In the clear night
a fisherman pulls in a net
filled with stars.
© Zdravko Kurnik (Croatia) (1937 – 2010)
This haiku showcases the precept “as above, so below” which was first laid out in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus. The stars not only rest in the sky, but also in lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water by way of reflection. The fisherman pulls up an empty net, but to his surprise, he catches stars. There are many possible interpretations of this occurrence: there is always good in bad situations, we can achieve celestial awareness if we empty ourselves, sometimes we wish for something mundane but receive something spiritual instead, and numerous other meanings.
However, the word “clear” leads me think about the connection between humanity and nature. This haiku could be implying that when we have a mind and heart devoid of impurity, we get connected to the cosmos, or heaven.
At first I questioned if the first line was needed, as the second and third line imply it. However, the first line sets the scene, and adding the word “clear” into the mix gives more resonance.
You might have noticed that the haiku is written in a more old-fashioned style of English-language haiku, with a capital letter in the beginning and a period at the end. Kurnik wrote during a time when haiku in the West was forming and ideas about what exactly is the West supposed to do with the form was less certain (though we, of course, are still trying to discover and learn more about what English-language haiku is supposed to be). In my opinion, this style does not take away from the wonderful image and its implications.
Also, this haiku could be said to be a one-image haiku, as it not clearly separated into parts. However, sometimes one-image haiku work well, as they carry a strong significance and resonance, like in this poem.
Turning to sound, the letter “n” caught my eye the most, having an almost “pulling” sound. The second letter that seems most important is “l” which also provides the feeling of something being pulled, and also the fullness of which the stars fill the net. This is, at least, my projection. Sounds can mean different things to different people.
Learn about Zdravko Kurnik and read more of his haiku at: https://livinghaikuanthology.com/index-of-poets/livinglegacies/2667-zdravko-kurnik.html
– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)
Do you enjoy this haiku? Please let us know in the comments.