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
adopted she wonders where the waves come from — Rachel Sutcliffe, The Heron’s Nest, Volume XVI, Number 4 (2014)
Radhamani Sarma details the metaphorical image:
Rachel Sutcliffe’s senryu begins without any mention of a name. “adopted” takes us further into the matter. In the second line, the child ponders her origin or who her biological parents were. The continuation of the second line into the third line is the crux of the senryu. With the image of “waves,” we get the idea of a sudden lift, even opulence. The child’s environment is shifted into better ambiance. Either the child after much affliction wonders at the sudden stroke of luck or kindness from a different setup or delights at the extreme level of entry. This conversion of a metaphorical image is the highlight of the senryu.
Garry Eaton finds a universal longing:
Like Odysseus on a great voyage, looking for home, an adopted child longs unconsciously for the real mother who bore her, questioning the waves that arrive from our great common mother, the sea, as to their origins.
A fine haiku evoking our universal longing for answers about our individual fates and the natural heritage we share.
Jacob Salzer considers our common origins:
A strong and effective juxtaposition. The great ocean is full of the unknown, as is the adopted child, especially if he/she is adopted at a very early age. It seems the conscious mind is one with the universal mind, as the mundane is linked to the profound, just as the waves of the ocean are forever one with the dark, silent, and unfathomable depths beneath the surface. The waves appear separate from each other, but really it is only one great ocean moving in sychronicity. The sea also perhaps invokes a sense of longing to truly know our origins. In a way, I feel like we are all adopted children of divinity, living in dreams within dreams, as in human life, we are all only visitors here.
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!
just one me and this whole sky an orchestra of insect noise — Matthew Moffett, Bones, no. 18 (2019)