Travelling the single line of haiku
Yanty’s Butterfly: Haiku Nook Anthology
ed. Jacob Salzer and the Nook Editorial Staff (2016)
Enjoy working out the different approaches, the tricks where nouns are verbs or vice versa or both, where meanings are like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, taking you down a rabbit hole far far away from a hot English Summer picnic of a day, or Dorothy’s Oz, where her silver shoes (the book) or ruby slippers (the movie) take you somewhere that is no longer Kansas.
The monoku starts powerfully already with its very first word, and then the second one makes me think someone is looking out, perhaps sadly. But the monoku keeps on giving word by word. We now have a window box, is it empty, full of dust and cobwebs? The next word says full, so I am already guessing it's not those two thoughts - yes, even a monoku is worth reading s-l-o-w-l-y in order to savour the meaning or meanings gradually. The penultimate word is 'of' and I still continue to be surprised it's not just flowers, but wild ones. Did the patient somehow collect them, or a relative, or a member of staff? What a glorious gift by whomever made such an effort, when it could have all so easily been shop-bought seeds or potted plants just 'plonked' into the window box.
The power of the poetic line shines through the monoku:
hospice window box full of wildflowers
And would be somewhat diluted through line breaks:
window box full
green meadow the mother chases bare feet baby
Srinivasa Rao Sambangi
This monoku has a delightful movement throughout, and in its many parts. It's stunningly brilliant, and it shouldn't work, as you could say 'why not' this phrasing instead:
a bare foot baby
bare feet babies
But tuck into those words and phrasing, get in between them, and have fun understanding why it gloriously works.
The more I read the poem the more layers, from a partner who might have left to get something practical, but missed a particular sighting, a moment that will have to be let go. Or something about letting go of childhood, and do we really have to let go of everything?
a church steeple harpoons the moon forced childbirth
Second Place, Fourth Annual Senryu Contest, Sonic Boom
scorched earth not a blade in sight
This could be read in so many ways, which can be a strength in haiku as it becomes more inclusive, allowing different readers to have their own valid thoughts about a poem.
Is this about our entire planet (Earth) which is experiencing extreme weather conditions, or about one specific area, one plot of land?
Having lived in Australia, in Queensland, this verse could be about back burning by agricultural practice to rejuvenate the land, or a fire protective measure: Or carelessness or arson.
But with 'not a blade in sight' is this about farming equipment, or as the author lives in Britain, is about the time when the island was at constant war with itself, or with invading countries? During the Medieval Ages, off and on for decades, there seemed to be constant warfare, and when not tearing up the land in battle or slaughter, with sword, spear, arrow, other bladed weapons, there was a scorched earth policy, a trick learnt from the Romans, and those before them.
Scorched earth practice:
I didn't know of the author's intent, although she has affirmed this was her reasons for writing this verse, only that for me there is a chilling pun that there are no blades of grass, and also no blade type weapons, as the destruction to land and people has been fully accomplished.
An excellent monoku: “snow on the sun” is unique as I don’t think people would normally think of it that way, and “navigating childhoods” leaves plenty of room for the reader to participate. There is a balance of concrete and abstract in this one-line haiku.