Agus Maulana Sunjaya’s Sunset

dragging my shadow
back home

© Agus Maulana Sunjaya (Indonesia)

Akitsu Quarterly, Fall issue, 2018

A very melancholic haiku that immediately suggests the image of a homecoming in which the shadow, particularly long in the sunset, seems to weigh down the steps of the poet. But the shadow, understood as the double and sometimes as the denied part of oneself, can weigh on the spirit in a more subtle and devastating way.

I don’t want to be a psychologist, but this haiku makes me think about the fact that by not facing the hidden parts of us, which we often fear strongly, we sometimes expose ourselves to inconveniences of which we do not understand the nature of and of which condition. These are not minor choices, as they affect our lives. Even in this haiku, I feel the sensation of an unfulfilled dualism that results in frustration, all expressed with elegance and with a second line that expresses also in the sounds (double “g”) a sense of oppression.

Margherita Petriccione (Italy)

This haiku reflects both the mental and physical fatigue of life where we spend most of the time facing and fighting different issues that test our cognitive and emotional abilities. It depicts the limited capacities of a person who, besides dealing with various matters of life, finally gets tired. It could be due to aging, where the sunset of life takes a person to the stage where he or she feels lonely and manages to live with great difficulty.

The shadow shows all the regrets, guilt, and bad memories that keep on following a person until the last breath of his or her life. Overall, a person who spends his or her days developing good relationships with people may end up being lonely, which also shows the insensitivity of recent human civilization.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

I like how the first line can be interpreted as flowing into the second line or as standing alone. Also, the simplicity of the language and the surprise in the last line is pleasing. Though the third line is unexpected, it is also expected. This is a common aesthetic in haiku, where the ordinary can be extraordinary.

Like Margherita, I also enjoy the sound of the poem. With “s” in the first line and the second line, you can almost hear the shadow being dragged through the grass. With “o” in “shadow” and “home,” I feel the melancholy is illustrated. A fine haiku from a technical point of view, and also from an aesthetical perspective as well.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

Did you enjoy this haiku and the commentary? Let us know in the comments.

© Callum Russel

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