John Stevenson’s Deep Gorge

a deep gorge . . .
some of the silence
is me

© John Stevenson (USA)
Editor of The Heron’s Nest and author of Quiet Enough

Lovely visual of standing in awe. This is my first impression.

– Robert Gillette (USA)

Excellent juxtaposition… the implication is immediate!

– Gabri Rigotti (South Africa)

The first impression may be some unspoken words and some untold stories. The person still couldn’t find the right words to express his personal feelings, so it is representative of what he longs for or dreams of.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

This haiku lets me be right in the center of it. I feel it and I think we can feel “silence.”

Also, it lets me look at it from another direction: there is a gorge of silence within me. So, the two images resonate. This one is special!

– Edwin Lomere (USA)

Mmm…deep gorge i.e. deep cut or crevasse in one’s heart or soul…or one’s faith in something or somebody… the silence as in no perceivable response to such pain… or the “silence is me” suggesting such a chasm of disappointment or pain or loss that one cannot imagine how to respond… just going with the flow here….

– Steve Woodall (USA)

Silence is zero and zero is silence—all creations are possible only in silence!

– Manoj Sharma (Nepal)

Much about the content has been pointed out, so I would like to add some ideas about the sound of the haiku. It seems that letters “o” and “e” are the most important sounds in this poem. With the “o” sounds, you can feel the depth of the gorge more. Furthermore, with the “e” sounds, I believe it lends also to sensing the depth of the gorge, and also to the act of introspection that the haiku details and that the reader acts upon in interpreting/feeling this haiku. What is also interesting is the consonance of “sound” and “silence,” making the third line have a more intuitive meaning through the music of the poem.

In addition, I want to mention the usage of the ellipsis. I believe this haiku is much stronger with punctuation added after the first line, especially with an ellipsis to make the reader linger in the feeling of being in a deep gorge.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

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

Anna Vakar’s Squash Vine

still climbing,
a squash vine in full blossom
this cold day

© Anna Vakar (Canada) (1929 – 2017)
From the book Sisyphus

A very interesting haiku. We all have a purpose in life: plants reach out for the sun, people seek knowledge…. Line one shows a continued movement, so when the next line says “in full blossom” it means that even if the squash vine has reached a high point, it is still seeking for more. And line three makes me think about struggling or the time when life comes to its ending point. This haiku makes me think about being devoted to a constant search, progress. I really enjoyed it. Here’s an inspired haiku:

weathered sunflower
still follows the sun
my shadow

– Laughing Waters (Italy)

So many aspects I love about this haiku. Like a part of a movie scene, this piece contains ‘drama’ by contrasting the cold day and the climbing vine.
The use of the comma enhances the fact that the climbing process hasn’t stopped yet.

To me, the imagery shows perseverance. A piece that lifts up the spirit. It makes me feel good just by reading it.

P. S.
Oops…what have I done? I just found out that a squash vine is a moth! I was imagining a plant…hehehe…aish, me!

– Lucky Triana (Indonesia)

Another perspective can be any type of insect who is waiting for the squash vine to bloom fully. The cold day indicates hibernation, the storage of food, and/or a difficult time for survival. On the contrary, still climbing is a sign of hope, energy, and the will to survive. The squash vine is a symbol of life, as it provides energy one is waiting for.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

This haiku has nothing to do with insects, except there are still a few hopeful bees around. These vines are big green Hubbard or winter squashes with gorgeous yellow insides. I grew mine on an arch, and these strong growers still produce beautiful yellow flowers even after the first October chill, despite there being no chance of developing into squashes.

This haiku suggests that even when past child-bearing age, we women are still beautiful!

– Martha Magenta (UK)

It reminds me of people with courage. Even if it’s a dark time in their lives, they continue walking towards the light.

– Lovette Carter (traveler)

This ku reminds me of how we can be flexible and adaptable in the face of adversity. Normally, a squash climbs and shows its full bloom in summer. But then, not all the time in summer… and here we learn that a squash variety can also blossom during the cold months.

Hence, we are shown a special adaptation by a plant to a less favorable climate. And aren’t we all, we as human beings, because of our survival instincts, adapting to changes in our environment; and more, sometimes we really rise to the occasion and shine.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

I will add some of my perspective on the sound of the haiku. It seems the most powerful sounds in this poem come from the letters “s” and “l,” and they enhance the mood of the haiku in a variety of ways. The “s” sounds bring more emphasis the action of the climbing squash vine and its persistence in cold weather. For me, the “l” sounds lend hope as a reader that the vine will prevail against its odds. In addition, the usage of these letters seems intentional to bring a musicality and charm to the haiku.

Sounds in poetry can mean different things to varying readers. However, this is what my intuition told me while reading this poem.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

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

Scott Mason’s Moonlight

no escaping
this moonlight—

© Scott Mason (USA)
Author of The Wonder Code

Captures the unavoidable … we too could be Pompeii if we do not get our global act together—North Korean nukes, global warming, the inevitable asteroid sooner or later … the beauty of the moonlight, the beauty of everything around us is not enough to save us unless we save ourselves … my first impressions off the cuff …

– Gabri Rigotti (South Africa)

Perhaps a reference to the recent supermoon which was so bright, there was no more chance of escaping it than the Pompeii disaster. I think this is an odd comparison however, because I love strong moonlight, while being smothered by volcanic ash is not really a comparable sensation.

– Martha Magenta (UK)

It is a place I have never been, physically, but I have wandered through Pompeii so many times in my mind, but only in daylight. Yet I can imagine the impact of being there in the still night of a full silvery moon, overcome with awe and the silence. And imagining, in my imagination, the horror of helplessness and hopelessness of the inevitable death quickly approaching the city where you, your family, and loved ones reside. This particular haiku hits rather close to home for me—the recent firestorms that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in the wine country just north of where I live, and the dozens of people missing and dead who had no escape from the horror of it.

– Dana Grover (USA)

“No escaping this moonlight” would have been a romantic and satisfying experience, as in gazing at the bright moonlight, with your partner perhaps. A positive, lovely experience.

However, the opposite is true when we juxtapose the phrase with “Pompeii”— knowing in history how horrific the end of this place was when Mount Vesuvius erupted. The scene becomes immediately foreboding of so much pain and anguish the citizens of Pompeii experienced.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

The interpretation of this haiku may not be very easy. “This moonlight” is a bit elusive here. Moonlight of which moon?! That matters a lot. The word ‘this’ indicates a particular type of moon/moonlight! My guess is he may be talking about a hunter’s moon, or a supermoon, or a frost moon based on the horrific history of Pompeii.

In any case, something is ruling here that is moonlight and something is ruined, which is this ancient city. More likely what is dominant and what is dormant in terms of power, time, and significance.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

I have varied responses each time I read this haiku. I feel the poignancy of pain, but yet, I feel a blessing as well. Not only is the moonlight shining its light on the destruction, but is also imbuing it with a sense of the mystical, and the acceptance to move onto its next phase. Moonlight is not only indicative of melancholy, but also enlightenment.

The most prominent sound in this haiku comes with the letter “o.” Coursing through the haiku, it gives the scene described an added starkness.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

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

Betty Kaplan’s Chorus

all city school chorus
I hear
my daughter’s voice

© Betty Kaplan (1919-2011) (USA)

It entails a lovely visual.

– Robert Gillette (USA)

Fantastic! This haiku reminds me of when I was first informed of how wild and farm animals can single out their offspring’s cry among a field of several other young ones. Only one voice is heard when a mother “fine-tunes” her ears.

– Lovette Carter (traveler)

Of course. As parents, grandparents, we only see/hear our own children/grandchildren in the ensemble. Next month, we will see “only” our granddaughter as a soldier and as an angel in her ballet school’s annual production of Nutcracker. I’m sure, if she was in a chorus, we would hear only her.

– Dana Grover (USA)

I see two aspects here; one is rebirth—the cry of a little child during a chorus of happiness, which could be celebration time for a family—a daughter that brings endless blessings for a family.
The second aspect may be annihilation that is quite painful. The loss of the child due to any reason (violence, immigration, war, poor health, miscarriage etc.). The school chorus may bring flashbacks of those traumatic memories and only the daughter’s voice echoing in the parents’ ears.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Amazing and true. When my granddaughter plays on the playground, I can always discern her voice among others. I love this haiku.

– Marilyn Ward (UK)

For a young, developing mind, taking part in school activities develops camaraderie and respect in the child for team play. Each one has a role to play in the team effort so that the totality of each endeavor would truly be successful. This idea comes to mind easily in this ku.

But, the author, I believe has another thing to point out. Although each and every team member has a role to play in order to make the endeavor one and whole, one is also reminded that there would always be primary and secondary players in a group, i.e., others may take primary, solo and/or specialized assignments and others might just have to simply support the solo/lead role that one or two members of the group take.

Or, another interpretation could have a touch of humor to it, as in the child could have gone out of tune and falter, making the error quite distinct and thus embarrassing.

This is how I see this ku.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

There are many ways to look at this haiku, and one of them is a state of meditation. The mother of the girl who is singing has her attention so attuned to the chorus that she can pick out her daughter’s voice amid the strains of many other voices. Also, this haiku could reference that each of our voices are intertwined, and that the daughter’s voice is the chorus itself, and vice versa. In a sense, one voice can speak for a community, and a community can be representative of one person as well.

In terms of sound, the most prominent letter is “o.” The “o” sounds like singing, especially choral singing, with wide-mouthed voices.

A delightful and meditative haiku with a great deal of underlying meaning.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Tell us in the comments section.