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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 27th July 2023 Kate MacQueen: Featured Haibuneer

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh

poet of the month: Kate MacQueen

27th July 2023

A Thursday Feature


snowflakes meet

the ground

wet and green

In 1970 I was in love with a boy I met at my high school folk music club. I was shy and did not think that he, a reticent senior, would notice me, an odd-ball sophomore. One night after a meeting he joined my girlfriends and me in a snowball fight. I took off my glasses to catch snowflakes on my lashes; they glittered in the streetlight. With twinkling eyes, I watched my heart’s desire get on his bicycle and ride away in the lightly falling snow.

Snow is in my bones the way family is in my blood. I grew up in Buffalo, New York, where it is not unusual to see a few lonely flakes in late October: a warning. But snow is not real snow until the ground freezes solid, usually in December. Snow that falls on damp ground melts within days or hours, forming a gray slush in the streets and a muddy slush in the yards. In Georgia, where I live now, that is about as good as snow gets.

Real snow is different. First, the protective blanket of clouds is sheared away by arctic air beating down from Canada, blasting to the stars the last wisps of warmth hidden in the ground. Walking outside, nothing gives underfoot; even the grass crunches. Then the snow clouds begin to layer themselves, steel blue on blue gray, from horizon to horizon. They may roll in for days, slowly, before they unbale their white harvest.

Snowfall at night is transcendent. Neither stars nor moon are visible, yet the world glows. The hard lines and sharp angles devised by human hands become round and undulating; even voices are softened. I can wake and know that it snowed in the night. Just by listening. On a windless night, each shimmering flake descends in six- pointed perfection to lie glinting, then vanishing, beneath an accumulating latticework of tiny airy crystals. Anything done in such a snowfall is prayerfull, blessed with power. Meditative walks are more cleansing, falling in love more mystifying, good-byes more devastating.

winter solstice

cold yet still

leaves slowly fall

I love cold winters. I love the sound-absorbing whiteness, the squeak and crunch of hard-packed snow, the sparkle from a dusting of new flakes. Driving in the winter rains of Georgia, I tell myself to be grateful that I do not have to endure driving in a Buffalo blizzard, or trying to start a car on yet another subzero morning. I remember the sensation of cold air freezing the moisture in my breath before it leaves my nostrils. I remember snowflakes as small as dust motes, crystallizing here and there from infinitesimal molecules of water on the clearest star-filled nights. I remember the glitter of snow and stars, my heart pumping warmth into the freezing night air, and a boy on a black bicycle, riding away.

the late march wind

tangling my hair

white as the dogwood

Published in

· Modern Haiku, vol. XXX, No. 3, Fall, 1999; chosen as favorite haibun of the issue

· up against the window: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 1, edited by Jim Kacian & Bruce Ross, Red Moon Press, 1999

We're delighted to share Kate's beautiful haibun with you this month; let us know your thoughts. We asked her a few questions and she kindly took time out to answer them. Here's the last one. Thank you so much Kate for letting us share your lovely poems and words of wisdom.

Q. Do you show your work in progress to anyone, or is it a solitary art that you keep close to your chest before letting it go for publishing?

Kate: As an introvert, I can understand the impulse to keep your work close, but I think it is a rare person who can thrive and grow as a poet without people to bounce ideas around with, people who will both challenge and cheer each other’s work-in-progress. I know that my writing is always strongest when I connect with a few fellow writers to share work with. Others thrive when they have expansive networks where they can learn through intensive workshops and a variety of one-on-one writing relationships. Whether you lean toward sharing with just a colleague or two or toward an expansive global community, the important thing is to find and help build a space of mutual trust where everyone can share, learn, and grow together. I am so grateful to the many people in the global haiku community who have helped me learn and grow these past 30 years.

Kate MacQueen is an anthropologist and public health researcher; much of her writing is published in scientific journals and is decidedly unpoetic. She began her haiku journey in the mid 1990s; since then, her short poems (haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, haibun, tanka prose) have been curated by a variety of journals (Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Acorn, Prune Juice, Presence, Mayfly, Trash Panda Haiku, Rattle, and others) and anthologies (Snapshot Press Haiku Calendars, several Red Moon Press haiku and haibun anthologies, Haiku 2014 (Modern Haiku Press 2014), Nest Feathers (The Heron’s Nest Press 2015), Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press 2018), and The Best Small Fictions 2022 (Alternating Current Press, forthcoming). She illustrated two Haiku North America anthologies, Dandelion Wind edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Lenard D. Moore, 2008, and Sitting in the Sun edited by Michael Dylan Welch and Crystal Simone Smith, 2019. She is plotting retirement and compiling chapbooks.

Prompt for the week: I love the hint of romance, the snow and the little details about it. Were you transported to the place; could you feel the cold. I think I felt my breath freeze in my nostrils for a sec. I loved how the beginning was tied to the ending; how it came full circle. The haiku shifted away beautifully. What did you feel? Leave your thoughts about it. So here's your challenge: pick one season combine it with an anecdote, romantic or otherwise. Little details go a long way. You can write outside the prompt too. Whatever you choose – have fun!



1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt, and only one haibun in 24 hours. Please put your name and country of residence under your poem, it makes the editors' work easier. Thanks.

2. Share your best-polished pieces.

3. Please do not post something in a hurry or something you have just written.

Let it simmer for a while.

4. When poets give suggestions and if you agree to them - post your final edited version on top of your original version.

5. Don't forget to give feedback on others' poems.

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished haibun (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly journal.


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136 Kommentare

Sumitra  Kumar
Sumitra Kumar
06. Aug. 2023

#1 6th August

Feedback welcome!

Red Carpet

Flitting around Frankfurt. Well, not really when it’s a business trip with a task at hand. We have to, with our engineers, unpack and erect a jumbo machine at our stall before the start of an International Packaging Fair in Germany; all the while nurturing hope that the equipment, well packed, had sailed the seas without incurring damages.

Renting a car, we take a long suburban ride from our hotel in Wuppertal to Düsseldorf. Be it narrow streets or wide boulevards, they are spotless and inviting—come, come drive down! Even the woods have an orderliness; a bewitching green-canopy-welcome for commuters.

Republic Day—

President’s guests

given a guard of honour

For this reason…

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Sumitra  Kumar
Sumitra Kumar
06. Aug. 2023
Antwort an

Ooops I made an error! Thanks Reid! Will do that!

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Priti Aisola
Priti Aisola
01. Aug. 2023

Revised version. Thanks a lot for the feedback and suggestions, Reid, Kala and Firdaus.

A Mystery

Several years ago I chanced upon a bronze statuette at the Karnataka State Emporium – Ganesha doing Shivalinga puja. And I fell in love with it instantaneously.

Along with our other bronzes I displayed it on a shelf in my parents’ home. So enamoured was I of this statuette that I would show it to all the friends and relatives who visited us. With eager delight I would rave of its exquisiteness, ‘Look at the different ornaments he is adorned with. How intricate the workmanship! And notice the long braid decorated with jewelry. Like that of a dancer! And the well-shaped arms extended towards…

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Priti Aisola
Priti Aisola
02. Aug. 2023
Antwort an

Thanks a lot, Firdaus. Accepting your suggestions....

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
31. Juli 2023

Thanks, Firdaus.

Removed 'warmth' from the ku!

peeling an onion

a sage tells her disciples

the waterness of water equals the isness in is have you seen

hunger in a panhandler’s eyes a ball of fire rising above the horizon

hammering rain a calf seeks her mother’s udder


hammering rain a calf seeks the warmth of her mother’s udder


hammering rain a calf seeks the comfort of her mother’s udder


feedback welcome.

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
02. Aug. 2023
Antwort an

Thank you so much, Sangita.

Thanks for this excellent feedback.


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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
30. Juli 2023

Edited version. Thank you, @sangita kalarickal and @Kala Ramesh

Mountain Climbers

A new July morning greets me with a light drizzle and I flutter my eyes open. It is going to be a pleasant day, I tell myself.

Last year, this day, I had woken up in a hospital room, in the ‘bed’ meant for the caretaker. In a few minutes, my husband was going to be wheeled into the operation theatre for a cancer removal surgery that would last for about fourteen hours. I did not care that the weather was stifling, humid and hot and that later, rain had claimed the day to bring some respite.


words lost in the breaking

of plunging waves

In tune with…

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Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
01. Aug. 2023
Antwort an

Thank you for your kind words, @Priti Aisola I had a difficult time getting this out of me. But I knew I had to. There are many out there who need to read messages of such hope and for their sakes, I had to write this.

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#1 gembun

A “Life is Good” sign hangs on their deck.

Murphy’s law

getting ready

to screw them

comments welcome