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
all the ways to find a meaning autumn sun — Marietta McGregor, Wales Haiku Journal (Autumn 2019)
Radhamani Sarma notes the effects of the autumn sun on all life:
The first line, “all the ways,” leads to the second line, “to find a meaning,” implying flora, fauna and humans are in search of the sun’s warmth during autumn. In autumn the leaves and changing colors have a special impact on all. The autumn sun taken in its totality adds a flavor and newness.
“all the ways” implies a journey of despair, a soul in despair, or a dejected lover, even a poet, cozy in his chamber. Perhaps the poet is inspired by a morning coffee, looking through the window, into the mist or towards the tender sun peeping through. He has a new lease on life, seen in the fast-changing colors of leaves, all impacted by the autumn sun, a beautiful image in our day-to-day life. For each of us, autumn’s sun has its own meanings to interpret from our own perspective.
Cezar Ciobîcă observes the poet meditating in the autumnal stage of life:
This wistful ku seems to leave a bad taste in the reader’s mouth and invites him to speculate. A meaning for what? For the irreversible passage of time which, if we reach a reasonable age, causes us to meditate on our lives, to run in search of lost time, to recall those beautiful moments that have filled gaps.
“all the ways” shows despair, but not resignation. Maybe it’s about grief, a distress that has left deep traces in the the author’s soul, and that’s why he continually looks for a sense which would alleviate his suffering. Furthermore, the autumnal sun with its diminished power and hues of rust suggests a wabi-sabi atmosphere, that imperfect beauty which blooms at the edge of nothingness.
As this week’s winner, Cezar 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!
speed of night somewhere beyond the big bang i am a unicorn — Dietmar Tauchner, bones, no. 4 (2014)