising
left in her wake

Lorraine Padden
San Diego, CA


rain or no rain,
wild violets

Carol Judkins
Carlsbad, CA


dandelions take over
a worn out shoe –
still life

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA


still the thistle
behind that statue

C.R. Harper


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 16 Comments

  1. So honored to have my haiku chosen for commentary…. thank you so much, Craig Kittner.
    Congrats to everyone!

  2. Delighted to have my haiku published today! Thanks a lot to editor Craig Kittner.
    And congratulations to everyone here!

  3. I’m so thrilled to have my haiku published here, thank you, Craig.

    green desert…
    a glare of dandelions

    Love or hate them, cheerful or garish, when dandelions flower en masse in early summer, they create a vivid sight. A ‘glare’ is now my collective noun for dandelions!

  4. dame’s rocket
    the purple bruising
    left in her wake

    Lorraine Padden
    San Diego, CA

    Wow, what a great natural history haiku! :-)

    This feels layered too, the ‘her’ could be both the flower, and also a woman. The flower is purple, and probably vulnerable if we were to walk through them.

    Not to be confused with phlox:
    “dame’s rocket” has alternately arranged leaves and four petals per flower, while phloxes have opposite leaves and five petals. WIKIPEDIA

    “Hesperis matronalis” aka dame’s rocket and all these other names:
    damask-violet, dame’s-violet, dames-wort, dame’s gilliflower, night-scented gilliflower, queen’s gilliflower, rogue’s gilliflower, summer lilac, sweet rocket, mother-of-the-evening, Good & Plenties, and winter gilliflower.

    The genus name Hesperis was probably given because the scent of the flowers becomes more conspicuous towards evening (Hespera is the Greek word for evening) WIKIPEDIA

    Young leaves are high in vitamin C and can be eaten in salads and have a slightly bitter taste. Seeds can be sprouted and also eaten in salads. WIKIPEDIA

    In Europe, it is host to the caterpillars of several butterfly species, including the orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines), large white (Pieris brassicae), small white (Pieris rapae), and moths, such as Plutella porrectella.

    While very much a fine natural history (wildlife) haiku, the phrase part of the verse makes me wonder whether the girl or woman is walking or striding through great swatches of this flower with arms out wide, or even running (joyfully or otherwise).

    the purple bruising
    left in her wake

    The use of bruising in the phrase, and bruising goes purple on humans, or the flower’s own color staining the bared human flesh purple, makes it look like human bruises close up to a passer by, friend, colleague etc… or the stains even commingling so that the flower’s color and old and new human bruising could be almost indistinguishable. In a society where physical abuse is not challenged as much as it should be, would some people care, or simply look away, if they believed the purple stains due to bruising (of the flowers) was regular violence on a woman?

    The colour purple has long been a colour of power with rulers (political, feudal, religious) only allowed to wear clothing that is purple. Except that women, from abusive relationships, seen as weak, malleable, targets are perversely allowed to wear purple bruises, and explain it away as an accident, walking into a door etc…

    Now it’s most likely perhaps, this is only a wildlife haiku, but all wildlife has its dark edges.

    Incredibly well-honed haiku.

    Alan Summers

    1. Thank you for these keen and generous insights, Alan! I really admire how you include definitions and other source material to your comments. I’m a big fan of digging around the internet to learn more about whatever natural element I’m contemplating for a haiku or other shortie poem. Names of various plants I find especially intriguing and Dame’s Rocket seemed to offer so many layers of meaning. Thank you for your fine excavation!!

      1. Thanks Lorraine,

        It was such a strong haiku, that I just had to immerse myself into it and attempt to formulate my feelings and reactions.

        warm regards,

  5. covidtime weeds at their best

    Manoj Sharma

    This is so true! The fuller beauty of what some think of as weeds, are growing tall and creating amazing landscapes, and pathways that are an immersive and rewarding tunnel of adventure.

    warm regards,

  6. Thank you Craig for publishing my haiku. I feel privileged to be among these talented poets.

  7. Thanks again Craig Kittner, Lori Zajkowski and managing editor, Katherine Munro for considering my work. Congrats to fellow haijin and friends whose works are also featured.

    Warm regards, .
    Milan Rajkumar

  8. A lovely selection, thank you all.
    We do so like to tame our gardens, and grow flowers that have been tweaked and manipulated to represent what we humans consider beautiful. It’s easy to forget that weeds and wildflowers are the go-to for bees and other insects, and that, through millennia, humans have discovered their many important uses. For me, to see a dandelion thriving against the odds through ugly concrete, old church walls with clumps of creeping toadflax or chicory by the roadside is as attractive as anything more grand. What a delight for beetles and butterflies to crawl around Queen Anne’s Lace! It’s good to see poems this week which look beyond the nuisance of their persistence. Thank you, Craig, for including mine, and for your thoughtful comments on those highlighted.

  9. Honoured to find my haiku in Haiku Dialogue with a crop of such beautiful haiku.
    Thanks to Craig, Guest Editor & dear kj for the great selection.

    Congratulations to all featured. This one and its commentary is stunning:

    boundary dispute . . .
    a weed grows
    from the crack on the wall

    Kavitha Sreeraj
    Hyderabad, India

  10. Thank you, Craig, for these interesting themes and for the commentary. I love reading all the different ‘takes’ on the theme.

    ground elder
    what on earth
    do I know
    Keith Evetts
    ….ground elder is a very, very persistent low-growing weed. Even a tiny bit left in the ground will re-grow. Aside from the difficulty a gardener has in knowing what to do about it, the words ‘ground’ and ‘elder’ prompted thoughts of earth and the wisdom that is supposed to come with age: at 73, I’m still waiting. Then further layers grow.

  11. So honored to have my haiku chosen for commentary from amongst this stunning crop of haiku inspired by the ‘lowly’ weed!

  12. What a garden of weeds showing their superiority over those who fight them. I especially appreciated those written about bindweed. Our wildflower garden was overrun with bindweed last summer. It was killing the lupine, Brown-eyed Susan’s, etc. Daily we would root out the new growth, digging deep finding thick roots 3-4 times the size of the emerging plant. The battle slowly contained most of them, and we replanted other wildflowers. Still there is the threat of the resilience of this plant. To all, well done.

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