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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Simply a Winged Thing (2)

Simply with Guest Editor Craig Kittner

Simplicity is one gateway to a balanced mind.

The world sorely needs balanced minds to mitigate all this conflict.

Haiku is uniquely suited for the cultivation and dissemination of simplicity.

In this round of Haiku Dialogue I’m seeking works that invoke the simple perfection of a moment in time.

The successful haiku will be formed out of love for what is not everlasting, but impermanent.

next week’s theme: Simply a Daily Activity

Choose something you do regularly and portray it simply. Present any juxtaposing element, be it physical or mental, with the same level of simplicity.

The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday May 13, 2023.

Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry.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 & residence 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 simply a winged thing too:

As I work on this week’s commentary the concept of implication keeps arising.

Consider that in any form of communication what we imply may have greater impact than what we say.

With its succinctness this is very true of haiku.

Now think on this: of the 91 haiku selected for the winged thing prompt, 19 (21%) mention butterflies. This is indicative of the overall prevalence of butterflies in the submissions received.

By choosing a butterfly as imagery for the winged thing prompt, did I unwittingly plant a seed?

—as a writing strategy, difficult to master
—as an event in the reader’s mind, impossible to control
—as an element of haiku, magical!

It comes down to word choice and with haiku, often hinges on which words one chooses to omit.

With that in mind let’s look at the first three haiku I selected for commentary:

butterflies he doesn’t want a grave

Helga Stania

How are butterflies involved in this situation? Are we talking real-life butterflies, images or memories of them, or that fluttery feeling in your stomach?

The reader must decide and with the deciding collaboration occurs.

under the jackdaws

Ann Smith
Wales, United Kingdom

Who’s dancing?

What’s really occurring whenever we see a creature in nature and feel a connection?

Maybe the question should be what’s dancing.

Regardless, I feel joy radiating from this haiku.

Joy of the pure and simple, which haiku is uniquely suited to capture.

poised above
the ink painted flower
a tiny gnat

kris moon kondo
Kiyokawa, Kanagawa, Japan

The power of this haiku radiates from the juxtaposition of the gnat and the painting. Little insect that won’t last the season versus something handmade that can last indefinitely.

The specifics of the interaction are in the mind of the engaged reader, drawing them into the experience very personally.

As these three haiku indicate, there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of ambiguity that arises from the use of a few coherent words that hold something back.

missing wing
the angel mother kept
from childhood

Pris Campbell

I sense an implication here that the angel is all the more treasured for its brokenness.

The object carrying the sign of its imperfection but held onto just the same, much like memory.

field picnic
a grasshopper rests
on the car seat

Helene Guojah

A family connecting with nature. A peaceful scene. Yet at the point of physical connection, a reminder of how we must protect ourselves from our own creations.

Simplicity reflecting complexity.

Fallen leaf
disturbs river water
The tree stays calm

N W P Lal
Weligama, Sri Lanka

One may read this and think the writer is trying to humanize the river and tree, but is it so?

Disturbed water, a calm tree, this is common word usage. Laid out so baldly here, we can observe how we react and see our foibles clearly.

in the field
a mouse pulls down a falcon –
my bicycle bell tinkles

Guido De Pelsmaeker
België (Holsbeek)

This haiku turns everything on its head in a delightful way.

The mouse as initiator of the falcon’s action. Our cherished sense of human importance reduced to the sound of a bell.

a gray moth lays still
in the candle wax

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

In fully experiencing one loss we see our connection to everything, for everything eventually ends.

on Buddha’s birthday
two ducks
in a vernal pool

Mark Scott
Hardwick, VT USA

For me haiku is inexorably tied to a zen-like sense of impermanence and renewal through the cycles of nature.

This one presents such sensibility with such an easy elegance.

The annual event of Buddha’s birthday calling forth remembrance that the person is passed, but the spirit is renewed, while ducks take refuge in a body of water that will disappear in a season.

migratory birds –
I and their shadows

Dan C. Iulian

A second haiku that describes shadows as earthbound (the first being Ron Scully’s “the shadow / of her wingspan / grounded” from last week’s post).

An interesting approach to juxtaposing human and bird. With one stroke it provides a connection while highlighting the distance between us.

clothes blown dry
touch butterfly wings
summer breeze

Michelle V. Alkerton
Ontario, Canada

“Touch” is important here because the word implies so much.

We have been culturally conditioned to equate butterfly wings with something special.

So like an unexpected puff of breeze this moment feels magical.

If you are questioning the power of implication, just imagine how different this haiku would be if “butterfly” was replaced with “cockroach.”


Join us next week for Craig’s selection of poems on the theme of simply a daily activity…


Guest Editor Craig Kittner claims a round-earther identity as an alternative to the ones the world would impose. While their feet feel the earth, their ragpicker mind works the trash heap that’s their brain, pulling out words. Origami Poems Project, Shot Glass Journal, bottle rockets, and Acorn have recently hosted his work.

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 12 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for nice presentation of beautiful haiku. So happy to see that a haiku from Sri Lanka too was included The poem of my friend N.W.P.Lal. He has already published a poetry collection too. A writer with great insight. I am happy for him as this place is well deserved.

  2. A lovely selection Craig and wonderful to read your comments. These two stood out for me.

    butterflies he doesn’t want a grave

    Helga Stania

    As you mentioned in your commentary the ambiguity allows the reader right into this one! A beautiful evocative juxtaposition.

    poised above
    the ink painted flower
    a tiny gnat

    kris moon kondo
    Kiyokawa, Kanagawa, Japan

    Applause to the poet for such a focused moment! I love these tiny creatures, and I admire the sharp eyes needed to notice this little insect on an ink painted flower.

  3. Glad to see Mark Scott’s haiku included:
    on Buddha’s birthday
    two ducks
    in a vernal pool
    Mark Scott

    Not only is his haiku peaceful and zen, but also reminds me of the two mallards who return to our neighborhood each spring. The pair generally stop at our small pool so she can bathe while he stands guard. The pond is so small she can’t swim, not can he join her.

    Mark writes a weekly blog which includes haiku from haiku masters. He always imparts great information on the seasons and the natural world, and I look forward to reading it each week since I stumbled upon it.

  4. My thanks to all who are contributing their thoughts and highlighting their favorites. Thanks to for the social media shares.

    Halfway through simplicity, can you believe it?

    Life goes fast, but haiku slows the moment!

  5. Many thanks for your commentary Craig, I enjoyed all the contributions and found Pris Campbell’s especially touching

    missing wing
    the angel mother kept
    from childhood

    I have a straw angel hanging from my mirror, bought for me by my daughter when she was about seven or eight (twenty five years ago) afraid to touch it these days the the straw is starting to disintegrate – hope I never have to part with it.

  6. poised above
    the ink painted flower
    a tiny gnat

    kris moon kondo
    Kiyokawa, Kanagawa, Japan

    Thank you Craig for your choice of Kris’ gemlike haiku for commentary!

    I love this moment stopped in time! Hovering. is it possible a real little insect has been transfixed, lured to the beautiful painted flower? (such as they appear in kris’ watercolors?

    Or it could be also a painted gnat, like the flower… I love the ambiguity and suggestiveness — and how now… it hovers in our memories too!

    1. Yes, the haiku is rich with possibilities. My mind leapt to an image of the painter, about to make a mark, getting distracted by a gnat come to visit.

  7. Thank you Craig. Delighted to be included in this week’s commentaries. Enjoyed reading all the verses and commentaries.

  8. I’ve enjoyed reading all the work selected for A simply winged thing. Thank you Craig for including my “clothes blown dry” in today’s commentary.

    butterflies he doesn’t want a grave

    Helga Stania

    I find this solemn and hopeful all at once.

    I particularly enjoyed these from last week.

    drop of river
    off a heron’s wing

    marilyn ashbaugh

    northern lights this far south jewel beetles

    Ingrid Baluchi
    North Macedonia

    the shadow
    of her wingspan

    Ron Scully
    Burien WA

    Stay inspired!
    Michelle V. Alkerton

  9. vigil
    a gray moth lays still
    in the candle wax

    Bona M. Santos
    Los Angeles, CA

    This beauty by Bona gives me shivers. In vigil we are so sensitive and vvulnerable. And each small thing memorable. Is the moth in the candle wax just laying still, or has it expired. This draws me back to my mother’s side. Is she gone?

    Thank you Craig for choosing this for your beautiful commentary.

  10. Dear Craigg,
    I am very happy to be in the roster with my ‘all upside down haiku!’
    Have fun with all the entries and see you haiku!
    Guido De Pelsmaeker

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