the scent of acacia
carries it through the evening . . .
© Margherita Petriccione (Italy)
The scent of acacia is sweet, and even candy-like. Acacia usually blossoms in early spring, and when one smells acacia, a sense of hope and renewal can be felt. Traditionally, this tree is found all over the world and especially in Australia. It has diverse mythological roots (playing an important role in both Egyptian and Judeo-Christian lore) and has been used as a source of medicine and incense. Acacia blossoms are also often associated with honor, resurrection, and immortality, and chaste or friendly affection.
The second line leaves a mystery for the reader—some suspense. The thought of the scent of acacia carrying something is intriguing in itself. The ellipsis is interesting in its use, as it shows the continuation of something being carried. The bright scent of acacia is contrasted by the evening and sets up the context for the third line.
The shrill sound of the train whistle is a sharp contrast with the scent of acacia. Train whistles can bring about many feelings: longing, nostalgia, a sense of distance, sadness, and more. With the mention of evening, I believe the train whistle represents more of a nostalgia or longing. What the nostalgia or longing is for is not presented in the haiku (which is good, as haiku writers like to leave mysteries for their readers), but one can guess that the poet misses someone deeply.
But by the scent of acacia carrying the train whistle (either physically through vibration, or metaphorically), there is a sense of renewal or even immortality of something or someone. This causes the haiku to be bittersweet in mood with the juxtaposition.
Looking at the haiku in terms of sound, the “s” sound runs through it strongly, which shows perhaps the wind and the scent of acacia passing because of it. Also, the “k” sound in “acacia” and “carries” brings more weight and starkness to the senses of the reader.
This haiku creates a poignant atmosphere that can be palpably felt. A sense of loss and renewal together, reading this haiku gives a real sense of life.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky