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Haiku Dialogue: Poet’s Choice, Suchness

 

 

Welcome to the Poet’s Choice series, hosted by guest editor Craig Kittner.

Posted below are the submissions for last week’s suchness theme. For this series, each poet may send one haiku on the week’s theme, and it will be included in the blog post. There is no selection process. The haiku appear in the order in which I received them.

Our next theme is ambiguity.

Haiku is fueled by juxtaposition. This trait can be exploited in ways that create unexpected, thought provoking connections. Ambiguity can be a powerful tool for breaking through your readers’ surface thoughts and speaking directly to their deeper selves. Achieving this allows for the sharing of enigmatic experiences arising from your unique perception of the universe.

Fay Aoyagi provides this week’s inspiration with a haiku that first appeared in Roadrunner in 2006.

ants out of a hole –
when did I stop playing
the red toy piano?

What is the connection between the ants and the toy? How did the image of swarming ants inspire thoughts of childhood? By generating such questions, the haiku draws us into itself. We are compelled to engage with it.

Mine your subconscious, and give us something cryptic this week.

Send one original, unpublished haiku of ambiguity via our Contact Form by Saturday, August 31, and it will be included in next week’s blog. (If you send more then one, only the first one will be posted).  Include your name as you would like it to appear. Please note that acknowledgement emails will not be sent.

 

Here are the submissions for suchness:

magic wand
rats in the cage
chattering by

Lakshmi Iyer

 

his voice
such as in my memories
the last snow

Giovanna Resturoccia

 

unblinking eyes
maybe dad is just
playing possum

Vandana Parashar

 

eighth grade gym
the cool girls put on
their hairspray

Jackie Chou

 

they meet for coffee
gaze at the young
another fall comes

Bruce Jewett

 

roadkill
my walk continues
towards mine

Stephen A. Peters

 

the cot
as I bought it
empty

carol jones

 

summer end
an old man and gulls
on the dock

Neni Rusliana

 

Red tractor, a barque
traversing yellow and green
waves of tobacco leaves

X3+us the Whale

 

work from home-
time I spent with kids
can never forget

Radhamani sarma

 

missing child
the neighbors
we never met

Robin Anna Smith

 

in his bed
nursery rhymes    i sing
to my c-section

wendy c. bialek

 

tents
dot the shore
summer rain

Marilyn Ashbaugh

 

old scrapbook
boutonnière loosely attached
to page seven

Rehn Kovacic

 

feathers nested
a whiff of breeze
ruffles all

Anjali Warhadpande

 

multitude
umbrellas surge
the streets

Christina Chin

 

Amsterdam
his cell phone and his wallet
stolen

Franjo Ordanic

 

rainy day
shelling peas
with a stylus

Neelam Dadhwal

 

abandoned church
Faith, Hope, and Charity in
the Stained Glass

Tsanka Shishkova

 

workaholic-
washing the plates
even in his dream

Aljoša Vuković

 

in the bark
of old chestnut tree
baby firebugs

Tomislav Sjekloća

 

same date of death
on the parents’ gravestone…
no memories

Natalia Kuznetsova

 

dandelion
my fugitive dreams

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo

 

his shovel
still caked with dirt
scarecrow undressing

Pris Campbell

 

leaf fall…
my shrinking
circle of friends

Michele L. Harvey

 

midnight subway
navigating shadows
between echoes

john hawkhead

 

autumn sky
one cloud
a contrail

Topher Dykes

 

on the table
where the book sat
a clean spot

Ellis Clay

 

leaves in the wind –
your absence
in a dry rose

Maria Teresa Sisti

 

faded flowers
summer heat
birds enjoying the feeder

joel

 

snow descending…
the child reaches up
to break their fall

Alan Summers

 

shadow of cloud –
frog seats on rock
leaking moss

SD Desai

 

Silence in the room
as twenty seven gather
share, recover.

Guy Stephenson

 

Bear in hibernation
Lights in the wood
on cyclamens

Dennys Cambarau

 

mist
road’s flickering
broken stripe

Saša Slavković

 

sunset time–
smooth flying of birds
across the equator

Pravat Kumar Padhy

 

black ink flowing on
rice paper unimpeded
sumi-e painting

Sherrod Taylor

 

the smell
of fallen leaves
divorce papers

Agus Maulana Sunjaya

 

gentrification
my laundromat has morphed
now doggy day care

Trilla Pando

 

kerfuffle
he balances on her
favourite branch

Mark Gibert

 

frost
on the kitchen window
smell of freshly brewed coffee

Olivier Schopfer

 

shortest day . . .
your face paler
than ever

Marion Clarke

 

family lunch-
mom’s place at the table
left empty

Angela Giordano

 

holding the rodent
with its talon hawk owl
tears it

Aju Mukhopadhyay

 

suitcases ready …
still a butterfly
on chrysanthemums

valigie pronte … ferma una farfalla sui crisantemi

Lucia Cardillo

 

on her nightstand a shoebox labelled baculums

simonj

 

rain puddle
the trees
upside down

Christina Pecoraro

 

rumbling winter –
the north wind running
with bikers

Luisa Santoro

 

raindrop
the lotus bud extends
one petal

Autumn Noelle Hall

 

mid day
a pregnant possum
walks the fence

Debbie Scheving

 

morning coffee
dogs sniffing
moon’s trail

nancy liddle

 

waiting room
a plastic daisy
tries to smile

Marietta McGregor

 

brief stay
the grass slowly rising
where we left

Adrian Bouter

 

awakening I let dreams dream

Veronika Novak

 

car wash water on all sides

Francesco Palladino

 

a pond
breakfast in the air
a leaf has surfed away

Saša Slavković

 

first light
the spider descends
from its web

Adjei Agyei-Baah

 

august sun
sprinkles of salt
bright red melon

Steve Tabb

 

winter solitude…
the redness of an apple
on its side

Shloka Shankar

 

the white crane
flies away
taking its reflection

Sari Grandstaff

 

afternoon nap
the decreasing buzz
of an insect

Sanela Pliško

 

at dawn
in the cat’s water bowl
feathers

Nazarena Rampini

 

pick of the litter
a puppy alone
in his pen

Barbara Tate

 

her sudden death
words of forgiveness
never heard

dianne moritz

 

old farmhouse
in the dark bedroom
the smell of quince

Slobodan Pupovac

 

one handmade brick remains of the wedding

Margaret Walker

 

wildflowers
curling among them
concertina wire

Peggy Hale Bilbro

 

“coat” on a post-it
coming unstuck
from the coat

Laurie Greer

 

awkward silence
a housefly cleans itself
on a thin wall

Babs McGrory

 

perfect dawn
the last lines of paint
drawn on the frame

Robert Kingston

 

On our backs
On the hillside
Watching meteors

Jana Russ

 

squirrel sits
leaves rustle
sun shines

Kathleen Mazurowski

 

the loch
between showers
floating cloud

Xenia Tran

 

suddenly I’m whistling
like her
periwinkle walks

Vicki Miko

 

porch floor –
only a scattering
of bird feathers

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

 

one old square nail
buried among its roots
blue hydrangea

clysta seney

 

when we met
the scene in my aging mind
still fresh

Vishnu Kapoor

 

thanksgiving dinner
first in line
at the drive thru

Rich Schilling

 

in cold darkness
the distant song of a tramp –
bonfire sparks

arvinder kaur

 

no one responds
seeing air through glass sheets
real life is elsewhere

Paul Geiger

 

it is what it is
or is it?
Schroedinger’s cat unboxed

Charles Harmon

 

payday queue
a tramp gleans smokes
from around scuffed boots

Ingrid Baluchi

 

on withered flowers raindrops

Dubravka Šćukanec

 

ancestral home
the well still
returns my voice

Madhuri Pillai

 

in the studio
unfinished images
and dust

Zdenka Mlinar

 

crow cawing
on the window sill
the monologue

Minal Sarosh

 

a moth…
giving a white wall
its whiteness

Gary Evans

 

August moon
turkeys grazing
in the open field

Janice Munro

 

framed print
the tiger
approaches

Susan Bonk Plumridge

 

noh flute
the sparkle of sunlight
on water

Martha Magenta

 

dusk:
a dried rose on the bench

Giuliana Ravaglia

 

Hot drop of water
Immediately before
It transforms to steam

Margie Gustafson

 

moss covers
a cracked boulder
an oak pushes through

Alfred Booth

 

the rain splashes,
it drips from leaves—
to my leaky roof

Lemuel Waite

 

graduation day
the hang of my jacket
on his father’s
empty chair

Kelly Sauvage Angel

 

empty feeder
a flurry
of wings

Kath Abela Wilson

 

Marine Hospital –
ah, if she could breathe
this salty air

Maria Teresa Piras

 

ripe figs –
few drops of rain
before evening

Angiola Inglese

 

a toy boat
drifts on a pond
Sunday morning

Ronald K. Craig

 

ponytail
off center
she adjusts her tiara

Jackie Maugh Robinson

 

dad’s diary
among illegible scribbles
a strand of golden hair

cezar ciobîcă

 

old growth forest
lavender lady slipper
once in a lifetime

Ron Scully

 

sweet scent of figs
a boy is holding the hand
of my daughter

Nadejda Kostadinova

 

along a creek
the laughter
of classmates

Carmen Sterba

 

hunters shoot
in deer and fawn
why not hit the thunder

Ljiljana Dobra

 

dry summer
on the ground
the first leaves

Nancy Brady

 

summer sunset
a firefly lingers
in the jar

Edward Cody Huddleston

 

Sunset
a sailboat disappears
over the horizon

Nicky Gutierrez

 

porch swing
crickets bring on the night
jasmine in bloom

Carol Raisfeld

 

a dove
on the neighbor’s roof
looking skyward

Greer Woodward

 

every thyme
I open the door–
grandma’s sauce

Susan Rogers

 

a tangerine
on the fingertips
smell of house

Elisa Allo

 

a metallic green fly
takes sunbath on the oldtimer’s
bonnet

Tomislav Maretić

 

summer sunset…
a Klimt painting
on the wall

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore

 

two brave cats
stalking
this sunny porch

Matt Snyder

 

crescent moon
I trace the scar
from her mastectomy

Lori A Minor

 

high summer
chasing the cloud upstream
on two wheels

Bisshie

 

the sky deepens—
a tiny spider crawls
across the sun

John S Green

 

Guest Editor Craig Kittner lives near the banks of the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, North Carolina. He has worked as a gallery director in Washington, DC, and a program director for the Kentucky Arts Council. He currently serves on the board of the North Carolina Poetry Society, directing contests for the 2020 edition of the Pinesong Awards anthology.

 

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).

After several years of moves, Craig Kittner has put down roots in the sandy soil of Eastern North Carolina. There the sunshine is clear. The climate gives rise to riotous growths of wildflowers. Birds abound, and the sky is alive with ocean breezes. Craig is content to walk the forests and beaches, gathering imagery for his poems. His work has been published in Frogpond, Chrysanthemum, Failed Haiku, bottle rockets, and the Autumn Moon Haiku Journal. In 2018, he had two poems selected as judges' favorites in the 5th Annual Golden Haiku Competition, and one poem selected for the Winston Salem Writers' Poetry in Plain Sight project. His first chapbook, Time's Sweet Savor, was published in 2016 by New Books on Front Street, an imprint of Old Books on Front Street in downtown Wilmington.

This Post Has 104 Comments

  1. “Ambiguity” Haiku Submission

    the lukewarm chipped cup–
    the chickadee
    window-pecking

    Lemuel Waite

  2. Thank you for publishing my haiku. I have beautiful beds. Congratulations to all. I learned a lot from haiku reading and comments.

  3. craig thanks for a great topic. allan thanks for all your comments, on the posts that you chose, as always….they highlight the Haiku Dialogue experience.

  4. I greatly enjoyed all the haiku this week, so won’t try to single any out. I’ve also learned so much about ‘such-ness’. Thank you to all poets for your poems and enlightening commentary.

  5. midnight subway
    navigating shadows
    between echoes

    John hawkhead

    * wonderfully evocative – sounds and shades

    ——————————————–
    gentrification
    my laundromat has morphed
    now doggy day care

    Trilla Pando

    * true-to-life and amusing.

  6. same date of death
    on the parents’ gravestone…
    no memories

    Natalia Kuznetsova

    this is my take on it Robert and Natalia…et. al. is when a husband and wife pass at the same time, (the parent’s)…..one or the other isn’t left sitting alone with only memories of the other. Since they went at the same time.
    they are both gone together…..could be a car/plane/boat/ or natural disaster or pure wishes planned out and there accomplished..either way it occurred to me that there are also no memories for the children to acquire from either parent about the early life they were too young to understand and recall now.

  7. Thank you to Alan Summers and Laurie Greer for being so kind as to include my haiku in their commentary. Because I always worry about the fine line between “suchness” and “so what-ness?”, I don’t often write these types of poems. The image was another I experienced at the Denver Botanical Garden. I just found it uncanny-funny that just as we humans were each holding a hand out to see if indeed that was a raindrop we’d felt, a big lotus bud on the Japanese Garden pond did exactly the same thing! I’m not sure my haiku allowed anyone else to see what I did, but it was worth a try!

    I read all the included poems with great interest, as I find suchness to be a nebulous concept with which to grapple. In multiple readings, I continued to be particularly struck by:

    the cot
    as I bought it
    empty

    carol jones

    this poem conjured up such a clear, painful picture with such few details, I felt it really must have nailed “suchness.” It leaves me wanting to ask a million questions—where is this cot? for whom was it purchased—someone specific, perhaps an anticipated grandchild, or perhaps just guests in general? was it ever used in the interim between its purchase and now? what might have happened that it now stands empty? That my curiosity was aroused by a poem of so few words is fascinating.

    missing child
    the neighbors
    we never met

    Robin Anna Smith

    for all the times I may have complained about neighbors, this poem made me realize, with a sharp intake of breath, the unanticipated importance of making their acquaintance…I really like the ambiguity in this poem (even though that’s next week’s theme!)—we do not know whose child is missing—the neighbors’ or the “we” in the poem. Either way, we are left with an urgent sense of wanting to return this child to his or her home.

    snow descending…
    the child reaches up
    to break their fall

    Alan Summers

    I loved this poem—it made my heart do a little skippydoo dance. Ohhh, snow and ohhh, little ones, and ohhh how high they reach and ohhh, how sweet their intentions. But I am glad of the various questioning of “suchness,” as I was interested in the ensuing discussion. While the last line adds so much to the poem, because, I think, it is where the emotion is seated, the inherent “interpretation” of WHY the child is reaching perhaps lessens the “suchness” of the pure image. That said, I would not change a single thing about this poem—and I would love to see an accompanying image (I’m picturing a red coat for some reason!). I just might not have thought to include it in this category. Your explanation has made me reconsider the parameters of suchness, Alan.

    the smell
    of fallen leaves
    divorce papers

    Agus Maulana Sunjaya

    I filed for divorce 13 years ago on a Friday the 13th in October—the suchness of this haiku zapped me right back to that crisp fall day which began the end of an 18-year marriage. I especially like the implied sounds of swishing leaves and papers in this poem.

    shortest day . . .
    your face paler
    than ever

    Marion Clarke

    I like the way that in just seven short words, we are able to see the sweep of history in this poem, all the longer, less-pale days leading up to this one between these two people. Ending on the word “ever” was a powerful choice, I think. Having endured my mother’s prolonged illness and subsequent death, I am all-too-familiar with the questions involving “ever”—was she ever NOT sick? will she EVER get better? I feel the suchness of those questions resonating under this poem.

    family lunch-
    mom’s place at the table
    left empty

    Angela Giordano

    The remaining members of my family celebrated the first Thanksgiving, after my mother’s death, at my house. As my Dad and I were both prior military, we chose to bow one chair forward to rest against the table, in missing man formation. The power of that empty chair, with its unused place settings and single lit candle, was the essence of suchness. This poem recalled that essence for me.

    ancestral home
    the well still
    returns my voice

    Madhuri Pillai

    there is a feeling in this poem that can only be described as suchness, I think. It is an answer to that age-old question, can we really ever go back to the home of our origins again? The interesting thing about this particular call-and-response is that it is unclear whether the subject of the poem is actually physically present at his/her ancestral home, or whether he/she is somewhere else entirely, yet the well still continues to sing back his/her voice. Remarkable either way.

    crescent moon
    I trace the scar
    from her mastectomy

    Lori A Minor

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen the moon called down faster than in this poem. It is difficult to capture the tactile in haiku, I think. This poem is exceptional in its ability to make us feel that silvery scarring in the tips of our fingers. What is unspoken here—the comparison between the once-full moon and the once-full breast, is masterful.

    pick of the litter
    a puppy alone
    in his pen

    Barbara Tate

    I’m not sure what our commentary is allowed to consist of here, so I’m hoping suggestions are okay. I really liked this image and thought the poem might be closer to exemplifying suchness with a little tweak. Please forgive me if this is not allowed! I feel as though the comparison to the “pick of the litter” moves us away from “suchness” and lessens the overall impact. What if the first line were omitted and the poem were written simply:

    alone
    in his pen
    the last puppy

    Sad day—now I can just see him resting his little chin on his two front paws, and I want to take him home…Of course, perhaps I’ve completely misread this, and the pick of the litter was in fact the self-same puppy alone in his pen. Which is a poem of a different color entirely!

    Thank you to all who contributed, and especially to Craig for compiling an entire book’s worth of suchness haiku for all of us!

    1. Your tweak of the puppy poem is really interesting.For one thing, where does revision end and a new poem begin?. I’ve also wondered about the divide between comments and workshopping on this blog. I’d love to see a little more of the latter. Writing is revising and seeing different options is usually helpful, as well as fascinating. Also interesting is the difference between misreading and simply getting different readings.

      1. Hi, Laurie–these are such good discussion-worthy questions you have added to the conversation!! “Where does revision end and a new poem begin? and “What is the difference between misreading and simply getting a different reading?” Maybe these will be explored more as this forum unfolds. For my part, I would consider my suggestion for Barbara’s puppy poem just one possible revision–and one only suggested in light of the “suchness” criteria. I would not have written that revision without having seen Barbara’s original, so I would still consider it a derivative of her work and not a new poem. Regarding misreading vs. different readings, in re-reading Barbara’s haiku again just now, I could also imagine the possibility that the new owner, who was lucky enough to acquire the pick of the litter, is now leaving the little guy to languish alone in his pen. I’m guessing this situation is more common than we’d like to think. Hard to say which is sadder–the puppy that didn’t get picked from the litter, or the one who got picked, only to be neglected. Thank you for helping me to think about all of this further…

    2. Autumn Noelle, I included your lotus bud in my comments and am happy to hear the back story. No desk haiku! And your workshopping of the puppy poem. We are here to learn. At least I am, being new. I enjoy reading the virals here also, which can get very deep. Maybe something could be offered in between these two formats here.

      1. Hi, Debbie–my apologies for not including you in my thank yous! I must have missed my poem on your list. My husband would probably chalk that up to Joyce’s “ineluctable modality of the visible.” I suspect it is because I did not expect my haiku to get much (if any!) notice! So, belatedly but no less sincerely, thank you for noticing! I also appreciate your other comments re. desk haiku and workshopping. I’m always interested to see other reader/writer ‘s takes on any given haiku (including my own)–it is amazing how many different possibilities can lurk inside one little poem.

        1. I didn’t add to the original comment in an effort to keep it relatively short, but I enjoyed your haiku visually as well. Raindrops and one petal each a short line, and the middle line ending with extends, as if it were reaching.

    3. My belief is that comments should not be negative, derogatory, overly aggressive, or mean. They should also respect the fact that there are different interpretations of what the essential qualities of haiku are, and that that’s OK. I agree that we are here to learn. If we all maintain respect for one another, we can accomplish this.

      Perhaps kjmunro will provide further clarification.

      1. Hi, Craig–I appreciate your clarification of appropriate commenting (which did not seem to exclude “workshopping,” so long as it is considerate). It is also good to see the reminder “to respect the fact that there are different interpretations of what the essential qualities of haiku are, and that that’s okay.” To which I say, Whew! Especially since, coming from having written many, many hundreds more tanka than haiku over the past decade+, I feel like a coy out of the proverbial pond here! I hope I gave no offense by my “workshopping” comment; in the future, I will endeavor to ask the poet whether they would like to hear my suggestion first! Still–and always!–learning.

      2. late to the party, as always it seems, Craig – thanks for this, & for doing such a great job as guest editor! I would only add, regarding the comments, that suggestions & ideas are welcome discussion topics, rather than the actual re-writing of poems, & that of course the author of a poem always has the final say (& doesn’t have to say!)… if that makes sense… thanks, kj

  8. same date of death
    on the parents’ gravestone…
    no memories

    Natalia Kuznetsova
    .
    So much packed in to so few words.
    One wonders the relevance of age when presented with the poems potency.
    Is it a childhood accident, a mental block or desire that stops the memory.

    1. this is my take on it Robert and Natalia….is when a husband and wife pass at the same time, (the parent’s)…..one or the other isn’t left sitting alone with only memories of the other. Since they went at the same time.
      they are both gone together…..could be a car/plane/boat/ or natural disaster or pure wishes planned out and accomplished..

      same date of death
      on the parents’ gravestone…
      no memories

      Natalia Kuznetsova

    1. Hello John,

      Your submission did not come through on Saturday. I apologize for that. When sending your message from the Contact Form, please make sure that the Thank You for your message screen is displayed after you click submit.

      I have added your haiku to the blog.

      Thanks.

  9. My thanks to Craig Knitter and to Alan Summers for his interesting comment on my haiku.

  10. Two excellent examples, thanks Alan. I particularly enjoyed Celia’s. A simple haiku, a few chosen words and we viscerally understand the verse. Does the visceral trump the intellectual in haiku?

    1. Hi Patricia,
      .
      This was from the lovely James Hackett, a very famous US haiku poet well-known in Japan. I met him, and his wife, also called Patricia. Sadly both have passed away.
      .
      You asked:
      ” a few chosen words and we viscerally understand the verse. Does the visceral trump the intellectual in haiku?”
      .
      .
      I can’t answer for James Hackett, but if I take the idea of “viscerally” as just a gut feeling and not a gut injury from a combatant being shot or stabbed through the stomach, heaven forbid, then it feels like a very gentle poem about a peach.

      Barely contained
      in its thin velvet skin
      — soft fragrant peach.
      .
      Celia Stuart-Powles, USA
      .
      .
      Celia writes very differently, as haiku evolve, so do poets. 🙂
      http://www.hsa-haiku.org/hendersonawards/henderson.htm
      .
      .
      If you mean visceral in relation to a suchness of something, the pine of a pine essence, and superior to intellect, I feel they are interweaved, and we can only but disguise or obscure their relationship. 🙂

      .
      .
      So James Hackett posted these two as examples of suchness:
      .
      .
      Haiku International Association, Tokyo, Japan Feature:
      Haiku Selected by James W. HACKETT showcased August 2019
      .
      .
      “An unusual haiku offering — the keenly perceived, sensuous experience of a single fruit. Though unorthodox in content, focus, and expression, it is a very lifeful and direct haiku. The experiential moment is so vivid we can virtually see, feel, and smell the fruit! To suggest the fulsome ‘suchness’ of a ripe peach in a few syllables is no easy feat. Haiku has been well (if not deeply) described as a poetry of the the senses. But the best haiku provide an emotive dimension as well. And here, beyond the tactile, redolent, and bursting ripeness of the fruit, the haiku seems to intimate something deeper. Such suggestion accrues when (as Basho urged) the poet and subject intuitively interrelate and become one.”
      .
      .
      Barely contained
      in its thin velvet skin
      — soft fragrant peach.
      .
      Celia Stuart-Powles, USA
      .
      .
      And:
      .
      .
      “A haiku distinguished by a rare sensibility, one that well demonstrates how haiku sensitivity can ennoble mundane experience. It is apparent that the poet clearly understands what constitutes ‘the haiku experience:’ a successful use of the traditional haiku form presents a scene imbued with the ‘suchness’ of Zen in its depiction of ‘a thing, just as it is.’ The mood is stark and melancholy, befitting a sense of loss. How challenging to focus a haiku upon what no longer exists — and in this instance, how very affecting the result!”
      .
      .
      A broken nutshell
      and a twisted root remain
      where the hazel grew.
      .
      Lesley Lendrum, Scotland
      .
      .

      1. dear everyone, I have been very busy as I am sure all of you are during these wonderful weeks and months of haiku learning from the Haiku Foundation. I wish I could participate in the dalogue part of this more… I will try. But each week it takes effort and concentration to realize each theme and turn it slowly in my mind…

        but I want to thank the Haiku foundation for this great continuing learning experience, Each theme gives more insight, inspires a wider world of awareness, and inspires research into our place in the long history of haiku and a sinking into each moment of rich experience.

        Thanks especially to kjmunro and Craig Kitner for the dedication and thought and work.
        And to Alan Summers for his astonishing time and insights given so very generously!

        simonj also for provocative thought inspiring focused questioning.

        I always hesitate to write… until I absorb it all… such an impossible task.

        In the theme of suchness as in every theme I wish and we all wish to make a haiku that resonates beyond itself– and so –to show clearly, suchness–but what does it evoke?

        on the table
        where the book sat
        a clean spot

        Ellis Clay

        Do much can be implied here… and we are left with a clean slate. Time is a great aspect of this suchness. And one wonders why is the book gone and why such a long time there? A hundred questions… I think.

        snow descending…
        the child reaches up
        to break their fall

        I read this as such a very simple sight. To “break their fall” can be simply getting in the way of the falling–as a child is apt to do. See what happens when you interfere. The overtones, linguistic or emotional are optional… but I see it this simply. Also… it can be read as a scene–snow descending, and a child reaches up for help so as not to slip down in slippery snowfall? I see that as a possible vision contained — alternative but strong? All the resonance makes the haiku good… on whatever theme… that is my feeling…

        porch floor –
        only a scattering
        of bird feathers
        .
        Valentina Ranaldi-Adams

        again–this presents a scene–simply… and yet many overtones… the word “only” steps out of the picture in a way to add an emotional or maybe just clarifying element–it provokes questions. This gives it more resonance than just “a scattering”. Why only? Is the porch usually very clean and yet only this is what we see that has a spoiled the clean of it? Significant remnants and why? And oly is at least not a lot! So maybe that is good, and not too much has happened… I love thinking about all of this… and how to imagine the word only’s meaning here.

        on her nightstand a shoebox labelled baculums

        simonj

        wow. I had to look that word up. The oddnees, the overtones such a suchness! There are many reasons that this box might be on te table. And the reasons why– from that lady is an osteologist…to a fetishist… amazing…!

        It is hard but so worthwhile to use the time to study and appreciate… and there are poems to write! But hopefully I can write better ones given these examples and this series of lessons.

        Thanks for sharing so much, all of you!

  11. I thought that the challenge of “suchness” would be somewhat easier than monoku, how wrong I was.

    I understood suchness as writing haiku/senryu using the Shiki idea of shasei, a “sketch from life”.

    You will find various bits of information here:
    https://poetrypea.com/week-21-the-haiku-chronicle-podcast-shasei-a-sketch-from-life/

    It is rather difficult to write such a sketch, one in which we are present, in the moment with the poet. The highlights for me this week were:

    in his bed

    nursery rhymes    i sing

    to my c-section
    wendy c. bialek

    snow descending…

    the child reaches up
    
to break their fall
    Alan Summers

    the smell
    
of fallen leaves

    divorce papers
    Agus Maulana Sunjaya

    first light
    
the spider descends

    from its web
    Adjei Agyei-Baah

    payday queue

    a tramp gleans smokes

    from around scuffed boots
    Ingrid Baluchi

    dad’s diary

    among illegible scribbles

    a strand of golden hair
    cezar ciobîcă

    There was nothing overtly clever about these haiku (that’s meant to be a compliment, haiku are meant to be simple, aren’t they?), yet they are well crafted. I feel their words were chosen with thought. We are with the poet in the verse, they have given us a view and we can take that and do with it what we will because they have not told us what to think or where to go with the verse. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Bisshie,
      .
      You are right, it’s not that simple, as to observe means we are the observer and hence in the poem to a lesser or greater degree.
      .
      As haiku came about in 1896, the use of suchness was always eventually going to be a little different than the hokku and haikai verses we read (in early translations of English) coming from an pre-dominant agrarian society/pre-industrial society and pre-World War society and of course Commodore Perry back in the 1850s effect.
      .
      I always like haiku that make me feel I’m perched on someone’s shoulder just as they turn around and see something that piques their interest, and wonder. 🙂

      1. Yes, the word haiku was noted around 1896 because Matsuo Shiki gave short verses the word Haiku. However, Scholar Makoto Ueda’s Chronology noted that Basho wrote his first verse in 1662.

        1. Thanks Carmen! 🙂
          .
          Do you mean that Masaoka Shiki (正岡 子規, October 14, 1867 – September 19, 1902) used the rarely used ‘term’ of haiku as a standalone haikai verse separate from hokku and other medieval haikai verses?
          .
          And that Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉, 1644–1694) began writing standalone hokku (and other haikai verses) in 1662?
          .
          In 1662, the first extant poem by Bashō was published. In 1726, two of Bashō’s hokku were printed in a compilation.[clarification needed] – WIKIPEDIA
          .
          .
          ” In 1662 the first extant poem by Bashō was published; in 1664 two of his hokku were printed in a compilation, and in 1665 Bashō and Yoshitada composed a one-hundred-verse renku with some acquaintances.”
          https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/m/Matsuo_Bash%25C5%258D.htm
          .
          .
          It would be intriguing if Basho could be [“Jurassic Park”ed] and if Basho’s clone merged hokku and haiku taking a little from each form & genre, to break through with something unexpectedly fresh, new, original, yet still retaining the ‘holding patterns’ of both hokku the form, and haiku the genre.
          .

  12. Thank you for this beautiful review of haikus and comments.
    Among my favorites

    the cot
    as I bought it
    empty

    carol jones
    how much pain written in so few syllables
    ………………………………………
    the shortest day. . .
    your face paler
    that never

    Marion Clarke
    Also here…
    ………………………………………….. …………
    waiting room
    a plastic daisy
    tries to smile

    Marietta McGregor
    ………………………………………….. ……….
    first light
    the spider goes down
    from his canvas

    Adjei Agyei-Baah
    ………………………………………….. ..
    an old square nail
    buried in its roots
    blue hydrangea

    Clysta Seney

    1. Thank you, Angiola. So often those that can have children don’t want to have them, and those that do cannot, is a painful and emotional experience.

  13. I enjoy the cleverness of much modern haiku, but love the poetic simplicity of “suchness.” After rereading Craig’s description posted last week, I removed from my list some that had personal commentary words. It was an interesting study. Although the use of smell seemed borderline to me in some cases. Any thoughts? In my own contribution, I had changed mid day snacking to mid day. Because possums are normally nocturnal, I had assumed the large lumbering one that startled me in the middle of the day was out for a snack, but who knows?
    A few that appeared to me to have made good use of suchness:
    *
    tents
    dot the shore
    summer rain
    *
    Marilyn Ashbaugh
    *
    autumn sky
    one cloud
    a contrail
    *
    Topher Dykes
    *
    August moon
    turkeys grazing
    in the open field
    *
    Janice Munro
    *
    a toy boat
    drifts on a pond
    Sunday morning
    *
    Ronald K. Craig
    *
    raindrops
    the lotus bud extends
    one petal
    *
    Autumn Noelle Hall
    *
    abandoned church
    Faith, Hope, and Charity in
    the Stained Glass
    *
    Tsanka Shishkova
    *
    A few that tell more detailed stories that I emotionally connected to without being told “how to feel”:
    *
    payday queue
    a tramp gleans smokes
    from around scuffed boots
    *
    Ingrid Baluchi
    *
    one old square nail
    buried among its roots
    blue hydrangea
    *
    Clysta Seney
    *
    old farmhouse
    in the dark bedroom
    the smell of quince
    *
    Slobodan Pupovac
    *
    family lunch—
    mom’s place at the table
    left empty
    *
    Angela Giordano
    *
    car wash water on all sides
    *
    Francesco Palladino
    *
    A good monoku.
    *
    Next week’s “ambiguity” will be very interesting!

    1. Hello Debbie
      I think the use of smell is fine. Suchness to me is giving a little sketch of a moment and I think the senses have a role to play in that.
      Take care.

      1. Thank you Bisshie for your thoughts. How I worked it out in my mind finally is that the smell is a fact, the object has a smell. Whether that smell is a scent, fragrance, odor, or stink is up to personal interpretation.

  14. I love the very momentariness of Margie’s poem,

    Hot drop of water
    Immediately before
    It transforms to steam

  15. .
    .
     
    high summer
    chasing the cloud upstream
    on two wheels
    .
    Bisshie
    .
    .
    A glorious road movie, whether Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), Queen (Betty Connell), or Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead) the image of the bike meaning freedom and connection with nature, however uncomfortable, and controversial, will always beat in our hearts.
    .
    For me, the suchness of chasing a cloud whether across a heat mirror on tarmac, alongside a stream, or riding through a stream, is something we might feel we should do, as a ‘suchness’ of life.
    .
    A challenge of life and even escape from those who won’t kneel to wrongful authority?
    .
    .

  16. Haiku International Association, Tokyo, Japan Feature:
    Haiku Selected by James W. HACKETT showcased August 2019
    .
    .
    “An unusual haiku offering — the keenly perceived, sensuous experience of a single fruit. Though unorthodox in content, focus, and expression, it is a very lifeful and direct haiku. The experiential moment is so vivid we can virtually see, feel, and smell the fruit! To suggest the fulsome ‘suchness’ of a ripe peach in a few syllables is no easy feat. Haiku has been well (if not deeply) described as a poetry of the the senses. But the best haiku provide an emotive dimension as well. And here, beyond the tactile, redolent, and bursting ripeness of the fruit, the haiku seems to intimate something deeper. Such suggestion accrues when (as Basho urged) the poet and subject intuitively interrelate and become one.”
    .
    .
    Barely contained
    in its thin velvet skin
    — soft fragrant peach.
    .
    Celia Stuart-Powles, USA
    .
    .
    And:
    .
    .
    “A haiku distinguished by a rare sensibility, one that well demonstrates how haiku sensitivity can ennoble mundane experience. It is apparent that the poet clearly understands what constitutes ‘the haiku experience:’ a successful use of the traditional haiku form presents a scene imbued with the ‘suchness’ of Zen in its depiction of ‘a thing, just as it is.’ The mood is stark and melancholy, befitting a sense of loss. How challenging to focus a haiku upon what no longer exists — and in this instance, how very affecting the result!”
    .
    .
    A broken nutshell
    and a twisted root remain
    where the hazel grew.
    .
    Lesley Lendrum, Scotland
    .
    .

    1. .
      .
       
      crescent moon
      I trace the scar
      from her mastectomy
      .
      Lori A Minor
      .
      .
      One of our new, exciting, and contemporary poets with her contemporary treatment of suchness.
      .
      The deft choice of ‘her’ and who that her might be, a singular her or…
      .
      .

      1. Alan –

        As always, thank you for your many comments. They often help me see a haiku in a new light – and recognize what makes it “special.”

        Also, thank you for your comment about my “one handmade brick…” (There was no “reply” option where mine was listed in your comments.)

        1. Thanks Margaret! 🙂
          .
          Yes, the reply option was pushed up, alas. Many thanks for making a comment here though.
          .
          I love how the suchness theme has been interpreted and re-interpreted. Matsuo Basho never stood/stayed still while he was alive and breathing. And like two halves of a melon, or unlike two halves of a melon, he didn’t want us to mimic him, but find our own way. 🙂

  17. My thanks to Craig Knitter for including my haiku and to Alan Summers for his interesting comment on it.
    My favourites, among so many great haiku, are

    frost
    on the kitchen window
    smell of freshly brewed coffee

    Olivier Schopfer

    and

    noh flute
    the sparkle of sunlight
    on water

    Martha Magenta

  18. Thank you so much for including me and congratulations to all haijin for the beautiful haikus!
    Angela Giordano, your touched me a lot: it’s wonderful!

  19. thank you for including mine – and thanks for this forum of creativity and challenge

  20. dad’s diary
    among illegible scribbles
    a strand of golden hair
    .
    cezar ciobîcă
    .
    Is the dad alive or dead? Does the strand of hair belong to the dad?
    Did the dad put the strand there or did the strand just fall into the dairy?
    All these questions are left to the reader to decide.

  21. summer sunset…
    a Klimt painting
    on the wall
    ,
    Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
    .
    Is the sunset real or is it just am image in a painting? Or is it both? Let each reader decide.

  22. first light
    the spider descends
    from its web

    Adjei Agyei-Baah’s observation
    .
    Alan’s :
    snow descending…
    the child reaches up
    to break their fall
    ,
    Lovely!
    .
    the white crane
    flies away
    taking its reflection

    Sari Grandstaff
    .
    Beautiful…almost a painting.
    .
    In all these, and others, I can see Alan’s “Very much a ‘just so’ and “as is”! quality.
    .
    Equally evocative:
    .
    winter solitude…
    the redness of an apple
    on its side

    Shloka Shankar
    .
    ‘winter solitude’ is a state of being. So is ‘the redness of an apple on its side’. Am I correct in thinking that Shloka’s is more in line with ambiguity than suchness because of the juxtaposition of Line 1?
    I’m really worried about next week’s challenge!!

  23. Thank you, Craig for including my verse, among so many wonderful verses.
    .
    Many thanks for you insightful comment on my verse, Alan. You never fail to bring out the most with every verse you write about. You have an amazing knowledge.
    .
    unblinking eyes
    maybe dad is just
    playing possum
    .
    Vandana Parashar
    .
    This brought to mind the memory I have when visiting my mother in the chapel of rest, in her willow cask. She looked so beautiful, as if she were only asleep, I half expected her to look up and speak to me. A lovely verse, Vandana.
    .
    snow descending…
    the child reaches up
    to break their fall
    .
    Alan Summers
    .
    These delicate intricate pieces of ice falling to earth, and in an instance could disappear. The image of ‘the’ child reaching up to help their passage is a wonderful image. When we think of how fragile an existence we have created here on Earth, I see this as, hopefully, the younger generations to come will truly realise the fragility of nature and ‘reaches out’ to help what little we have left. It’s amazing what one person can do to start, the snowball effect.
    Wonderful words, Alan.

    1. Thanks a lot, Carol for your kind words.
      Thanks, Craig, for including mine.
      Such a lovely collection on “suchness”.

    2. The magic in the hand is one thing in Alan’s poem. The face of the child, so much more.

  24. snow descending…
    the child reaches up
    to break their fall

    Alan Summers

    A lovely poem in which a child treats snowflakes as having lives of their own – they move about; they transform into droplets of wonder. And the child displays kindness, caring that the snowflakes might be hurt as they hit the ground or objects the wind swings them into. This light flurry of words has the purity of snow.

      1. I see the ‘suchness’ as being in the observance of a child going about an innocent activity beyond the world of the observer – putting out a hand to catch snowflakes as if to break their fall to Earth. I see this as a snapshot in time that is much an example of suchness as a spider leaping at its own shadow or a cow drinking its own reflection or a leaf spiralling into sunset. Definitely no telepathy at play here.

        1. The last line tells us the mind of the child, their motivation. The moment is worthy of note, but just a description of the child’s actions would suffice. Adding “as if” does mitigate somewhat that I am being told rather than shown.

  25. The Wordless Poem:
    .
    “…the haiku poet presents things “just as they are”–-the suchness of things. He [or she] gives us only the circumstances of an event, and of these only the barest minimum. ‘Touch and let go’ is the secret of haiku art.”
    .
    Eric Amann, The Wordless Poem (Privately Printed 1978)
    https://www.thehaikufoundation.org/omeka/files/original/65955e779a5d99a1643028599939f3ba.pdf
    .
    .
    What is suchness today, both in general, and in haiku? First of all, the journalist Masaoka Shiki (正岡 子規, October 14, 1867 – September 19, 1902) developed ‘haiku’ (a rarely used term until then), around 1896, and things stayed pretty much the same in some cases. That is, until two world wars brought about change in society around the globe, and we were fast-forwarded, as was haiku!
    .
    .

    eighth grade gym
    the cool girls put on
    their hairspray
    .
    Jackie Chou
    .
    .
    We can immediately relate, at least in some parts of the globe. Things just as they were, and are! Simple context setting line, clever use of a Summer reference perhaps (cool=Summer) and neat line break.
    .
    You could almost extend this poem into a list poem, and in a way Jackie Chou has done just that, all in the negative space/white space!
    .
    eighth grade gym
    the cool girls put on:
    .
    their hairspray
    .
    make up
    .
    fashion sunglasses
    .
    etc… etc…

    .
    .
    In fact it would be a fantastic class exercise to fill in extra observations, and they’d all be about “contemporary suchness”
    .

    1. .
      .
      the cot
      as I bought it
      empty
      .
      carol jones
      .
      .
      A brave stark haiku, and reminscent of the small ads message that Hemingway used as a six word story.
      .
      Here ‘it’ is really important yet deftly added without attracting too much attention to its use in the poem.
      .
      Poignant use of ‘suchness’.

      1.  .
        .
        things “just as they are” can include the fact we no longer know or meet our neighbours, unless something drastic happens. We tend to lose contact more and more, through no fault of our own, but it’s a worrying factor.
        .
        .
        missing child
        the neighbors
        we never met
        .
        Robin Anna Smith
        .
        .
        Plain language can pack a punch, and none so much as ‘missing child’. I’m watching Mindhunters, a TV drama series and the FBI hunt for multiple kidnappings of children during 1979–1981 known as the Atlanta Child Murders.
        .
        Each line serves a purpose, in stark plain language, which is more powerful, and yet difficult to do, for various reasons, which is why politicians, corrupt business, and too many in the media, avoid it.
        .
        If this is an ongoing situation, I can only hope and pray the child is found alive. Some are.
        .
        .

        1. .
          .
           
          in his bed
          nursery rhymes    i sing
          to my c-section
          .
          wendy c. bialek
          .
          .
          I like the use of the long gap in the middle line which serves many purposes, from a long pause (mental and emotional) to creating a long(er) middle line instead of making the last line longer.
          .
          Also the last line is powerful, and then we get to read ‘i sing’ again, and the first line, and nursery rhymes!
          .
          Another fantastic take on (contemporary) suchness, things as they are. Read this again, and then again, it’s worth it for its magic.
          .
          .
          =============

          1.  .
            .

            multitude
            umbrellas surge
            the streets
            .
            Christina Chin
            .
            .

            At one time a lot of umbrellas only meant a downpour of rain, now it’s tear gas and making surveillance devices on police uniforms or agent provocateurs, or troop carriers etc…
            .
            Suchness has changed so much over two world wars, and the attack on empathy.
            .
            .
            This works well as a tercet (three line haiku).
            .

            ========================

          2. .
            .
             
            dandelion
            my fugitive dreams
            .
            Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo
            .
            .
            The duostich approach to haiku will often work, especially if the second/last line doesn’t get over-stuffed.
            .
            .
            Our dreams can be of our fears of flight or fight, in many aspects. The juxtaposition, use of two images against each other, works spectacularly well here.
            .
            .
            It’s worth reading more than once. The ‘white space’ speaks volumes.

          3. .
            .
            on the table
            where the book sat
            a clean spot
            .
            Ellis Clay
            .
            .
            Simple and unambivalent. We might know this is an avid reader but not necessary someone strong on housecleaning, I know that myself! 🙂
            .
            .

          4. .
            .
            kerfuffle
            he balances on her
            favourite branch
            .
            Mark Gibert
            .
            .
            A fun haiku! 🙂 I love observing the activities of our feathered co-species on this planet.
            .
            .

          5. .
            Facing the suchness of fate, when often we ignore the only fact that exists once we are born.
            .
            These two may or may not be connected, but are powerful by saying so much but not too much, or even not enough, but we are drawn in to fill the blanks we might otherwise rather ignore.
            .
            .
             
            shortest day . . .
            your face paler
            than ever
            .
            Marion Clarke
             .
            .
            family lunch–
            mom’s place at the table
            left empty
            .
            Angela Giordano
            .
            .

          6. .
            .
            Beautiful! Love every line and how they are judged where to go, just as a butterfly might judge the distance of oceans just to visit a flower in our backyard! 🙂
            .
            .
            Such is life. 😉
            .
            .

             
             
            suitcases ready …
            still a butterfly
            on chrysanthemums
            .
            .
            valigie pronte … ferma una farfalla sui crisantemi
            .
            Lucia Cardillo
            .
            .
            Any excuse! 🙂

          7.  
            .
            .
            rain puddle
            the trees
            upside down
            .
            Christina Pecoraro
            .
            .
            Simple, and that six word twist that can work so well, as Hemingway knew, especially for his bar bills! 🙂
            .
            The magic of reflections off rivers, or puddles!
            .
            .

          8.  .
            .
            rumbling winter –
            the north wind running
            with bikers
            .
            Luisa Santoro
            .
            .
            Love this, and the sound of winter, the north wind, and those bikers, wow! 🙂 A great cacophony of sound reminiscent of Tohta Kaneko wanting to become a motorbike! 🙂
            .
            .

          9. .
            .
            The really little things, possibly the actual suchness of life, though sadly in the greatest danger from corrupt interests.
            .
            .
             
            raindrop
            the lotus bud extends
            one petal
            .
            Autumn Noelle Hall
             .
            .
            mid day
            a pregnant possum
            walks the fence
            .
            Debbie Scheving
            .
            .

          10. .
            .
            Two brilliant haiku that have their own take on suchness, at least in my opinion! 🙂
            .
            .
             
            waiting room
            a plastic daisy
            tries to smile
            .
            Marietta McGregor
             .
            .
            brief stay
            the grass slowly rising
            where we left
            .
            Adrian Bouter
            .
            .

          11. .
            Perhaps karumi and suchness with the first haiku, and yugen and suchness for the second poem. Two great examples, with nods to the past, and the future.
             .
            .
            winter solitude…
            the redness of an apple
            on its side
            .
            Shloka Shankar
            .
            .
             
            the white crane
            flies away
            taking its reflection
            .
            Sari Grandstaff
            .
            .

          12. .
            .

            one handmade brick remains of the wedding
            .
            Margaret Walker
             .
            .
            Just saying enough to suggest something more, all that remains, is one sign of a wedding home.
            .
            .

            perfect dawn
            the last lines of paint
            drawn on the frame
            .
            Robert Kingston
            .
            .
            Usually ‘perfect’ might be too much, but here, perfect and last is poignant or hopeful, and I’ll go for hopefull.
            .
            .
            framed print
            the tiger
            approaches
            .
            Susan Bonk Plumridge
            .
            .
            Hair standing on edge, the vividity of art becoming another art perhaps.
            .
            .

          13. Dear Mark,
            Ah, now I understand what you mean by your ‘one fun’, it had me scratching my head for a bit.
            .
            Here’s the poem again, but without the typo in your name, apologies.
            .
            .
            kerfuffle
            he balances on her
            favourite branch
            .
            Mark Gilbert
            .
            .
            A fun haiku! 🙂 I love observing the activities of our feathered co-species on this planet.
            .
            .

      1. I feel a Japanese poet might pick up on cool as the reference to Summer, and as the kigo is well known to me, I automatically went to High School Summer! 🙂
        .
        Economy of words and phrasing perhaps. 🙂

        1. Thank you kindly, Alan! For me, the suchness in these haiku highlights the paying attention aspect of traditional haiku. And while the haiku suchness is poetic in its simplicity, its effectiveness is that it draws attention to the complexity in the world. It is like the essence of the whole tree being contained in the seed – the haiku here are like the seeds and the readers’ thoughts then branch out to their own interpretations, associations, connections, etc.

          1. Yes!
            .
            Traditional haiku or those before 1896, when they were hokku or other haikai verses. For a while, after Shiki used the rare term ‘haiku’ for a new genre of haikai poetry, they were like hokku until, sadly, two world wars would change that forever.
            .
            Hokku is still written today and is a beautiful form! 🙂
            .
            And yes, simplicity can be complicity in revealing complexity! Making haiku a city of nuance albeit tiny in appearance, its heart and soul is as large as the interior of the Tardis! 🙂

  26. So many beautiful poems here–“suchness” captured in revealing and mysterious ways. I keep getting lost in the list, but these are some that stopped me:

    *

    summer end
    an old man and gulls
    on the dock

    Neni Rusliana

    *
    poignant and beautiful, a pair of endings going on…
    *

    missing child
    the neighbors
    we never met

    Robin Anna Smith
    *
    love the cryptic connection–these might not necessarily be the neighbors whose child is gone. A reminder of all we let go by us
    *
    the smell
    of fallen leaves
    divorce papers

    Agus Maulana Sunjaya
    *
    many different senses and emotions evoked here in a vivid, intense moment
    *
    frost
    on the kitchen window
    smell of freshly brewed coffee
    Olivier Schopfer
    *
    another great set of contrasting and evocative sensations

    *
    suitcases ready …
    still a butterfly
    on chrysanthemums

    valigie pronte … ferma una farfalla sui crisantemi

    Lucia Cardillo
    *
    several imminent departures..one wonders about the next stages of these several lives
    *
    raindrop
    the lotus bud extends
    one petal

    Autumn Noelle Hall
    *
    I love the simplicity and vividness
    *

    mid day
    a pregnant possum
    walks the fence

    Debbie Scheving
    *
    a very rich moment!
    *
    first light
    the spider descends
    from its web

    Adjei Agyei-Baah

    *
    I love this–I see it all the time! One of my favorite parts of the day
    *
    winter solitude…
    the redness of an apple
    on its side

    Shloka Shankar
    *
    Beautifully Cezanne-ish; and this prompt did seem like composing a still life
    *
    at dawn
    in the cat’s water bowl
    feathers

    Nazarena Rampini
    *
    but we don’t know if the cat got the bird or the bird took a sip of the cat’s water!
    *
    perfect dawn
    the last lines of paint
    drawn on the frame

    Robert Kingston
    *
    perfect!
    *
    noh flute
    the sparkle of sunlight
    on water

    Martha Magenta
    *
    also perfect!
    *
    thanks to everyone for posting these gems. Every week–a tremendous experience reading them all.

  27. I found writing a haiku using the technique of suchness to have been a challenge. Thank-you to Craig for all his efforts on this column.

    1. porch floor –
      only a scattering
      of bird feathers
      .
      Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
      .
      This achieves suchness, where the event (cause or effect) is outside the poem and the scene is presented as is.

        1. Valentina and simonj, this one created an emotional image for me but I wasn’t sure of the word “only” so hesitated…

          1. Thank-you Debbie for your comment about the word “only”. It never occurred to me to leave this word out. I like the version with “only” and the version without “only”.

          2. “Only” does have meaning as well as sound and rhythm (very important to me), wheras “bird” is logically superfluous but still fits into the meter and mirrors the plosive “porch”.

          3. Valentina and simonj, the system doesn’t have the red reply on yours so replying back on mine. I consulted the dictionary just now to see if I could understand why the word only seems an emotional opinion to me. Per the dictionaries, when an adjective as it is here, bird is necessary, it is adding to the fact. When used as an adverb it seems to me added on for emotion. I think the word has turned very emotional in our cultural use, thus the confusion. And of course here it does convey emotion. I loved the flatness of the painted wood floor, how I see it, with just feathers. Thank you for the input.

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