Skip to content

HAIKU DIALOGUE – Times of Transition – Getting older (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 Getting Older:

river willow
the thickening trunk
of my middle ages

Adele Evershed
Wilton, Connecticut


car’s smart stereo
the same playlist
as in that casette

Amoolya Kamalnath


déjà vu
my daughters give me
my own advice

Anjali Warhadpande
Pune, India


another birthday
toasting new wrinkles
in the winter sun

Anju Kishore


unknown territory
out of breath
at the top of the trail

Ann Sullivan
Arlington MA USA


sharp autumn wind
my bucket list
grows shorter

Annie Wilson
Shropshire, UK


our shadows limp home together autumn chill

Arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India


premature greys
hoping I don’t inherit
dad’s diabetes too

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt
Kolkata, India


runaway train time overtakes me

Barrie Levine
Massachusetts, USA


Indian summer
rubbing in factor 50
where hair once was

Ben Oliver
United Kingdom


getting older
I count the leaves
still remaining

Bipasha Majumder (De)


my hair anyway

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois


in creases the sun settles silver birch bark

C.X. Turner


running down the clock
to put things right

Carol Reynolds


last oak leaf
fear of letting go
let go

Caroline Giles Banks
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


I sing along to
Dancing Queen –
young and sweet again

Caroline Ridley-Duff


new plan:
as gracefully
as possible

Charles Harper


dad’s approach
his old footsteps plus
new stick-steps

Chen Xiaoou
Kunming, China


getting older –
every day sweaty hands
in front of the screen

Cristina Povero


instead of dreams
blood sugar talks

Christopher Calvin
Kota Mojokerto, Indonesia


in line for shots
they ask if I want
a wheelchair

Cindy Putnam Guentherman
Illinois, USA


circling the aisles
a bounce in her step –
grocery store oldies

Colette Kern
Southold, New York


sensible shoes
where the colorful converse
once kicked it

Curt Linderman


faded blooms
the busy bee
I used to be

Cynthia Anderson
Yucca Valley, California


asylum –
at window begins
the sky

Dan C. Iulian


the loneliness
of the long distance runner –

Daniela Lăcrămioara Capotă


balcony birding
empty nesters
on either side

Daya Bhat


rainy afternoon
the oblivion cools
a Sunday lunch

Dejan Ivanovic
Lazarevac, Serbia


mom moves
into long term care
the ache of distance

Eavonka Ettinger
Long Beach, CA


birthday party:
we celebrate
with a quiet smile

Evan Spivack
Teaneck, NJ


senior class
with perfect attendance
a zumba lesson

Ferdinand Bajado
Meycauayan, Bulacan, Philippines


forgotten spectacles
the sound of rain
is grey

Geetha Ravichandran
Chennai, India


my first
chin hairs

Grace De Sousa
Québec, Canada


on brittle bones
his grandparents softly fold
their remaining days

Guido De Pelsmaeker


almost hidden
beneath the flats – a glimmer
of silver heels

Helene Guojah


last days of Fall
reach across a spent soul
seeking forgiveness

herb goldsmith


a forest path –
the old chopped down tree
still sprouting

Hla Yin Mon
Yangon, Myanmar


supermarket trip
yet another shopping list
goes AWOL

Ingrid Baluchi
North Macedonia


autumn sunset
the oldies station playing
songs of my youth

Jackie Chou
United States


on my radio

James Penha
Bali, Indonesia


this body´s not me
though I once thought it was

Jan Stretch
Victoria, BC, Canada


the daily pain
of every movement
betrayal of bones

Jenny Shepherd
London, UK


for last drops —
crushed ice!

Jerome Berglund
Minneapolis, Minnesota


aging gracefully
we dance the fandango
in carpet slippers

John Hawkhead
United Kingdom


called third strike my fading bucket list

John S Green
Bethlehem, Palestine


worn prayer flags . . .
my need to catch
my breath

John Pappas
United States


class reunion—
introducing myself
to old friends

Jonathan Epstein


growing old together
settling into our wrinkles

Karen Harvey
Pwllheli, N Wales


tourist path . . .
disappearing in the mist
I look for myself

Kathleen Trocmet
Texas, USA


cutting into the palm
urge to let go

Kavita Ratna


passing train whistle…
those things i wasn´t
aware of

Keiko Izawa


old apple tree
the ways we still

Kerry J Heckman
Seattle, WA


class reunion
my turn to book the table
for two

Keith Evetts
Thames Ditton UK


laughing hard
– a new vein bulging
on my forehead

Kiti Saarinen


the elegance
involved in going … slowly
to seed

kris moon kondo
Kiyokawa, Kanagawa, Japan


getting older
the many times she says
‘I’m fit as a fiddle’

Lakshmi Iyer


first day of retirement…
my life list

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC


plucking dark hairs
from my new mustache

Louise Hopewell


growing older
I slowly learn to flow
like water

Lori Kiefer


returning from the dead
I usually do it well…
sunset breeze

Luciana Moretto
Treviso, Italy


golden years
the little dog and I
do our morning stretches

madeleine kavanagh
United States


her greying whiskers
my gentler pace —
our raspy uphill

Madhuri Pillai


my age
in front of the stars

la mia età
di fronte alle stelle

Maria Cezza


hip replacement
one ticket to the band’s
farewell tour

Mariel Herbert
California, USA


clouded vision
in the river of stars
old age

marilyn ashbaugh
edwardsburg, michigan


I know now
‘youth is wasted
on the young’

(with a nod to George Bernard Shaw)

Margaret Mahony


getting old
another friend leaves…
white carnations

Marilyn Ward
Lincolnshire, UK


dementia care
at every visit
my novelty socks

Maurice Nevile
Canberra, Australia


saturday night
in bed at ten thirty

Melissa Dennison


earplugs at the gig
my hearing
not what it used to be

Mike Fainzilber
Rehovot, Israel


aurora the short time we take from time

Minal Sarosh
Ahmedabad, India


the fragile life
after intensive care –
getting older

Minko Tanev


the awakening
only the house spins
before I do

Mirela Brailean


autumn shadows
still a lot left
on my bucket list

Mona Bedi


new straw the scarecrow’s Botox

M. R. Defibaugh
United States


a stranger
in the bathroom mirror
morning blues

Natalia Kuznetsova


autumn moon
enters the bay window
plaiting my thinning hair

Neena Singh
Chandigarh, India


twilight –
seated beside the window
I listen to the rain

Nicole Pottier


jasmine attar—
i too become better
with time

Nitu Yumnam


no alternative
but to walk away
historic palace without ramps

Padma Rajeswari
Mumbai, India


end of the journey
a teenager
offers his seat

Padmini Krishnan
United Arab Emirates


another autumn day
the maple tree I planted and I
still alive

Peggy Hale Bilbro


a new path—
laugh lines

petro c. k.
Seattle, Washington


twenty to eighty
the new world’s record
in time travel

Pris Campbell


gift for ears-
no more ‘what’s
from grandma’

Radhika De Silva
Sri Lanka


wrinkled hands
your youth in your eyes

Ram Chandran


morning walk
to the cemetery
friendship day

Ravi Kiran


another birthday
my new age
is simply old

Rehn Kovacic
Mesa, AZ


after her
mother asks me to trust
the hometown oak

Richa Sharma


empty bucket
what isn’t poured out

Richard Straw
Cary, North Carolina


aging steps…
the wandering beggar’s
homecoming dance

Rita Melissano
Illinois, USA


big girl no more kiddie pool

Roberta Beach Jacobson
Indianola, IA, USA


last time
we would plant geraniums
change our will

Ron Scully
Burien, WA


sunset . . .
caressing my wrinkles
with a smile

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore
Catania, Italy


another taut tissue
ironed out

Rupa Anand


never too old
to be an orphan-
so lost

Ruth Happel
Tennessee, USA


drawing closer
to mother and father
wherever they are

Ruth Holzer
Herndon, VA


Holding hands
with walking stick-
my new travel companion

Santhoshi Valli


Each day I reset
myself into the template,
what I used to be

Sarah Davies


waning moon the ebb and flow of the tides

Sandra Regan
Oxfordshire UK


pending surgery
the pressing task
of a living trust

Seretta Martin
San Diego, CA, USA


ripe pears
within reach 旨旨 how sweet
of the walking cane



balding father—
the coconut palm
loses its leaves

Srini S
Rishi Valley, India


engagement ring –
the old orange tree
in bloom

Steliana Cristina Voicu
Ploiesti, Romania


box full
of memories
me too

Stephan A. Peters
Bellingham, WA


before and
after the dog goes—
bathroom stop

Stephen J. DeGuire
Los Angeles, CA


leopard moon a new liver spot

Susan Burch
Hagerstown, MD


my grandson connects
the dots on my hand

Susan Farner


change of clothes–
my body shape gets
smaller with age

Teiichi Suzuki


moss covered stairs
how dad used to skip
three at a time

Tomislav Sjekloća
Cetinje, Montenegro


older now…
more zips
less lace

Tony Williams
Scotland, UK


swapping tampons
for tena lady

Tracy Davidson
Warwickshire, UK


an enso
on my scarf
white curl

Tsanka Shishkova


prescription pad
a pill for side-effects
of a pill

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio USA


first day of retirement
working hard
at sleeping in

Valorie Broadhurst Woerdehoff
United States


60th autumn
a pitchfork gathering

Vandana Parashar


how many grains
in my hourglass!
autumn twilight

Vipanjeet Kaur


my grandson’s
first wedding anniversary
when was mine ?

Vishnu Kapoor
Chennai, India


the pathway forward

Wanda Amos
Old Bar, Australia


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 23 Comments

  1. Deborah,
    Thank you for presenting the poems that resonated with you, not just a select few that an editor may feel are the “best” from the very start. But if you commented on those that you felt were worthy of further examination from your first selection, that would be wonderful ( so we may all learn from those poems). In summary, I really like your approach and procedure for your contribution to Dialogue.

  2. car’s smart stereo
    the same playlist
    as in that casette

    Amoolya Kamalnath

    faded blooms
    the busy bee
    I used to be

    Cynthia Anderson

    senior class
    with perfect attendance
    a zumba lesson

    Ferdinand Bajado

    forgotten spectacles
    the sound of rain
    is grey

    Geetha Ravichandran

    I decided to stop listing out my favourites because there are so many in this collection that took me on a journey of nostalgia, profundity, poignancy , and fun. I wouldn’t mind ageing at all if it is going to be so varied and interesting. Kudos and thanks to all the poets and to Deborah for this ride.

  3. I am greatly enjoying this series; thank you, Deborah, and all contributers.

    This week I especially enjoyed “deja vu”
    Anjali Warhadpande, “dad’s approach”
    Chen Xiaoou, “balcony birding” Daya Bhat, “class reunion” Jonathan Epstein, “another birthday” Rahn Kovacic, and “ripe pears” simonj.

    1. Thank you so much for the appreciation, Debbie! Same here, truly enjoying the spirit of this series.

  4. Thank you so much for including my haiku. I greatly enjoyed reading all of the other beautiful selections–excellent choices all. The theme of life transitions is a wonderful one…I look forward to the next stage!

  5. What a selection! Am delighted and touched to be included – among going back again and again to many ku here! This is an archive I will be visiting frequently for sure. Yes, many of you said, it is a privilege to age in such special company!

  6. Thank you Deborah for including my haiku, I so enjoyed every last one. We all in this together!

  7. Another great selection!
    my favourite, I like the positive take on age

    old apple tree
    the ways we still

    Kerry J Heckman
    Seattle, WA

    Congratulations to all poets and thank your Deborah

  8. faded blooms
    the busy bee
    I used to be
    Cynthia Anderson
    Yucca Valley, California
    People want to be active as they age but sometimes health does not permit it to be so.

  9. Thank you, Deborah. It’s a privilege to be part of your selection.
    With a few exceptions dealing with more serious aspects, I liked that so many this week were fun to read, and that we can laugh at the (inevitable) consequences of ageing.
    Of a certain vintage, there will be some (me included) concerned about what Valentina expresses in:
    prescription pad
    a pill for side-effects
    of a pill

    Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
    Fairlawn, Ohio USA

    …and one of the last photos I hold dear of my parents before they passed was exactly this one of John’s:

    aging gracefully
    we dance the fandango
    in carpet slippers

    John Hawkhead
    United Kingdom

    Thank you everyone.

  10. Thank you Deborah for selecting my haiku. It’s a great theme and all the haiku you have selected are amazing.
    Thanks Lori and Kathy for your invaluable commitment. Best Wishes!

  11. I found such comfort and pathos in these selections. I am thankful to Deborah for including my poem amongst so many of my favorite poets. I am grateful to be on this aging journey with you.

    This one hit me hard as I fear it so much:

    never too old
    to be an orphan-
    so lost

    Ruth Happel
    Tennessee, USA

  12. Thank-you Deborah for choosing my poem….such wonderful verses, here. Thank-you Kathy and Lori for everything you do.

  13. Congrats to all the poets on these haiku, which prove aging is not for wimps. Congrats to my fellow Ohioan, Valentina Ranaldi-Adams, for her haiku about treating side effects of other medications with another medicine.

    Most resonated with me because I am getting older, too. Go figure! I loved the humorous, the hopeful, the positive, and the poignant haiku. One that particularly resonated with me was
    class reunion—
    introducing myself
    to old friends
    Jonathan Epstein
    since I am heading to my class reunion in two weeks. I hope I will recognize everyone, but who knows after 50 years.

    I’ll be reading and re-reading all of them in the coming week. In the meantime, I have to do my physical therapy exercises to be able to keep my bones and muscles moving. Alas…

    Thanks to Lori and Kathy for keeping this column going, and to Deborah for selecting such great haiku.

  14. runaway train time overtakes me
    Barrie Levine
    Massachusetts, USA
    Sooner or later time overtakes everyone of us.

  15. Thank-you Deborah for selecting my haiku for publication. Thank-you also to Lori, Kathy, and the Haiku Foundation for all their efforts. Congratulations to all the poets who were selected.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top