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Showing posts from February, 2018

haiku commentary ~ Peter Yovu

the sky's blue gong an orange in my hand

          — Peter Yovu


I don’t think Yovu could have packed any more into this haiku. Colour and sound.  The human experience and the natural world. Distance and proximity. And the beautiful simplicity of concrete language that injects it with vibrancy and authenticity and communicates an experience we can all recognise and share. 
Add to that the use of colour as adjective and noun, the onomatopoeia of ‘gong’ and the almost-eye rhyme with ‘orange’, as well as the monostich form that encourages us to experience this moment in one celebratory hurrah, and this is a haiku that makes me feel good to be alive on this day in the world. A day when that orange could almost be the sun sitting in my own small palm.

haiku commentary ~ ai li

in a room
with no windows
drawing stars

          — ai li, still two one (1998)

There are two things that immediately strike me about ai li’s haiku:
a strong sense of containment, perhaps even imprisonment, from the image of a room with no windows.the concrete images at the end of each line – room, windows, stars – which anchor me to the real world.
The idea of containment/imprisonment is a subjective response; the room could as easily be a cellar where the poet/narrator has chosen to be. But surely there’s a sense of longing, or aware*, in the third line, a longing for the exterior world, the night sky, for beauty and peace and freedom, that reinforces this idea for me. 
But if this is about imprisonment why don’t I feel any distress or sense of restriction? Perhaps because of those three concrete words at the end of each line. Poets place (or should place) words at the ends of lines for deliberate and conscious reasons. And these do feel consciously placed. Room. Window. Stars. 
I am i…