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
solar eclipse. . . across a dandelion an ant — Dejan Pavlinović, Down the Milky Way (2016)
Radhamani Sarma focuses on a minimalist view:
This week’s haiku curiously enough veers ’round a trio: a flower of bounty and beauty, an insect and an astronomical system. The first line expands the horizon with a wider scope, leaving the choice to the fertile imaginations of readers. We are prone to ask what connections prevail upon this special dandelion, how an ant’s image can come into play here.
During a solar eclipse, some aspects or parts of the earth shadowed by the moon have an impinging effect upon objects on the earth. The poet must have studied with a close perspective what happens down below, to the earth’s parts. As the earth is shadowed by the moon’s dwindled parts, flora and fauna appear in minimalist portions.
The second and third lines — “across the dandelion/ an ant” — imply that the objects of earth also appear in an amazingly shrunken way, hence a dandelion looks like an ant. To be more precise and candid, the analysis requires a deep scrutiny and intense study of astronomical systems — a cause and effect. Philosophically, one can visualize that the workings of heaven always have an abiding influence.
Cezar-Florin Ciobîcă encounters a child’s perspective:
In this ku, we see macrocosm and microcosm in a beautiful image that attracts the child within us.
For the little ant, the bright yellow dandelion represent a kind of sun, which it uses for its goal without any fear. Furthermore, if we take into account the blackness of the small insect exploring the golden dandelion globe, then we have a solar eclipse in miniature. The ellipsis after the first line brings to the poem a respiro, by inviting us to meditate. These small dots can be connected with the spots on the sun or, why not, with the downy seeds of the plant.
A poem about fragility and the the amazing things around us which send all kinds of messages about how we can live unpretentiously.
As long as we look at the world around us through the eyes of a child, we can say that we still have a good chance of surviving as a species.
As this week’s winner, Cezar-Florin 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!
starving refugee a hand approaches her mouth with a microphone — Indra Neil Mekala, Grand Prize, 22nd International "Kusamakura" Haiku Competition (2017)