Posted in Haiku

Anna Vakar’s Squash Vine

still climbing,
a squash vine in full blossom
this cold day

© Anna Vakar (Canada) (1929 – 2017)
From the book Sisyphus

A very interesting haiku. We all have a purpose in life: plants reach out for the sun, people seek knowledge…. Line one shows a continued movement, so when the next line says “in full blossom” it means that even if the squash vine has reached a high point, it is still seeking for more. And line three makes me think about struggling or the time when life comes to its ending point. This haiku makes me think about being devoted to a constant search, progress. I really enjoyed it. Here’s an inspired haiku:

weathered sunflower
still follows the sun
my shadow

– Laughing Waters (Italy)

So many aspects I love about this haiku. Like a part of a movie scene, this piece contains ‘drama’ by contrasting the cold day and the climbing vine.
The use of the comma enhances the fact that the climbing process hasn’t stopped yet.

To me, the imagery shows perseverance. A piece that lifts up the spirit. It makes me feel good just by reading it.

P. S.
Oops…what have I done? I just found out that a squash vine is a moth! I was imagining a plant…hehehe…aish, me!

– Lucky Triana (Indonesia)

Another perspective can be any type of insect who is waiting for the squash vine to bloom fully. The cold day indicates hibernation, the storage of food, and/or a difficult time for survival. On the contrary, still climbing is a sign of hope, energy, and the will to survive. The squash vine is a symbol of life, as it provides energy one is waiting for.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

This haiku has nothing to do with insects, except there are still a few hopeful bees around. These vines are big green Hubbard or winter squashes with gorgeous yellow insides. I grew mine on an arch, and these strong growers still produce beautiful yellow flowers even after the first October chill, despite there being no chance of developing into squashes.

This haiku suggests that even when past child-bearing age, we women are still beautiful!

– Martha Magenta (England)

It reminds me of people with courage. Even if it’s a dark time in their lives, they continue walking towards the light.

– Lovette Carter (traveler)

This ku reminds me of how we can be flexible and adaptable in the face of adversity. Normally, a squash climbs and shows its full bloom in summer. But then, not all the time in summer… and here we learn that a squash variety can also blossom during the cold months.

Hence, we are shown a special adaptation by a plant to a less favorable climate. And aren’t we all, we as human beings, because of our survival instincts, adapting to changes in our environment; and more, sometimes we really rise to the occasion and shine.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

I will add some of my perspective on the sound of the haiku. It seems the most powerful sounds in this poem come from the letters “s” and “l,” and they enhance the mood of the haiku in a variety of ways. The “s” sounds bring more emphasis the action of the climbing squash vine and its persistence in cold weather. For me, the “l” sounds lend hope as a reader that the vine will prevail against its odds. In addition, the usage of these letters seems intentional to bring a musicality and charm to the haiku.

Sounds in poetry can mean different things to varying readers. However, this is what my intuition told me while reading this poem.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Scott Mason’s Moonlight

no escaping
this moonlight—

© Scott Mason (USA)
Author of The Wonder Code

Captures the unavoidable … we too could be Pompeii if we do not get our global act together—North Korean nukes, global warming, the inevitable asteroid sooner or later … the beauty of the moonlight, the beauty of everything around us is not enough to save us unless we save ourselves … my first impressions off the cuff …

– Gabri Rigotti (South Africa)

Perhaps a reference to the recent supermoon which was so bright, there was no more chance of escaping it than the Pompeii disaster. I think this is an odd comparison however, because I love strong moonlight, while being smothered by volcanic ash is not really a comparable sensation.

– Martha Magenta (England)

It is a place I have never been, physically, but I have wandered through Pompeii so many times in my mind, but only in daylight. Yet I can imagine the impact of being there in the still night of a full silvery moon, overcome with awe and the silence. And imagining, in my imagination, the horror of helplessness and hopelessness of the inevitable death quickly approaching the city where you, your family, and loved ones reside. This particular haiku hits rather close to home for me—the recent firestorms that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in the wine country just north of where I live, and the dozens of people missing and dead who had no escape from the horror of it.

– Dana Grover (USA)

“No escaping this moonlight” would have been a romantic and satisfying experience, as in gazing at the bright moonlight, with your partner perhaps. A positive, lovely experience.

However, the opposite is true when we juxtapose the phrase with “Pompeii”— knowing in history how horrific the end of this place was when Mount Vesuvius erupted. The scene becomes immediately foreboding of so much pain and anguish the citizens of Pompeii experienced.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

The interpretation of this haiku may not be very easy. “This moonlight” is a bit elusive here. Moonlight of which moon?! That matters a lot. The word ‘this’ indicates a particular type of moon/moonlight! My guess is he may be talking about a hunter’s moon, or a supermoon, or a frost moon based on the horrific history of Pompeii.

In any case, something is ruling here that is moonlight and something is ruined, which is this ancient city. More likely what is dominant and what is dormant in terms of power, time, and significance.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

I have varied responses each time I read this haiku. I feel the poignancy of pain, but yet, I feel a blessing as well. Not only is the moonlight shining its light on the destruction, but is also imbuing it with a sense of the mystical, and the acceptance to move onto its next phase. Moonlight is not only indicative of melancholy, but also enlightenment.

The most prominent sound in this haiku comes with the letter “o.” Coursing through the haiku, it gives the scene described an added starkness.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA/Ukraine)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Betty Kaplan’s Chorus

all city school chorus
I hear
my daughter’s voice

© Betty Kaplan (1919-2011) (USA)

It entails a lovely visual.

– Robert Gillette (USA)

Fantastic! This haiku reminds me of when I was first informed of how wild and farm animals can single out their offspring’s cry among a field of several other young ones. Only one voice is heard when a mother “fine-tunes” her ears.

– Lovette Carter (traveler)

Of course. As parents, grandparents, we only see/hear our own children/grandchildren in the ensemble. Next month, we will see “only” our granddaughter as a soldier and as an angel in her ballet school’s annual production of Nutcracker. I’m sure, if she was in a chorus, we would hear only her.

– Dana Grover (USA)

I see two aspects here; one is rebirth—the cry of a little child during a chorus of happiness, which could be celebration time for a family—a daughter that brings endless blessings for a family.
The second aspect may be annihilation that is quite painful. The loss of the child due to any reason (violence, immigration, war, poor health, miscarriage etc.). The school chorus may bring flashbacks of those traumatic memories and only the daughter’s voice echoing in the parents’ ears.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Amazing and true. When my granddaughter plays on the playground, I can always discern her voice among others. I love this haiku.

– Marilyn Ward (England)

For a young, developing mind, taking part in school activities develops camaraderie and respect in the child for team play. Each one has a role to play in the team effort so that the totality of each endeavor would truly be successful. This idea comes to mind easily in this ku.

But, the author, I believe has another thing to point out. Although each and every team member has a role to play in order to make the endeavor one and whole, one is also reminded that there would always be primary and secondary players in a group, i.e., others may take primary, solo and/or specialized assignments and others might just have to simply support the solo/lead role that one or two members of the group take.

Or, another interpretation could have a touch of humor to it, as in the child could have gone out of tune and falter, making the error quite distinct and thus embarrassing.

This is how I see this ku.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

There are many ways to look at this haiku, and one of them is a state of meditation. The mother of the girl who is singing has her attention so attuned to the chorus that she can pick out her daughter’s voice amid the strains of many other voices. Also, this haiku could reference that each of our voices are intertwined, and that the daughter’s voice is the chorus itself, and vice versa. In a sense, one voice can speak for a community, and a community can be representative of one person as well.

In terms of sound, the most prominent letter is “o.” The “o” sounds like singing, especially choral singing, with wide-mouthed voices.

A delightful and meditative haiku with a great deal of underlying meaning.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Tell us in the comments section.

Posted in Haiku

Elliot Nicely’s Pines

where words fail pines along the cliff’s edge

Kokako #22
© Elliot Nicely (USA)

If I were writing, I’d say “pine” instead of ‘pines’ and ‘fall’ instead of “fail.”

– Edwin Lomere (USA)

Wow! that’s the first word come to mind when reading this. “Fail” and “pines” work fine to me.

I don’t know if it’s meant to have metaphorical meaning, but I just love how it brings me straight to the scene. I would be speechless too if I experienced it myself.

Love the smooth flow between the two parts too.

– Lucky Triana (Indonesia)

The pines along the cliff edge seem to be marking a boundary against falling over, and each pine, in my mind, marks each of the one-syllable words in this monoku. Pines are pointed, so each one is perhaps making a point?

– Martha Magenta (England)

For me, this monoku is talking about a picture that leaves the author speechless. He isn’t able—although he does in a manner—to find words to describe the feelings of the given scenery. “pines along the cliff’s edge” evokes a common experience in him shown by an explicit example. And so, he simply writes “where words fail.”

– Hannes Froehlich (Germany)

This is a beautiful monoku with multiple interpretations. With the first read, “the cliff’s edge” could be the edge of the ‘mind’.

From a physical standpoint, we are all on the edge, between life and death, whether we like to believe it or not. But the real meaning of the death of words seems to be the death of the ego—”where words fail”—and this would inherently include the “I” thought or the “me” thought that we seem to cling to out of habit, and is constantly reinforced through language through many years of mental conditioning.

But if the mind is conditioned, it seems it can also be deconditioned. If we can add layers to the mind, it seems we can also discover those layers, and maybe, even for a moment, experience the great joy of losing ALL thoughts as they evaporate into the transiency of their origins.

How do we break through the mold of the mind? Why do we identify with the mind in the first place? Indeed, the mind can be a useful tool, and it has its place, but those moments when ALL words fail seems to brings us back to something much deeper, to something that is not personal at all, but rather universal, just beyond the edge of the mind.

And yet, it seems even after this experience, the sense of being a person continues, out of compassion, to better serve life and its various forms.

Maybe this is one reason why haiku has this mysterious ability to bring people together? It seems haiku poets are all on the edge of the mind, and we have this inherent ability to tap into something just beyond it.

Despite our seemingly endless use of words, it seems many of us (secretly or not) yearn for what is wordless and, lucky for us, the beauty of haiku contains both words and what is wordless. So, it seems haiku serves as a very grounding activity to appreciate the ordinary and perhaps see things in a new light, yet simultaneously points to what is wordless and unfathomable.

Our haiku seem to be like small waves on the infinite ocean, appearing and disappearing as creative expressions of the universal source. The innumerable waves are inseparable from the great ocean and its depths, so the illusion of separation is not as concrete as it may seem… Sometimes there is turbulence in those waves, but often, there is music in their movement, rising in and out of silence…. so may we find peace within our words, and our haiku…

– Jacob Salzer (USA)

The content of the haiku has been explored well, so I will add some notes about the sound and rhythm of the haiku.

The alliteration in the beginning with “where words” gives off an aura of seriousness. The “i” sounds in “fail,” “pines,” and cliff’s” supplies readers with a dramatic effect, and the usage of “f” sounds adds to the sharpness of the “i” sounds–this can connect to the sharpness of the pines.

Though it is a one-liner, the elongated syllables in the haiku make readers slow down and take in the words and their feeling.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Leroy Kanterman’s Scarecrow

Sunset . . .
the scarecrow stretches
across the field

© Leroy Kanterman (USA) (1923-2015)

The day is done, the farmer’s work is finished and he goes home for a well-earned rest! As the sun goes down, it brings with it long shadows and the poet has observed the scarecrow’s shadow lengthening across the field almost like the scarecrow itself is resting after a hard day’s work. “Scarecrow” is an autumn kigo, therefore the field may have been harvested, leaving it flat, which would also extend shadows….

The alliteration of ‘s’ sounds almost say ‘shush’ the scarecrow is resting….
Having the capital “S” on sunset may be a trait of the author to capitalize the first letter or it might be the poet’s way of portraying the influencing ‘power’ within the haiku… sunset itself.

A wonderful haiku.

– Brendon Kent (England)

Ah, yes. The scarecrow stretches at sunset. When I read this, I see a harvested field, perhaps with stubble of whatever crop was grown on it, and the long shadow of the scarecrow cast upon it. The field is flat, nothing high left on it, save for the scarecrow. And there are at least a couple of ways to view this scene, looking into the sun with the scarecrow in the distance, a black silhouette with its equally-black shadow stretching toward the viewer, or perhaps the viewer is somewhere behind the scarecrow, off to the side a bit, and the scarecrow’s shadow stretches away from him or her, the viewer, the speaker of the piece. I think it must be autumn when shadows are longer throughout the day, but they feel especially long as the sun sets on a clear afternoon/evening, and a chill begins to descend on the scene. But, hey, Leroy Kanterman said all of this, and more, in a mere seven words. A pretty good ‘ku.

– Dana Grover (USA)

I can see the shadow of the scarecrow stretching out over the field as the sun goes down, and perhaps the farmer is also stretching out on the veranda enjoying a cool beer after a hard day’s work.

I like the sibilance of the ‘s’ sounds, like an evening hush. A beautiful haiku

– Martha Magenta (England)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz’s Hummingbird

my thoughts come
and go

(1st place in the 21st Indian Kukai)

© Tiffany Shaw-Diaz (USA)

The hummingbird symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being. Thoughts here may indicate changes in mood. The swift movement of this bird can also be related to the thought process. It seems the person is indecisive or restless due to these thoughts.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

This lovely haiku could mean many things to many readers. The hummingbird’s wings move in the pattern of an infinity symbol—suggesting eternity, and continuity. The hummingbird totem indicates the sweet nectar within, and so it has a deep mystical quality. In meditation, our thoughts come and go, in fact, meditation is in part a process of letting go of thoughts that keep coming, not to fight them or hold on to them, simply letting them go. So, there seems to be nothing negative implied here—it’s all positive. It’s about inner growth, transcendence, and finding the heaven within us.

– Martha Magenta (England)

It’s about finding one’s centre in the midst of impermanence.

– Malintha Perera (Sri Lanka)


– Ronald Kleiman (USA)

I’m sitting here with my eyes closed (not while I am typing this) and can see in my mind’s eye the flitting and diving of the hummingbirds that visit my yard, often flying directly in front of my face and hovering, as if asking “what are you doing here?” Then flying off somewhere so quickly it is hard to see them go. Kind of like my thoughts. I’m hearing something being said which makes me think of something else, and off goes my mind, flitting and diving, missing what else is being said. Thoughts, coming and going, like a hummingbird, are what makes us alive, what makes life worth living.

This is a wonderful haiku.

– Dana Grover (USA)

The interesting thing to me here isn’t that thoughts come and go, but how much they move when they are seemingly in place. A hummingbird, even when hovering, is a very busy, restless, bird. As an unsuccessful meditator, I can relate to this poem. Even in moments of apparent stillness, my mind is unable to rest.

– Dave Read (Canada)

Since the content has been commented on extensively, I will touch upon the sound and rhythm of the haiku.

The most prominent letters in the poem is “m” in “hummingbird” and “my,” and “o” in “thoughts,” “come,” and “go.” The “m” sound mimics the flapping of the hummingbird’s wings, and the “o” sound provides a feeling of leaving or passing, which the last two lines discuss.

The rhythm of the haiku is meditative, especially with the ellipsis. From the rhythm of the haiku, you can feel the state of meditation the writer was in.

This haiku is like a Zen koan without the riddle, in that it puts you in a state of pure awareness without thought.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Ken Jones’ Freezing Wind

Freezing wind
the dancing clothes
stiffen into people

Frogpond, 31:1, 2008

© Ken Jones (1930 – 2015) (UK)

When love and kindness is not returned, it takes the joy away from people.

– Malintha Perera

This reminds me of when I was a youth living in a really cold part of the world. Mom would do the washing, hang the clothes outdoors (in winter), they would freeze stiff, and when they were brought in, she would stand them by the stove to unfreeze. Seems perfectly normal to me.

– Dana Grover

If I was writing it, I’d put “stiffen” at the end of line two.

– Eric Lohman

Straight away, you are transported into a bleak picture… freezing wind, yet the next line ‘the dancing clothes’ seems almost joyous, a festive celebration. Then the reality strikes… ‘stiffen into people’.

This haiku has joy and sadness, a mixture of emotions.

On first reading, we have a happy yet harsh scene… that moment when even the festivities become too cold to enjoy fully.

Maybe the author has seen this ‘dancing clothes’ from a distance yet through the ‘freezing wind’ and as the author nears the scene, it becomes apparent they are only actually people… a far-to-near focus that feels quite disappointing.
Most of us have experienced extreme cold at some point and can relate to the ‘stiff clothes’ syndrome!… but also, as we get older, our bones feel like they are doing the same!

Is it just the clothes stiffening? Possibly attitudes are ‘stiffening’ too as the occasion becomes lost in a freezing wind!

I believe this haiku is showing us that while dancing and fun is being had by all with everyone joining in and interacting, once it is too cold (possibly metaphorically) everyone becomes how they were before… no interactions, everyone going about their separate lives oblivious to each other.

– Brendon Kent

I can relate to this happening to clothes on a line and to people as they get older. I remember my grandma hanging washing on the line, and how the clothes would freeze and become stiff as boards. People also become stiff with age, both physically and mentally, losing the joy and flexibility of youth.

– Martha Magenta

Well, a really nice idea—if I wrote it, I would have made it shorter:

freezy wind
dancing clothes
stiffen people

– Hannes Froehlich

The content and its message has been sufficiently touched upon, so I would like to mention the sound and rhythm of the haiku. To me, the strongest sound in the haiku comes from the letter “i” in “freezing,” “wind,” “dancing,” “stiffen,” and “into.” It seems to give the sense of cold that the haiku portrays. Also, the significant sound of “z” of “ff” makes a palpable impact on the reader. The word “stiffen” hits the reader hard, and makes for a solemn rhythm in the last line, which adds to the mood of the haiku.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Ken Jones was not only a haiku poet, contributing regularly to UK haiku magazines and represented in British and American anthologies. He also played an important part in pioneering the western development to the haibun—an ancient Japanese prose poetry genre.

Ken Jones was until 2013 one of three editors of the print journal, Contemporary Haibun, and the online journal Contemporary Haibun Online. For his contribution to Pilgrim Foxes: Haiku and Haiku Prose, co-authored with Jim Norton and Sean O’Connor, Ken was awarded the Sasakawa Prize for Original Contributions in the Field of Haikai. He resided in Ceredigion, Wales with his Irish wife, Noragh. (The Living Haiku Anthology)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Lee Nash’s Mystery

my late night
mystery caller
Northern Lights

Joint winner, tinywords challenge, N° 17.1, March 2017

© Lee Nash (France)

This haiku is very pleasing. I wonder why the word “my” is used in line one. The Northern Lights are beautiful to look at. For me, it’s hard to determine the season, because the area where you can see the Northern lights are closer to the North Pole and you can have the pleasure to see them during six months of the year. Line two is strong—it is my favorite line in this haiku. I wonder if this would work better:

late night
my mystery caller—
Northern Lights

– Laughing Waters

The Northern Lights may indicate the “aurora” that has many patterns and colors. The narrator could be a lonely person who is having a sleepless night or maybe he is an introvert who wants to explore more of her own self.

There could be a spiritual meaning behind this haiku, where the aurora can be related to aura, a sort of feeling that we have during meditation. The colors, sounds, and lights all can be experienced during meditation.

There can be a religious aspect as well, implying that the narrator prayed late at night and asked for forgiveness, peace, and serenity in her life.

– Hifsa Ashraf

I like the twist. You think the mystery caller is a person, but it turns out to be the Northern Lights. He’s probably up late, unable to sleep, and catches the sight of her caller.

– Marilyn Ward

I agree with Marilyn—this is a very interesting juxtaposition. The poet has a late night mystery caller (line one and line two) which turns out to be the aurora borealis or Northern Lights. Here the poet might have stumbled upon, late at night, the spectacle that unfolds between April and September in a few selected places on Earth. Here, the poet sees a natural phenomenon that happens rarely—and immediately her attention becomes focused on one of the wonders of nature. Truly, if we just learn to be observant, nature has a lot to offer that would always keep us in awe.

– Willie Bongcaron

When we are in “love” with someone or with life, we see and hear every message in its finest moments on a daily basis. This senryu is quite romantic to me! This evening, “my late night” is very personal. It seems, my “mystery caller” is not one whom I do not know. I know him very well. It is what he will say once I pick up the telephone. That will be the surprise! Everything that occurs in our relationship or those who find love in a person or something is surreal! This is the beauty of finding what is worth living for. Those divine Northern Lights are breathtaking, magical, and it’s a delight to read.

– Cartier Luvit

“Northern Lights ” is a very dramatic phrase. First, I was absorbed by this word. In the first line, the word “my” falls into the reader’s mind.

And this haiku’s structure is divided into three parts. Usually, this structure is avoided, but there are exceptional haiku with this structure in contemporary haiku in Japan. Some of them have no story, as if each line’s juxtaposition is a flash. “Cutting” guides the reader to reading haiku.

There are also some exceptional hokku with this structure from Basho. Here is my translation of one:

bindweeds have bloomed
I’ll peel a melon 

This is a typical three-parts separate hokku.

– Norie Umeda

I enjoy the ambiguity of this haiku. It seems to be suggesting two interpretations: that the mystery caller is the Northern Lights, and that her mystery caller brought up feelings within her akin to experiencing the Northern Lights.

In the first interpretation, there is a mystical undertone, as if nature is speaking to her directly. This conversation with nature could have been spontaneous, and therefore he calls it a “mystery.”

In the second interpretation, when someone we love or care for calls unexpectedly, a torrent of emotions and memories usually pulse through us. This experience can be said to be like the Northern Lights in their phenomenal display.

If we look at the sound of the haiku, the most prominent letter used is “l.” To me, the “l” sound gives a sense of awe and excitement, which in turn is closely related to the viewing of the Northern Lights.

I also enjoy the lack of punctuation, which adds more readings to it. The pacing of the haiku is unpretentious for such a grand display as the Northern Lights. I think this works well in its favor, as often poems are dampened when poets overstate and over-express.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Shahai

Alan Summers’ Sparrow

dead sparrow haiku Alan Summers Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 08.33.22
Haiku Canada Review, vol. 11, no. 2, (October 2017) ed. LeRoy Gorman

The first line shocks us into the present moment. Sparrows are beloved birds, not only because of their miniature size, but also because of their sweet songs and ubiquitousness. Sparrows as a kigo, or seasonal reference, qualifies for each season, and this adds to their universality perceived in the haiku.

The last two lines depend much on how one reads “light.” Is it light in color, light in weight, or physical light? Summers does not say, but from the feeling we get from reading to the end of the haiku, we might say it is a mixture of both compassion and irony.

The compassion comes from nature giving a spontaneous signal of care or love through a light sky in the evening. This period of the day is lovely and gives off a sense of peace.

The irony could be in the fact that with such a fateful day of a death, the dusk comes lightly (maybe an extended twilight) instead of a definite darkness that would go along with the mood of the day.

This haiku reminds us that nature can be unforgiving and be compassionate simultaneously—and most likely, this is all a matter of spontaneity.

Through the use of sound, Summers makes an even stronger impression on the reader. The use of “l” in “light” and “close” brings about the seriousness of the subject matter, in my opinion. With the alliteration of “comes” and “close” I believe the finality of the event is felt more.

The haiku seems effortlessly written, but the phrasing also appears to have been chosen with intention.

The way I interpreted the photo was that this is the view of the dead sparrow, if it could see. But maybe it is still seeing….

Alan Summers has composed an endearing and contemplative shahai (photo haiku) of feeling and nuance.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Posted in Haiku

Dubravko Ivančan’s World

once we are
all dead
the whole world

original Croatian:

Jednom ćemo biti
svi mrtvi;
cćitav svijet.

© Dubravko Ivančan (1931-1982, Croatia)

I see this haiku in three ways. Firstly, when we are together and enjoy our time, that is the best time in our lives, where we enjoy our lives fully. But once we get separated, the whole world looks colourless. I see the word ‘dead’ here as a lack of interest, poor relationships, separation, etc. (especially family relationships).

Then, it could be associated with ‘departure’ as once our close ones are not anymore with us, we feel the whole world is dead or that we have nothing.

Another thought (maybe silly) is related to ‘know thyself’ where people don’t use their best potential and creativity. The concept of ‘being’ can be associated with it, as he used ‘we’ in this haiku, which may point to us being human beings.

– Hifsa Ashraf

Apocalyptic … !

But ever more relevant as the threat of climate change and nuclear war starts looking less and less like science fiction and more and more like a possible real world scenario …

This haiku leaves a huge question mark hanging over it … what then, if there is a then that has any relevance to humanity?

– Gabri Rigotti

I see two different interpretations depending on where the caesura is placed.

1.) The cut is after the first line:

once we are

all dead
the whole world

I am reminded here of Rene Descartes’ cogito ergo sum. The last two lines reinforce the first. And what I see here is the extinction of humankind. Morbid… and apocalyptic as what the kind Gabri Rigotti has earlier stated. I don’t want for humankind to reach this scenario, but who knows… humankind has become so intelligent (and scheming) that it has already devised ways and means to accidentally or intentionally make its kind extinct. If this happens, then other lower forms of organisms might inherit the earth. But then, who knows.

On the other hand, if we believe what God has said, He would intervene when humankind is about to make itself extinct. Then, there is promise and hope for humankind.

2.) The cut is after the 2nd line:

once we are
all dead

the whole world

I see this as a door that opens a myriad possibilities or eventualities. “Once we are all dead,” then what? Will the world cease to exist because humankind has been eliminated? Apparently, one interpretation of this ku suggests that (once we are all dead, the whole world is dead).

Or, the third line becomes an open-ended anticipation of what would be the final scene.

This is my take of this ku.

– Willie Bongcaron

I think “dead” here means just that—”dead” and if it is about all of us being dead, then I agree with the above, that it is apocalyptic and it relates to the possibility that humanity may wipe itself out.

The third line draws my attention more—”the whole world” means all of humanity, and if we differentiate between “the world” and “the earth” then we can see the earth continuing without humanity and “the world” we have imposed on it.

This haiku wants to be read over and over for the implications to sink in. It says a huge amount in a very few words.

– Martha Magenta

My instinct, for what it is worth, is to change the tense:

once we were
all dead
the whole world

which gives it a post-apocalyptic feel.

– Francis Franklin

The poets above have written a great deal of what I wanted to write about this haiku already, however I have one more idea to add. To me, this poem comes instinctively across with the feeling that when each of us perish, we will become the whole world. We are usually confined to our ego and thus to our individuality, but when we die, we once again join the collective consciousness.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.