A Few Thoughts on the Haiku
We always try to replace things that are no longer there with things we think will either fill the void themselves, or help us overcome the sadness that the void has brought on.
Was there an illness involved? Is there guilt behind her turning to house plants? Does she think she must have done something she didn’t for her husband? We see people who are widowed because some illness took their partner be ridden with guilt as they grieve because they think they could have, or maybe should have, done more for their partner? Or maybe she just loved her husband and loved taking care of him, giving her all to be at his side.
While this beautifully written haiku depicts a sad scene, it might not actually be that. The woman, putting aside her predictable sorrow, went out and bought a new book that she intends to use to take care of her house plants. All the love she had in her, reserved for her husband, she is resolved to pour into their house plants.
This felt like a slap in the face. So many things in life we are hypocritical about, especially in day to day stuff. We have sort of lost our way, in many ways. The writer talking about dying plants in the house while the walls of the house being decorated with pictures and paintings of plants is a striking in-your-face truth of modern life I guess. There are countless things that we do that contradict what we project as our beliefs. And they may well be our beliefs, opinions, feelings but somehow the modern life and the minds that we have, the focus and attention that we give don’t seem to fall to doing things right for one reason or another and this haiku perfectly and quite curtly captures this aspect.
— Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta
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