a child learns to say
– Isabel Caves (New Zealand)
(Previously published in Poetry Pea – Haiku Pea Podcast Series 2 Episode 2
The way I see the setting sun in this haiku is more about the transformation from day to night which also means the transformation of one’s focus from the outer world to the inner one. I loved the way the writer cleverly used the word ‘sunset’ positively where all energies converge into darkness but also enlighten the mind.
The second part of this haiku is about the transformation of learning where a child learns in the daylight most probably from nature and dreams or creates through imagination based on that learning. The word ‘imaginary’ here means the abstract thinking of a child which is chiseled by the daily life experiences before that reaches the stage where they start uniquely perceiving the world. It’s about the transformation from one stage of life to another, from light to darkness, or vice-a-versa. I liked the quotation marks around ‘imaginary’ which make it more significant and unique.
– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)
The setting sun in the context of this haiku seems to have two moods:
1) Sad, in that the child learns what imagination is and what it is not. Before, the child had no mental concept of it.
2) The beauty and epicness of a sunset can be compared to one’s imagination.
As a reader, I seem to follow the first interpretation. As soon as we have words for things, we ruin them, in a sense. The mystery, the grandeur, the innocence is lost. Nature is no longer filled with spirits and magic, but are given scientific names and explanations. They become mental concepts rather than something to witness as is. Through mental obstruction, we can lose the child within.
In terms of the sound in the haiku, it seems that the letter “s” is the most prominent. The string of “s” sounds in the first two lines and the absence of it in the last line makes the ending more striking. I’m glad the poet did not add a dash or an ellipsis in the first line as a kireji, or cut word or phrase, which is traditionally seen in haiku. With the quotation marks, it was already enough punctuation, and more punctuation would make it too busy. The format is standard for English-language haiku, although one tries to avoid having one word in the last line in order to not be either too sentimental or pointed. However, it works well here with the quotation marks and as a surprise.
A haiku that touches upon innocence and the loss of it, it’s a powerful tribute to our imagination.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)
Painting by Vincent van Gogh, The Sower, 1888