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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Rooms – Looking In (1)

Rooms with Guest Editor Marietta McGregor

The month of July is about a room of one’s own, or someone else’s. Many of us spend more time within four walls than we do outside. We are born, die, sleep, eat, write, paint, sew, sing, converse, discourse, learn, worship and interact in enclosed spaces. Often we seek out or create these spaces because they provide creature comforts. Animals have rooms of their own. A bear seeks its den to hibernate. Wombats and rabbits dig to create burrows. Birds build nests. Virginia Woolf extolled the advantages of a private income and one’s own space. Rooms can be working sanctuaries, but if our enclosures become overly constricting or confining, we may feel the walls are ‛closing in’ on us, as many felt during pandemic lockdowns.

Below is Marietta’s selection of poems on the theme of Looking In:

Snowy pavements—
shop window mannequins
in bikinis

Caroline Ridley-Duff
UK

 

the hunched back
of a piano player
window sonata

marilyn ashbaugh
edwardsburg, michigan usa

 

old classroom
the benches still bear
our names

Srini S
Rishi Valley, India

 

forget me nots
in the room my mothers voice
no longer there

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA

 

the kayak
attached to the ceiling
a reminder of her son’s exploits

Ann Rawson
UK

 

watercolours on the table—
preparing the story
that I’m going to tell today

Daniela Lăcrămioara Capotă
Romania

 

clam bake
raconteurs settle into
their Bigfoot theories

Sheila Barksdale
Gotherington, England, U.K.

 

Hamm’s beer sign
looking into the bar’s version
of a stained glass window

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ

 

the chatter of teens
from behind closed doors
. . . at least they’re home

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India

 

tiny windows—
I still peep inside ’em
toy cars

Ashok Weerakkody
Sri Lanka

 

wedding hall
my first glance—a bat
on the chandelier

Sharon Ferrante
Florida, USA

 

doors of perception
staring into galaxies
inside a mushroom

John Hawkhead
UK

 

doctor’s clinic—
next to the colored posters
child’s art

Tuyet Van Do
Australia

 

grandma’s kitchen
bits of grandpa’s pipe tobacco
on the oilcloth

Cindy Putnam Guentherman
Illinois, USA

 

abandoned house—
the wallpaper someone
loved once

Lafcadio
USA

 

looking into my bedroom . . .
on the dresser
my parents’ photo

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania Italy

 

pinholes of light
defeating the darkness—
old barn

Dan Campbell
Virginia

 

hospital ward
four old men
flushing all night

Charles Harper
Yokohama

 

receding up the wall
three ducks

wanda amos
Old Bar, Australia

 

happy family
glimpsed through the winter window
I hug my young self

Jenny Shepherd
London, UK

 

Nan fades
into white bed sheets
palliative care ward

Louise Hopewell
Australia

 

fragrance
in the disheveled bed
a twinkling toe-ring

Kavita Ratna
India

 

meditation hall . . .
I learn to watch the “me”
slowly disappear

HlaYin Mon
Yangon, Myanmar

 

the bed he was born in
I begin a sonnet
to Shakespeare’s birthplace

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK

 

meditation room . . .
the singing bowl
waits to sing

Kathleen Trocmet
USA

 

shelves of
summer fantasies
the root cellar

Susan Farner
USA

 

Father’s room emptied
the walls where the couches sat
not yellowed from smoke

James Feeney
Scotland

 

bluish moonlight
shines into the cockpit
sleeping pilots

Teiichi Suzuki
Japan

 

house warming. . .
dinner served
on the tree stump table

Aparna Pathak
Gurugram, India

 

a teenager’s room inside a room

Vandana Parashar
India

 

vacant granny’s room—
floating inside
the fairies from her stories

Ram Chandran
India

 

getting dizzy
faded on the vault
frescoes

Helga Stania
Switzerland

 

old age home—
she sits facing
the bare wall

Neena Singh
India

 

in one room
a roaring fire 選択 a piano
in the other

simonj
UK

 

museum . . .
between skeletons
an era

Sudebi Singha
Kolkata, India

 

after the footage
from the front line
an ad for sofas

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK

 

through stained glass
more and more shadow play—
summer wake

Alfred Booth
Lyon, France

 

thunderstorm—
the wobbly steps
to my bedroom

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India

 

summer storm
going deep into my shell
in room #13

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

bird house . . .
how the eyes of the barred owls
follow me

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

family death
in his bedroom
the TV still on

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island WA USA

 

window suncatcher—
the rainbow painted on
my bedroom floor

Lorraine Schein
Queens, NYC

 

silence
of an empty classroom . . .
end of June

Angiola Inglese
Italia

 

all smiles
in the hospital room
yellow daisies

Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo
Bombon, Philippines

 

winter sun
on the dining room table
an unfinished jigsaw

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand

 

reception hall
the first room we enter
as husband and wife

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois

 

light from monitor
a couple on a Zoom call
meditating

Vivien Eliades
Brighton, UK

 

time capsule
nana’s living room
just as she left it

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California

 

autumn evening
a hint of aniseed
in the entrance hall

Daniela Misso
Italy

 

the bed
facing a mirrored wardrobe—
Paris hotel

Ruth Holzer
Herndon, Virginia

 

friend’s cottage . . .
the scent of jasmine
in the first kiss

Samo Kreutz
Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

travel blog . . .
I look in and out
someone else’s eyes

Jan Stretch
Victoria, BC, Canada

 

three hens perched
in the makeshift pen
moonless night

Kanjini Devi
The Far North, Aotearoa NZ

 

summer cottage
the scratched hallway
where the years have passed

Marianne Sahlin
Sweden

 

counselling sessions
the inward search
for answers

Carol Reynolds
Australia

 

one last look
before closing the door
her empty place

petro c. k.
Seattle, Washington

 

Camels and a hotplate
in the rented room
immigrant auntie

Ann Sullivan
Massachusetts USA

 

a peak
into her dollhouse
teatime

Ron Scully
Burien WA

 

tilting shanty
an empty corner
shines in sunlight

John Zheng
Mississippi

 

lightning—
the flash of cat
stepping in

Satyanarayana Chittaluri
Hyderabad, India

 

mixed in
piles of clean laundry
southern wind

Mariel Herbert
California, USA

 

morning rush
a strand of hair lingers
on the dressing table

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India

 

summer grove
in the zoom room
her dream home

Ann Smith
United Kingdom

 

skylight window
shifting the axis
of my thoughts

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

hard lines
and gleaming surfaces—
the urge to sing

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia

 

polytunnel
a butterfly’s search for the sky inside

Tony Williams
Scotland, UK

 

new art gallery
on the counter a book
on fake paintings

A.J. Anwar
Jakarta, Indonesia

 

a baby monitor
next to my friend’s bed
hospice visit

C.X. Turner
UK

 

entering the tavern—
I wait for my eyes to adjust
to the darkness

Tomislav Maretić
Zagreb, Croatia

 

room C4-16
Mother doesn’t remember
any other home

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec

 

peeking past the cart
view from that hotel room
not as nice as ours

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY

 

polaroid
our years together
smiling back

Jenn Ryan-Jauregui
Tucson, Arizona USA

 

tea cup collection
covered in flowers
and dust…

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut

 

her secret space
open to the sky
Georgia O’Keefe

Kathabela Wilson
USA

 

a door
open into childhood
my old diary

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama

 

dementia
his frail eyes count
the falling leaves

Lakshmi Iyer
Kerala

 

vecchia soffitta…
sulla mia tela i colori del vento
pieni di luce

old attic . . .
on my canvas the colors of the wind
full of light

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna Italy

 

dust-filled attic
the fairy stories
inherited from mum

Lori Kiefer
London UK

 

dark attic . . .
I trip over my past
in dusty boxes

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK

 

these walls
the secrets
they keep

Didimay D. Dimacali
California, USA

 

the empty room
a list of their white goods
on white paper

Dipankar Dasgupta
Kolkata, India

 

garden door
the blackbird eyeing me
from her kitchen

Ella Aboutboul
West Sussex, UK

 

grandma
in the doorframe
her fledglings nest

Alan Harvey
Tacoma, WA

 

library table
a display of banned books
ready for takeout

Sigrid Saradunn
Bar Harbor, Maine

 

through the raindrops
on window glass—
an eagle plays the wind

D’ellen Hutchens
Apple Valley, CA

 

light at the end of the hallway hospice wing

Lorraine A Padden
San Diego, CA USA

 

even in the smile
of the childhood doll
an inevitable goodbye

anche nel sorriso
della bambola d’infanzia
un inevitabile addio

Maria Cezza
Italy

 

hometown visit
the familiar flicker
of the kitchen light

Marion Clarke
Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

 

theatre lights
counting down from ten
fade to black

Stephen J. DeGuire
Los Angeles, CA

 

granny’s bedroom
her curled shadow resting
in the summer heat

Cristina Povero
Italy

 

her green bedroom
she writes poetry
in her forest

Diane Funston
Marysville, California

 

coming home
greeted by the old
familiar dish pattern

Debbie Scheving
Bremerton, WA USA

 

their tv’s blue glow
lights empty bookshelves
I guess they e-read

Elizabeth Shack
Illinois, USA

 

doctor’s office
my heart races to the sight
of the stethoscope

Jackie Chou
United States

 

wishing well
pennies becoming
turquoise with age

Margie Gustafson
Lombard, IL USA

 

“dancing in the kitchen”
our daily ritual
makes the headlines

Rita Melissano
Illinois, USA

 

brother’s guest room . . .
asleep on my parents’ bed
maze filled dreams

kris moon kondo
Kiyokawa, Kanagawa, Japan

 

bookshop window
a forgotten collection
from childhood

Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina

 

Join us next week for Marietta’s commentary on additional poems, & our next prompt…

 

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 15 Comments

  1. This week was a delight and hard to pin down favorites but a few of the stand outs for me were:

    “the bed”
    Ruth Holzer

    “reception hall”
    Bryan Rickert

    “silence”
    Angiola Inglese

    “house warming”
    Aparma Pathak

    “Nan fades”
    Louise Hopewell

    “pinholes of light”
    Dan Campbell

    “Hamm’s beer sign”
    Rehn Kovacic

    And, like other commenters,
    “Snowy pavement”
    Caroline Ridley-Duffs

  2. Thank you Marietta for the time and attention you devoted to our poems this week, one of my favorites is:

    one last look
    before closing the door
    her empty place

    petro c. k.
    Seattle, Washington

  3. Thanks, Marietta. There are several with calculated emotional trigger words or situations, which readers always like, yet the following caught my own attention (if I may):

    Snowy pavements—
    shop window mannequins
    in bikinis

    Caroline Ridley-Duff

    This would make a good solstice poem; in the depths of midwinter we hope for summer; the temperatures that bind this verse together separated by the glass. Clean, clear, plain, and to the brief.

    ….
    I paused to look up the choice separator 選択 in simonj’s verse.
    ….

    winter sun
    on the dining room table
    an unfinished jigsaw

    Sue Courtney

    An accomplished harmonious juxtaposition around a pivot; the start or end of a little story for us to complete.

    —-

    the bed
    facing a mirrored wardrobe—
    Paris hotel

    Ruth Holzer

    Plain, unemotional, detached, instantly recognisable images and context but oh, what a little story this arrangement might tell! Has to be the Left Bank. For 21-year-old me, six weeks’ research at the Collège de France where my endearing laboratory colleagues nicknamed me Harpo (mass of curly hair and too shy/dumb to speak French). Or more universally, the truth about what we are up to on a naughty weekend, right back at us. Or the sad fact of our wrinkles in the city of love. I am a Holzer fan.

    lightning—
    the flash of cat
    stepping in

    Satyanarayana Chittaluri

    The moment…enlightenment… and a 🐈‍⬛ . What more could we want? Ancient Egypt to the present day.

    polytunnel
    a butterfly’s search for the sky inside

    Tony Williams

    Excellent. Tony growing veg in Scotland. One is anxious for the butterfly (my money’s on a cabbage white) unable to understand the barrier, and fears for his brassicas too.

    After all these, I am agog to see the particular selections next week!

  4. In a wonderful collection of places to look in, I found extra comfort in my favorite location:

    theatre lights
    counting down from ten
    fade to black

    Stephen J. DeGuire
    Los Angeles, CA

    Thanks, Stephen, for capturing it so well!

  5. Thank you Marietta for including my haiku on “looking in” this week. And thank you Kathy and Lori for keeping this weekly Haiku Dialogue going. These two haiku stood out for me. This one because looking in a bookstore window is often like a nostalgic trip back especially seeing some of your childhood favorites. It is like a catch in your throat from recognition:

    bookshop window
    a forgotten collection
    from childhood

    Richard Straw
    Cary, North Carolina

    And this one is precious. Maybe because my haiku was also about peering into a hotel room. Paris is supposed to be a romantic city and to me this haiku has a whole story behind it:
    the bed
    facing a mirrored wardrobe—
    Paris hotel

    Ruth Holzer
    Herndon, Virginia

    1. Thanks, Sari! I like your hotel poem and Ruth’s hotel poem, too. There’s something about traveling that’s conducive to writing haiku and senryu. My bookshop poem, for example, was experienced on a recent trip to elsewhere.

  6. Thank you, Marietta and Dipankar, for liking mine!
    I especially liked:

    light at the end of the hallway hospice wing

    Lorraine A Padden
    San Diego, CA USA

    wishing well
    pennies becoming
    turquoise with age

    Margie Gustafson
    Lombard, IL USA

  7. Thanks for including me this week Marietta. These two particularly caught my eye:

    polytunnel
    a butterfly’s search for the sky inside
    Tony Williams

    library table
    a display of banned books
    ready for takeout
    Sigrid Saradunn

    Difficult to believe the second one even needs to be written in a modern democracy.

  8. Good to read ‘Looking In’, covering a variety of places this week, from wishing wells and hospital rooms to attics bringing past experiences to the fore.
    I was drawn to Keith Evetts’ TV moment, the contrast of home comforts alongside the horrors of war . . . how often advertisements barge their way into our consciousness when least appropriate, all the more unacceptable because of bad placement and timing.

    after the footage
    from the front line
    an ad for sofas

    Keith Evetts
    Thames Ditton, UK

    Thank you, Marietta, for this global selection, and for choosing one of mine.

    1. Thank you, Ingrid. On another occasion, fairly early in the Russian invasion, Reuters online carried an ad for caviar (of all things!) in among reportage from the brutal crimes in Bucha.

  9. Thank you Marietta for including mine. What a lovely collection . I loved the following in particular, which is not say that the others don’t stand out. Thanks again.

    Dipankar

    Snowy pavements—
    shop window mannequins
    in bikinis

    Caroline Ridley-Duff
    UK

    window suncatcher—
    the rainbow painted on
    my bedroom floor

    Lorraine Schein
    Queens, NYC

    abandoned house—
    the wallpaper someone
    loved once

    Lafcadio
    USA

    one last look
    before closing the door
    her empty place

    petro c. k.
    Seattle, Washington

    tea cup collection
    covered in flowers
    and dust…

    Adele Evershed
    Wilton, Connecticut

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