Goran Gatalica’s Night Loneliness

night loneliness —
a line of hoofprints
in the snow

Goran Gatalica (Croatia)
The Mainichi, 3/9/2020

In loneliness, sometimes we feel empty yet alive at the same time. I think the poet wanted to express this by showing the image of a line of hoofprints in snow. As a reader, I’m imagining fairly fresh deer prints in snow. They are impressive in their emptiness, similar to how grand a lonely night can feel. Since the haiku mentions snow, it’s safe to assume this poem refers to winter. In this season, loneliness is even more acute. Winter loneliness can feel like a stamp on the mind like a hoofprint in snow.

In terms of the structure of the haiku, it has a standard rhythm of a short first line, a longer second line, and a short third line. The dash allows readers to have more time to let the feeling of loneliness soak in, plus it associated well with the word “line.”

For sound, the most prominent letter is “i” with “night,” “loneliness,” “line,” “hoofprints,” and “in.” Tn my eyes, this succession of sounds brings about a sense of starkness that is akin to winter loneliness.

All these elements point to a haiku rooted in feeling, season, and a connection between human nature and mother nature.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

This haiku contains all the mysteries of a night that we usually imagine when sitting near a fireplace. If we dig deeper into this haiku, I find a melancholic self who is desperately looking for some dawn light.

Night loneliness depicts the winter night when nothing prevails but deep silence. I feel the loneliness symbolizes both inner and outer conditions. So, we can interrelate our loneliness with the outer world where our thoughts and feelings are in sync with the environment.

A line of hoofprints may indicate the long but slow journey of a person’s life that is more static at the moment. These hoofprints are in the snow which indicates the intangible struggle of life where we have to use extra energies to wade through tough periods of life.

In terms of sound, the letter “o” here shows the endless cycle of struggle that a person goes through to survive.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Hoof prints

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