a rosary and oranges
on the bedside table
© Francesco Palladino (Italy)
The mysterious starting line sketches the overall image of this haiku that leaves enough room for the reader to relate and interpret it according to their own personal experiences. In fact, this empty room could symbolize ‘loneliness’ and/or ‘melancholy’ that a person faces at least once in his or her life. I can also relate it with thoughts that trigger ’emptiness’ deep within—a sort of depression due to loneliness.
A rosary and oranges may depict healing after an illness that is both in the form of a cure and prayers. The oranges are associated with joy, good luck, and enthusiasm that goes well with the imagery of this haiku. Similarly, a rosary is considered as a hope for healing by reciting different supplications. Having both on the bedside table may indicate the hope and efforts one made to get rid of physical as well as mental issues in life.
There is a spiritual element in this haiku where ’empty room’ may indicate a peaceful mind devoid of thoughts—mindfulness. Then, rosary and oranges as components of spiritual energy enrich the aura with their presence.
As a note about the sound, the letter ‘o’ is repetitive in this haiku, which is also relates to the deep feelings of continuity and flow of divine energy within the soul.
– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)
What I enjoy most about this haiku is the space that it gives readers to ponder what has happened in the room and/or what continues to happen there. We can also guess as readers why the room is empty. The rosary gives a hint that it may be a monastery. However, many different types of people can carry rosaries.
The contrast between the rosary and the oranges is stark. On one hand, rosaries are about prayer and penance, while oranges are succulent, an indulgence, and bright in color. Also, the beads of the rosary are in the shape of oranges, which offers a further connection. The empty room contains so much due to this aesthetic of comparison. It has the spiritual and mundane in concord. Maybe the poem is telling us that we need both in balance.
This haiku reminds me of a poem by Shiki written late in his life:
a red apple
a green apple
on the table
(tr. by Nicholas Klacsanzky)
I think Palladino’s haiku is a fine addition to the legacy of Shiki.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)
If you enjoyed this poem and commentary, let us know in the comments.
– Vincent van Gogh, “Basket with Six Oranges”