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HAIKU DIALOGUE – The Language of Flowers – Sowing Seeds: Literally and Metaphorically & Introduction to Literary Devices

The Language of Flowers: A Global Perspective with Guest Editor Carole MacRury & Introduction to Literary Devices

Thank you Guest Editor Carole MacRury for two months of inspiring photography & poetry, & now welcome back Alex Fyffe, who returns for the next few weeks… happy writing!

Introduction to Literary Devices with Guest Editor Alex Fyffe

For this series, I’d like to focus on the use of various literary devices in haiku. We tend to think of these techniques as applicable to longer lyric poetry – haiku is often taught to be a form without literary trappings, a simple breath of a poem, honest and straightforward, without ornament. Of course, this is a misconception, as the best haiku tend to be very carefully crafted, with one good poem often going through several revisions. And just like their longer cousins, haiku are capable of tackling metaphor, simile (despite what you might have heard), personification, symbolism, allusion, and any number of other techniques. Each week, we will take an in-depth look at a different technique and apply it to our haiku.

next week’s theme: the flashback

For now, we will focus on the flashback, a literary technique used in prose and poetry in which an author steps away from the current narrative to inform readers about events that happened earlier, usually to shed more light on the present. Novelists are able to take their time setting up present events before delving into a deep flashback, but haiku’s brevity doesn’t provide us this luxury; we must cut to the chase, quickly connecting something happening now with a memory, bringing past and present together in a single breath.

the frog dragging home
its broken legs

When I was young, I caught a frog behind the house, and something in me possessed me to hurt the poor creature. After damaging it horribly, I started to feel sick about what I was doing, and I let the little fellow go, watching him barely limp away into the woods. It still comes up in my writing to this day, a stupid, harmful action that I continue to carry with regret. The indigestion I was feeling the morning I wrote this haiku reminded me of a frog, and that brought the flashback once again.

For the flashback prompt, consider a vivid moment from your past and how it connects to something happening in your life or your world now.

The deadline is midnight Central Daylight Time, Saturday July 09, 2022.

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 Carole’s commentary for Sowing Seeds:  Literally and Metaphorically:

It was a privilege to read each of your poems on what sowing seeds meant or suggested to you. As always, there were a few multiple submissions (beyond two) that I could not consider for the sake of fairness to those who submitted the maximum of two poems. Also, there were many poems on similar themes, such as dandelion seeds and heritage seeds. I chose those that most appealed to me as pertains to my own haiku aesthetics. Many poems not chosen I am sure will find a home. Wherever possible I researched unfamiliar terms to better understand a poem that lies outside of my own culture. But many of these poems stood alone despite my interest in knowing more. I’ve always maintained that a good poem communicates itself, despite its cultural source, and in fact unites us through universal experience. I’ve selected a few poems for commentary that represent a diverse response to the theme. The longer list contains many excellent haiku that deserve mention too, which I hope many of you will point out as your favorites. It’s been a joy to act as Guest Editor for Haiku Dialogue these past two months and I appreciate your kindness and continued support of The Haiku Foundation and this most excellent prompt site that serves not only to excite the muse of our more experienced writers, but through examples, inspire poets who are early on in their haiku journey. Here’s to seeding your muse and planting poems that will find a home here and among many of our journals.

too many seeds
the garden and I
grow wild

Susan Burch
Hagerstown, MD

I appreciated the exuberance of this poem. Can we plant too many seeds? Can we live with an overplanted riotous garden? I think so! I so love the way the poet responds to an overabundance of blossoms. But then, as a poet, I’ve always appreciated the wild side of a garden over a formally cultivated one. Don’t we all wish to sometimes, ‘grow wild?’ The sense of letting go and the sense of acceptance work well in this delightful haiku.

night sowing
on the balcony–

Teiichi Suzuki

This was one of my favorite responses to the theme of seeds. It begins with a focused moment: a person steps out onto their balcony one evening. Something we can all relate to, especially if living in a city. Perhaps the night is seeded with stars. And as poets, so many of us search the night sky for answers. Or we send our questions out to the universe. Our forever expanding universe! This image opens from a private moment of reflection to the stupendous idea of something so much bigger than us – the galaxy, with all its flickering stars, planets, and meteors. I am quite sure all of us partake of ‘night sowing,’ but never has this been expressed so poetically with the galaxy as juxtaposition.

tree shadows the seeds I didn’t intend to plant

Anette Chaney
Harrison, Arkansas

A poem can be enriched through careful word choices, and in this case, ‘tree shadows’ evokes a tree that has grown tall enough to cast a shadow, yet also asks us to consider the shadows within our own lives. On the surface, you have trees the poet did not plant yet grew large enough to cast a shadow. Does this suggest that our lives too contain shadows, things that happened that we didn’t intend to happen? I’m reminded of every tree my children brought home and were told to plant, yet after many moves, they never saw the results of their plantings as adults. This poem is grounded in fact yet opens up to metaphoric readings for those sensitive to mining the depths of a haiku.

sunrise …
grandpa’s hands
sprinkle gold

Subir Ningthouja
Imphal, India

This poem appealed to me on the strength of the word ‘gold.’ I see a hardworking grandpa rising early to sow seeds that will bring wealth to the family. Gold has many connotations as a color and a metal within the Indian culture, but I can still relate to this poem within the restraints of my own culture. Gold certainly suggests something valuable, and for sure I can feel the personal love and value of this elderly grandpa through his rising early to sow seeds of gold, be they golden flax or some other seeds. A lovely image that offers a metaphoric reading as well.

my wild oats
and then my ashes –
scattered in the wind

Dan Campbell

This is a superb death poem reminiscent of the old masters yet still speaks to the theme of sowing seeds. It’s an entire life in three lines: sowing one’s wild oats, scattering one’s ashes. Yes, surely in retrospect this represents the fleetingness of life.

moving day the lilacs that never bloomed

Allyson Whipple
St. Louis, MO

I appreciate the subtle metaphor in this lovely haiku. On the surface, it’s the simple fact that one is moving away knowing that the lilacs they planted never bloomed. We all know of these disappointments. On the metaphoric side, one feels that moving day suggests that more than the lilacs didn’t bloom and that perhaps there remains a bit of hope in moving elsewhere where the possibility of seeds taking root are more promising.

& here are the rest of the selections:

wildflower seeds
all the thoughts
I keep to myself

Lori Kiefer
London, UK


dandelion fluff
blown with the wind
all my wishes

Natalia Kuznetsova


day and night
my muse

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India


sowing seeds of misery inarticulate moon

Surashree Joshi
Pune, India


tank tracks…
sunflower seeds driven deep
into the motherland

Jonathan Aylett
Liverpool UK


dandelion seed
this desire to start
all over again

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India


the size
of a seed packet
first library card

Mariel Herbert
California, USA


seeds of resistance . . .

Margaret Dornaus
Ozark, Arkansas


starry night seeding my dreams

Sharon Martin
Warrenville, IL


nibbled by moonlight
broad bean seeds

Sheila Barksdale
United Kingdom


my thought a

Chittaluri Satyanarayana
Hyderabad, India


scattered seeds
above the uranium mine
some of my hope lingers

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA


a firefly in the seed of now

Richa Sharma


garden compost
the reincarnation
of a rotten tomato

Terri French


her laughter
planting smiles
in the breeze

matsuo belūshi
united states


are you sure
you want to marry?
sowing seeds of doubt

Seretta Martin
California, USA


in its own germination
a seed

Vijay Prasad
Patna, India


dandelion seeds…
my gray-haired mother
urges me to dance

Jackie Chou
United States


An effort
of a tiny ant – just
one more seed

Dejan Ivanovic
Lazarevac, Serbia


my student’s funeral
the seeds
that didn’t take

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois USA


potato farmer
his gravestone reads—
he’s gone to seed

Bonnie Scherer
Palmer, Alaska USA


sowing wheat
the farmer dreams with open eyes
for tomorrow’s bread

Vasile Moldovan
Bucharest, Romania


Summer continues –
the seeds planted last year
wait for the first rain

hema ravi
Chennai, India


fresh-cut roses
from grandma’s old garden
heirlooms both

Curt Linderman


wind seeds I blew it again

Adrian Bouter
The Netherlands


i allow the wild creeper
to connect

Lakshmi Iyer


in the jack pines
fire means life
seeds among cinders

Matt Robison
Ohio, USA


seeking courage
a dandelion seed
stuck to my lapel

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, United Kingdom


to a good home. . .

Carol Jones
Wales UK


seedless dates
mother worries who’ll
marry me

Vandana Parashar


war ruins —
daring poppies
push through

Mariangela Canzi


my skirt
plays its part

Luciana Moretto
Treviso, Italy


the power of nature –
on the move

Danijela Grbelja
Sibenik, Croatia


a beggar-ticks seeks
home for itself

Chen Xiaoou
Kunming, China


pictureless packet
what will grow
will grow

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


childhood perfume in a jar with basil seeds

profumo d’infanzia in un vaso semi di basilico

Maria Teresa Piras
Sardinia – Italy


Wordsworth’s birthday
sowing lines and lines
of tiny seeds

Tony Williams
Scotland, UK


gone to seed
both garden and

Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina


sowing seeds
in our vegetable garden
attentive sparrows

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ


a field
thick with wildflowers
the school’s rubble gone

Maxianne Berger
Outremont, Quebec


newly collected
tomato seeds
I update my vita

Maya Daneva
The Netherlands


all the weeds
I did not plant

Carol Reynolds


prickly weed
as I tumble

Jonathan Epstein
Los Angeles, CA


grieving widower
his perpetual spinach
goes to seed

Sue Courtney
Orewa, New Zealand


for you
I sow seeds
I know will never flower

Margaret Mahony


chasing appoopan thadi …
will I take root
in this alien country

(Appooppan thadi is Indian-milkweed seed, scientifically known as Asclepias eriocarpa.)

Ram Chandran


with a dheki –
a bihu song

(A dheki is a traditional agricultural tool used in the rural villages of North Eastern India to separate rice grains from their outer husks. A bihu song is a folksong of the people of Assam, India sung during the rice harvest festival of Bihu celebrated every January.)

Daipayan Nair
Silchar, Assam, India


milkweed down…
seeds of wonder
in the baby’s eyes

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


clear night
poplar fluff is invisible
among fireflies

Zelyko Funda


crossing the river the wonderful seed

Mircea Moldovan


sowing seeds…
my field
my rules

Danita Brandt
Michigan, USA


you still talk to me …
carnation seeds
in a drawer

ancora mi parli … semi di garofano in un cassetto

Lucia Cardillo


pomegranate seeds
another blissful year

Elena Malec
Irvine, California


raging flames—
an orgasm
of Banksia seeds

(Banksia require bush fire activity to release seeds from the woody capsule.)

wanda amos
Old Bar, Australia


now at seventy
I reinvent myself
morning glory

Margaret Tau
New Bern, North Carolina


harvesting seeds
from milkweed pods
butterfly dream

Wakako Miya Rollinger
Topanga, CA


wild violets
hope re-seeds

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA


sowing seeds…
whispering a prayer
to get pregnant

Florin C. Ciobica


storm warning
dandelion seeds flying
in all directions

Cristina-Valeria Apetrei


cucumber seeds …
Mom’s last jar of pickles
absent from my shelf

D. M. MacDonald
Sacramento, California


marigold seeds …
the sunshine
of my first garden

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK


sowing seeds my first fetal sonography

Devoshruti Mandal


crescent moon
in the eyes of refugees
seeds of hope

Luisa Santoro


nature lesson
generations of children
growing beans in jars

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia


a hint of green on winter soil the sun in my eyes

Madhuri Pillai


rising mist
a pinecone falls
into the river

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK


after this life a poppy seed

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz
Centerville, Ohio, USA


buzzing of bees
wildflower meadow
planted by winds

Tsanka Shishkova


Tomato seeds:
sown in spring
salad in summer

Jenny Shepherd
London, UK


sowing seeds –
my haiku poem
half ready

Ana Drobot


sowing seeds…
she’s not sure
will bloom in time

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut


first day of spring
i sow seeds
of impatiens

Sarah Metzler
United States


flax flowers
in our ethno village
grandmother’s seed

cvjetovi lana
u našem Etno selu
bakino sjeme

Zdenka Mlinar


a shadow moves…
the song of the cricket
from the seeds

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi
Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires, Argentina


first tomato —
he waters the plants
without being told

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India


granelli di senape…
nei solchi di maggio
nuove promesse

mustard grains …
in the furrows of May
new promises

Giuliana Ravaglia
Bologna Italia


shifting home
I leave back
a bit of me

Mona Bedi
Delhi, India


the circles
….i keep

P. H. Fischer
Vancouver, Canada


the young child
finally cracks a smile

John S Green
Bellingham, WA


a palmful of seeds
her apron
by summer’s end

Lorraine A Padden
San Diego, CA USA


sown early
the seeds
of his sadness

Colette Kern
Southold US


my thoughts wander
on a summer breeze
thistle seed

Helen Ogden
Pacific Grove, CA


talk radio…
sowing seeds
of discontent

Nancy Brady
Ohio, USA


Guest Editor Carole MacRury resides in Point Roberts, Washington, a unique peninsula and border town that inspires her work. Her poems have won awards and been published worldwide, and her photographs have been featured on the covers of numerous poetry journals and anthologies. Her practice of contemplative photography along with an appreciation of haiku aesthetics helps deepen her awareness of the world around her. Both image and written word open her to the interconnectedness of all things; to surprise, mystery and a sense of wonder. She is the author of In the Company of Crows: Haiku and Tanka Between the Tides (Black Cat Press, 2008, 2nd Printing, 2018) and The Tang of Nasturtiums, an award-winning e-chapbook (Snapshot Press 2012).

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 39 Comments

  1. Thank you Carole MacRury for your wonderful prompts.
    Here are a few that I was particularly drawn to…

    rising mist
    a pine cone falls
    into the river

    Keith Evetts
    (Love this gentle picture.. so evocative)

    raging flames –
    an orgasm
    of Banksia seeds
    (powerful image)

    wanda amos
    Old Bar, Australia

    grieving widower
    his perpetual spinach
    goes to seed

    Sue Courtney
    (so many layers of meaning)

    1. Thanks Carole! I am delighted to see you post your favorites, and I’m sure the poets are too! ff

  2. Amazing selections again, Carole! I have thoroughly enjoyed your editing these past weeks including your inspiring prompts and insightful commentary. A real treat every week. Thank-you! The following poems really impressed me this week:

    the size
    of a seed packet
    first library card

    Mariel Herbert
    California, USA

    her laughter
    planting smiles
    in the breeze

    matsuo belūshi
    united states

    pictureless packet
    what will grow
    will grow

    Tracy Davidson
    Warwickshire, UK

    gone to seed
    both garden and

    Richard Straw
    Cary, North Carolina

    1. Thanks, P. H. Fischer! I liked your haiku, too, as well as the haiku by the three others you’ve mentioned.

      the circles
      i keep

      P. H. Fischer
      Vancouver, Canada

      And thanks, Carole, for all of your editing and writing these past two months! It’s been an illuminating haiku journey into the land and language of flowers.

  3. Many thanks, Carole, for including my haiku
    with your impressive comment.

  4. Thanks, Carole. Also this week a beautiful collection of haiku. I learned a lot from your proposals, your suggestions and your valuable comments.

    1. Thanks Keith. It’s good to hear you enjoyed the overall theme. Much appreciation!

  5. an interesting selection thanks Carole.
    Love this one …
    tree shadows the seeds I didn’t intend to plant

    Anette Chaney
    Harrison, Arkansas

    Don’t we all do things we later regret!

    1. Thanks Wanda. So true! I think many of us can slip ourselves into Anette’s haiku.

  6. Dear Carole. Thank you for a great series of prompts. Hope to see more of your prompts in the not too distant future. Really enjoyed reading this week’s selection.
    As always thank you to the editing team for keeping the thread going.

  7. I’d like to be the first to welcome Alex Fyffe as guest editor for the next few weeks. His prompts are exciting to me. I have always believed in the power of literary devices to improve what we struggle to show in haiku.
    Looking forward to the weeks ahead Alex!!

  8. Sun captures glistening vapors
    snapdragons retreat
    pods of rebirth

    I read your comments and thought of my snapdragons yesterday, and the dry grass this morning, soon it will be time to harvest seeds.

    1. Rhonda, snapdragons one of my favorite flowers. As kids, we loved to make them open and close as if speaking.

  9. talk radio…
    sowing seeds
    of discontent
    Nancy Brady
    Ohio, USA
    A well-written haiku with originality.

    1. A good one for the times Valentina. So glad you pointed out Nancy’s haiku.

    2. Thanks Valentina for kind remark on my haiku; it’s appreciated. Personally, I loved your violets as they remind me of the ones who want to take over our yard, and I really enjoy seeing their violets emerge each spring.
      Thanks Carole for selecting this one of mine. Thanks, too, for your thoughtful commentaries and the variety of the haiku over the past weeks. What a job to take on week after week.
      Congrats to all the poets. Bryan Rickert’s hit hard especially in the wake of Uvalde and other mass shootings.

  10. Carole, thank-you for publishing my haiku this week. Thank-you also for your efforts on this column for the last few weeks. I enjoyed reading your comments about how you selected poems for publication. Thank-you Kathy, Lori, and the Haiku Foundation for their efforts.

    1. Thank you Valentina. It’s been an enjoyable experience for me, and I think by now, that most people recognize there is no ‘best’ poem, or poems when it comes to selections as we can find extraordinary poems in the long list. I like to choose poems that both strike me immediately as relatable and also ‘talkable’ in regards to the theme and tried to recognize new and more experienced poets along the way. We’re all students…:-)

  11. Dear Carole, as someone ‘early on’ in their haiku writing I’ve been delighted to see some of mine appear, and I thank you for your extraordinary and generous work over the past weeks. Sadly I missed submitting this week as the theme generated some stunning haiku. A great way to finish.

    1. Thanks Maurice! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the prompt experience. I have published many haiku inspired by a prompt. Prompts can help one dig deep for experiences you might have forgotten about.

  12. It has been an honor to have Carole McRury as editor these past many weeks. Her dedicated detail to the art of haiku is a lesson to behold every time. Thanks, Carole.

    Here are some of my favorites for this week:

    dandelion fluff
    blown with the wind
    all my wishes

    Natalia Kuznetsova
    scattered seeds
    above the uranium mine
    some of my hope lingers

    Stephen A. Peters
    Bellingham, WA

    my student’s funeral
    the seeds
    that didn’t take

    Bryan Rickert
    Belleville, Illinois USA
    for you
    I sow seeds
    I know will never flower

    Margaret Mahony
    now at seventy
    I reinvent myself
    morning glory

    Margaret Tau
    New Bern, North Carolina
    rising mist
    a pinecone falls
    into the river

    Keith Evetts
    Thames Ditton UK


    1. Thank you so much John. I love your favorites too, and it warms my heart because I know you recognize the importance of subtlety and the power of an image to evoke as in Keith Evett’s pinecone falling into the river.

  13. Dear Carole, thank you for placing my haiku among so many delightful verses.
    It has been a wonderful read over the past few weeks.

  14. Dear Carole, I wish to thank you very much for choosing my haiku once more. I learnt a lot from your inspiring selections and look forward to reading your haiku in the coming future.

    1. Carole, I was delighted to see my haiku published here. It came from the words of a young daughter warning me not to marry her cheating father who had already been married 6 time. I am forever grateful to her. I appreciate your fine tuned eye for haiku that reaches a deeper and larger place beyond what is in the words. Much thanks for your dedication of time and talents. Seretta

      1. Thank you Seretta. I enjoyed your ‘sowing seeds of doubt’ and found it an original take on the theme! Thanks for participating.

  15. Dear Carole, thank you for the time and attention you devoted to our poetry, I looked forward each week to your comments and selections.

    1. Thank you Dan. I’m grateful for your participation! I put my comment to you in the wrong place, so am repeating it. 🙂

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