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
first drizzle grandfather mentions an old song –Angela Giordano, Haiku Column, August 2019
Radhamani Sarma picks out the song within the rain:
Angela Giordano begins her write with the description of a sky’s pour in a mild way. “first drizzle” – the utterance with a pause — shows the image of the sky’s blessings in the form of mild showers. “drizzle” signifies a sound that triggers a buzz, an auditory image. Why first drizzle? This may be a reference to the season’s bliss, or morning’s first gift of sky, a gentle falling.
Connectivity is established in the second line, “grandfather mentions an old song.” The drizzle is like a song sequence, a recollection of grandfather’s mentioning “an old song.”
Grandfather symbolizes age, tradition represented by bygone times, when orchestra and instruments are missing and falling drizzle resonates with the timbre of an old song. “old song” could also mean dim or receding in tone, comparable to the soft drizzles, yet fresh in his memory.
Jacob Salzer observes a deja vu spanning generations:
I like the contrast between “first” and “old” as two generations come together in this haiku. I also like the juxtaposition between “drizzle” and “song.” It brings to mind a strange, almost deja vu feeling, that something old can simultaneously be felt and acknowledged as new and relevant today. The sweet moment between the grandchild and the grandfather is strongly felt. In just six words, this haiku spans an entire lifetime, and maybe even lifetimes, as the old song could have originated from past generations before the grandfather, perhaps with his father, mother, or grandparents. The preservation of music, literature and art is important to appreciate the creative work for generations to come. Equally important, this haiku reminds us to respect and remember our ancestors. History is often fragmented and includes many untold stories, many of which may be hidden in songs. Looking back, we also may be reminded of the beauty of living a more simple life, as most of our grandparents did not grow up with computers or technologies found in the digital age. This haiku conjures up a provocative quote by Winston Churchill: “The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward.”
As this week’s winner, Jacob 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!
deeper shadows where the walls meet... autumn rain – Mark E. Brager, The Heron's Nest, Volume XXI, Number 3 (2019)