WHR Jan 2017
sleepless night -
counting the drops of transfusion
and the shooting stars
Shooting stars are an autumn kigo according to the Japanese saijiki even if they occur all year around. In Japan they are most abundant in number around mid August, which is autumn in the haiku calendar. We all have fond memories of having been fascinated as children by these bright things shooting across the sky. They have not only fascinated us human beings but also profoundly mystified us ever since we came to be in existence. Legends and mythology thus abounds over shooting stars.
I know next to nothing about the author of the Editor’s Choice, except that he comes from Romania. However, in my very brief conversation with him over the e-mail he told me about what shooting stars meant in Romania, which is in a nutshell that they would bring good luck to us. In this evocative haiku, whether the patient is in hospital or at home I don’t know. Though such small details could make a subtle difference in interpreting the situation they would not affect the general thrust of what this wonderfully-crafted poem provides us with.
Apart from the intensity which is created by the contrast between the incredibly serene calmness of the scene in each of the three lines and the underlying seriousness of the patient’s condition, there are quite a few things so good about this haiku. Firstly, the words used are all plain, everyday language and yet are made to express profound realities. Secondly, they were not only well-chosen but more importantly put in the best order. Thirdly, quiet though it is the haiku has a drama, or dramatic sequence: The first line evokes anxiety, the second serious reality verging on tragedy, and the third a kind of punch line, a relief in longing for hopes and good omen. In this way, it is more than a sketch of real life and with only three lines moving into the realm of human drama.
WHR January 2017 >