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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 8th February 2024. Dru Philippou, featured poet

Updated: Feb 8

hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman & Vidya Shankar

A Thursday Feature.

poet of the month: Dru Philippou

8th February 2024

This month we have the pleasure of featuring Dru Philippou, a multiple award winning writer with a strong and unique voice. 

Dru Philippou was born on the island of Cyprus, raised in London and currently lives in northern New Mexico, USA. She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado. She writes haiku, tanka, haibun, and tanka prose. An award winning poet, her work is widely published and anthologised. She has also written two featured creative essays regarding haiku "Haiku Geometry" and "HaikuHolograms" Her haibun "Afterlife" won first place in the Haiku Society of America’s 2021 Haibun Awards. Also, her haibun "Pilgrimage" won first place in 2023 in the same contest. In 2022, she published her first collection of poetry,  A Place to Land, a memoir written entirely in tanka prose. 

Dru Philippou

Learning English

passing clouds 

the changing colours 

of bougainvillea

Opening grandmother’s handmade notebook at C, I find a carob pod and recall her story about John the Baptist subsisting on its fruit. At M, her favourite culinary herb, a sacred myrtle leaf. Certain of an olive leaf, I turn to O and imagine those maroon orbs bobbing in brine. At J, a sweet fragrance rises from the page; I see her gathering fresh sprigs, pockets stashed with jasmine.


vines entwining 

cursive script

* Originally appeared as an Honourable Mention in the Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2015.

Prompt: A language is a huge part of our identity. Many people speak more than one language. Language can be extremely political. It can exert power, oppress, and exploit as much as it can resolve, inspire, and create positive change. Often music, art and other mediums are thought of as a language of expression too. But the language we use everyday is different from the language that has an intimate relationship with us, the one in which we dream, the one in which the voice in our head talks to us. 

For this week's prompt, dig deep into what a language means to you, what relationship do you have with it or what rewards and challenges it might bring you or what might happen when a language is lost or absent from your experience. Please don't be limited by these ideas. Go where the heat of the language burns you.

Haibun outside this prompt is welcome too.

Important: Since we're swamped with submissions, and our editors are only human, mistakes can happen. Please, please, remember to put your name, followed by your country, below each poem, even after revisions. It helps our editors; they won't have to type it in, saving them from potential typos. Thanks a ton!



1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt. 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.


591 views178 comments


#1 2-12-24


As a child, all your words spilled out at bedtime. Without actually saying so, your words begged me to stay just a little while longer. As we lay side by side, staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars on your ceiling, you would paint a picture of your latest invention with all of your stored-up words from the day. I would float on the clouds of your imagination, savoring the time with you.

I still remember a few of your fanciful inventions from decades ago. A spiral staircase from your room to the roof for nighttime stargazing. A slide from the upstairs bathroom to the downstairs breakfast table, to save time in the morning. A tunnel from the detatched…

Replying to

Beautiful story!


Feb 12




He keeps us in splits with his jokes and mimicry. Gestures his heart out to my colleague about everything under the sun. His better half is a good match to this mischievous lad. When their first baby was born, we waited eagerly for him to reach the 'talkable' age. 'Relieved' we all were and albeit his parents! Yes, he speaks!!! Now at 7 his son can speak three languages fluently - English, Hindi and his mother tongue along with sign language to communicate with his parents.

on my chest

snoring of feline variety

-- sweet surrender

Kalyanee Arandhara

Assam, India

Feedback most welcome

Replying to

Thank you! Funny and sweet! I too like the title.


#2 I am brand new to haibun. Would appreciate input on the use of 2 haiku here. Maybe just one is required here? Also uncertain if that last sentence adds anything. Thank you!

Version 2 based upon comments from Sandip & Anju🙏🏻

In that space

between sleeping and waking, she has a vivid dream which she later shares over breakfast with her spouse of decades.  Across different times and cultures, such hypnopompic dreams are associated with demons and evil spirits, succubi and incubi. Her own dream seems to her marvelous and delightful - not at all malevolent - but she becomes aware, as she is recounting it, that it has potential to unleash a bit of mischief into their morning, and…

Replying to

Thanks Padma, so glad you liked it and commented. I’m going to revise it a little in accordance with the previous suggestions.


Post #1 edited

Thanks everyone who commented and made suggestions. I've omitted "the" in L1 of the haiku.

Body Language


They speak no English, Grandpa and Grandma. We speak no Italian, my sister and I. Words we understand are limited to a few phrases: *seduto, mangia, stai zitto (sometimes said in a raised voice) vatini, chuida la porta, as we are leaving. But, since we live upstairs, we are back several times a day. More is conveyed with gestures, with warm arms, a warm lap and warm food.


first robin—

learning to read the signs

of my new love


*sit, eat, be quiet, leave, close the door

Adelaide B. Shaw


comments welcomed

Replying to

Love this, Adelaide. My shared language with my father-in-law was pidgin French, which neither of us knew well.


#1, 16/2, revised, thanks to each one of your guidance and help.

The Shape of the Wind

hazelnut sky

the crunch

of the forest fire

The summer drawing classes asks for cotton balls for the clouds; blue, white, black and brown tube colours, 1 thin and 1 thick brush, a palette and water. I am all set to have my strokes with my first painting brush.


I blow away

the pencil shaves

I stick the cotton on the passing clouds, then a little brown on the fallen tree. I mix a little black to strengthen the branches’ crust. The uprooted roots catch my attention as the brown and black colours get smudged. Just then my eyes fall upon a woodcutter…

Replying to

Thanks so much, I shall do the edits now.

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