Low Tide / #HaikuSeed / Feature With Commentary

Featuring two haiku for the #HaikuSeed low tide, in no particular order.

low tide — the egret’s legs shorter yesterday

when the great whale
is revealed cell by cell…
low tide

– Alan Summers / @haikutec

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A Few Thoughts On the Haiku

The haiku by @Silk73507704 is a simple yet insanely creative one. I couldn’t help but grin after I read it. And in its simplicity, I felt a great calm as I imagined myself to be the person whose perspective this haiku describes. Because how unfettered must be that person’s mind and heart to sit on the seashore and think, in a peculiar way, about the length of the egret’s legs while most of our minds, at least I can say this about myself, would slip into a dizzying ferry wheel of memories in the sea’s hypnotic atmosphere. And I feel that the Haiku Seed low tide actually held back more brilliance from this haiku by its need to be mentioned. I’m sure the writer, if given the freedom to not use the Haiku Seed directly, would have left that out and this haiku would have been all the more ingenious for it.

the egret’s legs shorter yesterday.

Alan Summers’ haiku at once creates a scene that we usually see in real life, scenes we know are haunting but can’t look away. The great whale took all my attention in the initial reads, an image of a giant creature beached on the shore dominates. How long was it dead? Is it a full carcass or just bones? The other 2 lines are temporarily overshadowed by the ghastliness of it all.

But then I realized this haiku speaks a lot more about the momentum of the sea than it does about the beached giant. The globe spanning ocean retreats from the shore so slowly that it reveals the great whale cell by cell. This pitting of the enormous with the slow is so striking. The idea of whale carcass on the shore made all the more stirring. I don’t know why, I feel the Haiku Seed held back this haiku too.

when the great whale
is revealed cell by cell…

Nevertheless, both of the haiku are amazing and I thank the writers for sharing these with us.

— Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta
Founding Editor
@coffeeandhaiku

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2 thoughts on “Low Tide / #HaikuSeed / Feature With Commentary

  1. re:

    low tide — the egret’s legs shorter yesterday

    author: Silk

    A wonderful nod to Matsuo Bashō’s famous hokku verse:

    五月雨に鶴の足短くなれり 

    samidare ni tsuru no ashi mijikaku nareri

    Matsuo Bashō

    a crane’s legs
    shortened
    by spring rain

    version by Alan Summers

    see also Robert Hass, “The Essential Haiku”, HarperCollins Publishers, 1994

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