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HAIKU DIALOGUE – the way of the housekeeper

 

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 bedridden: be inspired by a limited perspective

Due to tuberculosis, Shiki was confined to his bed for the last 5 years of his life and wrote incredible haiku from there.

Leave writing material handy when you go to sleep and when you wake up, do not get out of bed. Lay there and observe everything you can without moving. Make a haiku from 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Please send up to two unpublished haiku by clicking here: Contact Form, and put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box.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 July 11, 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 housekeeper:

We stop seeing our everyday environment and as a result many beautiful things fall by the wayside, unremarked. The way of the housekeeper is to bring attention back to where we dwell. To look again, with a discerning eye, at all that fills our homes.

More than any other so far in this series, this prompt brought in a rich harvest of authentic, true-to-life haiku.

attic window . . .
last year’s dust
beneath this year’s

Carol Jones

Dust is a fantastic haiku word, and is the focus of my comments this week. You can see, feel, smell, and taste dust and it carries a heavy load of associations to time and impermanence. I feel the aha moment strongly in Carol’s haiku. How the sight of those layers of dust becomes a visceral awareness of time’s passage. The accumulation of dust like rings on a tree stump. It’s arresting in the best of ways.

Deer Moon
more and more dust
on the toys

Elisa Allo

A deer moon brings to mind a cycle of blood, and of rut, and of hunting and the close proximity of death. A perfect contrast to the sheltered innocence of toys, which are receding into the past and falling into irrelevance in this poignant poem.

kids room
a layer of dust
on the old fairy tales

Eufemia Griffo

Here we have the sight of dust on books and another association of lost innocence. The tales we were told as children and the tales we pass on to our own, what do they hold? What relevance to our lives today? A question of burning importance right now, perhaps.

dust in a shaft
of afternoon light
voiceless parlor

Tim Cremin

I wasn’t sure I could make a case for the ability to hear dust; however, dust and silence are closely associated. Imagine the times when you’ve noticed dust drifting in sunlight. Were they noisy times? A “voiceless parlor” sounds so unnatural. Although he doesn’t state it outright, Tim’s haiku seems tied to the isolation brought on by the pandemic.

no dust
on the family photo frames –
pandemic

Brăilean Mirela

Brăilean names the pandemic and deftly hints at two results of its coming. Time: to be at home and care for it. Realization: of the incomparable value of family.

Let’s not let the comments section grow dusty this week! There’s lots and lots to discuss, including additional appearances of the word dust. Please share your thoughts.

Below are the rest of my selections for this week:

windows closed
the wind comes in
from the cracks

vincenzo adamo

 

for a change
I doodle
in the dust

Lakshmi Iyer, India

 

vacuuming
creating mandalas
on the carpet

Rehn Kovacic

 

cut flowers
dying vividly
on the pinholder

Teiichi Suzuki, Japan

 

under the bed
dust bunnies befriend
shadow animals

Roberta Beach Jacobson

 

broken winged
on the window sill
many pine nuts

simonj UK

 

spring cleaning
sweeping my old dust
into the past

john hawkhead

 

clutter
too many thoughts
pandemic hoarding

Joel Irusta

 

dad gone . . .
a lone cricket chirps
under his bed

Kanchan Chatterjee

 

self-isolation thoughts mending the broken cobweb

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

 

thunder moon
the pendant light’s reflection
over the kitchen island

Sari Grandstaff, Saugerties, NY

 

thin air . . .
floating around my bedroom
a pigeon feather

Manoj Sharma

 

sideways glance
red wine spills
exposed

Kathleen Mazurowski

 

awash with guilt
I relive mom shouting
redd up your room

Ronald K. Craig, Batavia, Ohio, USA

 

dust motes dance
non-compliant in my chair
the radio yells

Christina Baumis

 

my office
a thousandth generation of spiders remain untroubled

paul geiger

 

silverware
in the old cabinet…
hazy moon

l’argenteria
nel vecchio mobiletto…
luna offuscata

Daniela Misso

 

upside down mountains
in the storage room
what’s wrong with this picture?

Garry Eaton

 

deep autumn –
dusty piano
without mom’s fingers

Tanpopo Anis

 

for better or worse
the house is much cleaner
empty nest

Charles Harmon

 

crawling kid
my eyes follow
the dust bunny

Vandana Parashar

 

soot on clock
the cuckoo silent
since the lock down

arvinder kaur, Chandigarh, India

 

cleaning day
i sweep rose petals
into a book

Roberta Beary, County Mayo Ireland

 

lingering silence
the missing piece
of my jigsaw

Eva Limbach, Germany

 

stubborn as him…
grandpa’s glass stain
on the highboy

Pris Campbell

 

busy flies
the only life
in the living room

Pat Davis

 

moonrise
the dust
settles

Helga Stania

 

old floorboards
worn down by my chair –
this room’s depression

Dorothy Burrows

 

leaves stirred by the window needs washing

Bill Kenney, Whitestone, NY USA

 

delicately woven web…
the spider’s bite
still stings

Margaret Walker

 

houseplants
out for the season
leaf trail

Ann K. Schwader, Westminster, CO

 

dust covered shelf
a vase carefully placed
over fingerprints

Peggy Hale Bilbro, Alabama. USA

 

the forgotten sound
of the old piano ….
empty nest

Madhuri Pillai

 

spring breeze
dust bunnies scurry deeper
under the bed

Michele L. Harvey

 

politicians
swept through
the TV

Alan Summers

 

cleaning day
from room to room
the swept spider

Bryan Rickert

 

sun slathered room
my daughter’s heart
on the window pane

Rashmi VeSa

 

still boxed-up
where his heart stopped
my studio-to-be

wendy c. bialek, az, usa

 

there all that time –
the empty flowerpot
in the corner

Alex Ben Ari

 

stuffy bedroom –
all her souvenirs
from former loves

Mona Iordan

 

hang in there
get well balloon scraps
in the ceiling fan

Kath Abela Wilson

 

her old room
porcelain dolls still stare
from their boxes

paul geiger

 

mayo jar rescue
catching the intruder gecko
before the cats see it

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 33 Comments

  1. .
    What an incredible poem, and just in seven words!

    .
    .
    deep autumn –
    dusty piano
    without mom’s fingers
    .
    Tanpopo Anis
    .
    .
    The power of the ‘d’ consonance in the first two lines, and then the startlingness of “mom’s fingers”.
    .
    Intriguingly, even though I’m a great fan of the grammatical articles [a/an, the], the intensity of poignancy and loss is better accentuated without the perhaps grammatically correct addition of the article (“the”).
    .
    A superb and deeply moving haiku.

  2. Among the many excellent selections this week, two immediately captured my thoughts.

    vacuuming
    creating mandalas
    on the carpet

    Rehn Kovacic

    I may never view vacuuming (an onerous task for me) quite the same again!

    old floorboards
    worn down by my chair—
    this room’s depression
    — Dorothy Burrows

    The wood floors of my parent’s and grandparent’s homes come immediately to mind – especially where the same chair had once rocked so many loved ones.

    Thanks to both of you for allowing me to view floors in a new way.

  3. for better or worse
    the house is much cleaner
    empty nest
    .
    Charles Harmon
    .
    This reminded me of how surprised I was when everything was exactly how I had left it on returning from work, when my sons had left home. It was a mixed feeling. And the first line made me question any relation to the marriage vows, since used there often.
    *
    stubborn as him…
    grandpa’s glass stain
    on the highboy
    .
    Pris Campbell
    .
    Good comparison of stubborn natures, plus I see a double use of stature in the aging man, and the piece of furniture.
    *
    old floorboards
    worn down by my chair –
    this room’s depression
    .
    Dorothy Burrows
    .
    The matter-of-factness of every line moved me, and a clever double use of depression. Powerful.

  4. Another great selection of verse! I enjoyed the entire selection. Congratulations to all the poets and many thanks, Craig, for including mine. Many thanks to Lori for the administration.

    I particularly enjoyed some of the spider verses…

    *
    my office
    a thousandth generation of spiders remain untroubled
    *
    paul geiger
    *
    cleaning day
    from room to room
    the swept spider
    *
    Bryan Rickert

    I can definitely relate to these 2 verses. It’s always a shock when I put on a pair of glasses and discover yet another cobweb lurking in the corner of the room!

    And I also loved the following 2 verses.
    *
    delicately woven web…
    the spider’s bite
    still stings
    *
    Margaret Walker
    *
    self-isolation thoughts mending the broken cobweb
    *
    Hifsa Ashraf
    *
    In Margaret’s I enjoyed the contrast between a beautifully crafted cobweb and the fact that its maker stings. That tension between a creation and its creator is a fascinating subject. I really admired Hifsa’s poem as there are so many possible scenarios in the verse. It makes the reader stop and consider the meaning which is great!

    i very much look forward to reading next week’s selection!

    1. Thank you for commenting on my “delicately woven web…”
      Cobwebs and spiders seemed to be a part of several haiku this week. (Perhaps the lure of the cobweb in momentarily sunlit corners offers number of metaphors for life today?)

      1. I’m sure you’re right, Margaret. Cobwebs are metaphorically rich in their insubstantial, impermanent way.

        Also, the Issa haiku I alluded to in setting up this prompt may have inspired some writers to emulate him.

        It is one of my favorites of his:

        Don’t worry, spiders,
        I keep house
        casually.

        Kobayashi Issa

  5. Charles Harmon’s verse surely resonated with parents who have empty nests, it did with me.

    If you haven’t read Hifsa’s lockdown work, seek it out. It doesn’t disappoint.

    1. So many good ones that I can identify with! The following two especially resonated with me.
      .
      I’ve been eyeing a nicely developed spiderweb wondering whether to clear it or let it do its work, so really appreciated this one:
      .
      delicately woven web…
      the spider’s bite
      still stings
      .
      Margaret Walker
      .
      Thank goodness my grandkids are past the crawling stage so I don’t have to worry about this one by Vandana!
      .
      crawling kid
      my eyes follow
      the dust bunny
      .
      Vandana Parashar
      .
      Thanks for this interesting theme, thanks for including mine and thank you to all the poets who shared their talent.

      1. Thank you for mentioning my “delicately woven web”. They are so beautiful it does often seems a shame to destroy them

  6. Fascinating set of haiku this week, I absolutely loved the vowel and consonant sounds in this one:-
    .
    soot on clock
    the cuckoo silent
    since the lock down
    .
    arvinder kaur, Chandigarh, India

  7. I related to the two poems that are spawning creativity and fun from housework. During this time of isolation, I find myself doing the same. Also brings a great deal of presence to the moment, an enjoyment rather than a chore.

    vacuuming
    creating mandalas
    on the carpet Rehn Kovack

    for a change
    I doodle
    in the dust Kakshmi Iyer

  8. Thank you Craig for including my haiku on housekeeper ways this week! A good theme during the pandemic when we are home more to notice things in our home surroundings. I appreciated the subtle humor in this one:

    hang in there
    get well balloon scraps
    in the ceiling fan

    Kath Abela Wilson

    and this one too, a different take on spring cleaning:

    spring breeze
    dust bunnies scurry deeper
    under the bed

    Michele L. Harvey

    I also love this one as I too had a moon haiku here this week. Deceptively simple and open to many interpretations:

    moonrise
    the dust
    settles

    Helga Stania

  9. So much to enjoy this week but I was caught by Sari’s “thunder moon” – what a scene setter! Alan’s ‘politicians’ is so clever (shame the old dust keeps blowing back); love it. Pris Campbell’s ‘stubborn’ is also so very insightful – I think I know him; I think I am him!! Brilliant.
    .
    As for Craig’s theme of ‘dust’ falling over this group of poems…
    .
    retirement day
    my LinkedIn profile
    gathering dust

      1. Alan, I thought the brevity here was effective. Biased on first read towards dust, on second read it reminded me of clicking the tv remote from one talking “expert” to the other, in these crazy times.

  10. Craig, thankyou for placing my verse for comment, a lovely surprise, and a wonderful start to a (hopefully) quiet evening after a busy day.
    .
    You are right, a rich harvest of verses for this session. How to choose from so many wonderful and heartfelt poems, as they are all a delight to read. Well done to all poets, truly wonderful.
    .
    I’ll just pick a few that have brought back memories of loved ones, some fun ones, and one that has intrigued me.
    .
    her old room
    porcelain dolls still stare
    from their boxes
    — paul Geiger
    .
    old floorboards
    worn down by my chair—
    this room’s depression
    — Dorothy Burrows
    .
    dad gone . . .
    a lone cricket chirps
    under his bed
    — Kanchan Chatterjee
    .
    thin air . . .
    floating around my bedroom
    a pigeon feather
    —Manoj Sharma
    .
    my office
    a thousandth generation of spiders remain untroubled
    — paul geiger
    Had to smile at this one, reminds me of my little studio, only thinking the other day it needs the feather duster treatment.
    .
    there all that time—
    the empty flowerpot
    in the corner
    —Alex Ben Ari
    .
    politicians
    swept through
    the TV
    — Alan Summers
    There’s always more to your words than meets the eye.
    First thoughts were, dusting the static dust from the screen while the politicians were talking, maybe wishing they too could be wiped away with the dust or maybe, the swiftness of their appearance not wanting to over elaborate on matters in hand. Could there be a technical fault?
    An interesting one, I hope you will elaborate and bring us a bit closer to your thoughts on this one 🙂
    .
    Thanks Craig and Lori for the opportunity of posting, and reading all these poems.

    1. Hi Carol! 🙂
      .
      While Karen is taking a recuperative sleep, as her M.E. flared up, I’ll
      .
      re:
      .
      .
      politicians
      swept through
      the TV
      — Alan Summers
      .
      Carol said:
      .
      “An interesting one, I hope you will elaborate and bring us a bit closer to your thoughts on this one 🙂”
      .
      .
      You know me too well! 🙂 Yes, I often have an underlay of extra or alternative meaning. Also, now that I am persuaded that verbs can play a useful part in haiku “the poetry of nouns” I am fascinated by both their direct application, and how they can mean or direct the poem both on a singular route, and a cheeky second one too! 🙂
      .
      .
      Carol said:
      .
      .
      “First thoughts were, dusting the static dust from the screen while the politicians were talking, maybe wishing they too could be wiped away with the dust or maybe, the swiftness of their appearance not wanting to over elaborate on matters in hand.”
      .
      .
      That would be a preferable option to those people who throw something solid at the TV screen, or blast it with a handgun or shotgun! 🙂
      .
      .
      We try not to catch the news too often, as however good or bad the interviewer is, not enough is being done, and there’s too much waffle, prevarication, excuses to think about it, think about it more, and then have a discussion and another discussion to have a meeting, a meeting to have a meeting, another meeting to book the next date of the meeting etc…
      .
      The countries that act, not talk, or make excuses or dissemble, have saved their countries:
      New Zealand; South Korea; Italy; Germany; and certain countries in Latin America and the Caribbean as of July 8, 2020: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1114603/latin-america-coronavirus-mortality-rate/
      .
      We have too many over-privileged politicians (mostly but not exclusively men) who got rich in their 20s with access to better housing, food, medical cover etc… that cannot or will never relate or do practical life-saving acts for the people of a country that elected them.
      .
      .
      So the verb “swept” which I did have a long think about was chosen as politicians both glibly sweep through our television sets smiling, laughing, sometimes giving expensive school grimaces of exasperation at being caught out in a lie that was obvious anyway; and the action of Karen and myself, and probably others, who just click to another channel, either news or entertainment, or documentary, but away from the debased lies and not feet on the ground action. After all this virus was known as far back as December 2019, and not enough has been done even in seven months. We could have mobilised specialised drivers to deliver food and medicine (taxi drivers, military drivers, public transport drivers of buses and coaches) and saved half the population that died.
      .
      Everything gets swept away, including the new lies that the virus is allegedly the fault of the healthcare sector, the opposition politicians, China, and possibly that the moon is made of cheese as well, who knows? 🙂
      .
      .
      I wrote to Craig, a little note:
      .
      “We try to enforce a rule that no politicians can enter our household. When they do, they get swept along with the dust and debris.” – Alan Summers
      .
      .
      So I choose the simple past tense of the verb as it could both mean the politicians swept through, and also that they were getting swept past by us, as they ‘swept’ through. In ‘outside life’ we can’t do that, but for the moment, we can do a little within our ‘indoor existence’.
      .
      I have so many thoughts (parallel/alternative) going on as I create a haikai verse, which is why I talked slower than I would have preferred on a recent podcast interview! 🙂
      .
      warm regards,
      Alan

      1. Alan says:
        “We have too many over-privileged politicians (mostly but not exclusively men) who got rich in their 20s with access to better housing, food, medical cover etc… that cannot or will never relate or do practical life-saving acts for the people of a country that elected them.”

        Well said … although maybe you forgot to mention privileged education, which doesn’t go for Trump.

        It’s sad that it should be, but it’s good to see we’re getting angry.

        Unfortunately, however, we’re not angry enough to change the situation/system you talk about. Nobody wants civil unrest, but why is it that we stand by seemingly impotent, while certain politicians and leaders knowingly mislead all but themselves, and get away with it? I despair of both the U.S. and the U.K.

        1. Ingrid-
          I share your sentiments. Why is it so hard and time consuming to make change for the better, while tearing everything apart happens so fast? While many social changes can eventually be rolled back, the lives of the animals in exploited ecosystems are gone forever, and gone in great suffering and pain.
          Sorry to be a downer here. Haiku is a wonderful lift, but its reach is limited.

      2. Firstly, Alan, I’m sorry to hear Karen’s M.E, has flared up. Please pass on my best wishes for her speedy recovery, and to go easy with those ‘spoons’ when she starts to feel more herself.
        .
        I just knew I could rely on you for a spontaneous reply, but this is an amazing read, and I agree whole heartedly with your sentiments.

        I too used to switch the T.V. over when I felt the outlandish comments coming from politicians mouths got over baring, however, the rhetoric they use is supposedly for our continued support for them, and its cleverly contrived, I listen to it very carefully now, because there will come a day when they will be quoted, and I for one will hopefully be able to add my little bit, especially when it comes to environment issues, which, as we all know not only does this affect humans, the natural world as a whole, and the flagrant disregard with which, as Laurie has mentioned, some seem to be getting away with, without hindrance or leave.
        Even within our own communities there is always destructive elements being tolerated, and always excuses form the authorities when we point them out.
        When you come up against this kind of behaviour, it brings home just how much c**p we are being force fed, the sad thing is, so many just don’t see or hear it.

        You are bang on the nail when you mention a meeting to arrange a meeting for a meeting, just a good ol’ excuse to spend hard earned tax payers money on a fancy-pants dinner and a few bottles of the best. Cynical? No.
        I now alight from my soap box 🙂
        .
        So much in so few word, as usual, Alan. great stuff 🙂

        1. Thanks Carol! 🙂
          .
          Karen is under orders, once we are up to date, to restore ‘spoons’ over the rest of the Summer, and part of the Autumn. It’s the combined onslaught of doing too much so we can buy essentials, facing the dire news about ruthless unfeeling greedy politicians, and all the negative vibes on social media, and the unceasing constant washing containers and contents, etc… and thoughtless arrogance by a minority of joggers, cyclists, and others who feel they are either immune or don’t care.
          .
          I’ve had published quite a lot of different haiku sequences etc… on Covid-19, but looking forward to other projects now.
          .
          I am so glad we got to meet you on two separate occasions before the pandemic was ever heard about!!! 🙂
          .
          And yes, everything you say is unnervingly accurate. And even today a British Black woman politician for the opposition was forced to close her constituency office due to INCREASED death threats. Being black, female, and a socialist, is a deadly trinity of excuses for bigots. I cannot believe that the police cannot or will not protect democracy, and people who are not white. As a child I had always hoped things would get better.
          .
          We can only do what we can do. And every haiku helps, along with other legal practices!
          🙂
          .
          warmest regards,
          Alan

          1. Always good to look forward and move on, Alan, good to know you are doing so, even under such diverse conditions.
            We too have had those joggers and cyclists, but glad to say now people can move about with a little more ease, things are going back to normality, and they too have more freedom to use their regular routes.
            .
            It was always a great experience being present at the ‘live’ workshops, and also online.
            I still have wonderful memories and photos of the two venues Karen and you provided for us, happy days, indeed 🙂
            .
            Can’t say I ever witnessed any racial tensions when a child or in early adulthood, but it does seem to have raised its ugly head this past few years, could just be the place I live, and it is awful that people, such as you have mentioned, and even ordinary every day folk, have to put up with such abuse, and not a lot done about it, if anything.

            Take care you two

            Carol

        2. Bristol has certainly gone through very deadly times, which never got into the newspapers, but as someone who had their entire childhood, and young adulthood, I got to see and hear some horrible stuff, both racial, and otherwise.
          .
          The struggle goes on, as too many people judge people purely by skin tone. What will people think of this a thousand years hence, I wonder.

    2. Many thanks, Carol, for mentioning my verse. I enjoyed yours too. I can definitely relate to attic windows with layers of dust!

      1. Thanks, Dorothy.
        Your words can relate to so many house-bound people, and within the current situation, more so.

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