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
so many times I wanted to say yes... summer stars — Angela Terry, frogpond, vol. 43:1 (2020)
Radhamani Sarma follows positive paths:
This is such a powerful write starting in the first person, taking the reader into confidence. Angela Terry’s affirmative tone expressed here is a wonder addressed to the stars. Every tinkle, every shine, every breath after witnessing summer stars is a moment of jubilant, positive energy as testified in these lines.
Literally speaking, the first line — “so many times” — by itself structurally emphasizes, emphatically repeats, the persona’s observation of oneness in nature’s web or blue firmament. The second line — “I wanted to say yes…” — reveals the speaker’s awed response or inward reaction to the illuminated sky, probably conceived as a beautifully drawn girl pouring down. “I wanted to say yes…,” with a pause, perhaps asserts, nodding with a gesture of go-ahead in many ways, for so many reasons, for many situations.
Presumably, with a metaphorical ambiance, the persona might be a budding, blooming girl, waiting for her fiancé, ready to say “Yes” with every move of the summer stars as described in the third line; or every summer sky as represented by summer stars, a park or beach, or driving by in a car seat, where, reflected close by, these are dancing girls, amenably drawn by the imaginative aura of the poet.
From “yes,” so much could be construed: It might be a dinner by the sands of a beach, or a sung duet, or an exchange of haiku, such as a senryu between poets, giving an enlightening tick; all due to the shining summer stars so visible at close quarters.
Even perhaps viewed through another perspective, we see all those souls now resting in Heaven, all our grandfathers and grandmothers and kith and kin, now on sojourn on this earth. They are so close by, represented by these stars; the speaker says “Yes,” welcoming them with a warm smile.
As this week’s winner, Radhamani 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!
dusking inlet the gentle probe of furrows — Jan Benson, Runner-up, H. M. Haiku Column Contest (2018)