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HAIKU DIALOGUE – Times of Transition – Becoming parents (1)

Times of Transition with Guest Editor Deborah Karl-Brandt

For the next few weeks let’s talk about Times of Transition. Arnold van Gennep and Viktor Turner explored these times of transition scientifically, because human existence is defined by them. So, together, let’s do the same – by reflecting on our lives. All of us experience periods in life when alteration takes place and we have to change too. Everything changes: the seasons, moods, the weather – there might even be times when the boundaries of right and wrong, of good and evil seem to change. We are caught in the middle of transition, becoming opaque like water in turmoil. Looking back, we hardly recognize our way up to the present; looking forward, our path seems to be foggy and uncertain. Sometimes we are challenged to let go of our former self to become someone new.

Below is Deborah’s selection of poems on the theme of Becoming parents:

mermaid’s purse—
the ultrasound confirms
her worst fear

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut


bathing a newborn –
instruction manual
not included

Alan Harvey
Tacoma, WA


newborn baby –
the sea that connects
two distant coasts

Aljoša Vuković


mini me –
i find the answers
deep within

Amoolya Kamalnath


she can finally
play with Barbie dolls –
it’s a girl

Ana Drobot


worrying we waited too long . . . miracle child

Ann Sullivan
Arlington MA USA


a cold space
in the cot …
I stroke your absence

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK


wrinkled newborn
we fight over who
he resembles more

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India


pregnant wife
the Globe

Bakhtiyar Amini


what do you write
when words are not

Barbara Anna Gaiardoni
Verona, Italy


upholstery buttons . . .
our toddler takes off
to outer space

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts USA


newborn girl child
my mom’s puffy eyes tell me
a lot of tales

Bipasha Majumder (De)


wrapped in white—
my life since hasn’t had
enough room

Bittor Duce Zubillaga
Basque Country


seed fluff
that never lands
her miscarriage

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois


born into one
grown into another

Bonnie J Scherer
Palmer, Alaska USA


february second
my son throws beans
and laughter

Charles Harper


baby twins
one watches the other
being bathed twice

Chen Xiaoou
Kunming, China


birthday cake
teaching a two year old
to blow out candles

Cindy Putnam Guentherman
Illinois, USA


coastal fog
first time walking to school

D. Huss
Santa Monica, California


after a hard fight –
Godzilla and T-rex
in the same toy box

Daniela Lăcrămioara Capotă


from the ocean

Daya Bhat


lulling our insecurities
with the baby

Dejan Pavlinović


your foster Korean name
meant “calm shine”
you arrived loud and ready

Diane Funston
Marysville, California


watching him cry

Dipankar Dasgupta


something else all my
friends will have

Eavonka Ettinger
Long Beach, CA


to watch you breathe
so slowly
the cloud moves

Elisa Theriana


autumn leaves…
baby’s first steps
on red carpet

Florin C. Ciobica


delivery room
the silent agonies
of a helpless father

Harrison Lightwater


violent shove
motherhood option

JL Huffman
Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, USA


summer fading
I’ll never walk
them to school

Jenn Ryan-Jauregui
Tucson, Arizona USA


my first husband
gazes through my son’s eyes
I try to forget

Jenny Shepherd
London, UK


becoming a wife
and parent of two …

Jennifer Gurney
United States


every poem
we gave up on
needed a second image

Jerome Berglund
Minneapolis, Minnesota


babble a baby this stream my mind

John S Green
Bethlehem, Palestine


moth dust
falling through moonlight
the remembered child

John Hawkhead
United Kingdom


morning cafe—
the woman phones her son
for his grade report

John Zheng


a baby’ s kicking –
love and fear at
the same time

Jovana Dragojlovic
Belgrade, Serbia


over a decade
how we beam at both
rescued dogs

Kanjini Devi
The Far North, Aotearoa NZ


playing house
my inner child always
was a mother

Kathabela Wilson


not born to me
but at first glance he became
the child of my heart

Kathleen Cain
Arvada, CO


my cat

Keiko Izawa


first motherhood
a cherry

Lakshmi Iyer


child’s first steps lollapalooza of my dreams

Lakshman Bulusu
Princetown, NJ, USA


never sure if it would last…
our decades
of childless marriage

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


soft stirrings
loving this start
of who you are

Linda Ludwig
Inverness, Florida


saddened by the loss
of a cactus

Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo
Bombon, Philippines


news of my pregnancy
the creases in
my mother’s brow

Lori Kiefer
London UK


your first kick
promising not to repeat
my mother’s mistakes

Louise Hopewell


pregnant and weary
overcome by labour pains
baby stillborn

Lys Brown
Ballyshannon, co Donegal, Ireland


this feeling of love
laced with awe…
her debut

Madhuri Pillai


2am feeding moon on my breast

Margie Gustafson
Lombard, IL, USA


grafting an orchid
to the ancestral tree
adoption day

marilyn ashbaugh
edwardsburg, michigan


fetal ultrasound
for a moment our future
in black in white

Maurice Nevile
Canberra, Australia


dry mouth..
our partners-to-parents coach tells us
she is divorced

Maya Daneva
The Netherlands


craving for ice cream…
he knotts four shoelaces

Mihaela Iacob


the sound of the rainbow
almost as loud
as the baby’s smile

Mike Fainzilber
Rehovot, Israel


nine months old
a mystery to us
her daydreams

Mike Gallagher
Ballyduff, Ireland


all the love –
to the unborn brother
not to fly away

Minko Tanev


newborn’s first whimper
all the parenting lessons

Mirela Brailean


parenthood —
all the blurred

Mona Bedi


my son and I crash
on the carpet

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio


spring solo
son’s first cry
wets my eyes

Neena Singh


how fragile
our dreams

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India


born again,
with this first cry
of another life

Ram Chandran


coos and gurgles
desperate to master
the new language

Ravi Kiran


being the child of snow sometimes I dream of fire

Richa Sharma


breathing monitor
a bear snaps out of

Richard L. Matta
San Diego, California, USA


a newborn
the knowing looks
of grandparents

Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina


the dead cat’s
six kittens

Rupa Anand
New Delhi, India


on your first day
I knew that you
were worth the wait

Ruth Happel
United States


a squirrel hoards
away an acorn
late parenthood

Sangita Kalarickal
United States


from another aisle
a child calls “mom”
I turn to look

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY


waiting room –
at last a baby cry
from other side

Satyanarayana Chittaluri
Hyderabad, LB Nagar, India


all the dishes
under his bed

Sharon Ferrante
Florida, USA


third echo…
the music of her

Steliana Cristina Voicu
Ploiesti, Romania


summer breeze
that one seed
about to sprout

Stephen A. Peters
Bellingham, WA


a cup of tea
an advice
on my son

Sudarmanto Salamun
Bandung – Indonesia


dying grass moon
he chooses to save
the baby

Susan Burch
Hagerstown, MD


my children
not by birth
but by death

Susan Farner


home coming–
talking to father
in the grave

Teiichi Suzuki


son and daughter
before their concert —
I take over stage fright

Tomislav Maretić


staging a coo
not a maternal bone
in my body

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


two storks are in the nest
with eggs

Tsanka Shishkova
Sofia, Bulgaria


going down
in the history as a villain
teenager’s mom

Vandana Parashar


she left
left me with a life
to grow with

Vishnu Kapoor
Chennai, India


sleepless night
my lullaby
becomes a prayer

Vladislav Hristov
Plovdiv, Bulgaria


our female firstborn…planting a lilli pilli

Wanda Amos


Join us next week for Deborah’s commentary on additional poems, & our next prompt…


Guest Editor Deborah Karl-Brandt lives in Bonn, Germany, with her husband, two rabbits and numerous books. After her PhD studies in Scandinavian languages and literatures, she now works as a freelance author and poet. One of her poems won 2nd place in the 2021 Pula Film Festival Haiku Contest. Her poems have most recently appeared in Prune Juice, Kingfisher, First Frost, Frogpond, Failed Haiku and Tsuridoro. If she is not outside for a long stroll or to do some birdwatching, she is an avid reader who is currently exploring Chinese Xianxia Webnovels.

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:

The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy.

Please note that all poems & images appearing in Haiku Dialogue may not be used elsewhere without express permission – copyright is retained by the creators. Please see our Copyright Policies.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. A moving set of poems in response to a critical subject—becoming parents. When my wife and I couldn’t have children, we looked into adoption, then after much soul searching, we decided to become what we termed, “childfree” This concept, gleaned from a book, created a more positive perspective than, “childless.’ I do believe that ‘childless’ allows for a more heartfelt emotion when dealing with loss in haiku.

    The following three poems use ‘childless’ to great effect. It was solemn but deeply sincere to read so many contributor’s ‘not’ becoming parents experience. With gratitude.
    my cat

    Keiko Izawa
    never sure if it would last…
    our decades
    of childless marriage

    Laurie Greer
    Washington, DC
    saddened by the loss
    of a cactus

    Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo
    Bombon, Philippines

  2. Sorry this is late in the week. I do like to think about the poems for a couple of days. This was an beautifully moving week.
    A few that especially moved me and I appreciated the structure were “seed fluff” by Bryan Rickert, “becoming a wife” by Jennifer Gurney, “childless…” by Keiko Izawa, and “sleepless night” by Vladislav Hristov. “baby twins” by Chen Xiaoou made me smile.

  3. Thank you to everyone who sends me such beautiful works. There were so many incredibly well written poems this week. I am very grateful to have had the chance to read them all. The theme is beautiful and turned out to be very satisfying.

  4. Congratulations Deborah on editing such a fine collection of haiku and senryu. So many show what a powerful subject this is for us. There are some real beauties this week!

  5. grandchildren
    something else all my
    friends will have

    Eavonka Ettinger
    Long Beach, CA

    I’ll never walk
    them to school

    Jenn Ryan-Jauregui
    Tucson, Arizona USA

    Both of these struck home, the pain of childlessness. Thank you Jenn & Evonka for having the courage to share your personal situations.

      1. Thank you, JL for your kind and understanding response. Your poem was truly profound and powerful as well.

  6. What a collection of parental experiences! From birth to teen and in between, from loss to aggravation to pride to joy, and so much more, these haiku brought some smiles, too many tears, and plenty of memories. Too many outstanding haiku to point out just one or two, and many so emotional that I have had to stop reading and return later. Eventually I will get through them all. Congrats to all the poets. Thank you, Deborah, for including one of mine in the column. Frankly, I don’t know how you read all these poignant haiku, and I can only imagine what next week’s haiku and commentary will bring considering this week’s haiku. Thanks, too, to Kathy and Lori for all the work you do behind the scenes.

  7. Thanks so much Deborah Karl-Brandt for including my poem. Too many favorites here to name them all, so congratulations to all poets. Honored to be part of this moving and heartfelt collection.

  8. Thank you for including mine Deborah. What an outstanding collection! I enjoyed a lot.

  9. a moving collection Deborah, thank you!
    My favourite which says a lot in so few words …

    my cat

    Keiko Izawa

    this reminds me of my all time favourite book…
    The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

  10. Thank you for including my haiku on becoming a parent (or not). Too many favorites here to name them all, so multilayered. I did appreciate this one, reminded of my older son’s dinosaur phase. The changing interests of childhood are so all-encompassing:

    after a hard fight –
    Godzilla and T-rex
    in the same toy box

    Daniela Lăcrămioara Capotă

  11. Thank you so much, Deborah, for including my poem amongst this outstanding collection. I was very moved by so many of them. In particular by those who, like me, have never been a mother.

    This one really hurt:

    violent shove
    motherhood option

    JL Huffman
    Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, USA

  12. Thank you Deborah for including mine. A superb collection of parenthood experiences, as well as experiences of parenthood denied. I was particularly struck by the humour as well as depth of Vandana Parashar’s poem.

    going down
    in history as a villain
    teenager’s mom

    The poem is simply bursting with life.

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