A Few Thoughts On the Haiku
I’m in love with this haiku. The way the visual descriptions are laid out allow for quite a few distinct interpretations based on how you combine the individual lines of the haiku.
One interpretation is
“stars emerging… among water lilies a silent frog“
The writer is describing the perspective of a person who is looking up at the the night sky and notices stars emerging. The person’s attention is engaged with the sky and he is likely unaware of the rest of the surroundings. So the writer breaks from the stargazer’s perspective and switches to his own for the rest of the poem helping us build the complete image. The writer sees a person look up at stars emerging in the sky, but he also has a portal to the rest of the surroundings unlike the aloof stargazer. The writer proceeds to describe the surroundings for us – there is silence accompanying the stargazer. There are water lilies somewhere near. Maybe the stargazer is sitting at the edge of a pond. In the pond are water lilies and among them, a frog that does not disturb the night’s silence and the stargazer’s reverie.
Another interpretation I see is
“stars emerging among water lilies… a silent frog“
In this version, I would like to think there is no longer a stargazer in the picture now; the whole description is the writer’s own perspective. He is looking at a pond (why assume any other water body?) and sees on the surface of water, among water lilies, the reflections of stars emerging above him. He also notices a frog silently sitting on a lily.
Now I wonder if what he sees in the water are really reflections of stars? Maybe tadpoles (birthed by the silent frog?) are rising up and poking the surface of the water, creating tiny points of disturbance scattered randomly across the pond… like stars.
These are the thoughts that have been running in my mind after reading this wonderfully layered haiku.
I even discussed it with my wife and she had her own interpretation of it, somewhat similar to my second version but distinct in its tone. She said the stars emerging among the water lilies could be floating insects with spindly legs that from a distance look like glowing stars on the pond and also among the water lilies is a frog, silent so it does not scare away its prey.
— Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta