Silently putting out
a candle in the sand—
© Ban’ya Natsuishi (Japan)
Though the word “silent” has become a cliché in haiku, I am a sucker for its usage, as I am a daily meditator that believes in the power of silence. Also, when it is used effectively, it surpasses our biases. What also draws me into this haiku is its unique second line. As a reader, one tries to understand why a candle would be in the sand. It could relate to a funeral, it could be a tricky phrase stating that the reflection of the sun in a puddle could appear like candle light and the sun moved (essentially putting it “out”), the writer could be performing a religious or spiritual practice, and more. The mystery behind this haiku allows the reader to imagine many scenarios. The last line complements the first part, as we might have thought the setting was night, when in fact it was not. The poet can also be saying that “midday is like silently putting out a candle in the sand.” Sometimes, haiku are unsaid metaphors, where two parts imply something abstract.
I enjoy the use of the cutting word, or the kireji, provided by the dash. It adds an appropriate pause, especially considering the mood. There is a strong sense of sound in this haiku as well, with “t” being the most prominent letter in the first line, capturing the quiet mood of the poem. In the second line, letter “a” appears to be the most important, and gives a sense of awe. With “midday,” the two “d”s complement “candle.” An effective and mysterious haiku.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky
To learn more about Ban’ya Natsuishi, visit: http://www.worldhaiku.net/poetry/jp/b.natsuishi.htm
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