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haiku commentary ~ Annette Makino



Sometimes life and poetry intersect naturally. I had a brutal wardrobe clear-out yesterday, as witnessed by the pile of clothes hangers in the centre of the bed and a bulging large carrier bag destined for the charity shop.  And then, through one of those random extended internet excavations, I came across this haiku by Annette Makino, published by tinywords a few years ago which I'd commented on briefly. 


hanging in my closet the person I used to be


Reading it again still elicited a similar variety of responses: laughter, recognition, resignation and sadness. And this time part of ‘the person I used to be’ was neatly folded at my feet! 

Most of us keep clothes that no longer fit us, or suit us. I still have an ostentatious, ostrich feather bolero that I bought in the early 1980s and will never wear again but hold onto from a sense of nostalgia. But the haiku also propels me towards imagining clothes that belonged to someone else, a husband, wife or partner who may have left, or died, and that spills me into a different interpretation of 'the person I used to be'. Is there anger? Is there grief? Or acceptance of the space between the then and the now? 

This multi-layering of possible meanings is, for me, the mark of a good haiku. I think of it as a journey haiku: not anchored to one place or experience but offering the reader a range of possible destinations. It becomes more than the writer's haiku: it belongs to us all. 

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