everything goes out
but the wind chimes
© Susan Marie LaVallée (1950 – 2011) (USA)
(HSA Newsletter, Volume 27, Number 1 — March 2012)
This is a fine example of focus within haiku. Often, haiku allow the reader to zero in on a specific sense or observation. When something is concentrated on, its full nature seems to unfold. A simplicity of mind, or getting rid of distractions, can be a meditative experience as well. Too often, modern people multi-task. Sometimes we forget to simply experience what is happening to us. And sometimes, nature practically forces us to be present.
In the case of this haiku, a storm took down power lines, and the strumming of wind chimes can be heard. No television, no radio, no other noise, except for the melody the stormy wind is making. In poetry, we mention the song of wind, the whistle of wind, and so on. However, in this haiku, we get a highly illustrative scene where the wind is putting on a show, allowing us to feel the power behind nature. The writer does not say what the wind chimes sound like, but that is the beauty of it: as readers, we can impose our own imagination into the sound. Strong haiku commonly leave room for readers to internally interact with the imagery and meaning.
I think the use of the colon is interesting. It seems an ellipsis could have been used as well, but the colon brings a unique sense of focus to the second part. The lines are also arranged in a way to make the third line impact the reader more. If the lines were reversed, the effect would not have been as significant. The sound should also be mentioned. In the first two lines, the “o” sounds gives the impression of the flow of the wind, and in the last line, the “i” sounds provides a sense of the sharpness of the wind chimes’ music.
A masterful haiku in its simplicity, economy, and availability for interpretation.
If you want to learn more about Susan Marie LaVallée and read more of her work, please visit: https://livinghaikuanthology.com/index-of-poets/livinglegacies/2686-susan-marie-lavall%C3%A9e.html
– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)
Do you enjoy this haiku? If so, please write a comment below.