Srinivas S’s fog

winter night
the fog thickens around
a long lullaby

Srinivas S (India)
(Published in Under the Basho, Modern Haiku Section, 2020)

The silence and darkness of a winter night imply deep feelings on the surface. Also, memories arise that associate with silence and darkness.

In this haiku, the poet is reminiscing about and missing someone—most probably a child who is no more with him. The poet is probably a parent who is sharing his remorseful feelings with the winter night which is reflecting them through silence, fog, and darkness.

The fog thickening is projected mysteriously in this haiku but it shows the depth of loss that one feels deep inside. It can also mean the desire to forget traumatic memories. This can happen when a person sings a long lullaby and gets lost into the past which is getting vague with time and darkness.

The long lullaby also shows the intensity of grief and pain that one bears on a cold night but cannot retain anymore. So, the winter night provides a platform for catharsis and to sing a long lullaby that is heard by no one but the person himself.

I also feel the manifestation of the poet’s childhood in this haiku, where he feels nostalgic and remembers his childhood which had deprivations.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

The first aspect of this haiku that I saw was the association between a winter night and a fog becoming stronger during a lullaby. Nights in winter can be lonely and depressing. The act of a fog thickening while a lullaby is being sung makes it seem like the song itself is being diluted.

Another way to look at it is that the fog becoming thicker is similar to a long lullaby: you get immersed into the melody and get into the “thick” of feeling drowsy. Drowsiness is sometimes referred to as being in a state of fog.

We can also think of the fog coming to listen to the lullaby. In this sense, there is personification in this poem.

The atmosphere of the haiku is at once cozy and melancholic. It is also a bit mysterious, as the phrasing does not give a direct hint about whether the lullaby is being sung outside or inside.

The format of the lines is standard for English-language haiku. A punctuation mark, like a dash or ellipsis, could have been added after the first line to separate the parts of the haiku. However, it is not needed.

The letter “i” is prominent in the first two lines, which illustrates the starkness of the moment. The last line is dominated by “l” sounds, which provide the mood of a lull that a lullaby gives.

This haiku elicits multiple interpretations. This is a sign of a strong haiku. Multi-dimensional poems often create more layers and more resonance.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

— Painting by Shuncho

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