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re:Virals 241

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

     her face
     in my whisky
     the moon floats  
          — Chen-ou Liu, Grand Prix, 7th Klostar Ivanic Haiku Contest (2010)

Radhamani Sarma details the metaphor:

Delighted to comment on this haiku by Chen-on-Liu, a multidimensional poet whose translated poems command wide acclaim.

The first line — “her  face” —  continues without any pause into the second line. One must remember that the speaker stops with the statement, ”in my whiskey.”

Without mentioning if the  container is a cup, a jar, or a transparent tumbler, the narrator converts the transparency of image after image, even the whiskey, into a reflection of “her” face.

“the moon floats” is possibly a compressed metaphor. In the transparency of whiskey — itself a floating object — beauty and taste float and tempt, conspiring towards another temptation within a deepening sip. Moreover, the moon floats, meaning “her face” from the first line: beauty floats, reflects. The two images — the moon and a woman’s face, or feminine beauty — combine in this floating metaphor.

As this week’s winner, Radhamani 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 242:

     straining to listen
     the crickets' first movement begins  
          — Matthew M. Cariello, Daily Haiku (2010)
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