Posted in Haiku

Ken Sawitri’s Raincoat

abandoned village
her yellow raincoat jumps
in and out of silence

© Ken Sawitri (Indonesia)
Chrysanthemum 18, October 2015

This haiku brings us vivid imagery and mystery. The first line by itself is a powerful image that automatically leaves us wondering why the village was abandoned. The image of “her yellow raincoat jumps” adds another layer of mystery as to who “her” is in the haiku. Focusing on line two, I imagine a small raincoat rising and falling on the waves of a tsunami. The last line brings yet another layer of mystery and the dimension of sound. We don’t know what the other sounds are against the background of silence: perhaps only spurts of rain, the sound of waves, or perhaps distant explosions, or gusts of wind (or a combination of all of these). There is a haunting quality to this haiku. Each word supports the total effect, using descriptive imagery while the meaning, emotion(s), and interpretation is left to the reader. An excellent haiku.

– Jacob Salzer

To add to what Jacob has written, I enjoy the Zen in the state of probable chaos or despair. The yellow jacket and paying attention to it brings us into the moment. I like how this haiku shows detachment and the power of it.

But on the other hand, the image of the yellow raincoat can be quite emotional. It maybe is all that is left of her, the subject of the haiku, acting alive somewhat by jumping, either on wind, waves, or something else. It might make the witness of it cry and feel the true loss of the girl or woman who has either been lost or has died.

In terms of sound, the “i” sound features prominently, making the reading of it more stark and the intenseness of the situation more palpable. The “l” sound also gives a hand in creating a solemn mood.

The pacing of the words and the lines works well to convey the somber atmosphere. The more we as a readers take in this haiku, the more concern we have for the subject of it. I think ultimately this haiku opens our hearts and makes us concerned about the wellbeing of others, even strangers.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)



Meditator, writer, editor, musician.

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