Michael Morell’s Winter Solstice

winter solstice
i walk the labyrinth
of my mind

Michael Morell (USA)

This poignant and deep haiku reflects the melancholic feelings of a person who is reminiscing about his past and/or battling circumstances where he is indecisive. The opening line ‘winter solstice’ gives strong feelings of the darkness or shortness of life, where a person is having gloomy experiences. Winter solstice also may indicate the colorless life or annihilation.

The poet who walks through the labyrinth of the mind could be passing through deeper-self-oriented experiences, trying to analyze every aspect of his life by getting involved in his thought process. The mind here may indicate memories that sound traumatic and that create obscure feelings. The labyrinth could be a curiosity, guilt, or conscience that persuades the person to go deeper into the core of those thoughts and memories that take him to the verge of nowhere.

The walk during the winter solstice reflects the fog around him, where he, both within and outside, wants to see the other side of the fog. This may also be a therapeutic and introspective experience that brings the person close to his essence by critically analyzing his thoughts and feelings.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

I enjoy that the connection between the two parts of the haiku is multifaceted. Since a winter solstice occurs in mid-winter, it can easily be correlated to the feeling of someone traversing the labyrinth of one’s mind. In this condition, you can feel stuck and lonely, and maybe lost. A winter solstice also points to the shortest day of the year. Though the mind is more of an abstract, microscopic universe, it can easily become a contorted maze. Also, it is great how the mood of the poem is greatly enhanced by the juxtaposition.

In terms of sound, I noticed the “w” letters quick. They give a sense of strength and slow down the pace a bit, which is fitting for the imagery. Also running through the haiku is the letter “i,” which makes the reading sharp and possibly cold (reflecting the season). Also, the lack of punctuation works well and the lowercase “i” fits in just fine. It diminishes the attention on the poet himself and more on the experience being written about. Lastly, I just want to say how wonderful it is to have the word “labyrinth” in a haiku. It is a rare word in this genre and hard to use. The poet has employed it in a great way, in my opinion.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

Did you enjoy this haiku and the commentary? If so, please let us know in the comments.


The Light Returns by Karen Whitworth