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
flapping in the prunus woodpigeons shedding feathers and leaves — Geoffrey Winch, A Hundred Gourds 5:1 (2015)
Radhamani Sarma gets ornithological:
Immensely delighted to write comments on this week’s selected poem by Geoffrey Winch, a British poet, living in Sussex in UK. A significant note to be remembered is this week’s haiku highlights the most common large woodpigeon in UK.
At the outset this haiku reveals that the woodpigeons, when flapping their wings, cause feathers and leaves of edible plants to get dropped.
A specific act has been depicted from a poet’s point of view combined with an ornithologist’s point of view. A combination of both visual and auditory perception inspired by the heavy bird flapping in the prunus.
For all bird watchers and bird lovers, the following two links suggested by poet Alan Summers would be of immense interest.
Mark Gilbert gets sonic:
Only 9 words, with a pleasing descending rhythm ending on the only long vowel sound in the poem. Although each line has two stressed syllables, the last word provides finality as unlike the other lines the poem ends on an accented syllable. There is also a shift during the reading of the piece, as the strong p-sounds in lines 1/2 give way to ‘z’s, ‘sh’s, ‘f’s, ‘th’s and finally a persistent ‘vvzzz’. So the poem reaches a small crescendo before relaxing, perhaps reflecting the arrival of Spring or its associated activities. I also appreciate the sight rhyme in the last line.
As this week’s winner, Mark 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!
Sunday evening rain the texture of etcetera — Jim Kacian, After Image Red Moon Press (2017)