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Haiku Dialogue: What’s at Hand Week 15

 

 

Welcome to Haiku Dialogue — What’s at Hand Week 15 with Guest Editor Craig Kittner.

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

Our theme for May 15 is an empty can.

Immerse yourself in the theme, then submit one original, unpublished haiku via our Contact Form. Please submit by Saturday, May 11 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 a colorful insect.

she does her best
to pick the apple…
butterfly tattoo

Adrian Bouter

 

first light
landing on my finger
a monarch

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia

 

hospice
the firefly shines
now and then

Aparna Pathak

 

evening shadows –
a red dragonfly
also black

arvinder kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

traffic jam
a butterfly
goes by

Cristina Apetrei

 

blue butterflies
dancing to rivers of light
infinity room

Dean Okamura

 

flower wreath
on a girl’s head
two petals fly away

Dubravka Šćukanec
Zagreb, Croatia

 

late spring
counting the spots
on a ladybug

Edward Cody Huddleston

 

blue dragonfly-
dad weaves
my hair

Giovanna Restuccia
Italy

 

cicada wings…
the life we miss
after transformation

Hifsa Ashraf
Pakistan

 

green reverence
the space she gives
the mantis on a leaf

Janice Munro
Canada

 

still alone
an iridescent fly
searches her finger

John Hawkhead

 

moth–
kitten going
for the gold

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

a small coffin
on father’s other arm
the mourning cloak

Marta Chocilowska

 

cicada song–
lessons learned
when dad was alive

Michael Morell
Havertown, PA

 

transient too,
the iridescence
of a bluebottle fly

Michele L. Harvey

 

spring day
the first green flies
on my trousers

Nadejda Kostadinova
Bulgaria

 

unloved
the fly’s tender wings
surfing thermals

nancy liddle
australia

 

summer solstice –
a dragonfly
begins its flight

Nazarena Rampini

 

praying mantis
green grass on the way
to the temple

Neni Rusliana
Indonesia

 

red traffic light –
yellow butterfly
flutters on

Nikola Đuretić

 

first firefly
lighting the way
into summer

Peggy Hale Bilbro
Alabama, USA

 

mixing with darkness
a poof of rouge –
ladybug

Peter Jastermsky

 

jewel beetle
the symmetry and colour
missing in my life

Rashmi Vesa

 

snowy barn
all the red
of huddled ladybugs

Rich Schilling

 

Butterfly wings
my daughter’s first
school skit

Richa Sharma

 

symphony in blue
between movements
damselflies

Robert Kingston
Chelmsford, Essex, UK

 

bedroom windowsill
a fallen ladybug
dark underbelly

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY

 

stealing light
from the leaves at dusk
luna moth

Stephen Kusch

 

sudden smile
bright butterflies zig zag
through the woods

Susan Bonk Plumridge
London, Canada

 

taking a butterfly
for a tulip blossom —
spring noon

Taofeek Ayeyemi

 

firefly
no longer free
child’s grasp

Thomas Young

 

first raindrops –
the bee in the datura blossom
doesn’t  know yet

Tomislav Maretić

 

closed fist
colour comes off
the butterfly’s wings

Vandana Parashar

 

Small beings spawn great haiku. While many may despise the insect world, a respect for crawling things serves a poet well.

Michele L. Harvey’s “transient too,” is a potent reminder that we, like the bright color of the bluebottle fly, will fade away in time.

Marta Chocilowska tells us much with very little. By the words she chose, we can surmise that the narrator is holding onto her father’s other arm, and (since the coffin is small) that she is a child and the deceased is her sibling. The juxtaposition of this sad scene with the beauty of the aptly named butterfly provides a rich experience.

Tomislav Maretić evokes a nice sense of fellow feeling for his insect. Both are about to be caught in the rain, but only he is aware of it. Perhaps he wishes he could warn the bee.

Two haiku this week call to mind Moritake’s “a fallen blossom.” One, Taofeek Ayeyemi’s “taking a butterfly,” in which the narrator mistakes the insect for a tulip. Was it in the act of sniffing that the mistake was discovered? Two, Dubravka Šćukanec’s “flower wreath” from which two petals fly away. The fun thing here is that it could be a butterfly flying from the wreath, or it could literally be two petals, blown away by the wind, which makes the poet think of a butterfly.

I can’t remember the last time I tried to count the spots on a ladybug, but Edward Cody Huddleston’s little delight inspires me to do so the next time I see one. The act strikes me as an effective antidote for stress.

What’s not said in Cristina Apetrei’s haiku gives it power. What can you say of a traffic jam? This ridiculous situation that makes us so angry . . . and here’s a butterfly. End rhyme is often problematic in haiku, but in this case I think it works. It underscores the bouncy speed of the butterfly, contrasted with the dead stillness of the cars.

What do you appreciate that others may revile? Please share your thoughts with us.

 

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 29 Comments

  1. hospice
    the firefly shines
    now and then
    Aparna Pathak

    How true, whether in hospice or an Alzheimer’s facility. My mom always smiles when she sees me when I visit from out of state, but the conversation can be challenging!

    transient too,
    the iridescence
    of a bluebottle fly
    Michele L. Harvey

    We all shine for a time, then fade, making a place for the next bluebottle fly to shine.

    first firefly
    lighting the way
    into summer
    Peggy Hale Bilbro

    I keep track of my first firefly sighting in my phone each year. Not serious record keeping, but it does signal something magical to me, too.

    Butterfly wings
    my daughter’s first
    school skit
    Richa Sharma

    My only daughter was never a butterfly, but her eight year old picture in her light blue and white tutu adorns my desk! How precious these memories are to each of us.

    stealing light
    from the leaves at dusk
    luna moth
    Stephen Kusch

    I have no memories related to this moment, Stephen, but admiration for a well-crafted poem.

    closed fist
    colour comes off
    the butterfly’s wings
    Vandana Parashar

    I have experienced this, too. My aunt, years ago, told me that she and her childhood friends would smear lightening bug glow on their fingers and chase other children. Even as a child, I did not “take a shine to” this type of activity. But your poem brought back that memory. My, how we have become more attuned to loving nature and not destroying it!

    Nice poems, everyone!
    Ron

    1. Ron, somehow I missed your kind comment before – thanks for that! I vividly remember luna moths, large and pale green, emerging from their secret places beneath the paving stones. Beautiful, and also eery. Thanks again!

      Steve

  2. There is no juxtaposition but what a lovely haiku!
    .
    .
    late spring
    counting the spots
    on a ladybug
    .
    Edward Cody Huddleston
    .
    .
    The Moon is Broken: Juxtaposition in haiku
    https://area17.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-moon-is-broken-juxtaposition-in.html
    .
    .
    We have a seasonal reference although I think of ladybugs as a Summer phenomenon, but anyone who appreciates insects, and ladybugs, realise that there’s a lot of different spots when it comes to this intriguing insect.
    .
    Love the haiku!

  3. I feel honored to be included among works such as these. Thank you for allowing me to contribute.

  4. first raindrops –
    the bee in the datura blossom
    doesn’t know yet
    .
    Tomislav Maretić
    .
    The only bee, and worth the wait.
    .
    Normally, I find stative verbs in haiku rather numbing (they are more tell than show), but here “doesn’t know yet” sets up the contrast between dry inside and wet outside.

  5. Thank you for including my haiku among these wonderful selections ! I am partial to these other ladybug haiku too, I must say, as they are a feature here where I live.,

    late spring
    counting the spots
    on a ladybug

    Edward Cody Huddleston

    mixing with darkness
    a poof of rouge –
    ladybug

    Peter Jastermsky

    snowy barn
    all the red
    of huddled ladybugs

    Rich Schilling

  6. .
    snowy barn
    all the red
    of huddled ladybugs
    .
    Rich Schilling
    .
    .
    Love the opening line but then I do love snow! 🙂
    .
    i like the choice of a short line, and the enjambment of stopping/line breaking at:
    .
    “all the red”
    .
    It’s not just the contrast of white (snow) and red (bloodshed or warmth of a fire etc…) but how it hangs into ‘negative space’ waiting to be completed.
    .
    An incredible last line of:
    .
    “of huddled ladybugs”
    .
    .
    This haiku fires off all cylinders, and makes me think of the death of Princess Diana, although that happened one year after the ladybird plague of 1976:
    https://www.lep.co.uk/news/environment/do-you-remember-the-ladybird-plague-of-1976-this-is-why-britain-s-latest-heatwave-hasn-t-caused-another-plague-1-9272481
    .
    The contradictory feelings of ‘huddled’ which can often mean danger, risk, hiding, along with romantic scenes around a campfire or home fireside, and a barn covered in snow, spark off so much for me, from the literal natural history scene, to refugees and spiritual leaders or followers in danger and being saved, or the Jewish population from Nazis or the Stalinist Pograms etc…
    .
    Powerful haiku, and good to see interesting line breaks and “line alignment” decisions to elevate a poem.

    1. Thanks to Craig! Thanks to Alan for reading my haiku and digging into it. You are the king of comments and I’m happy to be a recipient.

  7. Bright insects are such a fragile beauty and yet amazingly they often touch us—sometimes by their own choice (as in Agus Maulana Sunjaya’s monarch butterfly; John Hawkhead’s iridescent fly; Marta Chocilowska’s mourning cloak butterfly; and Nadejda Kostadinova’s green flies) and sometimes not by their own choice (as in Thomas Young’s firefly and Vandana Parashar’s butterfly).

    Perhaps we need beautiful insects to teach us not to be afraid.

    1. “Perhaps we need beautiful insects to teach us not to be afraid.”

      Beautiful, Susan.

  8. Having seen my first colourful moth for the season, yesterday, I am in a butterfly frame of mind. I am also waiting for the tulips to flower…so Taofeek’s optical illusion delights me:
    .
    taking a butterfly
    for a tulip blossom —
    spring noon
    .
    Taofeek Ayeyemi
    .
    .
    Though some insects make us cringe, there are ones that we treasure…whether they land on us or visit our homes and gardens. We enjoy them so much that we include them in art, tattoos, clothing design and haiku. Thank you Craig, for bringing these poems together and for including my mantis.

  9. So many beautiful poems–wonderful to see such appreciation for creatures we treat so badly.
    Thanks for this prompt, Craig.
    Some that blew me away:

    *
    first light
    landing on my finger
    a monarch

    Agus Maulana Sunjaya
    Tangerang, Indonesia

    this is really lovely–the fragility of light and butterfly, both so barely there yet tremendously important
    *
    cicada wings…
    the life we miss
    after transformation

    Hifsa Ashraf
    Pakistan

    I love this one–so often the focus is on the new state, with seldom a thought for the one left behind, which was surely valuable in its own right.
    *
    hospice
    the firefly shines
    now and then

    Aparna Pathak

    even–especially–in the hospice, the insects give beauty and comfort. wonderfully observed
    *
    evening shadows –
    a red dragonfly
    also black

    arvinder kaur
    Chandigarh, India

    everything with more than one side–important to remember…and the way the colors work with the time of day, just beautiful
    *
    flower wreath
    on a girl’s head
    two petals fly away

    Dubravka Šćukanec
    Zagreb, Croatia

    both of these: magical–for reasons people have already mentioned

    a small coffin
    on father’s other arm
    the mourning cloak

    Marta Chocilowska
    *
    first firefly
    lighting the way
    into summer

    Peggy Hale Bilbro
    Alabama, USA

    something so triumphant as well as beautiful here, as if the firefly is an Olympic torch
    *

    stealing light
    from the leaves at dusk
    luna moth

    Stephen Kusch

    fantastic–the moth at and as the moment of transformation of day into night, and of course the moon association of the name, a very rich image
    *
    sudden smile
    bright butterflies zig zag
    through the woods

    Susan Bonk Plumridge
    London, Canada

    catching the crucial connection: butterflies as smiles and causing them.
    *

    1. Thank you Laurie for liking and commenting on my haiku. Treasure and appreciate each word. love,arvinder

    2. Thank you for your comments on my haiku, Laurie. I agree that this prompt elicited a beautiful collection of haiku.

  10. Dear Marta
    Reading your haiku,again and again ,reading into it. Something catchy.

    Appreciate.

    mall coffin
    on father’s other arm
    the mourning cloak

    Marta Chocilowska

  11. Dear Craig,
    Greetings. Lovely the colorful flies hopping around. Reading Marta’s with a powerful ” mourning cloak” triggers many a reading into the write.

    mall coffin
    on father’s other arm
    the mourning cloak

    Marta Chocilowska

    1. .
      a small coffin
      on father’s other arm
      the mourning cloak
      .
      Marta Chocilowska
      .
      .
      Richard Gilbert talks about the power of misreading as a potent tool in haiku, and this can make for a powerful ‘misread’ haiku.
      .
      .
      The opening line is powerful, of course, as we know it’s a child’s coffin, which feels wrong whether death is by natural causes or the ongoing practice of targeting children, and mothers, in conflicts around the world.
      .
      .
      a small coffin
      on father’s other arm
      .
      .
      My initial misreading made this painfully powerful. Is a coffin so small it could ‘rest’ on a person’s/parent’s arm?
      .
      .
      I like how I can read the first two lines together and the last and third line as a separate line stating atmospherically as:
      .
      .
      the mourning cloak
      .
      .
      I haven’t seen mourning cloaks in funerals but the starkness, if I make that a separate statement is very strong in resonance and tension.
      .
      .
      I can also by misreading switch from a human child and human parent, to an allegorical treatment about crows, as the law is passing in the U.K. where they can be murdered any time of day at any place out in the open.
      .
      It reminds me of the tale of who killed Cock Robin, as we are about to continue the systematic multi-genocide of other animals (incl. insects) where a million species will cease to exist within a decade.
      .
      .
      The mourning cloak feels symbolic in many ways, other than being literal and is incredibly powerful if we see it as more than an item of clothing.

      1. Thank you, Alan for your wonderful comment! I am especially pleased with the dual meaning of “mourning cloak” – the butterfly and item of clothing. To say that I am happy is not to say anything. Thank you very much!
        Love, Marta

      2. To
        Alan,
        Dear esteemed poet,
        Interpreting Robert Gilbert’s” misread” ,very interesting. Also various approaches to Marta’s powerful haiku,especially the “third line” insightful into the potential wording ” cloak” wonderfully drawn by you.
        with regards
        S.Radhamani

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