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HAIKU DIALOGUE – the way of the chef

 

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 itinerant: be a stranger in a strange land – virtually

“Travel” to a place you’ve never been. Search the internet for photos and local histories of a town foreign to your experience. Write a haiku about whatever seems fresh and different or, paradoxically, something that seems familiar in this unfamiliar place.

Please send up to two unpublished haiku by clicking here: Contact Form, and put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box.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 June 27, 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 chef:

Consider salt. Too little of it makes your dish bland. Too much overpowers every other taste and makes your dish inedible.

Think of details as salt and haiku as the dish. How much is just right? That depends on the type of dish.

rain—
she adds a teabag
to the boiling water

Rahma O. Jimoh

Rain and boiling water, both water in motion, both making noise that’s akin to silence. And a teabag that gives a purpose to the boiling. Simple and straightforward with a strong sense of sabi.

apples
by the old cutting board
starting from scratch

Laurie Greer

The word “apples” is beautiful and evocative on its own. Specifying that the cutting board is old forms a nice juxtaposition with the idea of “starting from scratch.” What that term applies to is open for interpretation. Could be what the subject is making from the apples. Could apply to changes in the subject’s life.

more haze
than a garden can hold
evening barbeque

Carol Jones

Describing the smoke from a barbeque as a haze that’s more than a garden can hold lends a richness to this haiku. There’s an immediate sense of the type of neighborhood where this is occurring and hints at the personality of the one who’s observing it. It is charming.

sliding down
a glass morning
self-seeded rocket

Carole Harrison

This one is a mystery to me, and my mind is enjoying the challenge. Intellectually I’m not sure what to make of “a glass morning,” but it sounds right. I couldn’t describe it, but I can feel it. And aside from liking the idea of an edible plant that is growing on its own, I find the words and rhythm appealing. A risky approach that pays off.

French lesson
tasting a new tongue
in my mouth

Tim Cremin

What an incredible way to describe the struggle to learn a new language! Particularly appropriate for French, since cuisine is such a powerful force in its culture.

broccoli trees
flown in on a spacecraft –
my son’s mouth opens

Dorothy Burrows

This one is simply delightful, overflowing with the magic of childhood. It speaks of love, and play, and simple memories that bring much joy. An effective approach to allow the first two lines to set up a mystery that the third line solves.

Below are the rest of my selections for this week:

summer cloud-
the crackling of
my first meringue

Hassane Zemmouri

 

the Milky Way
lingering some more
at the malt shop

Stephen A. Peters

 

arranged marriage
the delicate rise
of a soufflé

Bryan Rickert

 

ocean waves–
fillet of bonito
on the cutting board

Teiichi Suzuki

 

dinner alone
the aroma of garam masala
mixed with fog

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

 

summer storm –
rose petal tears
stain the path

Nick T, UK

 

only thing growing
is the cat sitting on the carrots
desert garden

Rehn Kovacic

 

pickle recipe
grandma’s twang
on phone

Neena Singh, Chandigarh, India

 

spice market
the entire universe
in a seed

john hawkhead

 

grilling scallops
the aroma of prayers
from the kitchen

Neha R. Krishna, Mumbai, India

 

early dusk
my chili reddened fingers

Helga Stania

 

divorce notice –
one more sugar cube
in my coffee

Brăilean Mirela

 

cutting onions
girl fingers hold
the cat’s claw

Melissa Moffat, Australia

 

its breath
still wild…
potted mint

Isabel Caves

 

the muddy
track home
minestrone soup

Louise Hopewell

 

boxed food by mail
braised lemongrass tofu nuggets
what to make of it

Sari Grandstaff, Saugerties, NY

 

abandoned meadow still strawberries wild and sweet

Margaret Walker

 

waning moon
over tall grass
the flash of a firefly

Janice Munro

 

kneading dough
her whole body sways
with the rhythm

Michele L. Harvey

 

meeting again
butterbeans and lovage
on solstice day

Xenia Tran

 

afternoon sun
sifting through ferns
flavors of green

Peggy Hale Bilbro, Alabama USA

 

pealing the clouds a skylark’s tumble

Mark Gilbert

 

covid cuisine
naked lunch
or a last supper?

Charles Harmon, Los Angeles

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 31 Comments

  1. Thank you Craig, for including my poem in your comments. I’m chuffed. It’s interesting to me and OK that it provides mystery, yes?
    I’m not deliberately trying to be obscure (maybe just a little) but to capture a feeling within myself and evoke a feeling within readers, and to give a simple breakfast activity (no more clues) some haiku interest, hopefully.
    As an early mentor told me, once out there, the poem belongs to the reader … and there are no wrong interpretations.

    I love Mark Gilbert’s one liner…

    *
    pealing the clouds a skylark’s tumble

    *

    and my favourite for powerful simplicity and feelings it evokes, childhood in country Australia and camino walking in Spain …

    *
    its breath
    still wild . . .
    potted mint
    *
    Isabel Caves

  2. Many thanks, Craig, for including my poem in your commentary this week.
    A wonderful selection of haiku this week. I have enjoyed them all!

    Those that will linger in my mind include
    *
    summer cloud-
    the crackling of
    my first meringue
    *
    Hassane Zemmouri
    *
    This one conjures up so many memories. I love the description of a meringue as a ‘summer cloud’. For me, this recalls both its shape and also the disappointment when the fork breaks it and reveals yet another empty shell or sticky mess ( I have always been useless at making meringues!). ‘Crackling’ is an excellent word to describe that moment of discovery.

    *
    pealing the clouds a skylark’s tumble
    *
    Mark Gilbert
    *
    I’m a great fan of the skylark and this haiku captures both the amazing sound and movement of this bird.
    *
    the muddy
    track home
    minestrone soup
    *
    Louise Hopewell
    *
    What a great way to describe minestrone soup! Next time I am caught in the rain along the edge of a field, I will remember this one.
    *
    abandoned meadow still strawberries wild and sweet
    *
    Margaret Walker
    I like this poem because it focuses on the benefits of observing the natural world and of being ‘still’ and finding the positive in a situation.

    Many thanks to Lori for all the administration and thank you to everyone for sharing your work.

    1. Dorothy –

      Thank you for your comment on my “abandoned meadow”. It is always a pleasure to know that someone else found meaning in what often seem to be my stray thoughts.

      Again, congratulations on you “broccoli” ku. It was simply delightful to read!

      Margaret Walker

  3. A fine reading for the senses this week. Thank you Craig, Lori Z, and everyone.
    *
    apples
    by the old cutting board
    starting from scratch
    .
    Laurie Greer
    *
    A lovely image, and felt stories. It would not have been the same without “old.”
    *
    arranged marriage
    the delicate rise
    of a souffle
    .
    Bryan Rickert
    *
    My first thought was the patience required, and hopefully rewarded here, in both. Beautiful.
    *
    abandoned meadow still
    strawberries wild and sweet
    .
    Margaret Walker
    *
    Lyrical read out loud, and I enjoyed the double meaning in “still.”
    *
    meeting again
    butterbeans and lovage
    on solstice day
    .
    Xenia Tran
    *
    I can’t claim knowledge of the cultural reference, but the use of “meeting again” with “lovage,” and old term for parsley, caught my attention.

    1. Thanks, Debbie! I was thinking of all the scratches in the board, as well as all the cultural baggage carried in “apples”–from Eden to American as apple pie. Not to mention the personal references of my own mother’s from-scratch pies.

      Thanks to Craig for picking this one out and for assembling this wonderful buffet!

    2. Debbie – thank you for the comment about my “abandoned meadow” and for catching the double meaning in “still”. I was’t sure about the placement of that word – was a bit afraid it sounded “awkward” but wanted to convey the double meaning.

      Margaret

      1. I would say that the placement of “still” is a little awkward, but that awkwardness serves the poem well and makes it stand out. The pause caused by the awkwardness nails the double meaning home.

        We shouldn’t be afraid of a little awkwardness as long as their is intent behind it.

        1. Thank you for your comments about the word “ still” in my “abandoned meadows”. I appreciate that.

          I originally had the word “still” after “strawberries” and it just wasn’t right. But I have to give the credit for the slight but important change in word placement to Alan Summers.

  4. What a selection this week, I’d have to pick out this heartbreaking one which is doing all kinds of things:-
    .
    dinner alone
    the aroma of garam masala
    mixed with fog
    .
    Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

  5. Great selection this week Craig but I have to pick out Tim Cremin’s multi-layered senryu for special comment:
    .
    French lesson
    tasting a new tongue
    in my mouth
    .
    I’m leaping about all over this poem finding new things all the time – brilliant!

    1. Oh my! I hadn’t even thought about all those other possibilities till I read your comment John! 😊Thanks for the French lesson! And kudos to Tim Krenshaw for a fine senryu.

  6. pickle recipe
    grandma’s twang
    on phone

    -Neena Singh

    Neena Singh’s Ku explores the beautiful sense of the subtle image of the art of sound. It is fresh and innovative. The sketch, in a sense, unveils the vertical axis in the haiku by linking ‘grandma’ with the gadget, ‘telephone’. I think the word ‘twang’ has its unique literary taste!

    The craft of ‘Sound and Silence’ has its distinctiveness in the credence of haiku poetry. Neena is at her best to gravitate the poignant poetic spell.

    distant waves
    the sound creates
    my own ocean

    -Pravat Kumar Padhy

    Chrysanthemum 14, October 2013
    “The Blue Riband of the Atlantic”, Per Diem Archive, R. Broker (Guest Editor) The Haiku Foundation, March 2014

    1. Dear Pravat I am overwhelmed with your commentary on my haiku. As a learner, I am deeply humbled and inspired to be featured here. Gratitude 🙏

  7. Thanks so much Craig for selecting my ku. Enjoyed reading all the haiku and experiencing the flavors, sounds and tastes in the way of the chef.
    Tim Cremin’s haiku is delightful—
    French lesson
    tasting a new tongue
    in my mouth

    John’s spice market resonated with me as we add so many fragrant and colorful spices to our food!
    spice market
    the entire universe
    in a seed

    I wanted to pen on spices too but couldn’t.
    A special thanks to Carol Jones, & Pat Davis for the appreciation. It motivates me!

  8. A wonderful selection Craig, I especially enjoyed:
    .
    spice market
    the entire universe
    in a seed
    .
    john hawkhead
    .
    Thank you so much for including mine too.

    1. This was my favorite, too. There’s just something magical about this seed in the spice market that holds the entire universe. Issa’s world in dew and John’s universe in a seed. Beautiful!

    2. Thank you Xenia, Neena and Deborah! I really appreciate your comments. I love the way a small seed can develop into so much more – packed with the stuff of a universe!

  9. Thank you Craig for selecting my “abandoned meadow.”

    Three others especially “spoke” to me –

    broccoli trees
    flown in on a spacecraft –
    my son’s mouth opens

    Dorothy Burrows

    The sweet memories of feeding a young child!

    Tim Cremin’s

    French lesson
    tasting a new tongue
    in my mouth

    This haiku can be read several ways – but “French kissing” was my immediate interpretation.

    Michele Harvey’s

    kneading dough
    her whole body sways
    with the rhythm

    It’s been a long time since I kneaded bread but this made me feel the motion and the peaceful – often meditative – rhythm of this once familiar activity.

    Thank you for this collection!

  10. Thankyou, Craig for the lovely comment on my verse, appreciated.
    .
    A wonderful selection of verses, congratulation to all poets.
    .
    summer cloud-
    the crackling of
    my first meringue
    —Hassane Zemmouri
    Reading this delightful verse reminded me of my first attempt at a (lemon) meringue, many years ago, it certainly did not have the desired crunchy top your meringue has, Hassane 🙂
    .
    pickle recipe
    grandma’s twang
    on phone
    —Neena Singh
    It must be an ‘age thing’ as my mother, also, had this different tone when talking on the phone, ‘her phone voice’ we called it, always a delight to hear it, and raised a smile.
    .
    abandoned meadow still strawberries wild and sweet
    —Margaret Walker
    Just up the road from where I live nature has reclaimed one of the many old slag heaps (coal waste) it has taken decades, and we have an abundance of those delicious wild and sweet strawberries, there for the taking. Sad thing is so many people walk by and don’t even notice them, they don’t know what they are missing.
    .
    Thanks for sharing your poems, everyone.

    1. Carol –

      Thank you for commenting on my “wild strawberries”. They are a distinct memory from my childhood. I was thrilled when we recently found some. It had been decades since I had last seen any.

      Margaret

  11. Another set of poems with thoughtful commentary – thanks to the poets and to Craig.
    I’d like to highlight a few that caught my attention.
    Isabel Caves
    its breath
    still wild…
    potted mint
    I like that this suggests a different aroma coming from wild mint, than from cultivated mint.
    Neena Singh
    pickle recipe
    grandma’s twang
    on phone
    This reminds me of the many times I’ve called a friend or family member to help clarify something about an old recipe that’s new to me. Or maybe the author just wants to hear her grandma’s voice and say “Thanks” for the gift of her special pickles.

    Great reading.

  12. Thanks Craig for this recipe of wonderful haiku ingredients and for including mine. I had a completely different take on Tim Cremin’s haiku
    French lesson
    tasting a new tongue
    in my mouth

    I was thinking of French kissing. I love that one too. Also particularly enjoy Michele Harvey’s haiku:

    kneading dough
    her whole body sways
    with the rhythm

    The whole idea of bringing in movement to a haiku about food, cooking, very fresh. And can picture it very well, my uncle in my case. I also love this one:
    the muddy
    track home
    minestrone soup

    Louise Hopewell
    Tying in the image of the walk and the meal awaiting when she gets there. Just lovely. Wonderful haiku everyone, thank you all for sharing these each week.

    1. LOL, Sari, l bet you’re right! That interpretation didn’t occur to me. Guess I’m getting to be an old curmudgeon!

      1. pealing the clouds a skylark’s tumble

        Mark Gilbert

        this is beautiful poetry, mark, thank you for creating them.
        i can replay them endlessly, over and over in my mind….and never tire of their beauty.

        for me, the language of words on a tongue, is just, if not, more stimulating, than a mere tongue on a tongue.
        don’t think it is at all….an “age-related” thing….i have felt this all my life.

        ….they say that the way into a man’s heart is through his stomach…..
        but with me…..the most lasting way to my heart is through my mind.

      2. a fantastic collection of mouth
        watering, mind watering poems:

        love this poem and craig’s interpretation:

        French lesson
        tasting a new tongue
        in my mouth
        .

        Tim Cremin

        *

        more haze
        than a garden can hold
        evening barbeque

        Carol Jones

        Your very best, carol!

        *

        pealing the clouds a skylark’s tumble

        Mark Gilbert

        this is beautiful poetry, mark, thank you for creating them.
        i can replay them endlessly, over and over in my mind….and never tire of their beauty.

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