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HAIKU DIALOGUE – the way of the fisher

 

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 chef: be inspired by your ingredients

When faced with a fresh, seasonal ingredient a chef must choose. Create something simple that highlights the ingredient, or something elaborate that elevates it.

Choose a moment from direct observation, your notes or memories, whatever you find most inspiring. Taste the moment and decide: should it be presented as something simple, but flawless in its execution; or as something complex, unexpected and risky? Choose one extreme or the other and submit the result.

Please send up to two unpublished haiku by clicking here: Contact Form, and put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box.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 20, 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 fisher:

To successfully follow the way of anything, you must look beyond names and labels and actively engage yourself in the living of it.

The way of the fisher is to get beneath the surface. To patiently troll the mind’s depths, catching experiences and pulling them up into the light. My selections this week show evidence of that process.

floaters
losing one’s self
in a murmuration

Ingrid Baluchi, Macedonia

Things that happen in the outer-world can be pointed out and shared by companions. But things that happen in our inner-world are ours alone. Perhaps it is the need to express these inner events that drives the continual evolution of language. Ingrid’s haiku, while singular in the sense that it occurs in her inner-world, is universal in the sense that we all experience inner events on our own. We are bound together by our shared isolation.

darkening river
I cast a line
into myself

john hawkhead

This works as a description of fishing when you can see your reflection on the water. And it embraces a haiku tradition of using reflections to imply introspection. And it works as a metaphor for the process I laid out for this prompt. It goes well beyond the surface of the name, while showing that the name had thought-association impact. A clever and well-executed response to the prompt.

all blacks and grays
one quick
flash of silver

Nancy Liddle

To strip an experience of everything but color is a brave approach. It evinces trust in the reader’s willingness and ability to suss out meaning for themselves. And it is authentic. While in the moment of an experience, the mind often focuses on a limited range of sensations. We tend to fill in details after the fact.

Below are the rest of my selections for this week:

salt the air . . .
I can hear Dad calling us
from the shore wall

Marion Clarke

 

letting go one thought
then another
Zen sea

Stephen A. Peters

 

before and after
rowing, the sound of
water at its calm

Jibril Dauda Muhammad, Bwari Abuja, Nigeria

 

empty net –
the children divide starlight
amongst themselves

arvinder kaur, Chandigarh,India

 

fishing net
struggling to run every-time
in my dream

Neha R. Krishna, Mumbai, India

 

pond
child-koi
kiss

Peggy Hale Bilbro, Alabama USA

 

frog catching . . .
my inner child wades
in river song

Veronika Zora Novak

 

the dawn in rolling waves
a gift of sea glass
closer

Pat Davis, NH

 

summer rain
in the bait bin
the starling voice

Radostina Dragostinova

 

Port Aransas—
Mated pair of whooping cranes
Wish you were here

Allyson Whipple

 

in the stillness
of a slack tide
. . . sand fleas

Carole MacRury

 

carried out to sea
two names
in the sand

Roberta Beach Jacobson

 

pale sky
faded blossoms
swirl home

Neena Singh

 

blue heron
striking through
the day’s reflections

Laurie Greer

 

forest walk   the songs a fleeing dream

Helga Stania, Switzerland

 

before the line breaks
the fish’s
white belly

Bryan Rickert

 

fly fishing
the osprey
dives

Margaret Walker

 

sunlit reeds
swaying back
to my youth

Dorothy Burrows

 

from my hands to the river rainbow’s arc

Robin Anna Smith, Wilmington, DE

 

graduation day
a fledgling goldfinch
at the birdbath

Carolyn Coit Dancy

 

leafless tree—
punctuating my dhyana
tomorrow’s day

Rashmi VeSa

 

night fishing –
Mars kisses the Moon
above us

Elisa Allo

 

Santa Anas
the chimes on my balcony
rioting

Susan Rogers

 

old boat
and torn fishing net –
grandfather’s hands

Zdenka Mlinar – Zagreb, Croatia

 

nymph fly tie
took most of the season
the one that got away

Ron Scully

 

summer wind
roaring in the boughs
sounds of an ocean

Janice Munro

 

streaks of dawn
on the river bank-
a gannet and I

Nisha Raviprasad

 

a hundred fish recipes my empty hook

Pris Campbell

 

dangling
wisps of hair
arrested in my jaws

wendy c. bialek, az, usa

 

ramp overflowing
with boat trailers
eagles circle overhead

Astrid Egger

 

open windows
the stereo
of birdsong

Rich Schilling, Webster Groves, MO

 

morning reverie
how perfectly the songbirds
fill the silence

Wendy Toth Notarnicola

 

falling through
lost dreams
a solid thud

Charlotte Hrenchuk

 

one raindrop the neighbor’s flush

Mark Gilbert

 

tourists
in rented kimonos
Togetsuyko Bridge

Deborah P Kolodji

 

prize trout
the murky line
between life and death

Greer Woodward, Kamuela, HI

 

the treasure
of a buried map. . .
counting breaths

C.R. Harper

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 33 Comments

  1. Dear Lori and Craig, wonderful platform for all haiku lovers . Of so many pearls of writing, I like this one ,pick of this hour.

    Beautiful image wonderfully drawn:
    “from my hands to the river rainbow’s arc”
    Robin Anna Smith, Wilmington, DE

    Congratulations to Robin Anna Smith

  2. Many thanks to Craig for another fun and thought-provoking exercise and also to Lori for all her work. Thank you also to all the poets for sharing the poems. Again, reading the selection has proved to be educational and enjoyable.

    I appreciated the skill of the poems by Ingrid, John and Nancy and enjoyed Craig’s commentary about them. Two of the others that lingered in my mind were
    *
    empty net –
    the children divide starlight
    amongst themselves
    *
    arvinder kaur
    *
    I found this poem cinematic and haunting. I felt drawn into a narrative and I wanted to know who the children were and why they were out fishing by starlight. Had they been trying to fish all day? Were they fishing for food to eat and would therefore go hungry or were they just playing? It raises so many questions and it’s definitely a poem I will remember.
    *
    fly fishing
    the osprey
    dives
    *
    Margaret Walker
    *
    I admired the brevity and effectiveness of this haiku. When i read the first line, I thought of a person fly fishing. I was therefore surprised when it turned out to be the osprey. The fact that ‘dives’ was on a line of its own also emphasised the action of diving.
    *
    I look forward to reading next week’s selection!

    1. Dorothy –

      Thank you for your comment on my haiku!

      Your “sunlit reeds” is one I have read again and again. A seemingly simple poem that evokes a myriad of senses and takes me “home” again. Thank you.

      Like you, Avindur Kaur’s was a “standout ” for me. Is it a poem of need and sadness or is capturing starlight a beautiful comment on the wonder of childhood?

      empty net –
      the children divide starlight
      amongst themselves

      1. Dorothy – somehow my name did not print in my comment – a failure of “auto-fill”. It should have said “Margaret Walker”. Sorry

  3. all blacks and grays
    one quick
    flash of silver
    .
    Nancy Liddle
    *
    Love the contrasts. Living near the water, my first impression was black water under a darkening sky. /one quick/ is effective on one short line. Flash of silver offered some hope, also in other contexts.
    *
    before the line breaks
    the fish’s
    white belly
    .
    Bryan Rickert
    *
    Love the shape here. The long first line about the fishing line, the next two short.

  4. Thank you Craig, for such interesting prompt, selections and comments. I rather enjoyed the actual fishing haiku, as I’m often found by a river watching my husband fish. In saying that, I have to say I truly enjoyed your selections, and thank you for liking mine. John’s haiku, your second choice, blew me away! Very nice, John.

    darkening river
    I cast a line
    into myself

    john hawkhead

  5. Bravo for choosing excellence, bravo Ingrid Baluchi, John Hawkhead and Nancy Liddle…
    Thanks to Lori Zajkowski for including my haiku in this week’s post!
    With respect,
    ZM

    1. As a person who suffers from floaters, this poem was immediately accessible to me. Floaters are those bits and pieces of retina that float around in the eye and cross the vision at random times in random forms. They are kind of interesting and distract from the external world to try to follow them. But the more you try to see them the more elusive they are. Well done Ingrid!

    2. That’s the joy of haiku; one is free to interpret the poet’s words/meaning in other ways, although I do assure you, Gabriel, I did mean nothing more unpleasant than eye floaters!
      .
      Languages are fascinating indeed, and of course they change over time.
      .
      My eye floaters, which I’ve had for years, remind me of these swerving images seen many times at dusk over Charmouth (U.K.) marshland:
      .
      sudden waterspout
      ten thousand starlings
      drain into winter reeds

      Akitsu Quarterly Issue 14
      .
      Alternative objects could, however, as easily appear on a body of water, and maybe I should have taken note of another of my haiku written a while back:
      .
      fine sounding word
      just the right meaning
      urban dictionary checked

      Failed Haiku #41

  6. Bashō said, “Don’t follow in the footsteps of the old poets, seek what they sought.” These prompts through July are about process more than product. They are about exploring different ways to extract haiku from your being. Thank you all for contributing to the conversation.

    1. I like how you would like process over ‘result-driven’ haiku.
      .
      I find that a fascinating experience in itself, equally or moreso valid than the ‘arrived product’.
      .
      Will enjoy travelling through the haiku! 🙂
      .
      Alan

  7. Another fine selection of haiku Craig – thanks for the open prompt and your insightful comments. I particularly like this senryu (?) from Pris Campbell:
    .

    a hundred fish recipes my empty hook

  8. No internet yesterday, so this a belated thank you, Craig, for choosing my poem and for your comments on it and your two other choices. Much valued and appreciated. My thanks also go to Nancy, Deborah, Mark and Neena for their thoughts.
    .
    This is an excellent series to get beyond the observational…to dig deeper into the less obvious. For this reason, I particularly liked the following two thought-provoking haiku, relevant today as we realize how tenuous our existence is in the grand scheme of things:
    .
    carried out to sea
    two names
    in the sand
    .
    Roberta Beach Jacobson
    .
    and
    .
    prize trout
    the murky line
    between life and death
    .
    Greer Woodward

  9. Glad to see my haiku in the selection among the wonderful submissions. Ingrid’s haiku is a show-stopper. Breathtaking!

    floaters
    losing one’s self
    in a murmuration

    Congratulations to all poets!

  10. thanks for including mine in the top three – never happened before – a bit of a thrill to this old gal in her early 60s – love your work and thanks again – love this THF <3

  11. I would highlight these three – deep, atmospheric and topical.
    .
    floaters
    losing one’s self
    in a murmuration

    Ingrid Baluchi
    .
    night fishing –
    Mars kisses the Moon
    above us

    Elisa Allo
    .
    Santa Anas
    the chimes on my balcony
    rioting

    Susan Rogers

  12. Another thought-provoking set and commentary on the three selected. Three others caught my attention:
    Carole Mac Rury
    in the stillness
    of a slack tide
    …sand fleas
    I like the contrast of stillness with the busyness of sand fleas.
    Dorothy Burrows
    sunlit reeds
    swaying back
    to my youth
    I like the motion in this one – felt myself caught in a sway of memory.
    Pris Campbell
    a hundred fish recipes my empty hook
    I can feel the frustration, and wonder if Pris actually has that many fish recipes, or if the exaggeration was meant to amplify the situation. Either way – very entertaining!

      1. This was meant to be a reply to Mark’s comment about Ingrid’s, Elisa’s, and Susan’s haiku, not sure why it landed here!

        But I also loved these three, especially Carole’s “sand fleas”

    1. Thank you Pat, for your thoughts on mine. I am enjoying Craig’s thoughtful prompts and his selections!

    2. Many thanks for your comment, Pat. I’m glad you liked my poem and ‘ caught in a sway of memory’ was exactly how I wrote it! I enjoyed your poem too…
      *
      the dawn in rolling waves
      a gift of sea glass
      closer
      *
      I liked the image of sea glass moving closer to land and the repetition of the ‘s’ sounds creates a strong sound track of waves growing louder. That caught me in another sway of memory!

  13. Thank you Craig for this interesting exercise. Usually I am the one who takes these things too literally, but this week the large majority seem to have written about fishing. So next week we will all write about food? I also had trouble with Craig’s process – I ended up using visual and aural cues.

    1. I really enjoyed the exercise. I had recently had a conversation about why we don’t write sometimes when we travel and so when I sat my timer and closed my eyes, I thought about my trip to Japan last year and wrote about 5 haiku about that trip.

      Then, this morning when I started reading all of the “fishing” ones, I was starting to think I had misread the exercise, and then I read a few that were more obviously fishing into memory, versus actual fishing!

    2. I was confused by your comment and had to reread everything numerous times to realize that I had indeed misread the instructions. That said, I guess I did fish through memories of fishing with my father for my image. I don’t know about anyone else but I blame the medication! hahaha

    3. I think some people wrote about fishing because they didn’t actually read the prompt and some people wrote about fishing because the name triggered memories and thoughts as they trolled their inner depths. My goal here is to stimulate thought, exploration, contemplation, and discussion. Thank you for taking part.

      1. I hope I didn’t perturb anyone with my comment, obviously we all react differently to prompts, and if a prompt triggers something worthwhile by any route – even dare I say it, something that isn’t a haiku – it has caused a good result, in my opinion. Your prompts are very open and allow different ways in, which is great.

  14. Ingrid’s haiku hit me right between the eyes. Suddenly I am dealing with floaters in my right eye, and it is driving me crazy. I find myself swatting at insects that aren’t there. Well done, Ingrid as well as to all the poets.
    I need to read them all more thoroughly as the week goes on.

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