Posted in Haiku

Olivier Schopfer’s Fireflies

after our argument
on the way home

© Olivier Schopfer (Switzerland)

(Polish International Haiku Competition 2014, commended haiku, & Under the Basho : Personal Best 2015)

The first line brings about something common in our lives: arguments. But you know what they say: we fight with the ones we love. Anyways, if haiku are grounded in everyday experiences, it is a plus. One of the worst things a haiku writer can do is be too abstract, grand, or flowery.

I like how the second line stands on its own with one word. Also, the format makes it even more stark and emphasized, being a short line between two longer lines. It also creates a pivot to the third line, and we as readers expect a surprise.

With the third line, I get a visual of a couple walking down an evening street and fireflies surrounding them. The couple is not saying a word, as they are bitter after their argument. However, the fireflies provide either a comforting light, a romantic atmosphere, or an extra light for each partner to look at each other after their argument and maybe assess their state. Either way you look at it, the fireflies, whether they know it or not, are showing a sign of compassion. It is a paradox: though animals may not know they are harbingers of compassion, sincerity, and love, they often are. They frequently are mirrors for ourselves, so that we look at life with a renewed sense of positivity.

The openness of interpretation with the presence of fireflies I think is the key to this haiku. It gives so much to the imagery and stories readers could create in their minds. It sets several moods at the same time, making this a diverse haiku, despite it seeming simple at first glance.

In terms of sound, it seems “a” features the strongest in “after,” “argument,” and “way.” You can say the “a” is bright like the fireflies when we recite the haiku out loud and adds to the seemingly positive mood of the haiku, despite its first line.

Olivier used the right amount of words and right pacing of the lines to create an emotional, stark haiku. I think “fireflies” are an appropriate seasonal reference (for all seasons) for a haiku that has all types of emotions resonating within it.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)



Meditator, writer, editor, musician.

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