after Memorial Day
back in a drawer
© Elisa Allo (Switzerland)
(first appeared in The Mainichi May 31, 2017 and Otata, May 17, 2017)
I would say this is a senryu rather than a haiku, as it does not have any seasonal reference (though sometimes haiku does not contain a seasonal reference), and it takes a jab at human behavior.
This is most likely a senryu about The Diary of Anne Frank, and how we forget its meaning, and the victims of war in general, the day after Memorial Day. One famous quote from the book that may slip our mind is, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
This senryu to me points to a fact of human nature: though we know what is true and essential, we relegate it to something insubstantial, because we would rather concern ourselves with the easier thoughts and actions to digest, such as mindless entertainment, and the routine of life. To be concerned and sympathetic each day is difficult, as we mostly put our attention on the mundane. This senryu is a reminder that we should keep compassion and higher thinking integrated in our lives.
On a more technical note, the sound of the poem is populated with strong “d” sounds in “Day,” “Diary,” and “drawer.” It is akin to the sounding of the drums of war.
The phrasing is succinct, and the lack of punctuation works well to let the words come as they are, without adding over-emphasis.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky
Here is additional commentary from members of Haiku Nook, a group of haiku poets on Google Plus:
After reading it, in a broad sense, I’m sorry that the victims might be forgotten on Memorial Day and in the writer’s personal meaning, she might be touched by Anne’s Diary after Memorial Day. So, I think of Anne’s Diary as a symbol for victims.
– Rika Inami
This evokes a few scenarios. Is Anne a relative (wife, mother, sister, daughter?), an old lover, could it be Anne Frank? Could be any of these, and more. I’m thinking it is the The Diary of Anne Frank, and how we tend to put our memories away for awhile, take them out now and then, peruse them, put them away.
– Dana Grover
Anne Frank was the instant go-to for me, she being the only person named Anne whose diary I have ever read. It is difficult to imagine other readings of this piece, except for the possibility of highly personal ones.
Philosophically, I think Anne Frank barely breaks the surface of the modern consciousness. It might be more accurate to revise it:
Memorial Day –
Anne’s diary unmoved
from its drawer
– Eric Lohman
I thought of Anne Frank also. I guess it’s just an automatic connection?
– Edwin Lomere
Yes, how we tend to forget important people and events as time passes. This haiku creates a feeling of being human—that we forget bigger things, because at times we are so engrossed with our own personal affairs. So sad because those bigger things are also important, if not, more important to us as thinking human beings.
– Willie Bongcaron
What do you think or feel about this haiku?