Posted in Haiku

Lee Nash’s Mystery

my late night
mystery caller
Northern Lights

Joint winner, tinywords challenge, N° 17.1, March 2017

© Lee Nash (France)

This haiku is very pleasing. I wonder why the word “my” is used in line one. The Northern Lights are beautiful to look at. For me, it’s hard to determine the season, because the area where you can see the Northern lights are closer to the North Pole and you can have the pleasure to see them during six months of the year. Line two is strong—it is my favorite line in this haiku. I wonder if this would work better:

late night
my mystery caller—
Northern Lights

– Laughing Waters (Italy)

The Northern Lights may indicate the “aurora” that has many patterns and colors. The narrator could be a lonely person who is having a sleepless night or maybe he is an introvert who wants to explore more of her own self.

There could be a spiritual meaning behind this haiku, where the aurora can be related to aura, a sort of feeling that we have during meditation. The colors, sounds, and lights all can be experienced during meditation.

There can be a religious aspect as well, implying that the narrator prayed late at night and asked for forgiveness, peace, and serenity in her life.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

I like the twist. You think the mystery caller is a person, but it turns out to be the Northern Lights. He’s probably up late, unable to sleep, and catches the sight of her caller.

– Marilyn Ward (UK)

I agree with Marilyn—this is a very interesting juxtaposition. The poet has a late night mystery caller (line one and line two) which turns out to be the aurora borealis or Northern Lights. Here the poet might have stumbled upon, late at night, the spectacle that unfolds between April and September in a few selected places on Earth. Here, the poet sees a natural phenomenon that happens rarely—and immediately her attention becomes focused on one of the wonders of nature. Truly, if we just learn to be observant, nature has a lot to offer that would always keep us in awe.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

When we are in “love” with someone or with life, we see and hear every message in its finest moments on a daily basis. This senryu is quite romantic to me! This evening, “my late night” is very personal. It seems, my “mystery caller” is not one whom I do not know. I know him very well. It is what he will say once I pick up the telephone. That will be the surprise! Everything that occurs in our relationship or those who find love in a person or something is surreal! This is the beauty of finding what is worth living for. Those divine Northern Lights are breathtaking, magical, and it’s a delight to read.

– Cartier Luvit (traveler)

“Northern Lights ” is a very dramatic phrase. First, I was absorbed by this word. In the first line, the word “my” falls into the reader’s mind.

And this haiku’s structure is divided into three parts. Usually, this structure is avoided, but there are exceptional haiku with this structure in contemporary haiku in Japan. Some of them have no story, as if each line’s juxtaposition is a flash. “Cutting” guides the reader to reading haiku.

There are also some exceptional hokku with this structure from Basho. Here is my translation of one:

bindweeds have bloomed
I’ll peel a melon

This is a typical three-parts separate hokku.

– Norie Umeda (Japan)

I enjoy the ambiguity of this haiku. It seems to be suggesting two interpretations: that the mystery caller is the Northern Lights, and that her mystery caller brought up feelings within her akin to experiencing the Northern Lights.

In the first interpretation, there is a mystical undertone, as if nature is speaking to her directly. This conversation with nature could have been spontaneous, and therefore he calls it a “mystery.”

In the second interpretation, when someone we love or care for calls unexpectedly, a torrent of emotions and memories usually pulse through us. This experience can be said to be like the Northern Lights in their phenomenal display.

If we look at the sound of the haiku, the most prominent letter used is “l.” To me, the “l” sound gives a sense of awe and excitement, which in turn is closely related to the viewing of the Northern Lights.

I also enjoy the lack of punctuation, which adds more readings to it. The pacing of the haiku is unpretentious for such a grand display as the Northern Lights. I think this works well in its favor, as often poems are dampened when poets overstate and over-express.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.



Meditator, writer, editor, musician.

3 thoughts on “Lee Nash’s Mystery

  1. I love this senryu the way it is, as it allows so many different interpretations. ‘My late night’ can be read in several ways – to me it means the author had not gone to bed yet when the aurora appeared and could see the northern lights slip into the house through gaps between the curtains (this is how we often see them where we live)

    Liked by 1 person

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