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
the sky's blue gong an orange in my hand — Peter Yovu, Imago (2016)
Dan Schwerin is thankful:
This is one of those haiku that makes you want to grow up and write haiku. Like all excellent haiku, this one by Peter Yovu is more than rational and offers multivalent resonance. This blue gonging sky announces, almost proclaims, an orange, the sun, the day, this day is in your hand—ahh—but it is also not in your hand. The orange is what we have now, but it is not in your hand, nor is the sun—and yet it feeds and is sustaining this now of ours. Blue gong good people: this is a great haiku. Thank you, Peter Yovu, re:Virals and the Haiku Foundation for bringing this forum for our learning and appreciation.
Lynne Rees cheers:
I don’t think Yovu could have packed any more into this haiku. Colour and sound. The human experience and the natural world. Distance and proximity. And the beautiful simplicity of concrete language that injects it with vibrancy and authenticity and communicates an experience we can all recognise and share.
Add to that the use of colour as adjective and noun, the onomatopoeia of ‘gong’ and the almost-eye rhyme with ‘orange,’ as well as the monostich form that encourages us to experience this moment in one celebratory hurrah, and this is a haiku that makes me feel good to be alive on this day in the world. A day when that orange could almost be the sun sitting in my own small palm.
As this week’s winner, Lynne 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!
first warm day the ground gives a little — John Stevenson, requiet enough (Red Moon Press 2004)