Background on the Poet
Rajna Begović was born in Skopje, Macedonia on the 4th of October, 1939. She worked as a physician. Rajna was a member of the Haiku Society of Serbia and Montenegro, and her work has been included in a number of haiku collections, journals, and anthologies. She was the recipient of many national and international awards for haiku, waka, and haibun. Rajna proved to be a very talented and sensitive poet, choosing words carefully to express her feelings, her opinions, and the ever-present connection with nature in our daily life. She also wrote aphorisms, short stories, and classical poems. She lived in Belgrade, Serbia. Sadly, Rajna died on the 15th of August, 2011.
[Adapted from The Living Haiku Anthology]
A yellow leaf flies in
through the open door
of an ambulance
Žuti list ulete
kroz otvorena vrata
(Second Place, Ito en, 2006)
This is one of those haiku that you feel and figure out immediately, but can have a lasting impact on you. As if begging to be cured from its maladies, the yellow leaf “seeks” help from humans by flying into an ambulance’s open door. However, the leaf got there from the wind, not by its personal intentions.
But this trick of the mind is important in haiku. By personifying the leaf, without stating it directly, we as readers open our hearts to the leaf, and in consequence to nature in autumn.
Although the leaf does not have personal will and consciousness to help itself, we should not be blind to the suffering of it. I believe this haiku calls for readers to keep their hearts open—even to something we may sweep up as a chore.
Also, the yellow leaf is in a sense a metaphor for the ambulance: usually yellow, contains suffering, and is being whisked away (in the leaf’s case, by the wind).
Sonically, the strongest sound running through the haiku is the “o” sound. I believe this sound provides the sense of motion of the leaf as if goes into the ambulance.
And like many fine haiku, there is a surprise ending, or something to catch us off guard to bring us into a different state of consciousness.
A great example of compassion in haiku, the physician Rajna Begović showed her work environment through a special lens.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky