Joshua Gage’s distant stars

distant stars
a crow’s shadow
sweeps the fresh snow

Joshua Gage (USA)
(previously published in Presence 63, 2019)

“Distant stars” is a subtle expression that provides a lot of resonance. It’s something you can see as a mere dot but still reflects its own light in the dark sky.

‘Distant stars’ here may indicate less visibility due to fog or dense air. It also seems to show the longings and desires that are more visible during a silent winter.

Moving on to ‘a crow’s shadow’, it may be the persona an individual holds onto while being a guardian, protector, or dreamer. A crow never fails to bring out various emotions in us through its cawing and unique attributes.

The word ‘sweeps’ is used efficiently to perhaps show how dreams or hopes end over a period of time. I take fresh snow as a representation of our vivid memories that stay for a short while but leave a huge impact.

I can relate distant stars to ‘longings’, a crow’s shadow to ‘maturity, wisdom’, and fresh show to ‘vivid or temporary memories’. Together, it’s a fantastic combination of sight where light, shadow, and snow beautifully relate to our longings that are not fulfilled but still come to mind to remind us that there is still some hope in life.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

What I enjoyed right away about this haiku is the connection between far and near. Distant stars are viewed and in the next moment, the poet notices a crow’s shadow pass over fresh snow, probably in the moonlight.

This connection contrasts and compares. The sparkling of stars is akin to the glittering of fresh snow. The contrast is with the darkness of the crow’s shadow against the twinkling of stars.

The word “distant” plays well in this poem, as a shadow is a type of representation of the distance between ourselves and what we cast.

The word “sweeps” works wonders to liven the readers’ imagination. It also presents a great string of “s” sounds in nearly every word of the haiku. It gives the reader the sound of a broom sweeping a floor as if the crow’s shadow is really sweeping the fresh snow.

A unique image, a great sense of sound, and myriad connections give this haiku power and resonance.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

 “Konjikido in Snow, Hiraizumi” by Kawase Hasui, woodblock print reproduction

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