The #HaikuSeed prompt last week was sunny with an additional photo prompt
the heron takes a bit
of river with him
You could see water dripping down the heron as it lifts off from the water. And if you are mindful and there isn’t much noise at this moment, you might even hear the sound of water falling back into the river between the wing flaps.
Picture this with the sun behind the heron, likely at sunrise or sunset, the glare of the golden sun in the river, and then in the drops falling into it, a glint on the heron’s wet wings and legs – what an image!
Even after a bit of the river falls back, the heron’s legs and feathers would still be wet – the heron taking the river to the tree it nests in far inland. Wonderful imagery.
change of diet…
thumbtacked to the dashboard
her ultrasound scan
I’m still learning about what makes a good shahai (photo haiku) but with art, you do not need to know the specifics to appreciate it. I knew this was a brilliant haiku immediately, but because it was written for the sunset photo prompt, I began to appreciate this haiku the more I looked at it as a shahai, not because my photo is great or something, but because of the space between the photo and the haiku.
Let’s first look at this only as a haiku. A woman on her way back from the hospital starts thinking about the diet changes she has to make to take care of the baby inside. She keeps glancing at the ultrasound tacked on the dashboard as a thousand things race in here mind – happiness, and possibly a little anxiety, about the changes that are to come.
All these aspects of a precious moment are revealed in a splendid juxtaposition that is as profound as it is beautiful.
Now if you look at this as a shahai, there are layers upon layers to it.
As this woman drives home, thing about the change of diet, the sky is changing colors as the sun sets indicating the underlying change to the woman’s life, much more wider and significant than her diet that she is thinking about momentarily. If this is her first child, life as she knew it sets today with the dusk she is driving into and a new chapter of her life rises with the next dawn.
Before I move onto the next haiku, I have to go on a little tangent. It is wonderful to see an accomplished poet and tutor like Alan write a haiku for #HaikuSeed prompts. It is also a great encouragement to me personally as I like to look at as a sign that what I am trying to do with this journal means something and that I’m going in the right direction. Social media has multi-faced aspects that are harmful to our society, but one of the good things it brought to everyone is access to people whom you’d otherwise never likely have a word with, words of admiration or seeking advice and I’m appreciating this increasingly as I run this journal while also try to be a better haiku poet.
Abundant in color and sound, this beautiful haiku makes me want to imagine the scene with as many details as I can. The autumnal colors surround you, the sun shining through foliage. A light wind in the air makes the peculiar noise of washing away autumn leaves on the ground. You hear a robin singing as you walk and being aware of your surroundings, you also notice the change in the key of the robin’s song.
autumn sunshine –
the robin’s song
I do not know the first thing about birdsong but imagination helps. Perhaps you were getting close to the tree the robin is sitting on as you walk, so it keeps an eye on you as it continues to sing but couldn’t help its voice changing key in apprehension. Or perhaps it sees another robin on a far off tree and raises its voice to make sure its birdsong reaches the other. Such vivid details and imagination arises because this haiku seeds your minds with them.
Other Featured Haiku
I order my eggs
sunny side up
Hege Jakobsen Lepri
growing wider and wider
smiles of sunflowers
multicoloured pinwheels spin
on the beach train
two weeks since
the last butterfly
goes on and on
above my white parasol
she drives past her
for each curtain call
the sun bows low
sunny side up
goldfinch pair ravages
I’ve started this journal with an idea to see amateur haiku poets like me write more nature-themed haiku, having seen all sorts of topics being written in haiku form by aspiring writers on Twitter and other places on the internet. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. But I’ve grown into a classicist when it comes to haiku as I really looked at what most of the haiku written by masters like Basho, Issa, Buson do. So I’m not too quick to warm up to contemporary haiku. It is an undeniable fact that the haiku form in English has been evolving for decades now and it will continue to. So while I keep this journal to inspire and feature nature-themed haiku, I will occasionally break from it because I see some expertly written haiku that I cannot help but appreciate what the writer has achieved and it makes me rethink the kind of haiku I want to feature here.
HSJ readers and contributors, if you like these feature posts with commentary, we would consider it a great encouragement and would love it if you shared it with others on the social profiles. On Twitter you can tag us at @HaikuSeed_, we are looking to gain audience of both writers and readers as we aim to grow.
Thank you for writing haiku for our prompts and reading the journal. We hope our journal inspires you. Keep writing!
— Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta
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- All featured works are copyrighted to the respective writers. We would love it if you cite being our journal if your work is going to be published elsewhere, no obligations though.
- Photos used in our journal are taken by and copyrighted to Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta unless stated otherwise.