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Haiku Dialogue: What’s at Hand Week 14

 

 

Welcome to Haiku Dialogue — What’s at Hand Week 14 with Guest Editor Craig Kittner.

Let’s talk about haiku! Through June 26 we will see what 21 common things can inspire.

Our theme for May 8 is a colorful insect.

Immerse yourself in the theme, then submit one original, unpublished haiku via our Contact Form. Please submit by Saturday, May 4 at 6:00 pm eastern time. Include your name as you would like it to appear and your place of residence.

By submitting you agree that your work may appear in the column — neither acknowledgment nor acceptance emails will be sent.

I will select haiku that make good use of the theme and that are likely to generate lively discussions. I’ll add some thoughts below each week’s selections to get the conversation started.

Here are my selections for an old flower pot.

all the promises
she can’t keep
an empty old flower pot

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia

 

in the shade
of a flowerpot shard
a red chameleon

Al Gallia
Lafayette, Louisiana USA

 

empty flower pot-
my mother withered
with her rose

Aljoša Vuković

 

Mom’s last flower pot
re-gluing the pieces
of pieces

Ann K. Schwader
Westminster, CO

 

dappled light –
mother’s money plant
in a whiskey bottle

arvinder Kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

childhood house
in an old flower pot
my first pinwheel

cezar-florin ciobîcă

 

third generation
cracked flower pots
gone to seed

Charles Harmon
Los Angeles, California USA

 

an old flower pot
falls and breaks into pieces
gentrification

Dean Okamura

 

Spring cleaning –
gently picking off the snails
from stacked pots

Debbie Scheving
Bremerton, WA

 

shattered flower pot
I sweep up the last shard
of spring

Edward Cody Huddleston

 

home again
the same flowers
the same pot

Eva Limbach

 

flower thief
the wind blows
barely barely

Guliz Mutlu

 

sunlit pot
the honeysuckle Dad and I planted
long gone

Helen Buckingham

 

wildflowers
in each clay pot
abandoned family garden

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

childhood garden
only raindrops bloom
in my flower pot

Isabel Caves
New Zealand

 

garden edge –
broken pottery at rest
amidst the fieldstone

Janice Munro
Canada

 

old flower pot
she returns to nurture
a favourite weed

John Hawkhead

 

new life in bloom
pieces of the old pot
turn flower mosaic

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

cactus
in the old bean pot—
baking in the sun

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

chamber pot
overflowing
with nightshades

Margaret Walker

 

flower bed
the garden toad settles
into a clay pot

Michele L. Harvey

 

In the pot or out
all the same
for catmint

Mikels Skele

 

still in the hallway
the old flower pot
since we moved in

Nadejda Kostadinova
Bulgaria

 

spring morning
peach blossoms
in an old bonsai pot

Neni Rusliana

 

deserted greenhouse…
the spider nets flies
between flower pots

Pris Campbell

 

mother’s day
her old flowerpots
fill with rain

Rich Schilling

 

moon on water
the glaze on nan’s pot
opens a new path

Robert Kingston

 

ten years on
the sympathy orchid’s
empty pot

Roberta Beary
Co Mayo Ireland

 

tyre flower pot
still watering our first
hundred miles

Sanela Pliško
Croatia

 

birthday
in an old flower pot
green sprout

Serhiy Shpychenko
Kyiv, UA

 

flower pot
a withered leaf in
the spiderweb

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia

 

second life
a mosaic made
from old flower pots

Terri French

 

once somebody
looked at the flowers –
old plant pot

Tomislav Maretić

 

abandoned house…
in old-fashioned pot
flowers bloom

Tsanka Shishkova

 

rebound
a new flower
in old flower pot

Vandana Parashar

 

Intimate interactions between humans and nature occur through the medium of haiku. And through flower pots.

Debbie Scheving offers a picture of kindness and care in her “Spring cleaning -.” I imagine Issa would smile at this one.

Neni Rusliana hints at the insignificance of human actions in “spring morning.” The old, and one assumes empty, bonsai pot is made beautiful by fallen peach blossoms. A human’s touch is not necessary.

Mikels Skele pokes a little fun at human efforts to contain nature. The catmint grows where it will, regardless of pots.

This prompt inspired a lot of melancholia. There is a palpable sense of longing in Helen Buckingham’s “sunlit pot,” bereft, as it is, of honeysuckle. Isabel Caves and Rich Schilling use the image of rain filled flower pots to evoke the loss time delivers to us all. Charles Harmon calls to mind how works that seem important now can be so easily abandoned by those who follow us.

Lastly, I find Guliz Mutlu’s piece intriguing. Mostly due to a feeling that there’s something going on just under its surface that I can’t quite see. Is the flower thief time? Or the wind itself? Just barely blowing, but eventually all petals will be stripped away. Is there more?

What do you see contained herein? Please add a comment or two below.

 

Guest Editor Craig Kittner lives near the banks of the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, North Carolina. He has worked as a gallery director in Washington, DC, and a program director for the Kentucky Arts Council. He took second prize in the North Carolina Poetry Society Bloodroot Haiku Award for 2019.

 

Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada and an Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets. She co-edited an anthology of crime-themed haiku called Body of Evidence: a collection of killer ’ku.

Craig Kittner

After several years of moves, Craig Kittner has put down roots in the sandy soil of Eastern North Carolina. There the sunshine is clear. The climate gives rise to riotous growths of wildflowers. Birds abound, and the sky is alive with ocean breezes. Craig is content to walk the forests and beaches, gathering imagery for his poems. His work has been published in Frogpond, Chrysanthemum, Failed Haiku, bottle rockets, and the Autumn Moon Haiku Journal. In 2018, he had two poems selected as judges' favorites in the 5th Annual Golden Haiku Competition, and one poem selected for the Winston Salem Writers' Poetry in Plain Sight project. His first chapbook, Time's Sweet Savor, was published in 2016 by New Books on Front Street, an imprint of Old Books on Front Street in downtown Wilmington.

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Hi Pat

    I’m glad you liked my haiku and also that your change to it makes for a lovely new version:

    old flower pot
    she returns to nature
    a favourite weed

    old flower pot
    she returns to nurture
    a favourite weed

    Thanks
    John

    1. John Hawkhead – I’m surprised that my words inspired you, and happy that you could write another haiku!

  2. Thank you for including my submission this week, and for the kind input. I enjoyed visualizing the variety of pots used, and even the broken pieces put to good use. “…she returns to nurture a favourite weed” made me smile as I remembered watering a lovely flowering plant I found in a pot, to discover later it was on the local noxious weed list! Looking forward to hearing about colorful insects next week.

  3. The invisible stories that a flower pot holds…the plant that is or was there, the person who tends/ed it, the origin of the container and so on. On this theme, here are three that delight and inspire me:
    .
    .
    sunlit pot
    the honeysuckle Dad and I planted
    long gone
    .
    Helen Buckingham
    .
    .
    ten years on
    the sympathy orchid’s
    empty pot
    .
    Roberta Beary
    Co Mayo Ireland
    .
    .
    tyre flower pot
    still watering our first
    hundred miles
    .
    Sanela Pliško
    Croatia

    1. Many thanks, Janice, and to all who commented on my poem, it’s really appreciated!

  4. Yet another rich collection of haiku on a theme attracting many associations. I hope to come back tomorrow for another read. Thank you Craig for the insights in your comments and for including mine in the collection.

  5. deserted greenhouse…
    the spider nets flies
    between flower pots

    Pris Campbell

    Thoughts of the afterlife came out of this one for me. Just as in old homes, sheds, garages and lofts life is taken over by a new web of life, in this case the spider setting it’s traps for it’s extended living. The temporariness of desertion leaving us an open ended mystery of what may follow.

    .
    .
    second life
    a mosaic made
    from old flower pots

    Terri French

    Adding new life to old pots. The human element re-emerging in the form of a piece of art. The little pieces of history formed to make a tremendous collage to pass to the next generation. Tying the two together gave me much enjoyment.

  6. empty flower pot-
    my mother withered
    with her rose
    Aljoša Vuković

    Very sweet and very accurate of what happens to some people as they age.

  7. Lots to enjoy, but no mention of Weed and Bill & Ben, I’m traumatised!
    .
    Here’s an episode to set my nerves right again!
    “Bill and Ben: The Flower Pot Men, is the most brilliant, wonderful, crazy show for all ages that I have ever seen!” –Danielle Sainte-Marie (December 2011)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozp8uwUWtBY
    .
    .
    And also to redress the wrong 🙂
    .
    old flower pot
    bill and ben rebuild
    with greta
    .
    Alan Summers
    .
    nb. Greta Thunberg! 🙂
    .
    .
    .
    Onward into some very fine selected verses (many more to enjoy of course!) 🙂
    .
    .

    Mom’s last flower pot
    re-gluing the pieces
    of pieces
    .
    Ann K. Schwader
    Westminster, CO
    .
    .
    I liked the use of repetition with pieces of pieces, and the ‘metaphorical’ aspect of ‘re-gluing’.
    .
    .

     
    dappled light –
    mother’s money plant
    in a whiskey bottle
    .
    arvinder Kaur
    Chandigarh, India
    .
    .
    I like the cheeky humour with money plant (and money) and either Irish or American whiskey (as it has an ‘e’). Love the juxtaposition of the first line with the second one and than that surprise of a bottle of spirits being used. Do money plants help oxygenate indoors, give fresh air? There is a lot of humour here, wonderful poem! 🙂
    .
    .
     
    childhood house
    in an old flower pot
    my first pinwheel
    .
    cezar-florin ciobîcă
    .
    .
    A beautifully sensitive verse, thank you!
    .
    .
     
     
    Spring cleaning –
    gently picking off the snails
    from stacked pots
    .
    Debbie Scheving
    Bremerton, WA
    .
    .
    Love the action of being gentle with snails, and the alliteration that gently runs through the verse. The last line is great! Love ‘stacked pots’ which adds a great visual rather than just having one singular pot.
    .
    .
     
    shattered flower pot
    I sweep up the last shard
    of spring
    .
    Edward Cody Huddleston
    .
    .
    Gently poignant, and the alliteration adds to the depth of this verse. It’s wonderful to re-read!
    .
    .

     
    garden edge –
    broken pottery at rest
    amidst the fieldstone
    .
    Janice Munro
    Canada
    .
    .
    “Fieldstone is a nuisance for farmers seeking to expand their land …” WIKIPEDIA
    .
    Of course for gardeners of small, medium or large plots of land, these small things are not a pain in the back.
    .
    I love how I can choose to launch off the phrase ‘at rest’ to mean something else. A well crafted extra dimension, often a key part to haiku.
    .
    .

     
    chamber pot
    overflowing
    with nightshades
    .
    Margaret Walker
    .
    .
    What was an essential tool for relief when we used to have garderobe etc… is now for flowers by design or otherwise. I wonder which member of the nightshade family it is? It’s surprising how many veg and fruit we love is cousin to the deadly variety. 😉
    .
    A fun use of the pivot line suggesting the pots former use and now how it overflows with something else! 🙂
    .
    .
     
    In the pot or out
    all the same
    for catmint
    .
    Mikels Skele
    .
    .
    Amongst the wonderful spread of poems this is my favorite! 🙂
    .
    .
    Catmint is of course cousin to the notoriously funny catnip, the drug of cats!
    .
    “While basically considered the same plant that shares many of the same characteristics, there are differences between the two species. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) has less ornamental value in the garden than its catmint (Nepeta mussinii) counterpart.”
    Catmint Plant – Tips For Care Of Catmint – Gardening Know How: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
    .
    “You can tell when your cat has just sniffed catnip. She licks, sniffs, purrs and shakes her head, only to return to her normal self about ten minutes later.”
    Is Catnip a Drug for Cats?
    by Paula Fitzsimmons
    .
    Catmint is drought tolerant, and deer resistant if you live near Santa’s friends during climate chaos! 🙂 This verse is such a joy to read, and makes me smile, which is an important thing in this mad time for humans (again). 🙂

     .
    .

     
    tyre flower pot
    still watering our first
    hundred miles
    .
    Sanela Pliško
    Croatia
    .
    .
    Another one I love! We know the use of old car or truck tires/tyres and flowers planted inside. This feels like a family camper van perhaps, maybe one of those iconic VW ones. It feels redolent of romance and love, and a family that was born out of all this. Beauty!
    .
    .
     

    Craig, do let us know when you are reading this month for the North Carolina Poetry Society Bloodroot Haiku Award for 2019! Or if you can’t appear, then let us know the whole haiku! 🙂
    .
    .
    .

    1. who’s that said Ben
      looking at bill
      a strange smell rising
      .
      I was tempted Alan. Watch with mother had a huge influence on our creativity 🙂

    2. Hello Alan,

      I am a fan of catmint myself and so appreciated this haiku as well:
      .

      In the pot or out
      all the same
      for catmint
      .
      Mikels Skele
      .
      Catmint would certainly not confine itself to a pot. It makes a fragrant ground cover with purple flowers and spreads farther every year. I planted some next to my back deck.
      .
      .

      old flower pot
      bill and ben rebuild
      with greta
      .
      Alan Summers
      .
      I hadn’t heard of ‘Bill and Ben: The Flower Pot Men’ (the original or its more contemporary version), but I like how your reference weaves into a haiku about our relationship with nature (my reading of course). I sense the old flower pot is our beleaguered planet. Efforts to ‘rebuild’ have been going on for years and now as the urgency to reduce carbon emissions is next to impossible to ignore, teens such as Greta Thunberg are taking a leadership role in an effort to preserve our home.
      .
      .

      Also, thank you for mentioning my haiku as it invites me to offer some background. My vegetable garden is both dug and raised. The land here is full of clay, shale and rock so I have used fieldstone (found underground and on the surface) to make a rock border. I tuck and re-tuck rocks into the border every year. I have also added some broken shards from old flower pots…now they have a new life as part of a larger container.

      1. Hi Janice,
        .
        Yes, I just loved the lightness of the wording that still kept the poem tight at the same time. 🙂
        .
        Yes, the “Watch With Mother” series was brilliant but probably too slow for today’s children.
        .
        The demise of the planet, at least for humans, was clearly stated back in the 1970s and deliberately ignored so certain men could parasitically get incredibly wealthy off the back of other people. I hadn’t realised it started in Sweden too! I’m proud that my wife worked with the Bristol Friends of the Earth, but with ten years left it’s incredible that men-in-power are going on about a magical five minutes at the end of 2050 when a magic wand makes everyone go carbon zero etc…
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2011/jun/15/friends-of-the-earth-40-years-in-pictures
        .
        Thanks for saying more about your haiku. It both says what you describe but gives so many more angles, great word selections.
        .
        .
        garden edge –
        broken pottery at rest
        amidst the fieldstone
        .
        Janice Munro
        Canada
        .
        Love the use of ‘fieldstone’ and the use of all the words, and their tone, is lovely. Love the consonance of the ‘e’ letters and the consonance of ‘o’s and that key word choice of ‘rest’ makes this magical.

        1. Thank you, Alan. Yes, concern for the environment has been alive for decades. The seed for my awareness was planted back in the 70’s. My friend’s mother was active in Pollution Probe in Ottawa. The activism of youth such as Greta Thunberg does offer me a spark of hope.
          .
          .

          old flower pot
          bill and ben rebuild
          with greta
          .
          Alan Summers

    3. Hi Alan. The reading is on May 11. After that I will Tweet the haiku in full for any who are interested.

      Thanks for inquiring and for your great comments.

    4. Thank you Alan. I actually saw an old chamber pot on a front porch – overflowing with petunias ( a member of the nightshade family). It made me laugh and I simply could not resist the temptation to use it as my subject here!

    5. Thank you Alan for your wonderful analysis. I did smile to myself. This poem arose out of a childhood association and a belief that money comes home where money plants thrive. Although not in fashion anymore it used to be a plant that each household must have. So people planted and kept these at different places. Mama wanted one for her kitchen window. Unable to place any other flower pot in the kitchen she selected my dad’s Vat 69 empty bottle. By the way Vat 69 ( i dont see it in stores anymore ) was the whiskey ( scotch ? ) in fashion and was considered a status symbol in my part of the world. And i wanted to use ‘vat 69 ‘ in the poem but somehow felt that the proper noun was disturbing the flow,so just went for whiskey bottle 🙂 Thanks again for your comments.

      Thanks Craig for including my poem. I totally enjoyed reading this week’s collection also. There is such a variety of emotions,so close to my heart,from love to longing and so much more. Many poems generated that feeling of a ‘faraway look’ . the ones that touched my heart ;
      ‘ all the promises’,’ mother withered’ ( mine withering too ),’regluing pieces’,’ honeysuckle’,’abandoned family garden’,’ raindrops bloom’,’ a favourite weed’,’ tyre flower pot’,

      warm regards to all
      arvinder

      1. dappled light –
        mother’s money plant
        in a whiskey bottle
        .
        arvinder Kaur
        Chandigarh, India

        .
        .
        VAT 69 is a famous old brand of blended whisky, chosen by Sir Ernest Shackleton to accompany him on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914. It’s definitely a blended whisky (no ‘e’) as its Scotch (and Scottish, not Irish or American). And I saw it recently on an American drama series so it must still be popular although I haven’t seen it in the UK for years.
        .
        Whisky or whiskey bottle is fine, we all have our favourite brands. I was given a Welsh malt whisky as a gift from a workshop participant, and never had one before, and it’s brilliant! It was a very Welsh day, despite being in England, so it was very fitting, and a lovely surprise of a gift!!! 🙂

        1. One assumes my gag failed. Does that mean it’s a failed haiku.
          Who’s that said Ben
          looking at bill
          a strange smell rising
          😇

  8. I was struck by Eva Limbach’s
    home again
    the same flowers
    the same pot
    I picture a daughter going back home to find familiar flowers growing in in her mom’s favorite pot. In this age of discarding the old for something new, I find the use of the “same pot” refreshing.

    John Hawkhead’s poem reminded me of myself the year I nurtured a “weed” as if it were a prized bloom. Thanks for that memory!
    old flower pot
    she returns to nature
    a favourite weed

    Laurie Greer’s poem not only shows that any container can be used as a flower pot, but it does so while playing with words and images – the old bean pot still baking, and the warm-weather cactus “baking” inside of it.
    cactus
    the old bean pot
    baking in the sun

    I was left wondering after reading Sanela Plisko’s poem. What happened to the 100 mile tyre that made it useful only as a planter? It was also a clever way to show the age of the tyre/pot without using the word “old”
    tyre flower pot
    still watering our first
    hundred miles

    1. Hi Pat

      I’m glad you liked my haiku and also that your change to it makes for a lovely new version:

      old flower pot
      she returns to nature
      a favourite weed

      old flower pot
      she returns to nurture
      a favourite weed

      Thanks
      John

  9. Interesting that for so many old flower pot meant dead flower. Such a picture of time moving on . . .

  10. Dear Terri French,
    Greetings, something striking and making us think again and again into the mosaic of meaning, wonderfully drawn.

    second life
    a mosaic made
    from old flower pots

    Terri French

  11. Once again–so much that’s surprising and delightful! These jumped out at me first–
    *
    all the promises
    she can’t keep
    an empty old flower pot

    Agus Maulana Sunjaya
    Tangerang, Indonesia

    a nice illustration of abstractions with concrete images–barren words/clay from which nothing will grow
    *
    empty flower pot-
    my mother withered
    with her rose

    Aljoša Vuković

    Mom’s last flower pot
    re-gluing the pieces
    of pieces

    Ann K. Schwader
    Westminster, CO

    interesting how many mothers are associated with the flower pots; these two are determined not to let go, withered and broken or not
    *
    third generation
    cracked flower pots
    gone to seed

    Charles Harmon
    Los Angeles, California USA

    a clever use of language; while the “gone to seed” stands out, I love the “cracked” as subtlly poking some fun…
    *
    an old flower pot
    falls and breaks into pieces
    gentrification

    Dean Okamura

    the big picture within the small–nice!

    *
    shattered flower pot
    I sweep up the last shard
    of spring

    Edward Cody Huddleston

    also neat and lovely– a container for flowers/a season for us
    *
    sunlit pot
    the honeysuckle Dad and I planted
    long gone

    Helen Buckingham

    wildflowers
    in each clay pot
    abandoned family garden

    Hifsa Ashraf
    Rawalpindi, Pakistan

    both so good on the loss of one thing, but taking something good from nature in its place–that “family garden” isn’t completely abandoned!
    *

    ten years on
    the sympathy orchid’s
    empty pot

    Roberta Beary
    Co Mayo Ireland

    lovely–but surely some of the sympathy lives on? that pot might not be as empty as it seems
    *

    tyre flower pot
    still watering our first
    hundred miles

    Sanela Pliško
    Croatia

    ha! love the cleverness and the sentiment
    *
    Wonderful work, everyone. Thanks, Craig, for putting this all together!

    1. Thanks for your comment on “big picture within the small” which makes me reflect in different ways. Perhaps a different twist? I was thinking of how the plants in the pots and residents in homes suffer a similar fate–tossed out.

  12. I LOVE the feeling of wildflowers climbing into the abandoned fllower pots in this haiku! What a wonderful thing to remember. Life has a life of its own… and while some things might deteriorate when left unattended,
    sometimes a new beauty is born! Thank you Hifsa, for writing and Craig for selecting!

    wildflowers
    in each clay pot
    abandoned family garden

    Hifsa Ashraf
    Rawalpindi, Pakistan

    Just beautiful.

  13. Thanks so much, Craig! For me, a record number of really good ku this week…..Al’s, Arvinders, Laurie’s, Margaret’s, Rich’s. Roberta’s…..and I like Guliz’s, too, for the unusual use of language (I definitely take the wind to be the ‘flower thief’).

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