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: http://livinghaikuanthology.com/index-of-poets/livinglegacies/2651-g%C3%BCnther-klinge.html

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

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


3 thoughts on “Günther Klinge’s Oil Lamp

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