the root of the sky
© Lucia Fontana
Akitsu Quarterly, winter issue, 2016
What I enjoy most about this haiku is its connection to spirituality, or abstract thinking even though it is not directly stated. “Root of the sky” makes sense intuitively, though we have to think, as a reader, what that is exactly. The reader figuring that out, or searching for the meaning of it provides white space. White space is essential in haiku to supply depth and a larger quantity of interpretations.
White space also provides more chances for resonance. By having the two parts interact—the first line, and the last two lines—resonance is made in this haiku. Though the connection between “fog” and “so invisible” is clear, what is foggy is the meaning of “root” and how the two parts emotionally connect.
For me, when I read this haiku, I feel the writer is reflecting on the invisibility of a divine force or God. The emotional phrasing of this haiku gives me a reason to perceive it that way. If “so” was left out, the reading of the haiku would have been drastically different. Equally, “winter” has a mood of bitterness and suffering, and adds emotional content to the haiku. If it was taken away from the haiku, the reading of it would also change considerably.
But then again, the poet could be pondering the formation of the sky in physical terms, from the beginning of Earth’s existence. We are still not clear, scientifically, how Earth formed life.
In terms of sound, the letter “o” features most prominently: “fog,” “root,” and “so.” Sometimes as haiku writers, we forget how sound can carry or add meaning, like in other styles of poetry. In this haiku, the letter “o” gives a sense of pining for knowledge, in my view.
Also, the last line is five syllables, the same as the second line. Though the last line looks shorter, it carries as much content syllable-wise, and is in a sense, elongated. This gives readers the impression of a weighty line despite being short.
A great combination of resonance, white space, sound, and syllables, this haiku delivers much more than is seen.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky