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re:Virals 137

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

 
     dusk
     the girl we didn't like
     with fireflies in her hair
          — Harriot West, Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years

Ana López Navajas contemplates:

“The girl that did not like us” has qualities beyond her mere appearance. It is only necessary to be attentive and contemplate these fireflies in order to make our transformation possible, and allow union with the world—with the help of nature (fireflies) as an instrument.

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As this week’s winner, Ana 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!
 
re:Virals 137:

 
     Final de agosto.
     A un tiempo: sol de ocaso y
     naciente luna llena.  
     The end of august. 
     At the same time: sunset sun                      
     and rising full moon.  
                                                                                                    
          — Ana López Navajas
(Poem included in Moon in the River: International haiku contest of the University of Law of Albacete, Dec. 2016) 

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Se obrserva en este haiku una gran comunicación con la naturaleza.Existiendo también una evocación de los grandes haijines clásicos como sería el caso de Basho y el encuentro tan íntimo de este último con dichos astros.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    A great communication with nature is observed in this haiku. There is also an evocation of the great classical haijines as would be the case of Basho and the intimate encounter of the latter with said stars.

  2. Se obrserva en este haiku una gran comunicación con la naturaleza.Existiendo también una evocación de los grandes haijines clásicos como sería el caso de Basho y el encuentro tan íntimo de este último con dichos astros.
    ————————————————————————-
    A great communication with nature is observed in this haiku. There is also an evocation of the great classical haijines as would be the case of Basho and the intimate encounter of the latter with said stars.

  3. I’ve long liked this haiku of Harriet’s and it’s one of my favourites.
    .
    Though I never went to high school myself, later, in my 20s, I did go to university and then became a teacher. First time I stepped into a high school was on my qualifying student teacher rounds. Much was revealed, including the exclusive little circles adolescent girls formed. I saw girls snubbing other girls for no apparent reason. . . some difference or another, magnified, but it was always “We just don’t like her.” There was usually a ‘boss’ girl that the others wanted to please. Often these loyalties changed over a year or so.
    .
    Harriet’s haiku brilliantly gives the moment of change, when “the girl we didn’t like” is seen in a new light. That this ‘new light’ is given in the image of “fireflies in her hair” is no less than stunningly awesome to me. Who would not find a girl who’d somehow attracted fireflies to her hair magically attractive?
    .
    – Lorin

    1. Wow Lorin, that is so well said! I was surprised by this haiku after Lee Gurga’s workshop several years ago. He had several haiku with the last lines left off for us to practice our skills. This was one of them. I was sharing haiku with fourth graders and we were doing this activity, trying to come up with the final line. I would then google the haiku to see what the actual line was and will never forget the reaction of delight and surprise of these fourth graders. It magnified my love for this line and like you said the transformation and magic it bestowed on this outcast girl!
      Thanks so much for your comment!

    2. Me too, Lorin. I’ve used Harriot’s haiku so many times in workshops and courses as a wonderful example of juxtaposition, most recently for an online course with The Poetry School, London. So sorry to have missed this Re:Viral (note to self: diarise the day!) but here are some comments:

      dusk
      the girl we didn’t like
      with fireflies in her hair Harriot West

      West’s haiku manages to create a succinct narrative with its suggestion of backstory and reflection in lines 2 and 3.

      Dusk: a time suspended between dark and light, between two states, between two perceptions. None of that is told to me but dusk’s juxtaposition, through line break, with the following two lines asks me to try and make sense, to pull on strands of meaning and interpret and interact with the text. I shift from a state of neither darkness nor light, to the darkness of memory and a suggested ostracising, to the image of literal light – fireflies – and maybe the metaphorical light too of insight or understanding.

  4. I actually do like it that Ana López Navajas gets to choose her own haiku, especially as no one, including me, got a commentary in time. 🙂
    .
    .
    Final de agosto.
    A un tiempo: sol de ocaso y
    naciente luna llena.
    .
    .
    The end of august.
    At the same time: sunset sun
    and rising full moon.
    .
    — Ana López Navajas
    Moon in the River: International haiku contest of the University of Law of Albacete, Dec. 2016

    .
    .

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