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Haiku Dialogue: What’s at Hand Week 17

 

 

Welcome to Haiku Dialogue — What’s at Hand Week 17 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 29 is a weathered wall.

Immerse yourself in the theme, then submit one original, unpublished haiku via our Contact Form. Please submit by Saturday, May 25 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 shiny instrument.

summer secrets –
in the sunlit window
her childhood triangle

Adrian Bouter

 

drips of honey
from a silver spoon
skylark song

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia

 

veterans
a trumpeter sitting
intones “the silence”

Angiola Inglese

 

the clank of scissors
on a stainless basin
a newborn cries

Anthony Rabang

 

mother’s home –
the missing i
of her typewriter

arvinder kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

summer’s return
what the mirror
doesn’t see

Bill Kenney

 

under the neon saxophone
an old man is shining
a stranger’s shoe

Branka Cukrov-Belak

 

ebbing light
her silver serving spoon
idle

Christina Pecoraro

 

soldier’s bugle
the gentle tapping
of rain

Edward Cody Huddleston

 

full moon
a ramadan drummer
in streets

Guliz Mutlu

 

speculum gleaming nurse beams

Helen Buckingham

 

old theater
a shiny trumpet reflects
her love story

Hifsa Ashraf
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

first geometry set
stainless steel shine
before theorems

Ingrid Baluchi
Ohrid, Macedonia

 

keeping it polished
the ancient voice
of my singing bowl

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

whetstone
an edge of anger
I’ve not known

Kimberly Esser
Los Angeles, CA

 

cathedral bells
the fin of a whale
breaches the surface

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

missing mobile toddler’s escape

Margaret Walker

 

surgical suite —
the cold sterile gleam
of the instruments

Mark Meyer

 

yellow bird
his fingers fly over
the clarinet

Martha Magenta
UK

 

first-year resident…
a blood droplet
on her new scalpel

Nancy Brady

 

shiny instrument
cuts down to the marrow
your sharp words

nancy liddle
australia

 

back porch solo
the shine of her flute
in moonlight

Pat Davis
Pembroke, NH, USA

 

morning rain
the sound of taps
from the trumpet

Rich Schilling

 

open air concert
the trumpeters solo
amongst the stars

Robert Kingston
Essex,UK

 

school saxophone
the silent notes
of schizophrenia

Roberta Beary
Co Mayo, Ireland

 

the lead trombone
swallows the brassy sun
a glare bound bee

Ron Scully

 

a street concert…
a trumpet shines
in the moonlight

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore

 

street trumpet players
crowd cheering to the glow
of their mobile phones

Sanela Pliško

 

the flute shines
against the black velvet
concert under the stars

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY

 

spring thunder
in the barber’s hand
glitter оf scissors

Serhiy Shpychenko
Kyiv, UA

 

eyeful of sun
the abscess lanced
via pocket knife

simonj
UK

 

blues note
the shine of the trumpet
no longer there

Stephen A. Peters

 

sewing needle –
attempting to mend
my aura

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio, USA

 

While a tool may be put to many a useful purpose, work of extreme delicacy or artistry requires an instrument. And when that instrument is shiny, you can be sure that it is new or well-loved and cared for.

Nancy Brady gives us a compelling moment, encapsulated in that bead of blood on the new doctor’s blade. The scalpel shines for several reasons. It is new, it carries that bright drop of blood, and it is emblematic of the transition from student to professional.

Christina Percoraro’s haiku has an air of gentle sadness. The dimming of a life and nostalgia for brighter times. And nothing shines quite like silver, don’t you think?

Musical instruments made many fine appearances this week. Edward Cody Huddleston and Rich Schilling both give us moving depictions of the sound of rain tapping on an instrument that is playing taps.

Ron Scully offers a visually stunning image, and although I’m not sure what to make of “a glare bound bee,” my mind is enjoying the ride.

Branka Cukrov-Belak makes her debut here with a clever and original take on the theme. The instrument as a neon sign, and the double meaning of the word “shining” captivated me.

arvinder kaur also makes good use of duality of meaning. The missing key from the typewriter blending with the absence of a person. I am not certain of the identity of the “i” that is missing, and I am content with the uncertainty. Growing up and growing old brings a multiplicity of missing people. Including the people we used to be.

Let us know what you think of these delicate works of art. Please add your comment 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 41 Comments

  1. hallo hallo good haijin,

    I counted the trumpets, scissors, scalpels, a surgical suite, needles, spoons, triangle, geometry box and somehow all of them work for me. Just that I am leaning towards childhood and the observations made about it…

    Haloo. Craig, still keepin’ a watch… betcha you could not see me… now you see me, now you don’t
    whoosh

  2. Stirring ku, once again. I regret that new work has stolen my time for comment. Am grateful to you, Craig, and later Alan, for your words about mine.

  3. Thanks again Craig for including my haiku! Great reading as always! Look forward to every Wednesday now.

  4. Thank you, Craig, once again. Enjoyed this week’s selection, and the comments from yourself and everyone else add another dimension, layer upon layer.

  5. the clank of scissors
    on a stainless basin
    a newborn cries
    .
    Anthony Rabang
    .
    Auditory ku, where two harsh sounds accompany a moment of joy. Comparison and contrast.
    And… three levels of shine, two inferred from the medical instruments, and the figurative neborn. In fact, the whole thing shines.
    .

  6. Just a few of a fine selection I particularly enjoyed.

    keeping it polished
    the ancient voice
    of my singing bowl

    Kath Abela Wilson
    Pasadena, California

    whetstone
    an edge of anger
    I’ve not known

    Kimberly Esser
    Los Angeles, CA

    cathedral bells
    the fin of a whale
    breaches the surface

    Laurie Greer
    Washington, DC

    yellow bird
    his fingers fly over
    the clarinet

    Martha Magenta
    UK

  7. Dear Craig,
    Greetings! Thank you so much for your blog . Re reading all the powerful writes here. Comments are all the more interesting and enlivening.
    with regards
    S.Radhamani

  8. Craig, thank-you for including my senryu this week. Congrats to all the poets !!

  9. Thanks for including my ku.

    A few comments, avoiding points already made by Alan and Craig:

    the clank of scissors
    on a stainless basin
    a newborn cries

    Anthony Rabang

    In a gathering of sibilants, “clank” makes itself heard, meanwhile preparing us for “cries.” The central word of line 2 gives us stain and takes it away, leaving an absence at the center (syllables 8-9) of the poem. And in how many directions does “cries” point us? An impressive balance of austerity and richness, presenting its moment in hard-edged detail. One suggestion: the first line, and the poem as a whole, might be stronger without the first word. Oh, and maybe some punctuation at the end of line 2.

    mother’s home —
    the missing i
    of her typewriter

    avinder kaur

    If “mother’s” is read as the possessive, two conflicting readings are suggested by what follows: selflessness or impersonality. The emphasis placed on “home” may give slightly greater weight to the second of these, and the impersonality of the surroundings might suggest something, perhaps something negative, about the mother’s character. If, on the other hand, “mother’s” is read as a contraction (mother is), then she becomes merely a very weak presence. The uncertainty may be lessened by inserting “my” at the beginning of the first line.

    soldier’s bugle
    the gentle tapping
    of rain

    Edward Cody Huddleston

    If the word were “taps,” I’d hear only Taps, but “tapping” allows more. I can hear, very faintly, the sound of drums and, from that, even more faintly, a sound something like gunfire. And then the rain washes it away.

    speculum gleaming nurse beams

    Helen Buckingham

    Everything seems so bright and in its place that I find myself feeling just a bit uneasy. All the more fun if this possibility hadn’t occurred to the writer.

    keeping it polished
    the ancient voice
    of my singing bowl

    Kath Abela Wilson

    This demands that readers repeatedly reorient themselves and thus becomes a meditation on making meaning (always produced, never achieved). An object (“it”) that can be “polished” becomes a “voice” (“ancient” at that) that turns out to belong to a “bowl” — a “singing bowl” to be sure. Magical in its easy fusion of matter and spirit (just like a singing bowl in this respect), this one is special, even in this distinguished company.

    whetstone
    an edge of anger
    I’ve not known

    Kimberly Esser

    Restraint (not “I’ve never known”) and indirection (the instrument kept just outside the poem) combine to give this its considerable power.

    surgical suite —
    the cold sterile gleam
    of the instruments

    Mark Meyer

    The cold is palpable, which makes me ask if the word is necessary. Alternative possibilities:

    surgical suite —
    the sterile gleam
    of the instruments

    the gleam
    of the instruments —
    surgical suite

    morning rain
    the sound of taps
    from the trumpet

    Rich Schilling

    How instructive to compare this fine ku to “soldier’s bugle,” by Edward Cody Huddleston, above. “bugle” v. “trumpet”; the specificity of “morning” v. the aural emphasis of “sound,” and the linking of sound to rain v. to the instrument. And why is the sound “from,” rather than “of” the trumpet?

    open air concert
    the trumpeters solo
    amongst the stars

    Robert Kingston

    Sorry to come on as the Dang English Teacher, but we do occasionally read and write haiku. In line 2 “solo” must be read as a verb, even though I don’t believe that’s what you intended. You know, of course, that trumpeters, as plural, cannot solo, since to solo is the act of an individual.

    The solution is simply to insert an apostrophe in the proper place in this otherwise excellent ku. You don’t want to distract your readers on their way to the stars.

    Bill Kenney
    Whitestone NY

    1. Thank you for your kind words Bill!
      Though guilty of the occasional punctuation blip, not sure how I missed this one. Thank you for making it right.

      Rob

      out of line
      holding my hand up
      to the masters cane

        1. Back at you Bill!
          Enjoyed your YouTube reading.
          May winter be a long one. Filled with plenty of sun.

  10. Thank you, Craig, for including my haiku in your selection. I am honoured.

    soldier’s bugle
    the gentle tapping
    of rain

    Edward Cody Huddleston

    Edward , I am impressed!

  11. Thank you Craig for publishing my haiku. The haiku that stood out most for me for is this beautiful one by Kath Abela Wilson
    .

    keeping it polished
    the ancient voice
    of my singing bowl

  12. Thank you Craig for including my haiku here! Surgical instruments, musical instruments, eating utensils, sewing tools and more. Will be rereading these for a while.

  13. So many strong and haunting images this week, some already commented on. In rereading through them all a third time I was cheered by the liveliness of:
    .
    drips of honey
    from a silver spoon
    skylark song
    .
    Agus Maulana Sunjaya

  14. Thank you Craig for including my poem and for your comments. Thanks Alan for your comments. Always look forward to both,the column and the comments. Lots of insightful poems. What a wonderful collection.

  15. Cheers Alan…..believe it or not I’m just off for a smear! Completely went out of my mind as I was writing it.

    Great to see the variety of interpretations throughout this selection.

  16. What a great selection of work on the theme. I wish I could comment on every single one, but I have food to prepare, and a book, and feedback! 🙂
    .
    .

    I have become a sucker for alliteration in haiku:
    .
    .
    summer secrets –
    in the sunlit window
    her childhood triangle
    .
    Adrian Bouter
    .
    .
    Partly for the classic line length shape of a Western three-line haiku, but also that the ‘reveal’ needn’t be in the last line, I wondered about:
    .
    .

    summer secrets–
    her childhood triangle
    in the sunlit window
    .
    .
    I was one of those children “suborned” to the triangle! I love the opening line, and childhood triangle, and sunlit window. It’s magical! 🙂
    .
    .

     
    drips of honey
    from a silver spoon
    skylark song
    .
    Agus Maulana Sunjaya
    Tangerang, Indonesia
    .
    .
    Well, a lot of alliteration going on here! 🙂 But I do like very much all the same. 🙂
    .
    .

     
    mother’s home –
    the missing i
    of her typewriter
    .
    arvinder kaur
    Chandigarh, India
    .
    .
    Is it that ‘mother’ is home, or eventually at home, or there is just one parent left (or alive) or it’s mother’s rules and everyone else has to come to heel, fair or unfair.
    .
    A great opening line!
    .
    The use of lowercase for I is highly effective and appropriate. Perhaps her mother is a writer, or the child/daughter is as deserted as the old technology of an old typewriter. Exceptional depth to this haiku.
    .
    .

     
    summer’s return
    what the mirror
    doesn’t see
    .
    Bill Kenney
    .
    .
    An astute haiku as would be expected by this author, astutely human with all their frailties, subterfuge, vanities, and hiding what others would seem wrong or unfashionable perhaps?
    .
    .
     
    under the neon saxophone
    an old man is shining
    a stranger’s shoe
    .
    Branka Cukrov-Belak
    .
    .
    This is so powerful, sad, yet beautiful. Using the trope of ‘old’ is appropriate here and far from being a cliché, or easy or lazy choice to add some depth. Beautiful word choices in the first line, and astute word/line choice in that middle line. You might say of course the person is a stranger, but actually, shoe shine workers might have a regular clientele, perhaps this one is a visiting musician, and the old man is wistfully remembering his ambitions before he had to support a growing family? There is much more to uncover with this truly exceptional haiku, enjoy doing so! 🙂
    .
    .

     
    ebbing light
    her silver serving spoon
    idle
    .
    Christina Pecoraro
    .
    .
    It’s not as easy as it looks to leave just ONE word as the last line, believe me. This senryu is supremely crafted, and full of depth.
    .
    .

     
    soldier’s bugle
    the gentle tapping
    of rain
    .
    Edward Cody Huddleston
    .
    .
    The author has alluded to TAPS:
    .
    “Taps” is a bugle call played at dusk, during flag ceremonies, and at military funerals by the United States Armed Forces. … The tune is also sometimes known as “Butterfield’s Lullaby”, or by the first line of the lyric, “Day Is Done”. – WIKIPEDIA
    .
    It’s a sublime haiku, breathtakingly beautiful and poignantly and respectively so.
    .
    .
     
    full moon
    a ramadan drummer
    in streets
    .
    Guliz Mutlu
    .
    .
    I’ve experienced Ramadan (and it was in Turkey) but I am unaware of a ramadan drummer (to my loss) while I observed this practice of faith.
    .
    I’m curious about the lack of the definite article (the) but it suggests the sound is everywhere moreso than bringing in ‘the streets’.
    .
    .

     
    speculum gleaming nurse beams
    .
    Helen Buckingham
    .
    .
    Ah, orifices, both the medical tool, and the medical operative are both gleaming and beaming despite any potential embarressment from perhaps the thousands of patients that they have looked up to or into! 🙂 Helen Buckingham’s amazing humour is potent and pragmatic and dare I say it, but beautifully caught in this monoku. 🙂
    .
    .

    old theater
    a shiny trumpet reflects
    her love story
    .
    Hifsa Ashraf
    Rawalpindi, Pakistan
    .
    .
    Love that last line which makes me go back to the very beginning of the poem and enjoy it in even more depth.
    .
    .
     
    whetstone
    an edge of anger
    I’ve not known
    .
    Kimberly Esser
    Los Angeles, CA
    .
    .
    A whetstone is a particular tool, and I can imagine both knives and scissors, those long deadly scissors if used outside their normal use. Wry, astute, funny, and scaringly edgy all at the same time.
    .
    .

     
    cathedral bells
    the fin of a whale
    breaches the surface
    .
    Laurie Greer
    Washington, DC
    .
    .
    A wonderful double take on shiny instruments. For those of you who have seen a whale physically close up in the wild, those fins are the most beautiful instruments. An unusual but incredible juxtaposition of images, one of land, one of sea, but I can imagine the sound ‘reaching the sea’ and being reciprocated.
    .
    .

     
    missing mobile toddler’s escape
    .
    Margaret Walker
    .
    .
    Margaret continues to expertly create hyper-short haiku whether as one line (monoku) or over three lines. This monoku makes effective use of the alliteration of ‘m’s and makes me say out loud ‘mmmmmmm!’ too! 🙂
    .
    I feel Margaret is now outdoing Ernest Hemingway at his six word stories! 🙂
    .
    .

     
    first-year resident…
    a blood droplet
    on her new scalpel
    .
    Nancy Brady
    .
    .
    I immediately remember the Queensland heatwave and a general doctor in his office, with a busted A/C, conducting a minor but deadly operation, with his sweat running off the scalpel in rivulets. We both lived to tell the story. 🙂
    .
    .
    hot january
    sweat drips
    from a scalpel

    Alan Summers
    Publication credits: Vrabac/Sparrow, Autumn/Winter 94-Spring/Summer 95
    .
    .
    I wonder if the medical student or probationer (I don’t know the correct term) has accidently cut her finger or thumb before she’s started on someone living, or dead? Dare I ask? 🙂
    .
    .
     
    school saxophone
    the silent notes
    of schizophrenia
    .
    Roberta Beary
    Co Mayo, Ireland
    .
    .
    Roberta brings to haiku (or senryu, or hybrid combination) the noise of pain in silent mode. In an age where too many in power are still ignorent of mental health, and how they sometimes have blood on their hands over this ignorance, this is extraordinarily powerful because of, to me, the school/saxaphone combined, and are they notes done in practice where sound is not allowed (at home) or how this person presses his or her anguish (silently) into the saxaphone.
    .
    Beautiful, and beautifully and painfully sad, and incredibly moving. And sadly I can relate in my own way, as I know or have known many people suffering from this malady.
    .
    .
    deep bow,
    .
    Alan
     
    .
    .

    1. Alan, thank you, as always, for your comments and compliments. Reading each poem again after seeing your comments often enables me to view them from an entirely new perspective.

      Craig, thank you for including my monoku this week!

      1. Thank you! The more I read and re-read even the haiku I started to comment on, the more I saw and was rewarded! Great to see one of your famous super minimalist haiku here again! 🙂

    2. Thank you, Alan Summers! You just made my day and encouraged me to continue creating haiku poetry. I truly believe that haiku is created, generated from deepest precipitates of our mind.

      1. Wow that is fantastic, thank you!
        .
        Craig also noted the amazingness of your haiku too! 🙂
        .
        .

        under the neon saxophone
        an old man is shining
        a stranger’s shoe
        .
        Branka Cukrov-Belak
        .
        .
        I can read this so many ways including:
        .
        .
        under the neon saxophone
        an old man is shining
        .
        .
        Even those two lines speaks volumes to me.
        .
        .
        a stranger’s shoe
        .
        .
        And this line can be read as the one line fragment section of a haiku, which along with my alternative reading of the first two lines, gifts me yet another way of reading this magical haiku.
        .
        .
        ” I truly believe that haiku is created, generated from deepest precipitates of our mind.”
        .
        Beautiful statement, thank you!

    3. Thanks Alan for your comments. I left it necessarily vague as to whose blood it was and whether it was the first cut if a surgery or not. Of course there are the lyrics says, “the first cut is the deepest,” whether it is apropos or not, I will leave it up to you.

      I am so glad you lived to tell the tale via your insightful haiku. What would this column be without your in-depth analysis of the haiku each week.

      Thanks Craig for including my haiku in the mix. I wasn’t even sure I sent it or accidentally sent it twice.

      Now to more thoroughly read and re-read all these gems.

      1. Nancy said:
        “Thanks Alan for your comments. I left it necessarily vague as to whose blood it was and whether it was the first cut if a surgery or not.”
        .
        .
        Haiku can be a bit of a juggling act, not too vague, not too open, not too much ambiguity/ambivalence etc…
        .
        I felt you skilfully brought in the right amount of everything touched on by me above. I can imagine someone either so excited they cut themselves, or for some reason they want to cut a finger or thumb, or plain clumsy etc… But also I guess it might well be the first time they have to be part of an operation on a live person, and legally. 😉
        .
        .
        first-year resident…
        a blood droplet
        on her new scalpel
        .
        Nancy Brady
        .
        .
        Nancy said:
        ” Of course there are the lyrics says, “the first cut is the deepest,” whether it is apropos or not, I will leave it up to you.”
        .
        Ah yes, first time I heard that song it was Cat Stevens, and then Rod Stewart. 🙂 That now makes me think she was cutting into an ex-partner! 🙂
        .
        .
        I am so glad you lived to tell the tale via your insightful haiku. What would this column be without your in-depth analysis of the haiku each week.
        .
        .
        That’s very kind. Thankfully I’m not perturbed by scalpels and syringes. I did have a general practice doctor throw a rusty syringe at me when I was a child. It didn’t unnerve me, just thought it was a bit eccentric. The job got done though. Of course a few years later the government started insisting that all doctors sterilised their needles or used fresh ones etc… 🙂
        .

        1. Alan,
          While I was in university, I (and my fellow classmates) had to do a surgery on a rat for physiology. I have to admit that that first slice into my rat’s skin was difficult. Despite Ari being anesthetized, it was still scary. I can only imagine how it must be for a resident to make that first cut into a human even if it could be one’s own skin out of nerves.
          .
          I am glad you survived your various medical traumas over the years.
          .
          Thank you again for your positive comments on not only my haiku, but the others as well. You bring a whole new awareness to the fine words of fellow poets.

      1. Thank you Agus! It’s great to see you here as a regular contributor! 🙂
        .
        .
        drips of honey
        from a silver spoon
        skylark song
        .
        Agus Maulana Sunjaya
        Tangerang, Indonesia
        .
        .
        Ah, the days when I’d use honey for my porridge, when we could afford it. The spoon was only silver in color or a basic silver-plated spoon at best, but more likely to be Sheffield Stainless Steel, the best in the world at one point! 🙂
        .
        .
        juniper the tether end of larksong
        .
        Alan Summers
        .
        Anthology Credit:
        Poetry & Place ed. Ashley Capes & Brooke Linford (Close-Up Books, April 2016)
        .
        .

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