telling the walls
all my secrets
Chrysanthemum, Issue 21, April, 2016
© Christina Sng (Singapore)
This haiku charges the reader’s imagination with many ideas and images. The scene in which the haiku takes places implies that the poet feels lonely or is alone, or that she feels the people around her are not able to truly listen to her.
Winter nights are often times to introspect about one’s life and also to be together with family. However, in this haiku, the poet shows that perhaps she does not have her family around, and takes the walls as her sounding board to express her emotional weight.
Without using personification, the poet shows it. The walls become animate in the reader’s mind, as if they are capable of listening to the poet’s secrets, and possibly comfort her. The chill of a winter night might represent the coldness of the walls, in that they do not respond to her as a human would. But, they seem to be all she has at the moment. However, maybe the mere speaking of the secrets out loud helped the poet overcome some issues she was having.
There is a common question: “What if the walls could listen?” In this haiku, the poet does not ask this question, but puts it to the test. In evaluating the mood of the haiku, it seems the act was not successful, and the poet went deeper into her melancholy.
The sound in the haiku adds much to its mood. The “w” sounds in “winter” and “walls” accentuate the cold environment, in both weather and the temperament of the walls. The letter “t” also features strongly, with it being within five words. Besides giving the haiku a more musical sound, it lends to the power of a secret.
A haiku about loneliness, and about the relationship between the animate and inanimate, it leaves reader’s with an impression that is at once relatable and distant.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky