Where did the topic for this week come from? Well it’s brought to you thanks to Mineko Takahashi and Jim Azevedo who within a few days of one another sent me dandelion verses. They were so enjoyable I thought, let’s talk about something that, at least in my garden, get a bad press, weeds.

By the way, did you know that dandelions are a spring kigo in their own right?

So thanks to Mineko and Jim for unwittingly suggesting the topic.

As usual I’d like to start with work that I have been reading in other publications:

These first two are from John Hawkhead:

dandelion seeds
floating across the garden
into the bean nets

first published in Presence Magazine #40. It also featured later in The Greenleaf Files

rolling down main street
the town drunk

Nice pivot in there, don’t you think?

published on Otata in March 2017

This next one by Chrisopher Herold was Published in “Full of Moonlight: Haiku Society of America 2016 Members’ Anthology”

no more wishes
all the dandelion globes
full of moonlight

Christopher Herold

This was the winner of the International Section of the 21st Mainichi Haiku Contest.

unfaithful husband
weeding the garden
— Pamela A. Babusci (U. S. A.)

It also has a great pivot.

A comment from the judge:Are there husbands like the one in Ms. Babusci’s haiku? That’s a very likely possibility. Accused by his wife, the husband goes out and just weeds the garden — at first, that’s how I interpreted this haiku. But according to the author, the subject is different. The betrayed person here (the wife) is furious. In the hot weather, with frustration and sadness, she tears out weeds from their garden — and at times even some beautiful flowering plants. It’s unusual to see a haiku about infidelity. (Toru Haga)

N. Taylor Collins Dover, Delaware USA
Published in The Cicada’s Cry
Sunlight on Ice 2016

I stomp for her now
as she insists on pushing
up those daisies


Maeve O’Sullivan Train Hurtles West (Alba Publishing).

another hot day…
watering the weeds
in my balcony garden

Work produced especially for the podcast by our lovely community.

Let’s start the ball rolling with Mineko and Jim

Mineko Takahashi (Japan)

silent dandelions
in the name of peace

at the edge of a black sheet
they live on

I’ve been trying the black sheet in my garden to finally kill off a particularly virulent weed, but they are unstoppable.


Instagram sites teaching Japanese Idioms “your_private_japanese_tutor” and “ur_japanese_tutor” which teaches Japanese characters

FB account @yourjapanesetutor which discusses many facets of the language from the viewpoint of a foreign learner.


Jim Azevedo (USA)

filled with hope and beckoning color
dandelion pulled from my lawn


Kim Russell (UK)

in every hedgerow
impertinent buttercups
stealers of sunshine



Twitter @kim88110 
Two books published by The Emma Press: Anthology of Aunts and Second Place Rosette.

John Hawkhead (UK)

dandelion seeds spiral
past her thinning hair


Book:“Small Shadows” published by Alba publishing

Twitter  @HawkheadJohn

Robert Horrobin (UK)

summer passes
one seed at a time
dandelion clock


Mark Gilbert (UK)

beneath cedar chips
seeds of weeds
wake from their slumbers


The Haiku Registry, the haiku foundation.

Katherine E Winnick (UK)

dandelion wish
blowing wildly in the wind
given with a kiss

Twitter @thewovenwords

**Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon  (UK)

Ceinwen lives in the north of England. Having retired from her work in the probation service and mental health she read for a masters degree in creative writing. She graduated in 2017 and now writes poetry and short stories which have been well received and over 200 of her poems have been published. She also works as a creative arts facilitator with hard to reach groups. I suspect she is as busy as she ever was.

weeds or wild flowers –
in nature none are useless
outsiders work too

Twitter @CeinwenHaydon

**John McManus. (UK)

I am very familiar with John’s work. So familiar that I found it hard to believe that this is the first time we’ve heard from him on the podcast.

He is another poet who works in a caring profession, working with vulnerable adults. He tells me that he writes haiku to tell stories, not to report the weather or create a pretty painting. For him the best haiku do exactly that. The haiku stories create a narrative for the reader to engage with and complete to some degree.

If you like what you are about to hear then you will be pleased to know that he has a collection in print, it’s called ‘Inside His Time Machine’. It was published in 2016 by Iron Press and is available from their website as well as multiple online stores and any bookstores that have an ordering system. Link on the shownotes.

So let’s have a listen to some of John’s work

the caretaker mows
around them

orphanage steps
the delicate petals
of flowering weeds

Twitter handle is @johnnyhaikumcm1
Inside His Time Machine– Iron Press:

**Debbie Strange (Canada)

She has written poetry and songs since childhood, and has made her home in each of the four western Canadian provinces. She has a variety of environments to draw from, the prairie, the ocean, and the mountains. Poetry of place and her affinity with nature play an integral role in much of her writing. She practices haiku writing daily, seeing it as meditation, a way of helping to distract my mind from physical limitations. She is a photographer and an adventurer. Her photographs of her adventures often inspiring her haiku, tanka and visual art.

She recommends the book Where the River Goes: The Nature Tradition in English-Language Haiku (ed. Allan Burns, Snapshot Press 2013). She also recommends”Graceguts“, Michael Dylan Welch’s website as a great resource which I have to agree with.

Twitter @Debbie_Strange
Instagram @debbiemstrange

autumn wind
my horse’s tail scatters
a thousand wishes

**Art Fredeen (Canada)

He’s a Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia. He is very much at home in the great outdoors. A first for me, he tells me that in winter he snowshoes to work. Does anyone else do that? I know many of us live in countries where we ave the right sort of climate.

Feeling that he needed to connect to the nature in a deeper and different way from his mostly quantitative natural science research, he started writing haiku in 1997. He thinks it’s made him a more creative science writer.

thick as thieves –
the violet mob
of thistles

Twitter @ArtFredeen

**David A Estringel (US)

Some of you may know David already. He is the Poetry Editor at Fishbowl Press, a lit mag based out of Germany, as well as an “Artist in Residence” at The Elixir Magazine (Yemen) and Cajun Mutt Press (USA).

He is yet another one of the community who is working within the caring professions, a Psychotherapist, and Professor of Social Work. He truly is a busy man, isn’t he?

If you would like to read more of his work he has a recently released collection of poetry and prose Indelible Fingerprints (Alien Buddha Press) that is now available on Amazon.com. You’ll find a link to it on the show notes as well as a link to his website.

Object of my scorn,
I salute your firm resolve
with a calloused hand.

Indelible Fingerprints
Twitter @The_Booky_Man

**Richa Sharma (India)

At the moment Richa is on a break from work, but in the future she would like to venture into teaching and academics. Before she started writing haiku her poems used to be long, connecting several intuitive flashes and she feels that she was destined to discover the Japanese poetic forms.

She found the World Kigo Database ( worldwide saijiki ) very useful for understanding haiku and senryu, especially kigo. If you’d like to have a look I shall put the link on the shownotes.

bed rest
counting dandelions
from the window

nettle tea
overcoming the sting
of setbacks

Twitter @bluelakemoon

**Elaine Patricia Morris (UK)

She has been writing haiku for five or six years. Like Giddy who we will hear from later in the podcast, she runs a haiku based poetry group, hers is in Bolton in the UK. They have a strapline, which I rather like: Just breathe – find brevity.

She tells me that the group, Incidental haiku, would welcome new members.


nettle rash
while picking litter-
no dock

Twitter @VotheroneMorris


Twitter Incidental haiku @incidentalhaik1


m shane pruett (US)

takes a different view of weeds:

legal weed
popping up everywhere

and this which I think can take you in a number of directions:

draped in ivy

Twitter @HaikuMyBrew

Isabel Caves (New Zealand)

gives us a verse which has a sabi quality of melancholy , although I can quite see how it could be seen as joyful or hopeful.

chicory weeds
she plays among other
unwanted things

I’m doing special feature on Isabel’s work in episode 21 of the podcast. It’s a long way off, but something to look forward to.


Goran Gatalica (Croatia)

spring haze –
the thistles stung
refugee’s soft feet


The Haiku Foundation poets’ registry 

Dan Burt (USA)

sling blade
a snake’s tail wriggles
into the weeds

If you were wondering what a sling blade is, it’s a tool for grass cutting. At first when I read this I thought the whole snake was wriggling into the grass, but now I’m not so sure. What do you think?

Joan Barrett (US)

gramma’s arms
full of dandelions—
spring harvest

As so often happens with Joan’s haiku there is a little story behind this verse. When out on a jaunt, Joan’s Gramma would ask her husband to pull over so that she could harvest the Dandelion leaves and cook them for supper. I’ve heard of dandelion soup and adding them to salads, but I’ve never tried them.

Garden weeds
radiating trouble
rumors travel fast

and lastly this which initially I thought was for the film podcast. Have you seen The Favourite? If not, I don’t recommend it, but I thought the haiku might be about relationships in the film.

Queen Anne’s lace
turning blue
summer ritual

I didn’t know that you could die this flower. I am going to have a go, as soon as I can find some in the hedgerows

Andy Syor (US)

wildflowers and weeds
border manicured golf course
in pleasant contrast



Ernesto P Santiago (Greece)

I control
my own world

I am what I am—
always in the wrong place
a dandelion

Living Haiku Anthology Page

THF Haiku Registry Page

Giddy Nielsen Sweep (Australia)

The first two are joyous, but the last engages us with sabi:

hardy weeds
grow out of rusty tin-
recycling plant

medical research
a hunt in the Outback
for weeds

left between pavers
in deserted courtyard
only weeds

Rickey Rivers Jnr (US)

a slow crawl
wrapping myself
around beauty

beautiful green
secretly binding

When I read these two, my mind went to what my mother always called bindweed, I don’t know if that is its official title. It has a beautiful white bell like flower but it chokes everything it comes into contact with. Last year in Cambodia, I found a pink version, snaking through flood water. I was very excited.

If you’d like to hear more from Rickey, his author’s site will be in the show notes.


Twitter @storiesyoumight

Sarah Ziman (UK)

Sarah wrote this  thinking back to a visit to Sylvia Plath’s grave in Heptonstall. The churchyard where she is buried had become very overgrown and the family were wading through a sea of rosebay willow herb which was taller than her children:

visiting Plath’s grave
wind-fanned rosebay willowherb
fierce and silent flames

Twitter @SarahZiman

Richard Bailly (US)

sir dandelion
very fine as wine

I’d forgotten that you can make dandelion wine. I’ve never tried it. I am quite partial to a soft drink made from dandelion and burdock though.

crimson columbine
sought by bees and hummingbirds
meadow grandmother

I wasn’t sure whether to put this one in this episode or the one about flowers, deadline 9th September. I tell you why. Columbines, or as we call them here aquilegias are one of my favourite flowers. They are opening all around my little garden at the moment. I put this verse here, because they self seed like made and although they cost a small fortune to buy at the garden centre, if, like me, you wander around the looking for them you will find them growing in many public areas, like wildflowers. I was out on my bike yesterday looking to see if I could find any new varieties which I could return to when they are seeding, and help myself. Don’t worry I never take them from other people’s gardens, although my lovely aquilegias are happy to spread themselves across my neighbours gardens.

So I thought I would pop my verse in here, it seemed the right place, as Richard inspired it:

Patricia (Switzerland)

a Robin’s wing
scatters the columbine seeds—


Now I have to apologise to Cyrille Soliman. Last month I changed his gender, so convinced was I that he was female. Sorry Cyrille. I am glad you forgave me and continued to submit. Speaking of which here is his submission for us today:

Cyrille Soliman (France)

spring’s gentle, cold breathe
upon a vivid meadow
butterflies away

Patrick Stephens (France)

I have always been the weed
Invading someone’s garden
Laughing in the rain


Weeds, oh… not weed
Too bad he just smoked that joint
Gardens everywhere


Craig Kittner (US)

flower springs up –
I consult Google to see
if it’s a weed

Twitter @craigkittner

His book Time’s Sweet Savor

Many thanks to everyone for their work this week. It has been a pleasure reading them. As an added bonus it has made me much more aware of the beauty in the wild, so much so that I am setting aside part of what I laughingly call a lawn to allow the wildflowers and grasses to grow.

The next deadline for submissions is the 10th of June and the topic is “erotic”. If you haven’t submitted before, give it a go, you will be welcome. It’s very interesting to get a feel for the different interpretations of what erotic means. Keep the submissions flowing in, we will have a risqué affair.

Thank you for your company this week. and thank you to everyone who has so far emailed me with their take on the essence of haiku. If you haven’t listened to episode 9, head over, give it a listen and let me know what you think.

See you back here in two weeks until then… keep writing




** Denotes a new poet for the podcast

Series 2 Episode 10: Weeds or Wildflowers?

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