Haiku about “dust”

Haiku Commentary had a prompt challenge on Twitter that revolved around the theme of “dust.” Here are our favorite submissions and commentary on them. 

rising dust . . .
the old argument
resettled

— Marion Clarke (Ireland)

The opening line of this haiku alludes to the visibility, progress, and movement of something very intangible and subtle. ‘Dust’ may reflect resilience, hope, positivity, strength, or life. When a person moves on in life with all these characteristics, they find it easier to understand certain realities of life and their underlying meanings.

When we look back into the past, old arguments look vague and meaningless. We hold fast to our points of view over the years and ruin relationships because our state of mind doesn’t accept them or see through them for a better reflection of the causes of those arguments.

The resettling of arguments means a new perspective on past disagreements or the reasons behind those arguments that bring more understanding of life.

— Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Haiku often showcase two slices of life that contrast in a unique and meaningful way. Here we have the action of rising and resettling juxtaposed, written in a way that can be taken both mundanely and metaphorically.  We can easily imagine by reading this haiku that an argument has settled on an imaginary ground and dust rising from its impact of touching the earth.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)


my childhood memories
a cloud
of chalk dust

— Paul David Mena (USA)

Childhood memories always remain with us no matter how old we are or how hard it is to get through our lives. We always cherish those memories no matter how bittersweet they are. Those flashbacks of the past look like a cloud of chalk dust that we enjoy for a moment and then get back to our routine lives. This also means that vivid memories are fading away either due to life experiences of both childhood or present or due to ageing. In any case, if words have been erased, only chalk dust remains for a short while. A cloud also shows fading memories or forgetting, where a person loses the details of childhood memories and has only short glimpses of their childhood.

The word ‘my’ depicts the personal experiences of the poet where he finds it hard to remember those memories. The letter ‘c’ in this haiku displays the half circle of those memories that result in mere images or glimpses from childhood without having any significant details.

— Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

I have written plenty of haiku on childhood memories and can say that it is quite difficult to do so. Mena has composed one with power and brevity in a seemingly effortless fashion (the trick is to make it look effortless when it is not). “Chalk dust” has many implications, as it pertains to education, writing, purity, innocence, and possibly more.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)


dust on your photos
the last fragments of you
that remain

— Shane Pruett (USA)

While the poet is looking at photos of a beloved of his, there remain parts of this person that are still technically alive on the pictures: the individual’s dust. This brings about an extra layer of sadness because even though a part of this person is still with the poet, it is a part that is non sentient and cannot interact with him. This haiku might reflect the Japanese aesthetic of mono no aware (物の哀れ), which is about the pathos and transience of things, and that sometimes brings about beauty in melancholy.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

There are certain memories in life that we want to forget but cannot as they leave deep imprints on our minds and hearts. But still, time is considered as the best healer. So, the memories of loved ones remain as mere dust.

Specks of dust on photos, metaphorical flashbacks, or vivid memories are fading away or not getting the importance they deserve. This may be due to a change in priorities or other perspectives of life or ageing when someone cannot remember certain things of the past or ignore them.

In this haiku, ‘last fragments’ show the loosening of memories that the narrator once held dear. These fragments are dust, which also shows the annihilation of memories.
Ultimately, this haiku speaks about the transformation of a relationship from a tangible personal touch to the intangible thoughts and memories that later fizzle out in the dust of time.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)


an attic window sill
a wasp curls
into its own dust

— Alan Summers (England)
Haiku of Merit: Ginko & Kukai event with Professor Hoshino Tsunehiko (1997)
Pub. Yomiuri Shimbun Go-Shichi-Go On-Line Language Lab (Japan, 2005)

An attic window sill is a place where many creatures yearn for their dreams and rest for a moment or two and then fly away. An attic window may be a reflection of memories where a person finds themselves close to their inner self and feel protected.

The analogy of a wasp who curls into its dust may indicate the protection that we acquire after time. When we relate this to human life, our experiences reshape our potential and abilities where we can transcend and transform with time. The connection between ‘attic’ and ‘dust’ shows the stages of maturity that we gain phase by phase and eventually gain the maturity level where the outcomes of those experiences become our strength and protect us from an unseen future. ‘Dust’ may also reflect the annihilation where a person bends down due to either ageing or the brunt of the past that they bury under the dust of time or death.

The articles ‘an’ and ‘a’ project the individual experiences of a person that are more subtle but profound. The letter ‘w’, I feel, gives a sense of the ups and downs in life that reshape our intellect and bring ultimate maturity until death.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

To me, the act of the wasp curling into its own dust is representative of an attic itself: self-contained, enclosed, and a place of possible loneliness. The wasp being at the windowsill adds more to the pathos of this haiku, as it indicates that the wasp wished to leave the stuffy attic for its free life outside. It brings into question humanity’s relationship with nature and makes us think about how we can live in more synchronicity with the natural world.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

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— “Dust Haze” by Steffie Wallace