Welcome to re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s weekly poem commentary feature on some of the finest haiku ever written in English. This week’s poem was
winter night the everything of a flame — Sandi Pray, The Heron’s Nest XVIII:2 (2016)
Aparna Pathak sees this as a minimalist poem:
A well-structured haiku in short/long/short form that may look gloomy in first read. “Winter night” suggests an old age where the only struggle is about keeping the flame burning. But at the same time it also reflects the contentment of the poet who doesn’t desire anything worldly anymore and focuses only on being alive as a bare minimum requirement.
On reading the haiku again from the perspective of a haiku poet it seems that poet is in pensive mood who just wants “flame” to keep burning so that she can write in its warmth and light on the “winter night”. Winter as kigo indicates seclusion that may be a forced loneliness or by choice so that poet may concentrate on writing.
As this week’s winner, Aparna gets to select the next poem, which you’ll find below. We invite you to write a commentary to it. It may be as long or short, academic or spontaneous, serious or silly, public or personal as you like. We will select out-takes from the best of these. And the very best will be reproduced in its entirety and take its place as part of the THF Archives. Best of all, the winning commentator gets to choose the next poem for commentary.
Anyone can participate. A new poem will appear each Friday morning. Simply put your commentary in the Contact box by the following Tuesday midnight (Eastern US Time Zone). Please use the subject header “re:Virals” so we know what we’re looking at. We look forward to seeing some of your favorite poems — and finding out why!
Gita chanting ... birds become the ellipsis — Kala Ramesh, The Akita International Haiku Award (2014)