Posted in Haiku

Ban’ya Natsuishi’s Candle

Silently putting out
a candle in the sand—

© Ban’ya Natsuishi (Japan)

Though the word “silent” has become a cliché in haiku, I am a sucker for its usage, as I am a daily meditator that believes in the power of silence. Also, when it is used effectively, it surpasses our biases. What also draws me into this haiku is its unique second line. As a reader, one tries to understand why a candle would be in the sand. It could relate to a funeral, it could be a tricky phrase stating that the reflection of the sun in a puddle could appear like candle light and the sun moved (essentially putting it “out”), the writer could be performing a religious or spiritual practice, and more. The mystery behind this haiku allows the reader to imagine many scenarios. The last line complements the first part, as we might have thought the setting was night, when in fact it was not. The poet can also be saying that “midday is like silently putting out a candle in the sand.” Sometimes, haiku are unsaid metaphors, where two parts imply something abstract.

I enjoy the use of the cutting word, or the kireji, provided by the dash. It adds an appropriate pause, especially considering the mood. There is a strong sense of sound in this haiku as well, with “t” being the most prominent letter in the first line, capturing the quiet mood of the poem. In the second line, letter “a” appears to be the most important, and gives a sense of awe. With “midday,” the two “d”s complement “candle.” An effective and mysterious haiku.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

To learn more about Ban’ya Natsuishi, visit:

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Posted in Haiku

Günther Klinge’s Oil Lamp

night in the garden
an oil lamp on the table
lighting the silence

© Günther Klinge (Germany) (1910 – 2009)

We have an interesting and moody setting. I can imagine a dark garden table with an oil lamp on it, and the flowers, grass, and other plants around barely lit by the lamp’s light. The line “lighting the silence” seems metaphorical at first, but it is an actuality: the lamp is displaying the silence, or stillness, of the garden at night. Sometimes if we put attention on the stillness of our surroundings, we attain an inner stillness. This haiku, to me, is about perceiving an outward stillness, and feeling that peace within.

In terms of sound, the most prominent letter is “i,” much like the shape of a candle. The “i” sound for me adds to the hushed atmosphere. The second most important letter is “l,” which gives the haiku a musical resonance. These sounds make us revel in the moment more. In addition, it is intriguing to note the usage of articles. Though this haiku has three instances of “the,” each one is judicious. Sometimes in a haiku, you want to give focus and respect to many subjects simultaneously. Arguably, you could have “a table” but I believe it would not seem natural.

To learn more about this poet, visit The Living Haiku Anthology‘s page about Günther Klinge:

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

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

Posted in Haiku

Christina Sng’s Day Moon

day moon
everything seems

© Christina Sng (Singapore)
Prune Juice Issue 23

A day moon is always a magical sight. A fixture of the night, the most brilliant one, can still hang around in the day. A constant moon could have many symbolic meanings, such as enlightenment, constant inspiration, the integration of nature, romantic fervor, and more. But in this poem, it seems the poet wants to express wonder. Sometimes, we feel that everything is indeed possible, though it may come upon us inexplicably. Christina has captured one of these elusive moments.

A musical touch is given to the haiku with “m” and “s” sounds. It makes the idea behind the haiku more convincing. The simplicity of the haiku is admirable as well: only five words and no punctuation. There is a saying that you should make a haiku as simple as possible, without harming the reading of it. This haiku is a fine example of this concept. Also, though enjambment (cutting off a phrase in a line) is not often used in haiku, it is employed appropriately as a sense of surprise. An excellent haiku in feeling and technique.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

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