Maria Chiara Miduri’s Wings

a crow feeds
tiny wings
while the bough floats

Maria Chiara Miduri (Italy)
Wales Haiku Journal, Spring Issue, 2019

Haiku about crows always brings mystery to me. I start relating them to certain deep realities of life. A crow can symbolize intelligence, flexibility, and destiny in certain cultures, whilst bad luck and death in others. For me, a crow is a symbol of wisdom and survival that keeps on knocking on the doors of our mind and heart to awaken and understand the depth of life.

The tiny wings, as I understand, is the beginning of new life that needs energy and enthusiasm to keep going and to face the harsh realities of life.

In terms of the bough that floats on the water, I think it signifies the survival of the fittest in the tidal waves of life, but it is the crow that leads us to overcome our weaknesses and to handle it with strength and wisdom.

This haiku is the combination of nature and nurture where wisdom, realities, and trials are beautifully described with the help of the elements of nature.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

The first thing that struck me about this haiku is that it is written essentially as one part. Haiku often do not work well as one part, but there is a whole history of masterful haiku that do. In Japanese, these type of haiku are called “ichibutsu jitate” (物仕立て).

Because the imagery is so stark, the poem is carried by it and the resonance is strong. The care the mother crow is giving her chicks (“tiny wings”), while the wind or water tosses the bough that they are on, is extraordinary. It is a lesson in focus and concern. It also lends to the image of life’s precariousness and that at any moment, something can go wrong. But in the face of this, the mother crow supplies nourishment to her chicks.

Despite the haiku being one phrase, the line breaks allow readers to take in the image well. Also, the sound of the poem is rich with the letters w and o. I would say the “w” sounds supply a sense of lightness that is inherent in the imagery, whereas the “o” sounds slow down the scene for us and reflects being in awe of the moment that is captured in the haiku.

Overall, with a unique structure, stark imagery, and a fine sense of sound, this haiku conveys showing care through the obstacles of our lives.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

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– Painting by Koson Ohara

Martha Magenta’s mountain spring

mountain spring
the bottomless cup
of my hands

Martha Magenta (UK)
Stardust Haiku, issue 30, June 2019

This post is a tribute to Martha Magenta, who has recently passed away this year. She was an award-winning poet, an integral member of the haiku community, and a person that mentored many aspiring poets. Please read her collected works on her blog.

The opening line of this brilliant haiku takes us to the refreshing sound of water that is flowing freely. The mountain spring creates mystical feelings of selflessness and focus. The bottomless cup is a bit of a twist in the story where both words are used to take the readers from the mountain spring to the self with empty hands. So, it’s all about giving not gathering, praying not begging, saying not asking.

I could relate this haiku to Sufi practices where cupped hands are supposed to be saying a prayer and connect with the almighty at the level where there is no desire for worldly needs. The subtle feelings of flowing water, mystical conditions, and the self make this haiku more profound with deeply personal experiences of meditation and self-discovery.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Both the mountain spring and the poet’s hands seem infinite in their capacity. But, one is giving and one is receiving. However, it seems Martha felt the connection between her hands and the mountain spring while quenching her thirst. Maybe she felt that, like the flowing water, her hands could be a conduit for nourishment.

In terms of the season, I feel this is either spring or summer, when drinking from a mountain spring would be most satisfying.

Looking through a technical lens, the lines are paced in the traditional way English-language haiku are written: a short line, a long(ish) line, and then a short line again. No punctuation is given but I think none is needed in this poem. Martha also leaned towards a style of less punctuation.

Sound plays a significant part, as the “o”s, “n”s, “i”s, and “m”s all create a musical reading. In particular, the “n”s supply this haiku with a sense of dignity and eloquence.

This is one of many great haiku by Martha Magenta. I hope this post inspires readers to dive more into her work.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

mountain spring

Tia Nicole Haynes’ Promises

another pear
rots in our fruit bowl
the promises
we choose
not to keep

Tia Nicole Haynes (USA)
Published in Frameless Sky, 11

The pear could be symbolizing comfort and inner peace which one gets through the sweetness of life. This tanka perhaps revolves around the choices we make to get that inner peace.

So, another pear rotting in the fruit bowl means the circumstances and choices are not appropriate for gaining inner peace and comfort in life. We make certain promises in life to do things that bring happiness and peace in our lives–especially the ones where the focus of control is our inner self. But, due to certain circumstances, we are not able to carry out those promises we make with ourselves. That makes life so uncertain in many ways that we forget to taste the inner peace, as it gets spoiled and rotten by limited choices.

There is a continuous process of striving for inner peace, which is the ultimate goal of our lives and we really wish to keep things in line with our ultimate goal and make promises every year for it. But, life in certain ways puts us through trials and we forget that ultimate goal.

In terms of sound, the letter ‘o’ could indicate the life cycle that makes us deal with different matters of life but also forgetting the ultimate goal.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

This tanka contains a comparison: the promises we choose not to keep are like another pear rotting in our fruit bowl. They are visible, the stench is clear, yet we decide not to abide by our word. This is a part of human nature. Though promises that are left behind stare us in the face, we somehow have the will to let them go sometimes.

The degradation of a pear is an apt symbol: they are sweet but easily bruise and go rotten, just like promises.

Like Hifsa, I enjoyed the “o” sounds in this tanka. I also thought the “r” sounds lend to a serious tone. Additionally in the technical vein, the poet is highly efficient with her words and allows each line to breath in its simplicity and power.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

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Painting by Terry Wise

Carmela Marino’s Closed Eyes

closed eyes . . .
a star has fallen

Carmela Marino (Italy)
Published on Haikuniverse

I wish I could see a whole image like this with closed eyes. Closed eyes mean to see the world through the third eye and to feel it deeply. Also, a falling star is a kind of hope and a bond with the universe that anyone can feel anywhere with a specific state of mind.

So, this is connectivity through imagination, meditation, and deep thinking to wish, pray, and ask for what we really want in our lives.

The word ‘somewhere’ depicts the concept of wholeness, where the poet, as a tiny part of this universe, wishes to see that falling star through her third eye. In a way, this is beyond wishes, where someone wants to get connected with celestial bodies by creating a harmonious and deep understanding of this world.

Words like closed, fallen, and somewhere are abstract in this haiku yet leave great room for a deep understanding of this unlimited universe and our unexplored inner world.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

I believe this can be taken in at least two ways: a) it notes how each second, something magical or majestic happens in our universe b) when we are not looking, many amazing things happen. In the context of the second option, the poet might have missed a chance to make a wish upon a shooting star. However, the poet realized that stars could be falling at any moment throughout the universe and that one can make a sacred wish at any time.

Sonically, the most prominent sound comes from the string of “s.” One can imagine the hissing sound of a falling star by the reading of this haiku. Also, the “l”s work to make this poem more musical and pleasing.

I enjoy the use of the ellipsis to show how long the poet or the narrator closed their eyes. It also gives the reader time to let this action sink in.

This is a haiku that is at once imaginative and realistic.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

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Painting by Rick Beerhorst

Hemapriya Chellappan’s Monsoon Yoga

monsoon yoga
here and there
a housefly

Hemapriya Chellappan (India)
Failed Haiku, journal of senryu, issue 45, Sept 2019

I’ve been in India during the monsoon season, and I can say how exciting and intense it is to see the rain crash down on the streets. All the commotion is compared to a housefly buzzing around here and there. Something epic and something small in aesthetic unison. Also, it contrasts the calmness of doing yoga. So, you can say we got a strong juxtaposition in this senryu/haiku–and a touch of humor.

Technically, it’s easy to spot the string of “o”s in the poem. It stretches the pace of the reading, slowing us down like yoga. Plus, we got some “r”s and “h”s to make it more musical. In terms of the structure and wording, it’s an efficient senryu/haiku–not wasting a word.

Great imagery, a fine juxtaposition, and a keen sense of sound make this poem an enjoyable read.

Nicholas Klacsanzky  (USA)

The monsoon season is a time of yearning and transformation where many views outside and inside get refreshed and soil absorbs a lot of stories of the mourning sky. The sound of rain, petrichor, and new views bring original perspectives to life–and if we shift our focus from our world to the inner world, as in yoga and meditation, we find it very soothing, as there is a direct and deep connection between a monsoon and yoga. The spirit of this haiku revolves around the aspects that make our lives toxic due to a lot of reasons and activities that affect us mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

In terms of the housefly, I believe it is a metaphor that describes the dirt and filth around us. So, when it comes to a monsoon, all that filth comes to the surface and makes the environment more chaotic and toxic. A housefly can also represent the disturbing thoughts that keep us restless and dissatisfied daily. So, it is a monsoon that makes things obvious for us so that we can concentrate on our inner world and find out the best possible solutions to the chaos around and inside us.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

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Painting by Iruvan Karunakaran called Charminar Wet

Agnieszka Filipek’s Willow

writing a message
on the lake

Agnieszka Filipek (Ireland)
First published in The Cicada’s Cry

The willow tree represents strength, stability, growth, and knowledge or learning. This simple but profound haiku represents the shades of all these characteristics that nature presents through its different elements.

Writing a message on the lake shows the imagination of a person who is in sync with nature and beautifully shares her feelings about it. So, nature gives a lot of inspiration through its elements that we need to understand deeply.

The lake depicts calmness and the writing of a message on it means the person has faced many seasons and now she is ready to face life’s experiences.

The letter ‘w’ in this haiku sounds like waves of the past that strike the mind to recollect memories and to scribble them down when one is in a peaceful state.

Hifsa Ashraf  (Pakistan)

The willow in Japan is a kigo, or a seasonal reference, for late spring. This reflects the magical and fantastical event that is written about in this haiku. Though the willow is not consciously writing a message, it appears so and or could be mistaken as doing so. These tricks of perception often show up in classical haiku.
What is the message about? If we use our imagination, all sorts of ideas could come to mind: the tree is getting too hot and fears the coming of summer, so it is writing a cry for help; it is writing a diary entry about its day; it’s writing what the wind wants to say through its brances; doggerel poetry; and many more ideas.
It’s important that haiku allow the reader to imagine and this is a good example of that principle.
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– Art by Elinalee

Antonietta Losito’s Autumn Walk

autumn walk
trying to exchange my breath
with trees

Antonietta Losito (Italy)

An autumn walk is one of my favourite activities. It’s not simply a walk but a therapeutic process where I feel relieved by being a tiny part of this universe. Autumn is a shifting point where one season transforms into another, leaving profound memories behind.

In this haiku, I can feel the depth of those feelings where a person exchanges their breath with trees in a symbiotic way. It’s a win-win situation–everyone gains benefits from each other. I can see how one can be beneficial for others in order to bring peace and prosperity, as it’s a universal phenomenon that one cannot exist without interacting with others.

So, this beautiful haiku shows the long-term purpose of life or the ultimate goal of life: to bring peace within and around as well.

As a side note, I personally liked the ‘t’ sound that resonates in every line of this haiku.

Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Autumn is a time when nature is deterioating. I believe the poet felt for the plight of the trees at this time. She wanted to exchange breath, or life, with the being that brings her fresh oxygen and materials for her home.

You can also see this act as kinship. At a time when things are falling apart, the poet wanted to bring nature and humanity together.

The elongated syllables in the haiku and its pacing reminds of an autumn walk. I think the two verbs work fine, as “trying” creates a stronger scene.

Overall, this haiku displays compassion, communion, and the link between nature and humanity.

Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

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AUTUMN_WALK_PAINTING_Thumb_copy_530x@2xPainting by Terry Harrison