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HAIKU DIALOGUE – the way of the cat

 

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 you: be yourself

Ultimately it comes down to “you do you.” What comes most naturally to you? What’s your signature style. Send us one like that.

Please send up to two unpublished haiku by clicking here: Contact Form, and put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box.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 August 01, 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 cat:

There is an Italian aphorism, recorded by Voltaire, that says “the best is the enemy of the good.” Many interpret this as meaning if you chase after perfection, you won’t accomplish much. While I believe that’s a valid concept, I take it to mean if you try to make a good thing perfect, you may destroy its original goodness.

In a similar vein, Bashō wrote, “When you are composing a verse, let there not be a hair’s breadth separating your mind from what you write. Quickly say what is in your mind; never hesitate a moment.”

The way of the cat is immediate and decisive. It’s unselfconscious and driven by instinct, not intellect. It’s contained in the senses and grounded in the now.

The cat stalks its prey, makes its kill, and leaves it to others to contemplate.

the scent
of the approaching rain
whistles in

Sari Grandstaff, Saugerties, NY

I can envision this haiku popping, fully formed, into the poet’s head just as the wind hits her. It has a sense of immediacy, a nice bit of synesthesia, and a raw delivery that feels authentic to the experience. Should this poem be revised, it could potentially lose its energy and become just another haiku about the rain, acceptable, but not outstanding.

lockdown 2.0
the playground swing
tied in a double knot

Louise Hopewell

Here I see a poet with her mind preoccupied by what’s happening to her community, suddenly coming upon an image that sums it all up to her satisfaction. Nothing else is needed.

toddler’s tears
a lizard leaves behind
its tail

Ingrid Baluchi, Macedonia

A simple depiction of an event that’s easily relatable. It is full of implications that do not need to be belabored.

sudden shadow
the stripes of a tiger
swallowtail

Deborah P Kolodji

Another simple depiction, but with a built in misdirection. At our core we still have a primitive mind that is always ready to flee. Thus, the sudden tension and then relief of this haiku comes quite naturally.

The desire to revise, and revise, and revise is an occupational hazard for the poet. Have you been burdened by that desire? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Below are the rest of my selections for this week:

transported
in a trail of soap bubbles…
rainbow

Daniela Misso

 

hummingbird chatter
blue belly
flashes the horizon

Kelli Lage

 

beingless hours–
a gilthead
in the fish print

Teiichi Suzuki

 

the pause in the paws the leap of feline

Alan Summers, Catford, England

 

summer sunrise –
sparrows chase their shadows
along the fence

Nick T, UK

 

sleepy heat
woven through crocosmia
the cats tail

Marilyn Ward Scunthorpe UK

 

his silenced paw
but tumbled tumbler
a great noise

Radhamani sarma

 

comet observation first bird call

Helga Stania

 

wildflowers
fawns sample
just a few

Janice Doppler

 

two baby bunnies
run about the garden wall
sound of daisies

Albert Schepers, Windsor, ON, CA

 

All of a sudden
I tear off the last sheet-
afternoon with flies

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi

 

3rd floor
the fledgling just a stroke
from the ledge

Laurie Greer

 

morning shower
seed spills
from the feeder

Helen Ogden

 

buzzing around
a bee shadow
on the blinds

Deborah Karl-Brandt

 

soft earth
under the first dahlias
cat poop

Angiola Inglese

 

water hazard
gators
looking lazy

Margaret Walker

 

my daily walk
she shares
that smug smile

Margaret Mahony

 

playing field –
dogs off leads escape
their owners’ barks

Dorothy Burrows

 

swallowtail
on blooming mountain mint
— no mountains

B.A. France

 

winging through
the sunlit rain . . .
a robin’s clarion call

Janice Munro

 

sudden swarm
so buddleia quivers
bushtits

paul geiger

 

after the waitress
clearing the table
a small sparrow

Alex Ben Ari

 

She enters the bend
and walks in the smell
from her own hair

Uđe u zavoj
i ušeta u miris
vlastite kose

Zrinko Šimunić

 

a raven—
chasing a shadow
to her perch

m shane pruett, Salem, OR, USA

 

to open or not
the secret inside
our week old melon

Kath Abela Wilson, Pasadena, California

 

the cat curls up
in a patch of sunlight
cloud gazing

Wendy Notarnicola

 

the lion walks tonight
we prepare a safe room
hurricane warning

Greer Woodward, Waimea, HI

 

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 40 Comments

  1. Another really enjoyable selection and commentary. Many thanks to Craig, Lori and all the poets. I am delighted to have a poem included here!

    There is always so much to enjoy and to learn by reading this column. Three haiku that will remain with me because of the images they create in my mind are…
    *
    sleepy heat
    woven through crocosmia
    the cats tail
    *
    Marilyn Ward
    *
    This poem beautifully captures a late summer garden in the U.K, especially on days like today!
    I love the movement in this verse and the choice of words such as crocosmia which creates a warm sleepy atmosphere. All those great ‘s’ sounds and the image of a cat brushing against the flowers -wonderful !
    *
    transported
    in a trail of soap bubbles…
    rainbow
    *
    Daniela Misso
    *
    I am always captivated by the beauty of soap bubbles so I can definitely relate to Daniela’s poem! With all the current emphasis on hand sanitisers and hand washing with soap, it also seem very topical as we are all on the look out for that rainbow.
    *
    a raven—
    chasing a shadow
    to her perch
    *
    m shane pruett,
    *
    Another great image – this poem is wonderfully Gothic. Does the shadow belong to the raven or is it another being’s shadow?

    I look forward to reading everyone’s work next week!

    1. Thank you Dorothy Burrows for your beautiful comment on my haiku. I really appreciate and I agree with you on the look out for the rainbow.

  2. Debbie Scheming –

    Thank you for your comment “Margaret, I always appreciate how you tell a story in so few words. This time only five!”.

    I often wonder if I am far too brief! I appreciate your comment very much!

  3. Most mornings, I follow Tom Painting’s process of “lurking with haiku.” Selecting one from among several then writing why I like it, what I see, what I feel about what I see, and what I think. This morning I lurked with

    to open or not
    the secret inside
    our week old watermelon

    Kath Arbela Wilson

    The thoughts I wrote as I lurked:

    “It was all about the watermelon until I wrote the verse. TO OPEN OR NOT . . . The question each person faces repeatedly. The primitive mind that is ready to flee yells ‘be careful, you could be injured.’ Open carefully, if at all. Curiosity about THE SECRET INSIDE pushes us to take the risk to open to the offerings of life.

    The challenge in life is to judge between opportunities that are too risky and those that hold a a secret with potential that far outweighs the risk.

    I AM THE WATERMELON. CAN I OPEN TO THE SECRETS INSIDE WHAT LIFE OFFERS? HOW CAN I QUIET MY PRIMITIVE MIND WHEN MY HEART URGES ME TO OPEN?”

    And now, opening to posting the comment . . .

      1. Details about the process are in the Resources page right here in the Haiku Foundation website. Click Education Resources then scroll down to “What is Lurking” in a section titled Education Resources. Buried deep, but easy to find once you know where to look.

  4. Thank you, Craig, for your choosing my haiku and your commentary! This was an immediate “on the spot” haiku for me as you picked up on. Thank you for your appreciation and for the encouragement to try. These spontaneous haiku writing moments cannot be forced or artificially imposed, at least not for me, but just being open to noticing and letting this arise is a practice in itself. I am always grateful when it happens. Much thanks!

  5. .
    A fascinating theme that needn’t be about an actual cat! 🙂
    .
    .

    The Cat’s Pounce- First Draft is Last Draft
    .
    When have we ever seriously risked our first ever draft as the final submission version to a journal?
    .
    Sometimes we can do that with haiku, but it’s less likely with either ‘Formal’ poetry (strict scansion etc…) or free verse or Free Verse (the upper case genre is closer to a form, with strictness in its lines as well).
    .
    .
    Sometimes the first words splayed across a page or virtual page (cellphone, tablet, laptop etc…) can work, and need not be edited/revised. Sometimes. But any submission of a haiku, however many times it has been revised, or not, is a leap of faith, or a leap of doubt, for the author. That split second we click “GO!” electronically sending that version can be a tremulous moment, at least for me! 🙂
    .
    .
    So many fine submissions here, and I hope others comment on the other ones too! 🙂
    .
    .

    beingless hours–
    a gilthead
    in the fish print
    .
    Teiichi Suzuki
    .
    .
    An intriguing opening line, and compounding ‘being less’ into one word. Is this the “beingless” hours of the current version of the covid-19 pandemic.
    .
    The gilt-head bream (gilthead or gilthead bream), called Orata in antiquity and still today in Italy, is a fish of the bream family Sparidae found in the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern coastal regions of the North Atlantic Ocean. It commonly reaches about 35 centimetres in length, but may reach 70 cm and weigh up to about 7.36 kilograms. Wikipedia
    .
    .
    I like to make optional allusions in my readings, so I can also see this as being laid off, redundent, not furloughed, perhaps cheated through zero hour working contracts, and not seeing the vital (golden details) the fine or ‘small print’ in a contract.
    .
    Loved the haiku whatever its intent by the author! 🙂
    .
    .

     
    sleepy heat
    woven through crocosmia
    the cats tail
    .
    Marilyn Ward Scunthorpe UK
    .
    .
    Marilyn knows her natural history so it’s always fascinating to see her nature verses.
    .
    Crocosmia, montbretia, is a small genus of flowering plants in the iris family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, ranging from South Africa to Sudan. One species is endemic to Madagascar. Wikipedia
    .
    I love that opening line! 🙂
    .
    .

    And just like Matsuo Basho and his old pond hokku, we do not know if it’s one frog or many, or one cat or many cats making light work, in synchronisation through centuries of time! 🙂
     .
    .

    his silenced paw
    but tumbled tumbler
    a great noise
    .
    Radhamani sarma
    .
    .
    Ah, yes, even the silent cat can make up a racket when it thinks it can self-assuredly weave in and out of fragile household objects! Love the alliteration and rhyming which makes me think of a circus or street performer tumbler! 🙂
    .
    .

    1. .
      .

      comet observation first bird call
      .
      Helga Stania
      .
      .
      A neat nighttime-into-just-before-dawn monoku! 🙂
      .
      .

      buzzing around
      a bee shadow
      on the blinds
      .
      Deborah Karl-Brandt
      .
      .
      Those creatures that can make shadows buzz! 🙂
      .
      .
      Here’s an early one from me on the same topic:
      .
      .

      shadow on the blind…
      a bee
      follows its buzz
      .
      Alan Summers
      Publication credits: Azami #35 ed. Ikkoku Santo (Japan 1996)
      Anthology: Wild Flowers, New Leaves (World Haiku Club, 2002)
      .
      .

      water hazard
      gators
      looking lazy
      .
      Margaret Walker
      .
      .
      Ah, it’s always the lazy ones you have to watch! 🙂 They always have a thousand miles an hour wrapped up into their supposedly sleepy muscles. It’s incredible how fast gators are on land, as fast as a galloping horse, but thankfully they don’t do that en masse!
      .
      .
       
      playing field –
      dogs off leads escape
      their owners’ barks
      .
      Dorothy Burrows
      .
      .
      Brilliant! When it used to be safe, I’d go out into our local areas really early, as well as in the afternoon, and the adults calling the dogs back!
      .
      Oddly I have two dog haiku, both in the British journal Blithe Spirit about the dogs in charge:
      .
      .

      goodbye to autumn
a day spent watching dogs 
walk their owners
      .
      Alan Summers
      Blithe Spirit (vol 23 no. 4 November 2012)
      .
      .
      and
      .
      .

      crisp morning a bark turns into its dog
      .
      Alan Summers
      Blithe Spirit (February 2020)
      .
      Dorothy’s haiku is glorious because it’s both true, funny, and highly observant too! 🙂
      .
      .

      swallowtail
      on blooming mountain mint
      — no mountains
      .
      B.A. France
      .
      .
      Yes, sometimes the mountain comes to us in many ways. I’m reminded of seeing multiple types of kingfisher in the Sri Lankan mangroves, including one of two types of Mountain Kingfisher!
      .
      I do love the humor in this haiku, thank you! 🙂
      .
      .

      winging through
      the sunlit rain . . .
      a robin’s clarion call
      .
      Janice Munro
      .
      .
      Wow! I am guessing this is the American Robin, which is a thrush, and not the robins that make me think of Christmas in Britain. 🙂
      .
      .
      I usually write about the ‘European Robin’ a passerine bird part of the chat subfamily of the Old World flycatcher family.

      this small ache and all the rain too robinsong
      .
      Alan Summers
      Publication credit: Modern Haiku vol. 44.1 winter/spring 2013
      Anthology credit: naad anunaad: an anthology of contemporary international haiku ed. Shloka Shankar, Sanjuktaa Asopa, Kala Ramesh (India, 2016)
      Feature: Mann Library, Cornell University curated by Tom Clausen
      .
      It was actually about its sub-song, but I’d already had a blackbird sub-song haiku:
      robin subsong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueSGPA2UPDk
      .
      .
      Here’s a haiku about a scarlet robin in Tasmania, again a very different bird! 🙂
      .
      .

      winter wheat
      a breeze rattles
      the wire act
      .
      Alan Summers
      Australian Haiku Society Winter Solstice Haiga Kukai 2020: Seasonal
      Contest July 6th 2020 (scarlet robin photo by Ron Moss)
      .
      .
      I love the opening line that takes us to the glorious ‘sunlit rain’ and then that line takes us to a robin’s clarion call. Utterly devine and beautiful!

      1. .
        .

        to open or not
        the secret inside
        our week old melon
        .
        Kath Abela Wilson, Pasadena, California
        .
        .
        I have the same thing about melons, but also wizened passion fruit that is still incredibly tasty two or three weeks later hanging about on our kitchen table! 🙂
        .
        .
        The secrets and their shells! I’m reminded of Christmas presents as well. One year, while fairly young, I found all the presents and managed to undetected find out what they were weeks before the day. I never did that again as it made Christmas morning so flat for me. Sometimes we should just wait. 🙂
        .
        .

         
        the cat curls up
        in a patch of sunlight
        cloud gazing
        .
        Wendy Notarnicola
        .
        .
        Cats and sunlight! 🙂 I can both imagine the cat gazing at the clouds, as well as the human companion.
        .
        My own clouds were more restless, and the cat astutely making adjustments! 🙂
        .
        .

        pacing clouds
        the new station cat
        changes sunspots
        .
        Alan Summers
        Publication Credit: Acorn October 2015
        Anthology: Last Train Home, an anthology of haiku, tanka and rengay
        ed. Jacquie Pearce (2020)
        .
        .
        I love the opening line, simple as it is, it is packed with imagery and memories. A delightfully simple haiku that is filled to the brim with times past and present. Absolutely wonderful!!! 🙂
        .
        .

         
        the lion walks tonight
        we prepare a safe room
        hurricane warning
        .

        Greer Woodward, Waimea, HI
        .
        .
        A very famous song becomes the opening line of this haiku! 🙂
        .
        .
        “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is a song originally written and recorded by Solomon Linda[1] under the title “Mbube” for the South African Gallo Record Company in 1939. Linda’s original was written in Zulu, while the English version’s lyrics were written by George David Weiss. The song was adapted and covered internationally by many pop and folk revival artists in the 1950s and 1960s, including Henri Salvador, the Weavers, Jimmy Dorsey, Yma Sumac, Miriam Makeba, and the Kingston Trio. In 1961, it became a number one hit in the United States as adapted in English with the best-known version by the doo-wop group the Tokens. It went on to earn millions in royalties from cover versions and film licensing. The pop group Tight Fit had a number one hit in the UK with the song in 1982. WIKIPEDIA
        .
        .
        I only remember one hurricane warning while working on a sound studio in Malibu. We all skedaddled eventually but I wanted to make sure the new roofing was completed. Got out in time, and I guess went back to Los Angeles. We’ve had big storms in the UK, and last year we lost a few tiles off our brand new roof! And in the past I stayed up on a British roof during a force 6 gale, determined to finish the job. A tad risky, but a roof is important. We don’t tend to have safe rooms, or Forest Whittaker trying to capture Jodie Foster! 🙂
        .
        .
        Great analogy of storms being lions and needing a safe room! For Karen, my wife, while working in the Serengetti, it was just making sure she got back to her landrover as soon as a lion ran. They look deceptively slow, but two seconds can bring them almost to your face! 🙂
        .
        .
        Back to “The Cat’s Pounce- First Draft is Last Draft” did we all succeed? That’s between each author and Craig Kittner, but I think we passed muster, don’t you? 🙂
        .
        .
        Alan

        1. If you’ve not heard the spectacular voice of Yma Sumac, the Peruvian/Incan princess, it’s worth listening to. Until it broke, she had a vocal range of 4½ octaves. A coloratura soprano, she could sing down to the lower baritone register, as her famous “Chuncho” (Forest Creatures) 1953, demonstrates. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it still sends shivers down my back.

        2. Your comments on the “The Cat’s Pounce-First Draft is Last Draft” theme have led me to notice how your monoku holds the tension or balance of pausing and leaping in writing … with the strength of the leap being perhaps in the pause or is it the paws?
          .

          the pause in the paws the leap of feline
          .
          Alan Summers, Catford, England

          .

          I tend to be a reviser but am learning to keep each draft, especially the first, and to trust that the first may be closest to the ‘good’ one.

          The ‘pause in the paws’ and your story about a cat in another comment remind me of my little dog. Her pauses are mysterious at times. I know she has the ability to do many kinds of seemingly impossible leaps and manoeuvres but there are moments when she hesitates for reasons unknown.

          1. Hi Janice,
            .
            Like you I am normally a reviser, from anything to half a dozen revisions to sometimes a heck of a lot more! 🙂
            .
            .
            Revision exercises both left and right brain activities so it’s extremely healthy to do the workout. 🙂
            .
            .
            I’ve learnt very late on that it’s good to keep first version-first draft and later first draft versions for historical records. There might also be something that could kickstart a new poem too.
            .
            .
            With many cats, of all sizes, often the map of the pause is written in that pause, except for our current next door cat! 🙂
            .
            .
            Ah, yes, pauses, they are intriguing. I guess I kinda understand due to having done different types of ‘low-key’ security work. It’s a kind of intelligence gathering pause, both visual, smell/scent, sound, sensation, and feeling, as well as smelling for danger, but not as in scent, just atmosphere?
            .
            I remember pausing and not fully knowing why, other than one person running quickly and not in a normal everyday manner. I could sense/smell tension, just like that cliché of cutting the atmosphere with a knife. I couldn’t ‘see’ anything visually but the atmosphere was extremely tense/unfriendly. I vacated the area quickly and an hour or so later found out it was this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_St_Pauls_riot
            .
            .
            Weirdly the incident is still D-Noticed, as I see from the wiki article, and when I filed a police report praising the officer in charge in preventing a riot during the bringing down of the child-slaver statue of Edward Colston, again this is Bristol, known for its riots ever since the Romans first built the place!
            .
            .
            I always respect pauses.
            .
            .
            So what kind of small dog can do tremendous leaps, I’m intrigued! 🙂

          2. Hi Alan:
            I have to reply to my own comment to reply to your reply as the thread didn’t offer a reply button on yours 😉

            I do understand what you are saying about pauses. What I sometimes call intuition is about pausing to notice input that could easily be bypassed.

            My leaping dog is a mix of tiny poodle and schnauzer (schnoodle). When she was a puppy she would soar over gates taller than her. One day she leaped onto the top of the back of a huge chair, fell asleep , and then fell off when startled by a cat. Sadly she broke a front leg which after months of care failed to heal properly leading to the recommendation that it be removed. So she has been a tri- paw for years. Needless to say we learned to watch her carefully and to forbid high perches because having only three legs has not stopped her propensity to leap.

      2. Thank you for your comments about my “water hazard”. The sleepy, languid appearance of alligators in the water or on shore is unbelievably deceptive.
        They are now often seen in the water or banks of the “water hazards” of our southern coastline goal courses. Unknowing golfers, despite the signage, often venture far too close.
        The word “pounce” immediately brought them to mind.

        1. I’m reminded of the Walkers in the Walking Dead. They look static, or very slow moving, but take your eye off them TWO seconds and you get bit! 🙂
          .
          Yep, the pounce is an added extra weapon in the arsenal!

      3. Thank you, Alan. It was a beautiful moment which I ‘pounced on’ for the Dialogue. You’re right, being in Canada, my robin is the American species. As usual I enjoyed your related writings. Cheers.

        1. Our European Robin is very different, but can be quite feisty, although I once saw a whole group of six or more of our robins, highly unusual!
          .
          .
          Here’s a haibun based on both the old Who Killed Cock Robin; Banksy; and Nena! 🙂
          .
          .
          Coch Rhi Ben 
          .
          nuclear winter
          I only count
          98 red balloons
          .
          There’s singing snow, and I try to catch its tune. A robin with the prerequisite red breast is keeping pace, flying and jumping from spade handle to outpost, dodging the bullets and the missiles. We make our final stand, and form a duet, defiant that we forget politics, and who killed his brother.
          .
          the snow
          is stinging
          and we both
          join up
          the red dots
          .
          .
          ALAN SUMMERS
          haibun, Blithe Spirit February 2018
          .
          .
          NOTES:
          .
          Coch Rhi Ben
          As Lugh was the primary god representing the red sun, his name in alleged common parlance would have been “Coch Rhi Ben” anglicised to “Cock Robin” – a leftover from the belief that souls became birds after death.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cock_Robin#Origin_and_meaning
          .
          The haiku (deliberately numbered as 98) refers both to Banksy’s famous image Girl with Balloon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl_with_Balloon
          .
          and to the famous song “99 Luftballons” (“99 balloons”) which is an anti-war protest song by the German band Nena. The best version is the one in German. It’s highly addictive, and I spent a whole afternoon writing and listening to the song!

          1. Alan: Thank you for sharing your haibun. The robins’ red breast has inspired much imagery culturally and in your work. The robins in my life (American Robin) were known to me for a long time as harbingers of spring tugging worms. I haven’t had the fortune to witness their blue eggs in a nest but enjoy seeing and hearing them in the trees often calling out, in defensive mode, I am guessing. My local robins don’t seem to go South for the winter as some American robins do.

          2. I remember robin being only a Spring ‘kigo’ in Bill Higginson’s Haiku World, and so the danger was that if Europeans and Brits didn’t put European Robin, the famous winter image of the robin could be lost! 🙂
            .
            .
            Why do we associate robins with Christmas?
            .
            When you think of winter wildlife, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is the robin, but why do robins have such a strong association with winter?
            https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/2019/12/why-do-we-associate-robins-with-christmas/
            .
            .
            We might not have the exact same level of ‘kigo’ as Japan, but there are certain aspects of seasons, whether human or other animal etc… that are so strongly embedded they deserve to be considered as such:
            .
            Why are robins associated with Christmas?
            .
            Another story goes as far back as 2000 years ago, where rumour has it, a small brown bird fanned the flames of a fire to keep the baby Jesus warm. Embers from the fire scorched its tiny chest, leaving it red-breasted forevermore (and probably rather pleased to have been involved).
            .
            These plump gardener’s friends are a wonderful accompaniment to an English Christmas, and there is no wonder why the robin has been crowned Britain’s National Bird. Why not look out for them this January, and take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch?
            .
            #findyourlocalrobin
            https://community.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/b/rspb-england/posts/why-are-robins-associated-with-christmas
            .
            .
            Of course they are not just English, as we’d have to say all of the UK, as well as parts of Europe. 🙂

      4. water hazard
        gators
        looking lazy
        .
        Margaret Walker
        .
        From Florida up to North Carolina and along the Gulf Coast gators and golfers come into close proximity on the shores of golf course water hazards. It can get a little hairy.

        1. Also when they lumber out of the water into your yard or carport! As kids, long ago, we laid little attention to them, but with their increase in numbers and driven out of their natural habitat by the overwhelming development, it is becoming a real problem.
          I see people getting far too close to them – with small children. It is frightening.

          1. Margaret, I always appreciate how you tell a story in so few words. This time only five!

      5. Many thanks, Alan, for your very kind words. I am glad you enjoyed my poem and thank you for sharing your dog-in-charge haiku too! I loved the ‘crisp morning’ poem. Brilliant!

        1. Thanks! I wrote it exactly as it happened too! 🙂
          .
          .
          crisp morning a bark turns into its dog
          .
          Alan Summers
          Blithe Spirit (February 2020)
          .
          .
          re:
          .
          .
          playing field –
          dogs off leads escape
          their owners’ barks
          .
          Dorothy Burrows
          .
          .
          Only yesterday, where we braved exiting our house a second time to go to a field not overly used, a dog came up to me. I was in a narrow strip separated from the field by several rows of new trees on one side, and bramble etc… on the other.
          .
          He looked quizzically at me as well as visually saying hello. I also think, later, that he was taken along that strip as part of his variety of going around that area of land. There was no barking from owner or dog. 🙂
          .
          .
          This was part of my top ten commentaries I sent to Heron’s Nest for their Readers’ Choice Awards:
          .
          .
          lost dog
          I leave my voice
          in every street
          .
          Madhuri Pillai
          Melbourne, Australia
          https://www.theheronsnest.com/September2018/haiku-p2.html
          .
          Part of the commentary where I said:
          “It’s a great opening line which many readers can pull out their own experiences even before we all go further into the poem: We have all suffered loss after all. The second line is intriguing and makes us wonder and so we need to visit the next line…
          .
          I hear the echoes, perceived or otherwise, of that voice, travelling the street long after the human has left. It’s a great example of super clean concrete imagery and where the abstract aspect both heightens, and is heightened, by the concreteness through the poem.”
          .
          .
          It’s a different kind of situation, but your haiku reminded me of it. My parents last poodle, a standard, almost always escaped my ‘bark’ to stay safe. He could do 0-60 quicker than a Maserati! 🙂

    2. Dear esteemed poet,
      Profound thanks in selecting mine in the comments section, ‘” the way of the cat”.

      So encouraging always and inspiring too for a step further.

      “Love the alliteration and rhyming which makes me think of a circus or street performer tumbler! 🙂”
      honored and humbled
      with regards
      S.Radhamani

      1. Dear Radhamani sarma,
        .
        You must start calling me Alan! 🙂
        .
        I love that opening line!
        .
        .
        Only today next door’s incredibly nosey, inquisitive, cheeky cat, who is always hesitant in a non-cat manner, was wanting to come into our ‘television room’ this time. Despite the window being ajar enough for bigger cats to slip and slide inside, she couldn’t.
        .
        Alas, for safety re Covid-19 (cats catch the virus and not just potentially spread human droplets) we could just wave and mouth in cat, silently, with bated breath.
        .
        .

        his silenced paw
        but tumbled tumbler
        a great noise
        .
        Radhamani sarma
        .
        .
        She has a very expressive face which many cats do, in fact, and I can imagine her surprise and disdain for causing drinking glasses, ornaments etc… to fall to the ground, as if it was our fault! 🙂
        .
        warmest regards,
        Alan

    3. Thanks Alan, for your meaningful comment. To use the word of “beingless” was a little questionable if editor could value it. As you say, haiku’s explication is different in each other.
      So, I think that author need not explain of its intent. I love a haiku that makes readers think about.
      Craig, thanks so much for including my haiku in other good haikus. Every week, I am looking forward to challenging your intriguing theme.

      1. “beingless” is an intriguing word. I make no claims of familiarity with koans, however, this word seems like a little koan all to itself. At least to my untutored, Western eyes. Regardless, it is a word that begs to be contemplated.

      2. Dear Teiichi,
        .
        I do use compound words from time to time myself. Sometimes a compound word (a type of combining two words), can give us an extra meaning or make adjectives and verbs into a noun.
        .
        This quote came up just now:
        .
        .
        Definition of beingless. : having no being : not existing to be meaningless is to be beingless— J. H. Muirhead.
        .
        John Henry Muirhead (28 April 1855 – 24 May 1940) was a Scottish philosopher best known for having initiated the Muirhead Library of Philosophy in 1890. He became the first person named to the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham in 1900.
        .
        .
        More about “being less”
        .
        .
        …and this essential occurrence no longer needs beings.” The difference “distinguishes being and what is the beingless [das Seinlose].” The beingless is not the abandonment of beings that happens in metaphysics, but rather more originarily “the inceptual dispropriation [Enteignis] in the sense of withholding.” Inceptual dispropriation marks the most originary moment of the event and the difference out of which multiple dimensions or differentiations of the event unfold.
        Heidegger, Martin. The Event
        .
        .
        In fact, as I will discuss in my reading of the “The Airplanes of Brescia,” tourism becomes for Kafka a “beingless” (“wesenloser”) act of observation.
        Kafka’s tourists and the technological sublime
        .
        .
        Where Meinong believed that if we can say true things about beingless objects, such as “Sherlock Holmes is a detective,” than they must be genuine objects worthy of scientific study, Russell counter-argued that acknowledging “facts” about nonexistent objects violated key logic principles, specifically the law of non-contradiction and the law of the excluded middle.
        Reburial of nonexistents; reconsidering the Meinong-Russell debate
        .
        This is not to say that these characters (Kurtz, Marlow, and Witt) become beingless; quite the opposite is true.
        Agitational ethics: Conrad, Malick, and the sublime
        .
        However, inasmuch as all beings intrinsically have Being just as Being always exists in the context of beings, so that there can be no Beingless beings in the same manner that there is no beingless Being, Heidegger contends that metaphysics serves as the ground of these sciences.
        .
        Philosophy’s entanglement in metaphysics and ontology and their relationship to science and technology in Heideggerian philosophy.
        .
        Within five pages, these poor women have become “beingless beings”: “These two beings have been rendered even more beingless by their presence, courtesy of the book’s automatism, in a scene from which they are absent” (117-8).
        David Trotter. Cinema and Modernism
        .
        It is beingless and therefore also notionless being.
        The ego as world: speculative justification and the role of the thinker in Hegel’s philosophy.
        .
        .
        Gosh! 🙂

  6. It’s a real treat being included in your selection. Thank you, Craig, for your choices and comments.
    .
    It does feel good when something pops into your head, ‘ready-made’.
    .
    I enjoyed the immediacy of happenings this week, many of which I could relate to, particularly these two:
    .
    the scent
    of approaching rain
    whistling in
    .
    Sari Grandstaff
    .
    Who doesn’t love this special moment, and, of course, smells can be as instantaneous as a sighting. Here there is sound and feeling as well. Evocative yet simple.

    playing field –
    dogs off leads escape
    their owners’ barks
    .
    Dorothy Burrows
    .
    Writing as either observer or pet owner, this is a humorous take on what used to be for me a concern at my dogs’ exuberance, possibly losing them for a while, or watching them rush off to smell another dog (and its owner) in their excitement. Barking is just the right word!

    1. Thank you most kindly Ingrid! Yes, a real treat to be included among this selection of haiku. I feel the same.

    2. Many thanks, Ingrid, for your very kind feedback, I am so glad you enjoyed the humour in my poem. Thank you also for your suggestion, a few weeks ago, that I look up the artwork of David Zinn. His art is fascinating so thank you for recommending I seek out his work.

      i very much admired your poignant haiku – a great poem to be featured in the commentary!

  7. .

    sudden shadow
    the stripes of a tiger
    swallowtail
    .
    Deborah P Kolodji
    .
    .
    Craig Kittner said:
    “Another simple depiction, but with a built in misdirection. At our core we still have a primitive mind that is always ready to flee. Thus, the sudden tension and then relief of this haiku comes quite naturally.”
    .
    .
    This haiku delightfully reminded me of these versions by me:
    .
    .
    amongst lantana
    the dark-veined tiger
    proboscis nectar-laden
    .
    Alan Summers
    Publication credit: HI no. 36 March 1999 (Japan)
    .
    .
    Which I later made both into a monoku and
    .
    .
    .
    lantana the dark-veined tiger nectar-laden
    .
    .
    Alan Summers
    Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012)
    https://www.amazon.com/Does-Fish-God-Know-Alan-Summers/dp/1479211044/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Does+Fish-God+Know+haiku&qid=1596031346&sr=8-1
    .
    .
    And what I like as extra to Deborah’s haiku is an optional allusion to William Blakes famous “The Tyger”:
    .
    .

    The Tyger
    .
    Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
    In the forests of the night;
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
    .
    In what distant deeps or skies.
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand, dare seize the fire?
    .
    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?
    .
    What the hammer? what the chain,
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp,
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
    .
    When the stars threw down their spears
    And water’d heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
    .
    Tyger Tyger burning bright,
    In the forests of the night:
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
    .
    .
    BY WILLIAM BLAKE
    Published in 1794 as part of his “Songs of Experience” collection.
    .
    .
    All wonderfully scary, until we find in the haiku, at least, that they have become butterflies! Ah, Zhuangzi and Red John combined perhaps? 😉
    .

    .
    .

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