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
spring cleaning I throw away dreams that almost came true — Angela Terry, Frogpond 34:3 (2011)
Marion Clarke wonders:
Oh! Angela Terry’s haiku instantly reminded me of Hemingway’s piece of micro fiction, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” and I began to wonder what these items could be that the narrator is throwing away and what were those dreams? Did this person’s wedding plans fall to pieces and she is finally getting rid of her wedding dress? Is it the tools of a particular trade that the narrator is selling because he failed to achieve the required grades?
Everyone has unfulfilled dreams, but the fact that the narrator is clearing out these items that represent those dreams can be seen as positive, it is time to move on.
Julie Warther is reminded of pack rat’s fondness for filling their nests with “treasures”:
The effectiveness of this haiku, for me, lies in the back and forth of possible outcomes I imagine resulting from the poet’s decision in the last two lines. For an idealist with pack rat tendencies, this poem holds real discomfort. “dreams that almost came true” are also dreams that could still come true. I hate to discard something only to discover a use for it three days later. It’s happened too many times before for me to let go easily. And yet . . . I’ve also experienced the calm that comes after a cleanse. One doesn’t have to study feng shui to understand our surroundings affect our mood, energy, health, and productivity. Our internal landscapes must surely hold even more sway on our well-being. To let go of old dreams might offer a sense of release and relief. Spring, after all, is a time for new beginnings.
As this week’s winner, Marion gets to choose next week’s 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!
and now . . . passing through me into eaves — Robert D. Wilson, A Soldier’s Bones: Hokku and Haiku (2013)