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HAIKU DIALOGUE – the way of the bedridden

 

the way of …

Haiku moments are the will-o’-wisps we seek. The purest of them aren’t formed by effort. They arise naturally when we allow ourselves to simply be.

Haiku is flavored by the nature of the writer’s beingness. There are many ways to be. For June and July we will try out nine of them and see what comes to light.

next week’s theme: the way of the thief: be inspired by something you steal

Take a line from something: a poem, a song, dialogue from a movie or TV show, a novel, a blog post – anything with words, really. Form a haiku around that line.

Please send up to two unpublished haiku by clicking here: Contact Form, and put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box. The deadline is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Saturday July 18, 2020.

Selected haiku will be listed in the order they are received with a few chosen 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 can be added as blog comments.

Below is my commentary for the way of the bedridden:

You may have noticed that over the last several weeks the prompts have narrowed their focus. This intentional limiting of your resources is meant to encourage your creativity and innovation when facing the blank page.

The essence of the way of the bedridden is to dial into what you can perceive passively. Without acting on the world or even moving out into it, there is still an abundance to work with.

Denied mobility, the human spirit can still thrive. No matter our current condition, we are part of the web of life until we pass on.

wheelchair
the whole world
in one window

Tsanka Shishkova

Tsanka’s haiku makes the point beautifully. Hinging on the word “whole,” it strikes me as going beyond an acceptance of immobility to a celebration of what that window provides.

beyond
the balcony door
the snail has gone

simonj UK

Did the poet watch the snail in its slow progress past the event horizon marked by the balcony door? Or did a mucous trail tell the story of its journey? Regardless the haiku is weighty with the slow passage of time. I also sense a nod to Issa’s haiku of a snail climbing Mt. Fuji.

another day …
layers of fog lifting
a dog’s bark

Carole Harrison

I wonder if the fog is literal and that, in the subject’s perception, the fog is carrying the sound of the dog; or if the “layers of fog” were caused by a drug or illness that is now receding, allowing the subject to hear the dog. Is that dog bark the first real thing they’ve perceived in days?

somewhere
beyond this room…
her children’s voices

Margaret Mahony

A compact haiku that leaves so much open for interpretation! Is she actually hearing the voices, or imagining them in some far-off place? If she is hearing them, is it through the walls or through a phone or some other device? And what emotion is generated by these voices? Loneliness because they are not there, or appreciation that part of her is still out in the world? All in seven words.

bedridden
the mosquito net sieving
the sound of crickets

kaiser von kahn

I’ve not had the experience of sleeping under a mosquito net, but I imagine it’s like having your own little world. Kind of like a children’s fort made of bed sheets. Nice bit of synesthesia as the cricket sounds are perceived as draining through the mesh. I wonder if the net’s sieving is a hindrance or a comfort?

Below are the rest of my selections for this week:

high risk pregnancy
the schedule of shadows
across my bed

Kat Lehmann

 

spreading the love
a spider’s home and larder
across the bed

Alan Summers

 

back to back
my cat and I
wait out the day

Pris Campbell

 

confined – even the walking stick

Paul Callus

 

the last romance-
moonlight slides
through IV tubes

arvinder kaur, Chandigarh, India

 

chronic pain
a rectangle of leaves
changes colour

Michael Baeyens, Geraardsbergen, Belgium

 

bedridden –
on and on the apple tree
change the wallpaper

Brăilean Mirela

 

pareidolia . . .
floral bedroom curtains
full of surprise faces

Ingrid Baluchi, Macedonia

 

filling
empty side of this bed …
the ghost of me

Agus Maulana Sunjaya, Tangerang, Indonesia

 

my husband’s pillow
next to mine
a lasting impression

Sari Grandstaff, Saugerties, NY

 

bedridden the itch never reached becomes me

martin gottlieb cohen

 

birch catkins
by the hospital bed
komorebi

Marta Chocilowska

 

the same window
day in and day out
swirling fog

Peggy Hale Bilbro, Alabama, USA

 

smoothness
of the sheet on my body …
mulberry blossom

scorrevolezza
del lenzuolo sul corpo…
fiore di gelso

Daniela Misso

 

convalescing
light through the window
just out of reach

Bryan Rickert

 

faded linden blossoms..
all those days
you have nothing to remember

Radostina Dragostinova

 

sleepless night the weight of a tilted family photograph

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

 

hugs
of dream friends…
my empty arms

Pat Davis

 

glasses off
the evening breeze
in plain sight

Laurie Greer

 

awake at dawn –
a rattling fan
stirs the silence

Nick T, UK

 

Look, through the holes
of our shutters
The morning comes

Zrinko Šimunić

 

Jesus by her bed
his eyes still follow me
around the room

Marisa Fazio

 

solar eclipse –
first day of summer
under the sheets

Elisa Allo

 

I seem to hear
a nightingale song…
may it be true?

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore

 

I do not know its name-
the barkings
lengthen my insomnia

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi

 

convalescence –
the shadow of the wind
on the sheets

Maria Teresa Piras

 

……………………………sunlight
creeps across the carpet
………………………………..again

B.A. France

 

motionless clouds
the nurse croons
changing sheets

Adrian Bouter

 

corralling shadows
the sun slips out
of my room

Rashmi VeSa

 

bed restraints
grandma still smells
like love

Roberta Beary
County Mayo, Ireland

 

a buzzing fly
the lizard shoots out his tongue
sudden silence

Neha R. Krishna, Mumbai, India

 

neighbor’s roof
and a piece of square sky
grandpa’s world

Sudebi Singha, Kolkata, India

 

two years
upon the mattress
final voyage

Charles Harmon

 

silence but for the wind and the piano

Mark Gilbert

 

fever going down
a hand shadow tiger

kiti saarinen, finland

Guest Editor Craig Kittner was born in Canton, Ohio in 1968 and took up residence in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2012. Between those two events, he lived in 14 different towns in 8 states and the District of Columbia. He has worked as a gallery director, magazine writer, restaurant owner, and blackjack dealer. Recent publications include Human/Kind Journal, Shot Glass Journal, The Heron’s Nest, and Bones. He currently serves as contest director for the North Carolina Poetry Society. Craig is fond of birds, cats, and rain… but rarely writes of cats.

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.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. So many to choose, but I can only pick a handful before making late lunch and then three hours of feedback on Skype !:-)
    .
    .
    .
    high risk pregnancy
    the schedule of shadows
    across my bed
    .
    Kat Lehmann
    .
    .

    The middle line alone would make for a title of a collection. A very powerful haiku which deserves to be picked up by anthologies.
    .
    I hope there are anthology hunters here that could nominate Haiku Dialogue haiku for Touchstone Awards, Redmoon Anthologies, and other places?
    .
    .

    the last romance-
    moonlight slides
    through IV tubes
    .
    arvinder kaur, Chandigarh, India
    .
    .
    Although verbs are not always necessary in brief poems such as haiku, when carefully selected they can enhance the usual concrete image laden non-Japanese haiku!
    .
    .

    smoothness
    of the sheet on my body …
    mulberry blossom
    .
    .
    scorrevolezza
    del lenzuolo sul corpo…
    fiore di gelso
    .
    Daniela Misso
    .
    .
    Even this author’s second language of English feels Italian! Incredible English-language haiku, and I only wish there was an audio file for both the English and Italian versions spoken by this exciting poet! 🙂
    .
    .
    .
    sleepless night the weight of a tilted family photograph
    .
    Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan
    .
    .
    Great rhythm throughout this well executed monoku!
    .
    .

    glasses off
    the evening breeze
    in plain sight
    .
    Laurie Greer
    .
    .
    Brilliant last two lines, enhanced by the opening line!!! 🙂
    .
    .

    corralling shadows
    the sun slips out
    of my room
    .
    Rashmi VeSa

    .
    .
    I love that opening line! 🙂
    .
    The whole poem is terrific! I hope to see haiku of this quality finding themselves into Award nominations and anthologies.
    .
    .

    bed restraints
    grandma still smells
    like love
    .
    Roberta Beary
    County Mayo, Ireland
    .
    .
    An intriguing haiku. There could be any number of reasons for the restraints, from fever, demential, severe mental health issues, and also the sad and violent abuse from past law enforcement and ‘mental health’ authorities back in the early to mid-20th century.
    .
    Very powerful, and the unusual addition of ‘like’ works incredibly well, enhancing the poem.
    .

    .

    a buzzing fly
    the lizard shoots out his tongue
    sudden silence
    .
    Neha R. Krishna, Mumbai, India

    .
    .

    .
    .
    So glad the verb was corrected here, as the image of the lizard’s long tongue is wonderful, though snapping out of existence one of the world’s greatest caretakers. What you ask!? Yes, the human race wouldn’t survive a year without flies. Just as well there is plenty to go around! 🙂
    .
    .

    two years
    upon the mattress
    final voyage
    .
    Charles Harmon
    .
    .
    The opening line becomes more and more powerful as we read through the lines and back again. Fantastic poem!

  2. .
    As many of you may know, I’m both a big fan of English-language haiku written as a single line poem, and also compose a few myself! 🙂
    .
    Here we have a great poetic line that easily becomes an entire poem:
    .
    .
    sleepless night the weight of a tilted family photograph
    .
    .
    Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan
    .
    .
    Great rhythm throughout this well executed monoku!
    .
    .

  3. .
    When Italy meets the English!
    .
    .

    smoothness
    of the sheet on my body …
    mulberry blossom
    .
    .
    scorrevolezza
    del lenzuolo sul corpo…
    fiore di gelso
    .
    Daniela Misso
    .
    .
    Even this author’s second language of English feels Italian! Incredible English-language haiku, and I only wish there was an audio file for both the English and Italian versions spoken by this exciting poet! 🙂
    .
    .

  4. .

    The middle line alone would make for a title of a collection. A very powerful haiku which deserves to be picked up by anthologies.
    .
    I hope there are anthology hunters here that could nominate Haiku Dialogue haiku for Touchstone Awards, Redmoon Anthologies, and other places?

    We might think of haiku as the poetry of nouns, in contrast with a number of other poetic genres, but occasionally verbs deserve an entrance.
    .
    .

    the last romance-
    moonlight slides
    through IV tubes
    .
    arvinder kaur, Chandigarh, India
    .
    .
    So although verbs are not always necessary in such brief poems such as haiku, when carefully selected they can enhance the usual concrete image laden non-Japanese haiku!

  5. .
    This is such a powerful haiku, with both its opening line, and powered further by the amazing middle line:
    .
    .
    high risk pregnancy
    the schedule of shadows
    across my bed
    .
    Kat Lehmann
    .
    .

    The middle line alone would make for a title of a collection. A very powerful haiku which deserves to be picked up by anthologies.
    .
    I hope there are anthology hunters here that could nominate Haiku Dialogue haiku for Touchstone Awards, Redmoon Anthologies, and other places?

  6. Comforting and encouraging to be part of this sharing of poems. Thank you Craig and the team at THF. I love being part of this haiku world and so happy to see mine included.
    *
    Lots of dreaming space in these two memorable haiku:
    *
    chronic pain
    a rectangle of leaves
    changes colour
    — Michael Baeyens
    *
    filling
    empty side of this bed
    the ghost of me
    — Agus Maulana Sunjaya

  7. beyond
    the balcony door
    the snail has gone
    .
    simonj UK
    .
    Spoiler Alert… Inspired by the trail on a top floor window (still amazes me).
    .
    Issa’s snail also came to my mind, and the temporal effect is similar to some translations of Buson’s… ploughing. the constant cloud has disappeared
    but the glass door is Shiki’s.
    .
    Thankyou Craig.

  8. A moving and thought-provoking selection. I am learning so much by reading this dialogue – many thanks to Craig, Lori and all the featured poets. I really enjoyed all the poems this week.

    Two of the many poems that will linger in my mind are …
    *
    pareidolia . . .
    floral bedroom curtains
    full of surprise faces
    *
    Ingrid Baluchi
    *
    i immediately related to this poem as it brought back childhood memories of staring at wallpaper looking for faces. I must confess I didn’t know the word ‘pareidolia’ so I have learnt something too. Thanks, Ingrid!
    *
    smoothness
    of the sheet on my body …
    mulberry blossom
    *
    Daniela Misso
    *
    I loved this image – it so beautifully captures the feel and joy of newly laundered sheets.

    1. A pleasure, Dorothy.
      .
      As children, I remember my sister and I being disturbed by knot-wood wallpaper “eyes” in our bedroom, eventually papered over, but then seeing the same in my father’s care home, and thinking of them as being “witnesses” to whatever was going on.
      .
      For an excellent example of pareidolia, you may like to see the work of the talented street chalk artist, David Zinn.

    2. Thanks Dorothy Burrows for your really nice comment on my haiku!
      I’m very pleased for your appreciation.

  9. Such a poignant collection of poems. There are too many great ones to comment on just one. Each is special in its own perspective. I was struck by the silent dignity found in this theme. Thank you for including mine and for a wonderful prompt.

  10. Many thanks Craig for including mine in this thought-provoking selection – I also appreciated Tsanka Shiskhova’s
    .
    wheelchair
    the whole world
    in one window
    .
    with its wonderful double Us [sic].

  11. These are really wonderful meditations. Amazing collection brought into being by true responses to an unusual call for poems. I am convinced that this narrowing of focus brings out genius…as if time cracks open and shows its insides. Thank you to all the poets who so strongly expressed these moments of insight and Craig who called them into being!

  12. Thank you Craig for including my haiku and for your comments. A pleasure to read this collection.

  13. high risk pregnancy
    the schedule of shadows
    across my bed
    .
    Kat Lehmann
    .
    This captures the repetition of time with a schedule of shadows, whether they be physicians or mullions, or a metaphoric worry.

  14. Thank you for including mine, Craig, and I admire your choices again, along with your comments. We are indeed part of the “web of life”, as you say, interconnecting, in this case, with poems. It’s a good feeling.

    So many thoughts here, and I was drawn particularly to this one, which gives life to something inanimate, yet as such may become, for some of us, a vital extension we cannot do without:

    confined – even the walking stick

    Paul Callus

  15. Thank you Craig for including my bedridden haiku this week. An excellent set of haiku. I particularly am taken with Hifsa Ashraf’s and Kiti Saarinen’s haiku. Thank you to all the poets here who shared their excellent work. It is inspiring. And thank you to Craig, Lori and Katherine for all your work on this feature. I love it so and look forward to it each week.

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