Posted in Haiku

Ramesh Anand’s Shelves

spring cleaning
the shelves
of boxed grudges

Modern Haiku, 47.1., 2016

© Ramesh Anand (India)

The first two lines seem ordinary, but the third line brings depth and layers. What are “boxed grudges” exactly? You can’t see a grudge physically… not quite exactly. But objects can carry emotional value.

Maybe the poet has an old friend or family member that he used to be close to, but their differences became too much, and they became enemies or their relationship got strained. The box could be filled with objects used by this person, or by the poet at the time he was close to this person, or even that specific objects remind the poet of that person.

So, the poet is cleaning in spring, as is tradition, and happens upon this box. When the poet looks at it, the memories of that relationship pour into his mind. He might reassess the relationship and forgive the person he has a grudge with, or he will resume the grudge. But by the tone of the first line, I think the poet is reassessing his feelings, and may be considering forgiveness. Spring is a time of flowering, and maybe their relationship will flower again, like a cycle of seasons has passed and spring has been revived.

I like the structure of the haiku. The lines are set appropriately to give the greatest surprise and lets the readers come to heaviest part at the end. If the haiku was written as:

the shelves
of boxed grudges
spring cleaning

…it would have less impact. I also enjoy the sound of the haiku. The letter “s” leads us to imagine the sound of a box being opened, or the sound of a broom. There is also a pleasant tone made by the “l” sound in “cleaning” and “shelves.”

But perhaps the most interesting thing about this haiku is the poet’s liberal use of metaphor. In haiku, we usually imply metaphor, not state them exactly. However, if used tastefully and naturally, metaphors such as “boxed grudges” can create greater feeling and meaning. The naturalness of the metaphor in this haiku shows that the poet is mature, and knows when to break the “rules” of haiku.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)



Meditator, writer, editor, musician.

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