the sound of a knife
cutting carrots . . .
Acorn, Issue #38, Spring 2017
© Andrea Cecon (Italy)
This is a great instance when a haiku says something without saying it. Instead of writing, “A cold morning is like the sound of cutting a carrot,” the two parts are put side by side to suggest it. This opacity is the biggest difference between lyrical poetry and haiku, in my opinion.
Is there a meaning behind this comparison? Well, it shows several things to me: 1) that death or mutilation (of the carrot) happens even the morning, when everything is supposed to be peaceful 2) that our present actions have a direct correlation to our surroundings 3) and that possibly nature feels compassion for the carrot. I am sure readers can come up with other ideas as well.
But beyond seeing interpretations, there is also tone. While reading the poem out loud, you can feel the melancholy, especially associated with winter (“cold morning” suggests it). The poet has succeeded in giving us the same emotion he felt while writing the haiku, which is no small feat. That is one of the main goals of poetry: to hand off one’s experience to others.
In line with tone is the sound of the haiku. In the first line, the letter “n” gives the impression of cutting, and then in the last two lines, the letter “c” supplies the sound of chopping the carrots. The ellipsis shows that the chopping goes on for a while and that the cold morning is dragging on.
This haiku captures a moment and feeling distinctly, without any barriers for the reader. It reminds me of what Basho said: “The style I have in mind these days is a light one, one that gives the impression of looking at a shallow river with a sandy bed.”
– Nicholas Klacsanzky