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re:Virals 160

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

 
     flapping in the prunus 
     woodpigeons shedding 
     feathers and leaves

          — Geoffrey Winch, A Hundred Gourds 5:1 (2015)

Radhamani Sarma gets ornithological:

Immensely delighted to write comments on this week’s selected poem by Geoffrey Winch, a British poet, living in Sussex in UK. A significant note to be remembered is this week’s haiku highlights the most common large woodpigeon in UK.

At the outset this haiku reveals that the woodpigeons, when flapping their wings, cause feathers and leaves of edible plants to get dropped.

A specific act has been depicted from a poet’s point of view combined with an ornithologist’s point of view. A combination of both visual and auditory perception inspired by the heavy bird flapping in the prunus.

For all bird watchers and bird lovers, the following two links suggested by poet Alan Summers would be of immense interest.

http://www.wingbeats.co.uk/haiku.html

http://area17.blogspot.com/2008/08/wing-beats-british-birds-in-haiku-bath.html

Mark Gilbert gets sonic:

Only 9 words, with a pleasing descending rhythm ending on the only long vowel sound in the poem. Although each line has two stressed syllables, the last word provides finality as unlike the other lines the poem ends on an accented syllable. There is also a shift during the reading of the piece, as the strong p-sounds in lines 1/2 give way to ‘z’s, ‘sh’s, ‘f’s, ‘th’s and finally a persistent ‘vvzzz’. So the poem reaches a small crescendo before relaxing, perhaps reflecting the arrival of Spring or its associated activities. I also appreciate the sight rhyme in the last line.

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As this week’s winner, Mark 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 160:

 
     Sunday evening rain
             the texture
             of etcetera

          — Jim Kacian, After Image Red Moon Press (2017)

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Dear esteemed poet,
    warm greetings! Regarding pigeons your take,

    “but any pigeon, even a hundred metres away, has to go up in an explosion of sound, leaves, and feathers”. From here, I could visualize your profound observation and point of view. Next,

    “i think they are Drama Kings and Queens, and I feel I have to tiptoe around them, even if they are at a great distance”, amazing !

    with regards
    S.Radhamani

  2. Dear Mark Gilbert,
    Warm greetings! Kudos to your brief analysis effecting a combination of
    linguistic aspects of three lines in its wonderful core . Yes, beginning with your “only 9 words” so much has been delved. The concluding lines of your comments,

    “So the poem reaches a small crescendo before relaxing, perhaps reflecting the arrival of Spring or its associated activities. I also appreciate the sight rhyme in the last line.”
    A new idea envisioned here.

    with regards
    S.Radhamani

    1. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on a haiku I hadn’t seen before. I enjoyed this week more than anything I’ve sent to ReVirals because I focussed just on the sounds and rhythms of the haiku. This is how I critique my own work. Sometimes it uncovers subconscious or serendipitious effects which help to understand the poem. Next week’s poem is different again.

  3. It is amusing how skittish pigeons are! When I do my regular riverwalks, close up birds are cool, but any pigeon, even a hundred metres away, has to go up in an explosion of sound, leaves, and feathers.
    .
    I think they are Drama Kings and Queens, and I feel I have to tiptoe around them, even if they are at a great distance.
    .
    It would certainly be great if the idea of another anthology of birdlife in the U.K. could happen, as so many more experiential haiku have been written now, but it’s a mammoth task!
    .
    warm regards,
    Alan

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