the sea …
a boat below
The First International Ashiya Haiku Festa Award (2000)
© Zvonko Petrović (1925 – 2009) (Croatia)
Very exciting ku. I like how “a boat” plays with “the boat,” and the word “below” echoes with sea, as there are so many treasures below the sea.
– Laughing Waters (USA)
While reading this, the soundtrack for the movie “Titanic” was incidentally playing in the background… and is it sheer coincidence? I see here a big boat (as in the Titanic) with small boats attached to it at the side… I see here a multi-story luxury boat or ship where people are classified according to their status in life, the well-to-do at the upper portion (perhaps the suites) of the boat, and the common individuals in the economy section of it. Each individual has a story (or boat) to tell or share, as they all traverse the challenges of life herein symbolized by “the sea.”
– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)
A ‘deep’ haiku, which not only suggests long-lost sunken ships, but could it also refer to the idea of ‘the sea of humanity’ and the following of one generation on another—we all live on the remains of previous civilizations. We travel in the wake of our ancestors by land and by sea.
– Martha Magenta (UK)
I read this quite simply: first the vast expanse of sea, then zooming in on a boat bobbing on it’s own reflection… it reminded me of how small and insignificant we all are in the great scheme of things.
– Rachel Sutcliffe (UK)
This haiku is simple yet complicated when we interpret the imagery of it. The sea is a specific kind of sea: it may be calm, still, and transparent in this scene. A sea with these characteristics is not more than a mirror where nature can reflect in a better way. Then, a boat below the boat is used very cleverly in this haiku, where the author is relating the sea with a big boat that helps to store many things on it and rescue them as well. The other boat is very small, which shows the humbleness of the person who admires the vastness and depth of sea. This small boat may be the rescue boat, or one where the person sits and ponders different elements of life.
I can also see the sea as our intellect that helps our tiny self (boat) to flourish more and reflect more after passing through various storms and finally gain inner peace more like this sea. I also see the comparison of the large boat and small boat as inner and outer selves respectively, where our outer self reflects the inner inner self if it is well connected with it. The English articles are really meaningful in this haiku, especially ‘the’ that makes this haiku more mysterious and lets our imagination run wild.
– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)
The author begins with the sea, a vast universe of water, letting us in with a sense of immense. It’s also calm and transparent because the author tells us a boat can be noticed on the bottom …
In the ku, there are just five words, of which two are repeated … relaxing and almost mesmerizing the reader.
But when one gives a look at the poem in a more playful way, we can also notice that in the ku itself ‘the boat’ is below ‘a boat’… The haijin is not telling only but also showing it in a visual structure: ‘a boat’ in the second line and ‘the boat’ below, in the line below …
And this is quite funny, humorously talking, because the boat that is below appears in the upper line, not in the line below … A trick I didn’t expect and that intrigued me a lot …
One could also read it in a deeper way, considering the phenomenon of reflection. And one could give attention to consciousness (‘the’ boat) and unconsciousness (‘a’ boat below the boat: the surface where everything is easy to see, and the bottom that one can see, or interpret only in ‘calm waters’ or in tranquility).
Reading the ku in this way, one can perceive the levels of depth as if the poet wanted to show us a truth behind the truth itself … A pleasure to have meditated on it!
– Lucia Fontana (Italy)
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(© Jan Zaremba, with the kind permission of the artist)