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HAIKU DIALOGUE – the way of the thief

 

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 cat: become focused, then pounce

Bashō said that one should never hesitate when composing a verse.

Go somewhere with a good amount of animal activity. Like a cat, sit still for a while, letting it all move around you. Then pounce on something you see and write a haiku in one go, with no revision.

Please send up to two unpublished haiku by clicking here: Contact Form, and put Haiku Dialogue in the Subject box.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 25, 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 thief:

For years I believed that Pablo Picasso said that good artists borrow, great artists steal. I recently discovered that there is no evidence that he ever said it. So it is with certain sticky ideas. They have a life of their own and perpetuate themselves by any means necessary.

The way of the thief is to take such ideas and make them your own, if only briefly.

In that spirit, let me share two quotes from Bashō that are appropriate for this week’s selections:

“One should know that a hokku is made by combining things.”

– and –

“The bones of haikai are plainness and oddness.”

in between
War and Peace
corona plague

Teiichi Suzuki , Japan

The implications of this haiku are many and my mind falls easily into contemplation of its essence. That the pandemic seems long and difficult like reading Tolstoy’s novel. That it might simply be that the poet was halfway through reading the novel when the plague arose. That COVID-19 has taken the place of war in the 24-hour news cycle. And on and on.

the sound
of one page turning
old pond

C.R. Harper

C.R. gets credit for double thievery and clever mixology here, celebrating Zen’s influence on haiku by combining the “one hand clapping” koan and Bashō’s famous frog verse. This haiku also expresses how, despite its age and ubiquity among haiku circles, Bashō’s old pond still delights when you come upon it unexpectedly.

backyard breeze
not yet winter but
discontent

Deborah P Kolodji

More double thievery here, as Deborah alludes to the Shakespeare quote that Steinbeck took for his last novel. In addition to capturing the mood of the day, this haiku is strikingly appropriate for the theme, as Steinbeck’s novel explores the ramifications of taking what you want.

imagine
all of nature
in balance

Kathleen Mazurowski

It fascinates me how a single word can summon a mindful of associations. “Imagine” is such word, so strongly is it tied to John Lennon and his legacy. With it as a lead in for this haiku, the next five words carry a lot of weight. And then the question arises, are we to assume that nature is not in balance and imagine what could be if it was; or are we to know that nature is in balance and we should imagine what that means to and for us?

lurking moon…
the uplifting waves
of her room’s curtains

Hifsa Ashraf

Contrast and implication are so important in haiku, and this verse makes good use of them. A lurking moon seems ominous but does uplifting merely describe the motion of the curtains, or the emotional effect of the motion as well? But then there is the question of why the curtains are in such motion. Did she open the room’s window, or did somebody else do it? And for what purpose?

I’m proud of all the poetic thievery on display this week. What do you think? Is it right to be so covetous of words?

Below are the rest of my selections for this week:

starry sky –
I steal the moonlight
thinking about you

Maria Teresa Sisti

 

Monday morning
just a thought
of the moon

Rehn Kovacic

 

hymns and hums
I trust his breath
prairie grass rustles

Kelli Lage

 

merely
things displaced …
disbelieved ownership

Vijay Prasad

 

no matter
where I hang the moon
the dark of night

mShane Pruett

 

stealing thoughts
before they’re worded
soulmates

Anjali Warhadpande

 

another’s haiku-
I find inspiration
for a senryu

Vincenzo Adamo

 

FM radio’s
pandemic special
“Stairway to Heaven”

Melanie Vance

 

a star
rises into the sky
Havlicek stole the ball

John Green

 

beds filled
let aeroplanes circle moaning
til breath comes no more

Pris Campbell

 

the last samurai . . .
dreams of cherry blossoms
on his deathbed

Milan Rajkumar

 

take me home
to the place where I belong
fireflies

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia

 

the writing finger
having writ
clean me

simonj UK

 

asking the same questions…
still the wild brambles

Helga Stania

 

pride and prejudice
the unemployed neighbour
in his BMW

Deborah Karl-Brandt

 

river at dawn –
dragonflies draw flame
from the first rays of sun

Nick T, UK

 

here be dragons
I tape a kigo to my ankle
and trail another

Alan Summers

 

door to door the hustler’s smile

Bryan Rickert

 

through the window
a midnight thief…
the moon, stealing sleep

Michele L. Harvey

 

Bishop’s garden
more welcoming than the mapmakers’
the botanists’ colors

Laurie Greer

 

on the road
fluttering diesel trucks
going somewhere else

John Budan

 

stolen kisses…
in and out of the lilac
butterflies dance

Adrian Bouter

 

robber’s strike –
is it Roykan’s moon
left behind at my window

arvinder kaur,Chandigarh,India

 

where I end
and you begin
starry sky

Tomislav Sjekloća, Cetinje, Montenegro

 

yellow rain…
silence flowing into
adobe memories

Carole Harrison

 

salt wind –
with the waves, the sting
of ashes

Dorothy Burrows

 

“carpe diem…”
one flower after another
along the path

Elisa Allo

 

empty plinth
a space between
the past and the future

Mark Gilbert

 

the sound of water
leaving the pool
cannonball

Tim Cremin

 

the way to dream ice cream castles in the air

Christine L. Villa, USA

 

a dung beetle
pushes more crap
there is no other way

M. R. Defibaugh

 

dangling conversations
through a half closed door
whispers of our lives

Peggy Hale Bilbro, Huntsville, Alabama

 

napping in the meadow
Lavender’s Blue dilly dilly
spring breeze

Greer Woodward, Waimea, HI

 

briefly baring the thief lighting…

Adjei Agyei-Baah, Kumasi, Ghana

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 20 Comments

  1. I loved this challenge and I am delighted to be included in this selection. Many thanks, Craig and Lori! I enjoyed the entire collection so thank you to all the poets for brightening my day.
    Two that I particularly liked because of their themes were…
    *
    imagine
    all of nature
    in balance
    *
    Kathleen Mazurowski
    *
    I loved the rhythm, sound, simplicity and importance of this poem. Great!
    *
    empty plinth
    a space between
    the past and the future
    *
    Mark Gilbert
    *
    Another hugely important and thought-provoking theme. Again I admired the rhythm and sound of this verse.

    I look forward to reading next week’s dialogue!

  2. Excellent selection!
    Two favorites –

    beds filled
    let aeroplanes circle moaning
    til breath comes no more

    Pris Campbell

    Timely, unique and great-takingly sad
    …………………………………………………………………

    the way to dream ice cream castles in the air

    Christine L. Villa, USA

    This one, quite simply, made me smile!

  3. enjoyed these poems a lot. And, fwiw: the source of something similar, “mature poets steal”
    *
    “One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. ”
    T.S. Eliot The Sacred Wood (1921)

  4. What a wonderful group of poems, especially those haiku you commented on Craig. Lovely to be part of this, thank you for including ‘yellow rain’ (stolen from a Spanish writer)
    *
    My favourites, just because. . .
    *
    on the road
    fluttering diesel trucks
    going somewhere else
    …….. John Budan
    *
    “carpe diem…”
    one flower after another
    along the path
    …….. Elisa Allo
    (Reminds me of Spain and the camino)
    *
    and of course…
    *
    imagine —
    all of nature
    in balance
    …….. Kathleen Mazurowski

  5. Great selection this week: Thanks for including mine.
    FM radio’s
    pandemic special
    “Stairway to Heaven”
    Melanie Vance

    pride and prejudice
    the unemployed neighbour
    in his BMW
    Deborah Karl-Brandt

  6. I loved reading all of these and ‘got’ most of the references. Wonderful literary dialogue across languages and genres. Here are a couple of my favorites, for no particular reason, except that I liked them!
    .
    where I end
    and you begin
    starry sky
    —-Tomislav Sjekloća, Cetinje, Montenegro
    .
    pride and prejudice
    the unemployed neighbour
    in his BMW
    —Deborah Karl-Brandt
    .
    the last samurai . . .
    dreams of cherry blossoms
    on his deathbed
    —Milan Rajkumar
    .
    imagine
    all of nature
    in balance
    —Kathleen Mazurowski
    .
    Thanks for including mine and thanks to all the wonderful poets who took the. Challenge to steal something.

  7. I really enjoyed this collection. Nicely done Craig, and all writers. There are some gems in there. I recognized some references immediately, and want to dig into some others. A nice way to start the day.

  8. Robin Hood is alive and doing what he did best…robbing from the rich (sources of literature and the other arts) and giving to the poor (haiku poets who needed inspiration), which created worthy poems. Or maybe it is more like Rumplestilskin (sp) spinning words into gold. Either way, well done all.

    1. What a lovely way of putting a smile on our faces and enriching the comments section. Thank you, Nancy.

      1. Thanks Craig and Ingrid for your kind remarks. I always love seeing references to our wider world, yet I missed my chance by missing the deadline, strictly from procrastination. Oh well…

          1. I love this group… you are all so clever with words. Enriches our lives. . .

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