lost in the sound
© Francesco Palladino
What I enjoy most about this haiku is that it has multiple interpretations, in multiple ways. You can read it as the autumn forest that is lost in the sound of footsteps, or the narrator lost in the sound of his or her own footsteps. Also, the word “lost” has many overtones. It could mean physically lost, emotionally lost, or being in an ecstatic spiritual state, i.e. lost in the music. This kind of openness in haiku is highly valued, as it gives readers more to ponder and to feel.
But with the word “autumn,” we can infer that the word “lost” is used more in a melancholic vein. And in this sense, I think the author is saying that with each step, the crunch of leaves and fallen material in the forest is being crushed under his feet—that sound brings up a sense of compassion. Not only has the dead or dying material fallen, it is now being crushed.
Though this is something that happens in our everyday life in autumn, we often do not consider the preciousness of life and how we treat it. Ancient cultures thought of animals and plants as brothers and sisters—and most of us, as modern people, have lost touch with this feeling and kinship. This haiku, in my mind, is a subtle calling for us to remember and reinstate that collective consciousness.
This haiku can also be simply about portraying that sadness that prevails during autumn. With dead and dying material being crushed under the foot of living beings, the sadness of the atmosphere increases. Sometimes a haiku is about delving into a feeling strongly, and experiencing it to its full extent. There is a saying that if you want to conquer pain, become one with it.
In terms of sound, the letter “o” plays a pivotal role. I believe it enhances the melancholy mood of the haiku and allows us to read the haiku at a slower pace, which in turn makes us more aware of the feeling behind the poem.
A display of compassion and pensive feelings, this haiku is effective in its simplicity and reference to autumn.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky