Saturday, September 9, 2023

haikuNetra ISSUE 1.1

Editor's Note

It was in the year 2015, eight years ago, that I had written my first haiku. Since then, my journey to Haikai has seen many seasons. The journey towards understanding and absorbing the nuances of this craft is eternal. The seed for "haikuNetra" was sown during one of these seasons. The initial idea was to encourage and involve fresh voices in Haikai Literature. In mid-2022, I joined Triveni Haikai India and got the chance to interact and imbibe with different haikuists, mentors, and masters of haiku which further helped me to proceed with my idea. Thanks to Kala Ramesh, Lakshmi Iyer, and the entire Haikai fraternity for their continuous guidance, love, and support. The first Issue wouldn't be able to see the light if not for the support of all the contributors. Thank you all, for your submissions. August 2023 has seen some exceptional entries so far. haikuNetra Issue 1.1 also marks my editorial debut. Thanks to Lev Hart for agreeing to join as the Co-editor. His guidance, mentorship, and acute understanding of the craft will surely benefit haikuNetra in the long run. 

– Daipayan Nair, Editor

haikuManthan - The Commentary 

fingers scraping
the inside of a cantaloupe
gang rape

           Muskaan Ahuja 

Muskaan has set the bar very high for herself and cleared it, accomplishing a verse that meets the exacting standards of haiku editors and senryu editors alike. L1 and L2 make a wonderful phrase for a haiku, engaging all the reader’s senses. In a poetic tradition that is primarily visual, confining the reader to the role of an observer, Muskaan’s verse invites the reader to feel her fingers scraping the cantaloupe’s inside shell, the juice on her hands. The observer becomes a participant. Tactile imagery is more personal than the visual, affecting the reader more deeply. The reader’s involvement is pretty much the ultimate goal of haiku, so Muskaan’s phrase is a haikuist’s dream. It even includes a seasonal reference, cantaloupes being associated with summer in many parts of the world. The imagery evokes the primal delight we used to experience as children, getting the food all over ourselves, scraping up every delicious bit.

The reader’s childlike pleasure turns to horror with the pivot to L3, “gang rape,” the most powerful pivot I’ve ever read. The reader experiences the horror all the more deeply because of her deep involvement up until that moment. Now the reader is involved as the victim. The reader’s shock mirrors, however faintly, what the poet must have experienced as the attack began. 

The verse is a master class in haiku, complete with phrase, fragment, nature image, seasonality, and a pivot. The juxtaposition is based on contrast, the feelings evoked by the fragment being antithetical to those evoked by the phrase. From a different angle, there is a second juxtaposition, based on similarity. The cantaloupe is a tacit simile for the brutalization of the poet. Two juxtapositions make the haiku extremely cohesive.

After L2, the verse also pivots from haiku to senryu. A person is not likely to find any references to gang rape in classical haiku. Senryu, however, traditionally functioned as social criticism. They did not focus at all on the happy, wholesome scenarios that are now central to the verse form. Senryu were trenchant, like Muskaan’s verse. I would like to see senryu resume its role as barbed criticism. Perhaps Muskaan will lead the way.

Some readers will inevitably regard Muskaan’s verse exclusively as a senryu, because of its human focus. Haiku, however, often include human figures, setting them in the wider context of nature. Muskaan’s verse, through its seasonal reference, sets the moment of brutality in the context of time’s eternal cycles. Through haiku, the poet sublimates a horrifying experience into an aesthetic one. The Way of Haiku teaches us to see our lives, both its innocent delight and innocence destroyed, poetically. Muskaan’s "senry-ku" — if you will — suggests that she has advanced far along the Way.

– Lev HartCo-Editor

haikuRatna - Editor's Pick

summer breeze

grandpa exchanges his stick

for a paper kite 

                  Lakshmi Iyer 

stray 's banquet

the hardened crust

of a dinner roll 

                 Barrie Levine

alone  on  the  train  this  stranger  marching  towards  me

                                                Lev Hart 

old lava 

the origin stories 

of my faults 

              Cynthia Anderson 

sacred space 

in an earthen pot ... a tune 

from a shakuhachi 

                Kala Ramesh  

                   a few gravitational arcs in her signature

                                            Roberta Beach Jacobson


the call and response 

of fish crows

            Brad Bennett

haikuPrakash - Enlightenment


imagining the other side

of death 

               John Hawkhead

babbling brook…

her problems

bigger than mine

             Jan Stretch 

crack in the stone —

an ancient monster 


             Allison Douglas-Tourner 

planting seeds 

the flowers she will 

never see

             Stephanie Zepherelli 


what I have forgotten


             Perry L. Powell

purple finch 

how could it be 

anything else

              John Pappas 

bread and patty 

the secrets 

between us 

              Raja Chakraborty

a secret revealed ...


sway in the breeze 

              Daniela Misso 

a neon sign

flicks off at dawn

what I meant to say

             Barrie Levine 

autumn breeze —

we talk about

the afterlife 

              Mona Bedi

more to you 

than I thought

false summit 

             Edward Cody Huddleston


firewood crackles 

the sandal fragrance 

             Lakshmi Iyer


mulling over 

her zodiac sign 

             Manoj Sharma

what’s done

is done

evening primrose

             Joshua St. Claire 



deep in the heat of things ocean's collapse

                                                Roberta Beach Jacobson

got the itch 

to garden again 


              JL Huffman

autumn lake –

these drowning thoughts 

of mine 

               Paul Callus 

a parijat   today gone tomorrow   the remains 

    Kala Ramesh

my shadow

over lavender

a spider retreats

                Marilyn Ward

this nightmare

of feeling wanted 

a loner finch

               Mike Gallagher

intermittent cooing 

of the house pigeons 

monsoon wind 

               Hifsa Ashraf

this silence 

between me and the crescent

a barn owl 

              Padmasiri Jayathilaka 


every mistake 

made again

                Rowan Beckett 

monsoon breeze 

I change 

my mind 

                Amita Paul 

fallen leaves -

all the words 

I didn't say 

              Giuliana Ravaglia 

the sound of a hoe

weeding the temple garden —

summer afternoon

             George Goldberg 

bumpy flight

I give a tarot reading

to the monk

          Sharon Ferrante 

sunflower field

a little girl walks

towards the sun 

            Daniela Rodi

gusty wind

only the magpie song

holds steady

          Louise Hopewell 

desert tortoise

no longer sticking

my neck out

          Cynthia Anderson 

nature hike -

she zips up

her sadness


          Timothy Daly 

in the garden


into a new book

          Wilda Morris 

walking the middle way

I pick up 

my cross

              Nick Gutierrez 


all that remains

of my dreams

          Rosa Maria Di Salvatore 


back on track

scent of pine

           Ernesto P. Santiago 

a dragonfly

on the windowsill

time passes by

            Minal Sarosh 

herbal tea

flowers that died

to soothe me

          Pris Campbell 

shafts of light

a leaf clings

to the pear stem

            Brad Bennett 

rising mist -

a frog croaks

on the lilypad

           Katherine E Winnick 

counting koi

a grey heron swoops

into my ohm

    Michael Smeer (Mikō)

between the wind and me whose breath

                                                     Isabella Mori 


haikuDrishti - The Observation

te        ng

         Ann Smith


she rolls

a perfect roti

full moon

            Rupa Anand

wildfire rain

the fresh face

of a star 

             Marilyn Ashbaugh

rice song

her mud-laden feet 

in the clouds

             Arvinder Kaur


higher than the fence -

summer solstice 

            Maire Morrissey Cummins


an old swing

in the yard 

           Jovana Dragojlovic

bus stop bench

a young man

injects his arm 

              Tuyet Van Do

beach shells —

arranging our new pattern

of constellation 

              Beata Czeszejko

deep throat

the swan swallows

a crab apple 

            Kimberly A. Horning

autumn snowfall ... 

a handful

of frozen butterflies 

               Dorna Hainds

orphanage park —

a gentle breeze tousles

the child's hair 

                Mirela Brailean

last day of summer 

the lifeguard releases

his man bun

              Joseph P. Wechselberger

bangle seller —

the colours of a rainbow

on her wrist 

               Mona Bedi


the tinkling of her anklets

sweetens the kheer

              Debarati Sen 


in the enamel bowl 

dad's dinner

            Bernadette O'Reilly

a crocodile



            Marilyn Humbert 

World Yoga Day -

my cat

licks her butt

           Sukla Singha


their backs

almost touch

          Greg Schwartz 

neither of us

says a word

Mount Nittany

            Joshua St. Claire 

departure lounge - 

old woman snoring

wakes herself up

           Marc Brimble 


in and out of darkness

hunter's moon

           Louise Hopewell 

coriander pot

after the night rain 


           Christina Chin

reaching up

to knead my cheek

purring cat

          Eavonka Ettinger 

surface tension

the curve

of her smile 

           Mark Hitri

back to earth

in two minutes...

the piano player

           Patricia Davis 

a water strider

skates across the cloud

silver lining

            Ruth Happel 

night platform

a little girl sings lori

to her doll

             Sudebi Singha 

early frost. . .

my body older 

than it should be

            Rowan Beckett 

bloodroot blooms

the girl wearing a lavender ribbon

sits up

              Bipasha Majumder De 

summer morning

cupped in lupine leaves

water droplets

            Nancy Brady Smith 

two old pros

grandma haggles

with the fish vendor

           Barrie Levine


my river poem...

spring break 



one by one

birds scatter



           Jerome Berglund 

a t-shirt covers the student's head blown o ff

                                                                     Lev Hart 

peaches and plums —

preserving the sweetness

of childhood

            Bonnie J Scherer 

masala chai

grandma pauses to wipe

her moist eyes

           Minal Sarosh 

blue moon

her husband folds

the laundry

           Genevieve S. Aguinaldo 

summer morning

without notice, this teen

turns her bicycle

            Amoolya Kamalnath 

August rain

the neighbour's wash

full of drips

         Marilyn Ward 

window shopping

I keep staring at

my own image

            Padmasiri Jayathilaka 

her first reward

from the tooth fairy -

piggy bank stash

            Gillena Cox


rolling off her tongue

citric tang

           JL Huffman 


the bloated sunfish

lures a crowd

          Carly Siegel Thorp 

family photo

after a day of sorting

family history

           Susan Bonk Plumridge 

summer dawn

grandma shakes

the pickle jar

           Hifsa Ashraf 

boys' day out

the common wish

of a mansion

          Aparna Pathak 

cricket moon

a basket of laundry

on the terrace

          Daniela Misso 

early winter

grandma knits

my new sweater

              Anwitha Sudeep 

hand on heart

I believe his promises

cardiac surgeon

             Patricia Hawkhead

each object with a different absence

                                        Vijay Prasad 


haikuJyoti - The Third Eye

a rain-bent hibiscus

after the diagnosis

             Amoolya Kamalnath


the scar on the back

of her head

         Sue Courtney 

the roar

in my sneeze–

tiger lily

     Michael Smeer (Mikō)

salmon moon...

trickling waterfall echoes

fill the gully

           Rob McKinnon 

over-steeped tea

last night's fight

clogs my tastebuds

          Baisali Chatterjee Dutt

watercolour sky

searching my palette

for other than blue

         Patricia Hawkhead

flock of crows

on the railway

a white shoe

          Mircea Moldovan 

summer rain

tomato vines stretch 

into July

           Roberta Beach Jacobson

back alley

two shopping buggies strike

a deal

                               Lev Hart 

worry stone scouring the shoreline for solace

                                                         Peter Jastermsky

the sting 

of a failed marriage

lemon peel

           Barbara Anna Gaiardoni

cemetery visit 

a layer of leaves covers

my name

           Joseph P. Wechselberger 

age-spotted hands

the ache in her guitar


           Randy Brooks 

shifting home

I wrap mother's silences

in her pashmina

              Arvinder Kaur 

the erection and castration of a word

                                              Vijay Prasad

the black fringe

of her gypsy scarf


         Colette Kern 

dark-eyed junco

she says she needs a ride

to meet a friend

           Joshua St. Claire 

willow seeds float

on the breeze...

summer confetti

           Sue Wood

a few coins

tinkling in his rusty can

autumn rain 

          Robert Witmer 

she smiles at me

from across the classroom

quantum entanglement

                    Ger Jonker 

sturgeon moon—

a tramp rummages

for his livelihood 

           Neena Singh

blue sky 

a beetle wriggling

on its back

         Tony Williams

all around

his gravestone

spring violets

         John Pappas 

moonlit face

I wish I were 

a white moth

         Ranice Tara

layers of dust

on the dressing table


        Sanjay Kumar Sanan 

the soft feel

of wrinkled skin -

birthday sex

         Isabella  Mori 

sienna earth

the distant drip-drip

of a tap

          Kavita Ratna 

monsoon breeze

a wisp of freshness

in my jasmine tea

          Hla Yin Mon 

alpine sunrise

the red of the dirt

at your nape

         B.L. Bruce 

granite pinnacles the span of a mountain goat

                                                   Chad Lee Robinson

swallowing my pride -

an inland breeze

escorts me home

          Paul Callus 

railway station

each window frames

an untold story

         Kala Ramesh 


on the road ahead

ending summer

        Jelena Kenic 

widower's house

a crystal vase fills

with cigarette ash

           Sanjuktaa Asopa 


the many ways

a tree sings

         Pris Campbell 

two alligators

face to face

storm clouds

        Naomi G. Tangonan 

green grass

the hidden song

of a cricket

        Marilyn Ward 

midsummer heat —

the smell of spices

from mom's dupatta

              Hifsa Ashraf 

15th August morning -

a street child picks up

the torn flag


              Sukla Singha

wet moon ...

the ebb and flow

of nostalgia

           Lorelyn Arevalo 

wisps of cobweb

along the bridge

spring training

            Jerome Berglund 

train journey

with a stranger

wild lilies

           Bidyut prabha Gantayat 

somewhere the sound of unwinding a nightjar

                                                               C.X. Turner 



© All copyrights belong to the contributors.



























haikuNetra ISSUE 1.1

Editor's Note It was in the year 2015, eight years ago, that I had written my first haiku. Since then, my journey to Haikai has seen man...