withered blossoms —
locals packing the remains
of a bomb blast
(previously published in Creatrix, Issue 49, 2020)
— Taofeek Ayeyemi (Nigeria)
This haiku starts with the word ‘withered’ which shows a lack of life or annihilation. If we imagine ‘withered blossoms’, they can look dark, black, dry, and drooping—in other words, like destruction.
Relating ‘withered blossoms’ to a bomb blast site sketches the scene of a bomb blast area that appears more dark, black, and withered. Similarly, packing the remains of the blast is akin to collecting memories
If we relate this to our lives, it means our memories are probably traumatic ones that fade away or wither with time. We keep reminiscing about what is left behind.
This haiku tells me that life goes on even after hopelessness, destruction, and chaos.
— Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)
“Remains” is a chilling word in this haiku. It can mean materials but also people. This poem could be either associating packing the remains after a bomb blast with withered blossoms, or locals physically packing the withered blossoms away as a souvenir or for another reason.
The withered blossoms can be acting as a symbol of the bomb blast as well. Our wars make our lives like these degenerated blossoms. It could be alluding to how we are born innocent and later become corrupt.
“withered blossoms” is either an autumn or winter kigo, but I would lean towards autumn. I get a sense that the poet is speaking about human atrocities as humanity’s “autumn.”
The em dash in the first line gives proper weight to the subject and allows us to pause. The format is standard for English-language haiku and just enough words are used to convey the feeling and message of the poem. Note also the string of “o” sounds that may give us an idea of the sound of the bomb.
Overall, this is a haiku that weaves themes of innocence, war, nature versus humanity, and possibly more. Though simple on the surface, it lends to several readings and has a substantial power behind it.
— Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)