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
funeral wind I wonder how heavy the trees are — Lori A Minor, Frameless Sky Issue 7 (2017)
Lucy Whitehead reads the grief:
I think this haiku captures very well several aspects of grief. The first thing that struck me was the sense that when you are grieving or experiencing depression, the whole world feels heavy. Anyone who has experienced grief knows the physical weight of it—so this haiku has a visceral quality for me. But also it captures the strange and often disconnected thoughts we have around loss and grief. Sometimes the experience throws up surreal trains of thought such as how heavy trees are. Especially at a funeral there can be a type of temporary dissociation, where the experience is so intense that we cut off a little to get through the day. It is part of shock and the grieving process itself. It strikes me as a rather beautiful and authentic description of being at the funeral of a loved one.
Sheila Sondik senses shivers:
A pallbearer feels the weight of the deceased in his/her coffin. The wind in the trees connects the living plants to the wooden coffin. What if he could feel the full weight of a tree, as he does of the deceased?
A mourner at the funeral shivers as she feels the wind buffet her body, as she hears the shivering of the leaves. She feels the weight of the trees, as she feels the loss of the deceased.
The trees are heavy, the occasion is heavy, the funeral wind in the leaves is light, but connects the human actors with nature, the living and the dead.
As this week’s winner, Lucy 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!
deep snow in a dream, I find her password in — Mark Harris, Haiku in English (Ed. Jim Kacian et al)