a thousand flutes
from the bamboo forest
– Kala Ramesh (India)
Published in Modern Haiku 48:1. Winter/spring 2017
This lovely haiku takes me back to the East where every single aspect of nature works rhythmically. I love the sound and sight of this haiku. It brought a smile on my face and pulled the strings of my heart.
A thousand flutes could mean a thousand folk stories, a thousand journeys, a thousand years, or a thousand seasons which unanimously take the writer back to those thousands of moments that she has spent throughout her life. These nostalgic feelings stir the current inertia where she is missing her past the most.
I can also feel the resonance of thoughts and feelings that are in great synchronization with nature and brings harmonious and peaceful waves of wind to sooth both the heart and mind. The flute is a great instrument for touching the core of the heart, especially when there is silence all around. So, I can feel the meditative mood of all aspects of nature, including the person that is connected through the rhythm of love and peace.
The summer’s end means, in my opinion, a transformation where one can relate to and reciprocate with the positive vibes that comes on the way. I feel as if the person has achieved the state of mind where she can listen to nature with its true colours and enjoy the songs of love and change.
– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)
What I noticed first in this haiku is the pivot line. “from the bamboo forest” connects with the first and second line, so that the poem can be read in two ways.
The next thing that came to mind while reading this haiku is the song of the bamboo forest as wind passes through it. It is a wonderful and fitting tribute for the end of summer. Bamboo is light and the music it occasionally makes when wind goes through is soothing, which associates well with the mood of summer. For bamboo to make that sound, it would have to have holes in it or be cut, or perhaps the poet is speaking about people who made flutes from a bamboo grove and are now performing a ceremony or concert. But, I like the idea of spontaneous music from the forest more, as it makes the song for the end of summer even more poignant.
Commonly, the kigo, or seasonal reference, will appear in the first or second line of a haiku. But in this case, having the kigo come in the third line works well, as having the poem finish with the word “end” is fitting.
In terms of sound, the most prominent letters are “o,” “s,” and “f.” Hearing the “o” sounds bring about what is akin to the song of bamboo in wind. Perhaps the “f” and “s” sounds can reflect the music of bamboo leaves flitting in the wind.
The pacing of the lines is similar to the traditional rhythm of haiku and the lack of punctuation allows the pivot line to work its magic.
Though this haiku can be seen as melancholic, the song of the bamboo flutes gives it a sense of joy. It is a fine haiku with a deep mood and strong technical elements. It teaches us that there are extraordinary moments in what seems ordinary and that we should pay attention to our surroundings carefully to witness these special moments.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)
– Stylized photograph by G. Greir