© 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.