Deborah A. Bennett’s Linden Trees

cars passing all day 
in between 
the silence of linden trees 

Deborah A. Bennett (USA)
(published previously in Wales Haiku Journal, Spring 2022)


The stark comparison between cars and the linden trees in this haiku is a humble reminder of just how loud and fast-paced human life can be. Without notice, trees quietly and efficiently provide oxygen, store carbon, clean the air, and cool down city temperatures with their shade. I see trees as spiritual giants and their resilience is well-portrayed in this haiku. Trees were here long before humans and they do their work, regardless of human beings polluting the Earth on a daily basis. Ultimately, all human beings come and go, but the regenerative power of trees and forests can stand the test of time and has proven to regenerate, even after nuclear power plant disasters and cataclysmic events. This is partly due to the vast mycelium networks underground. Mycelium are master decomposers; they create more depth and nutrient-rich soil, but they also communicate and connect trees and plants in infinitely complex ways that we as humans cannot fathom. 

On the note of interconnectedness, perhaps this haiku can also inspire more people to use alternative ways of transportation that result in less pollution. We are physically made of elements from the Earth. If we see ourselves as not separate from the Earth as isolated individuals, but rather as spiritual beings who are intimately and deeply connected with the Earth and the Great Mystery, then I think more of us will naturally choose to be more mindful and lead better, more meaningful lives.

In short, this is an important haiku that juxtaposes fast-paced human life with the resilient power of Mother Earth and trees. A powerful haiku.

Jacob D. Salzer

Cars passing all day may be symbolic of the rush in our daily lives that revolves around materialism where one is involved in earning money, making a career, and living up to the expectations of the modern fast-paced life. I also see how these cars passing can be linked with pollution. With more carbon emissions and polluted air, we are running after a materialistic life. I can also see how vehicles are defining our social statuses and our routines. This mechanic life where distances become shorter to destinations creates vacuums internally in terms of health, lifestyles, and relationships.

The second line ‘in between’ demonstrates how miserable this life can be. The silence of linden trees might symbolize how we have muted nature, birdsong, and wind, and brought a pause to the natural cycle which is destructive in many ways. The linden tree is a remedial tree that is good for coughs and colds. We have not only destroyed the growth of trees but also ruined the healing process that usually comes from nature. Noise and air pollution have clogged our minds. Sometimes we cannot enjoy the nature around us or see how deeply it has affected us. The destructive aspects of nature can surprise us, as we are not fully attuned to it. So, our real success or progress is not our fast-paced life or technology that facilitates us, but the nature that keeps us moving on naturally and simply. It inspires us to focus more on our genuineness and real potential.

To me, this haiku is about the balance between nature and nurture, which is significant for a healthy and peaceful life.

Hifsa Ashraf

I like how this haiku can be read in various ways due to the pivot in the second line. It can be read as one flowing phrase, or as “cars passing all day” (full stop) and then “in between” (pause) “the silence of linden trees.” Additionally, it can be read as “cars passing all day in between” and then “the silence of linden trees” as a juxtaposition. This allows for multiple interpretations.

With the “silence of linden trees,” I believe this haiku might be placed in autumn. Without leaves, the trees don’t make a sound. The poet could also be speaking of the internal quiet of a tree or that it never speaks.

With a lack of punctuation, the pivot line can work its magic. A lot of haiku use punctuation in place of a kireji, or “cutting word.” However, in this haiku, the lack of punctuation seems to be a benefit.

The length of the lines is not standard for English-language haiku. Usually, it is a short first line, a longer second line, and a short third line. The poet could have placed the current first line as the third line, but that would do away with the power of the pivot in the original version:

in between 
the silence of linden trees 
cars passing all day 

It seems the poet is not so interested in following the standard format and writes haiku organically. This is commonly a sign of expertise.

Sonically, the L sounds carried throughout create a sense of softness. This reflects the silence well. The assonance of the A and E sounds also makes for a mellow reading.

With a combination of a meditative and melancholic feeling, this haiku brings us into a new state of mind that is once relatable and unfamiliar.

Nicholas Klacsanzky

Painting by Philipp Franck, Avenue of Linden Trees

Cristina Rascón’s pueblo remains

peregrine falcons
rising into the blue . . .
pueblo remains

in Spanish:

halcones peregrinos
se elevan hacia el azul . . .
restos de pueblo

Cristina Rascón (Mexico)
(first published in Spanish in the Mexican journal Taller Igitur as a part of a rengay with Michael Dylan Welch called Bandelier)


One of the main reasons I am attracted to this haiku is the focus on the term “pueblo.” The term can refer to both “a North American Indian settlement of the southwestern US, especially one consisting of multistoried adobe houses built by the Pueblo people” and “a member of any of various North American peoples, including the Hopi, occupying pueblo settlements chiefly in New Mexico and Arizona. Their prehistoric period is known as the Anasazi culture” (Oxford dictionary). So, this haiku may be speaking of recent remains or ancient ones.

In the context of the rengay the haiku is in, the content could be directly about the Bandelier National Monument. As Wikipedia says, “The monument preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloans of a later era in the Southwest. Most of the pueblo structures date to two eras, dating between 1150 and 1600 AD.” Also, this haiku is the last link in the rengay, giving it a poignant finality. In each of the links, birds are mentioned. It is a fine choice to end with such a majestic and grand bird as a peregrine falcon. The preceding link by Michael Dylan Welch is:

a canyon wren
in the pinyon pine

The sound of “pine” from Welch’s link and “remains” from Rascón’s link matches well. The “o” sounds in each link also connect superbly. I also like the lift from the ground (pinyon pine) to the sky (into the blue).

This haiku might also be speaking to remains not only of buildings but also of human bones. According to the Kansas Historical Society’s Migration Magazine, “Many Pueblo peoples were forced to become servants in Spanish homes. Sometimes the Spaniards would cut off one foot of young adult males as a way to control them. The Spanish priests tried to convert the Pueblo peoples to Christianity. They pressured the Pueblo Indians by hanging, whipping, or putting them in prison.” I believe this haiku is speaking about the bleak past of these peoples and the rise of peregrine falcons into the blue sky is a symbol of nature reclaiming the lands. There might be an element of forgiveness or acceptance in this imagery.

I imagine the falcons rising from the remains themselves, akin to a lotus rising from the mud. Europeans have stained the history of these peoples, yet they endure. This haiku bravely provides optimism and beauty in the face of tragedy.

Nicholas Klacsanzky

A peregrine falcon is one of the fastest birds in the world. They hunt small mammals, reptiles, and insects. Symbolically, it has connotations with religion and prestige. I can see how this particular bird could be used to highlight dire situations in countries where there is starvation, war, or some kind of destruction.

I see it more from the perspective of war as peregrine falcons might allude to wrongdoings or a societal crisis due to conflicts and rage. “Rising into the blue” gives me a feeling of danger for people who believe in symbolism or have faith in archaic symbolic meanings and may prepare for the worst. But in this situation, it seems nothing has happened as such. The peregrine falcons rising into the blue may indicate the blue sky or a depressive situation where damage has been done. It shows how we as a society don’t give importance to nature’s sentiments.

In addition, I see the historic element in this haiku as the poet may be referring to something that happened in the past or maybe, a kind of folklore or a fable that revolves around the power and influence of falcons. These falcons could metaphorically depict the power of a clan, a tribe, a political party, or activists who use to influence or rein over the village with autocratic power. “Pueblo remains” is used perhaps to show how historical remains provide lessons to focus on what went wrong in the past and learn something from them—especially in the current era where every country is ready to begin a war without considering the destructive aftermath that may linger for many years and affects many generations.

In terms of punctuation, the ellipsis in the second line lets us imagine the tyranny of the political or societal powers that bring depression and destruction.

Hifsa Ashraf

The peregrine falcons rising into the blue could represent the spirits of the Pueblo people who have passed away and have escaped this world. Thus, this haiku could speak of a spiritual transition into the afterlife.

The rhythm of this haiku has a natural pace that is easy to read or say out loud. The “p” sounds start the first and third lines, which seems to add an echo and more gravity in the poem. Visually, the last line is buried beneath the first two lines, which also is a kind of portal into the remains of Pueblo ancestors whose generations span thousands of years. 

According to one website: “The Pueblo Indians, situated in the Southwestern United States, are one of the oldest cultures in the nation. Their name is Spanish for “stone masonry village dweller.” They are believed to be the descendants of three major cultures, including the MogollonHohokam, and Ancient Puebloans (Anasazi), with their history tracing back for some 7,000 years” (Pueblo Indians – Oldest Culture in the U.S. – Legends of America).

The word peregrine has Latin roots, which adds yet another dimension to the historical meaning of this haiku. 
According to “The peregrine falcon is one of nature’s swiftest and most beautiful birds of prey. Its name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, meaning “foreigner” or “traveler.” This impressive bird has long been noted for its speed, grace, and aerial skills. Now, it is also a symbol of America’s recovering threatened and endangered species” (Peregrine Falcon (U.S. National Park Service)).

Thankfully, this symbolism of hope is based on efficient action that was taken to remove the peregrine falcon from the endangered species list in 1999: “Many people are aware of the population declines of this species due to problems with egg-shell thinning caused by persistent organic pollutants such as DDT. Populations of this species were driven to the brink of extinction and the peregrine falcon was federally listed as an endangered species in 1973. Reducing DDT in our environment provided peregrine falcons with a chance to recover and the population in Alaska has grown rapidly from 1980 to the present. The American peregrine falcon was removed from the endangered species list in 1999” (Peregrine Falcon (U.S. National Park Service)).

The ellipsis in this haiku acts as the break or kireji and provides a pause before the third line. For me, the ellipsis adds mystery as to where the peregrine falcons go and where our spirits go after death into the Great Mystery. 

The poet chose to write pueblo in lowercase. Perhaps this signifies how the pueblo people are deeply unified with their environment versus seeing themselves as ‘above’ the Earth or as conquerors. 

An important haiku with deep historical and spiritual meaning. 

Jacob D. Salzer

“Peregrine Falcon I,” painting, watercolor on paper, by Anisha Heble

Kala Ramesh’s notes

notes trickle
down a riverbed of sand …
the memory of water

Kala Ramesh (India)
 (Highly Commended, Santoka International Haiku and Haiga Contest)


This is one of my favourite haiku. It is well crafted with all the necessary flavours of a great haiku that touches all the senses. I loved the way Kala used personification or a hint of surrealism, which lets our minds wander through this imagery and dig deeper into the theme of this haiku.

‘Notes trickle’ is rhythmic and musical to my ears. While reading, I paused for a moment and enjoyed the subtle and soothing sound of water. We all hear the sound of water daily but only a few of us truly listen to it and enjoy the sense of here and now where nothing else matters. It takes us further to the unseen part of this haiku where ‘trickle down’ allows the sound, message, or piece of music to be absorbed into the memory of a riverbed. This is how a haiku connects us to what is ‘beyond seeing’.

A riverbed of sand is the abode of many tiny creatures. It seems its water sings a song or a lullaby for the dwellers of the riverbed. It’s the sound of water that subtly captures the pulse of wind, rain, sunlight, moonlight, or the environment and transforms it into something that only active listeners can feel and hear.

The memory of water could mean a sort of live recording of the true essence of life, where even harsh weather or climate change can’t stop water from singing its songs. There is a lesson here for all of us to see how powerful the language of music is, which nature speaks every day to inspire us to sing along or at least appreciate. It’s a true blessing. Nature never ceases to connect with us through the language of its sound. With memories, we have sound, and it is important to recall the most positive of memories to transform our lives.

I can’t ignore the mystical or meditative side of this haiku. To me, it’s about mindfully focusing and observing every single moment of nature. This helps us to be crystal clear in our thoughts and soothe our minds with music—the most powerful language. If I were there, I would be like a whirling dervish who enjoys every single beat of water and synchronizes my feelings and thoughts with it to show the wholeness of the universe.

Hifsa Ashraf

I appreciate how the first line of the haiku focuses on the sound of water, without saying water outright. The water could be rain, or it could be the slow resurgence of a river that was dried up during a drought. This haiku may be depicting challenges due to climate change or perhaps depict a scene in a desert. If this is a drought and/or in a desert, I feel a sense of desolation and a stark sadness at the sheer lack of water. However, the verb “trickle” has a gentle and natural quality that brings me hope and eases the mind. The first line also leaves room to imagine notes from a musical instrument or perhaps we can hear notes from a bird singing. Even though this is a more abstract interpretation, I appreciate how the musical notes can synchronize with the water’s sound in my mind’s eye.

The second line focuses on the bottom of a river, which we often don’t see, either because of the river’s depth or, unfortunately, due to water pollution. In this haiku, the sand made me visualize a riverbed by the ocean. The riverbed provides a channel for the rain to flow into the sea. As a river loses its shape and merges into the sea, similarly, it seems the individual soul (Jiva) is ultimately on a quest to reunite with universal Divinity (Shiva). 

If this riverbed of sand is in a tropical forest by the ocean, I appreciate how the water in this haiku merges and dissolves into the sand and the unseen depths of the Earth, into unseen roots and fungi networks. There is an infinitely complex matrix that unites a forest and life underground that is nourished and powered by water. Here are two excellent interviews on this subject published in The Sun magazine: Hidden Worlds | By Mark Leviton | Issue 545 | The Sun Magazine and Going Underground | By Derrick Jensen | Issue 386 | The Sun Magazine.

The last line of this haiku has profound depth and universal power. All of life on Earth depends on water. Through the lens of biochemistry, our human bodies are 60-75% water. A person can survive one month without food but wouldn’t survive three days without water (Biological Roles of Water: Why is water necessary for life? – Science in the News). Unfortunately, over 600+ million people on this Earth don’t have access to clean water (Clean Water – Our World in Data). Focusing on the memory of water seems to relate to how water can change forms and disappear throughout eons of time, whether that’s mist evaporating or rain soaking into the Earth. Approximately 71% of the Earth is covered in water. According to one article, “Research funding partly by NASA has confirmed the existence of liquid water on the Earth’s surface more than 4 billion years ago” (NASA – NASA Scientist Confirm Liquid Water on Early Earth). With this in mind, the memory of water reaches far into the ancient past, into the history and birth of this Earth. At the same time, the memory of water in this haiku expresses just how precious and vital it is for our future. 

A powerful haiku with musical overtones that revers and honors the miracle of water.

— Jacob D. Salzer

When I read this haiku, I saw two interpretations: the wind running through a dry riverbed and creating sounds similar to the trickling of water. The second interpretation was that the poet saw the riverbed of sand and projected the music of water onto the scene. This is quite interesting because it illustrates that through our memories, what we perceive is often filtered by our past. It brings a sense of sadness that the only music we hear from the riverbed is from our minds. But on the other hand, it can be positive because it means we can hear beauty through memory even when nature is desolate.

In looking at the pacing of the haiku, we have the standard English-language haiku format of a short first line, a longer second line, and a short last line. This pacing approximately matches the traditional rhythm of Japanese haiku.

The kigo or seasonal reference for this haiku is probably summer due to the dryness of the river. However, the poet resides in India, which has six seasons. It may be in summer (Grishma Ritu), but I am not so knowledgeable about India’s seasons. This haiku might be telling us that even in harsh conditions, our memories can sustain us.

The kire or cut in the haiku happens in the second line with a grammatical shift made in the third line. The poet employed an ellipsis as an approximation of kireji or “cutting word.” The ellipsis seems to show the music being played in the poet’s mind or through the wind. It also symbolizes the continuation of the water’s music being heard despite the dry riverbed.

Since this haiku is about music, it can be expected that the poet has weaved sonic elements into it. The Os, Ts, and Ds stand out the most to me. This creates an interplay of soft and hard sounds, and perhaps this lends to the feeling of the poem being both melancholy and optimistic. When I read the haiku aloud, I hear the softness of the water’s trickle.

Overall, this haiku is a fine example of layered moods and imagery, with musicality in its content and its reading.

Nicholas Klacsanzky

Since Kala Ramesh is also a Hindustani classical singer, instead of artwork, here is a video of Hindustani classical music in Raag Puriya Dhanashree sung by Begum Parveen Sultana. I believe it encapsulates the mood of her haiku: