the morning after the flood
© Irene Riz
It is not common to write in 5-7-5 syllables in modern English haiku, as we have gone to the short line-longer line-short line format that lends more to the English language. However, this haiku works great as a 5-7-5 syllable haiku.
(If you want to read more about why we don’t write in 5-7-5 syllables in English haiku often, please read this essay by Michael Dylan Welch: http://www.graceguts.com/essays/go-shichi-go-how-japanese-and-english-syllables-differ)
We start with a classical topic: a flower. A blooming hibiscus is especially beautiful. It has rich colors, a striking anther, and elegant overlapping petals.
Then, with line two, we go onto something striking: a tragedy. Making turns like this in haiku is normal if you want to surprise and engage readers.
In the third line, we have a consequence of the flood: through the circumstances, the main person in focus accepts someone’s excuse in light of the danger and maybe a change of mind.
I like how the flood relates to the blossoming hibiscus. You can say that hibiscuses “flood” our eyes with color and beauty, and through them, we can become more soft-hearted, and maybe change our minds about someone’s flaws or our own.
The sound of “o” courses through the first two lines with “blooming,” “morning,” and “flood.” I think this sound creates the effect of the flood water continuing and slows us down as readers to take in the weight of the situation.
At the heart of haiku is compassion, I believe, and seeing each living thing as a blessing in disguise. This haiku reveals the interweaving of nature and humanity, where nature makes us see the heart of each other, past our mistakes. We might say that in the end, forgiveness can save us from inhumanity.