Marilyn Ward’s monarch

meadow grass…
the Monarch butterfly
lends its colour   

Marilyn Ward (UK)

Grass in a meadow is the ultimate attribute of this feature of land, which distinguishes it from other fields and highlights its beauty. Meadow grass is also abundant with a variety of flowers, herbs, and small seasonal plants, adding more colours to it, and enticing beautiful insects to visit it not only for sustenance but also for whispering the secrets of nature through pollination.

The ellipses after ‘meadow grass’ holds our imagination for a while to imagine and enjoy being there, and feel and absorb the colours, and the site of an enchanting and lush green meadow.

This haiku reflects a profound relationship between nature and its creatures where the concept of compassion and kindness is beautifully presented without losing the essence of a great haiku.

The Monarch butterfly shows longevity, peace, and positivity with its radiant yellowish-orange colour like morning hues. The word ‘lends’ is wonderfully added in this haiku. It displays the symbiotic relationship between insects and the meadow. The meadow is abundant with colours and beauty that any small insect can go and enjoy fully. It appears to be a spring meadow where insects usually get involved in pollination and cross-pollination, and as a result, retrieve fresh juices to drink from the freshly bloomed flowers.

It can also be related to our mood that needs deep inspiration from nature by living close to it. The colours may also symbolize the ‘aura’ of a person with a deficiency of colours, energy, and enthusiasm, and the mere sight of a wide meadow boosts their aura and fading energy.
It may also show the blessings of a spring meditation that enriches our body and soul with the true colours of nature.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Sometimes we forget about the power of small things. A monarch butterfly is one of the most celebrated butterflies for its magnificent wings with an orange and black pattern. Even though it is minuscule in comparison to a meadow, it lights it up (from the perspective of the poet) to a great effect.

I imagine a meadow of green grass stretching as far as the eye can see and a single monarch butterfly flying around it, giving it color here and there. It is moments like these that bring happiness and awe while we are in nature. One cannot help but be enchanted.

As Hifsa noted, I think this is a spring haiku. The flourishing of colors surely comes in spring. Another aspect to note is the use of the ellipsis as a kireji. Through it, we can imagine the flitting of the butterfly and its carefree ways. The format is also standard for English-language haiku, with a short first line, a longer second line, and a short third line.

The sound of the haiku is melodic as well. With two powerful “m”s, you can feel the weight the butterfly has on the scene. There is also a string of “o”s, which provides a lilting feeling to the reader.

A joyful haiku that reminds us how the simple things in life can give us solace and awe.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

an’ya’s snowflake

palm up
a snowflake lands
on my life line

an’ya (USA)
(previously published in Ardea)

The opening line presents a sweet gesture. It shows the simplicity of our connection with nature. I feel this is a soothing scene where a person feels the depth of their relationship with winter.

I can see the element of loneliness here, as deep winter may bring shades of depression and anxiety. So, snowflakes may act as a source of entertainment or a change that can divert one’s thoughts and feelings from dull and freezing weather. A snowflake sways like a falling leaf before it settles on a surface. It is a delicate element of nature that brings subtlety in our mood and feelings.

It may symbolize the life of a person who has passed through ‘cold’ realities, and faced harshness and rejection. A snowflake’s life is anonymous because it has no sound, no set pattern of falling, and irregularities or weaknesses. 

The life line on one’s hand indicates the time of death, departure, or the ending of old patterns of life that are fragile, insignificant, or useless. 

I see this haiku in two ways: both nature and human nature stand parallel in the universe and share common characteristics that connect them deeply and which makes them learn lessons or gain inspiration from each other.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

With this winter haiku, the poet allows us to ponder whether or not fate is real, in my opinion. A life line on our hands usually is said to tell us how long we will live and how we feel about our lives. I like that the poet leaves it up to the readers to see what symbolism they want in the haiku, though.

It could reflect the “cold” or “fragile” life that the poet has lived. It could also show how something as delicate and small as a snowflake can be a thing of beauty in one’s life or how nature enters into our lives unexpectedly with something wonderful.

The poem is written in a simple style without punctuation. This is a common way to write haiku now in English and in many other languages. I like that the haiku seems like a journal entry that allows readers to come to their own conclusions. It also has a pleasant sound with many lilting “l”s and two calming “s”s on the second line.

The poet captured a moment that stirs wonder, melancholy, and philosophical thoughts within us through seemingly simple yet well-crafted language.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

“Lumberyards at Fukagawa, 100 Famous Views of Edo” by Hiroshige Utagawa, woodblock print reproduction

Jim Young’s cat

the cat
is fast asleep
and so is my leg

Jim Young (Wales, UK)

This haiku is full of compassion, love, and care. It shows a deep bond between a person with their surroundings, especially with creatures who depend on us as part of the ecosystem. I loved the overall imagery of this haiku that reflects genuineness and innocence.

Cats are known for their possessiveness and extreme loyalty. This may illustrate that they are not a mere pet. The article ‘the’ places importance on the cat and makes it the center of the poem, at least for the first two lines. ‘Fast asleep’ may be a metaphor for the comfort and calmness when a person, for a time, keeps possessions aside and focuses more on inner energies, or the inner self.

In other words, the cat always feels comfortable when it gets the personal touch of its owner, which displays the power of feelings or deep relationships that are irreplaceable. The strong bond between the man and his cat induces the feline to go to sleep, and consequently, the man’s leg.

I am not only seeing a leg here that lacks sensitivity due to the cat who is sitting on it, and the person out of love, care, and compassion doesn’t move it. I can also see the laborious work and hardship a person goes through all day long and finally feels muscular fatigue. He needs a break from his busy life, and the cat may represent a true friend who gives comfort to him.

The overall theme of this haiku revolves around the sincerity, loyalty, compassion, and care that a person needs to feel inner peace.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

It’s a charming haiku that exudes compassion and care. Rather than disturb the cat’s sleep when the poet’s leg has fallen asleep, he allows his cat to keep resting. Cats sleep most of the day—about 15 hours on average. To let his cat sleep more without annoyance shows the poet’s feelings for the cat clearly.

There is also a sense of union here. The cat is fast asleep and a part of the poet’s body is also “asleep” from the weight of the cat. They are sharing an experience that illustrates the bond between animals and humans have had for centuries. I feel that the poet is saying to us, “Love and connection is the important thing. It is not whether we are human or not.”

With a few words and simple language, the poet has expressed a great deal of feeling and humor. I also like the sound of “cat/fast” and “asleep/leg.” An endearing haiku.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

Sleeping cat by Asha Sudhaker Shenoy