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re:Virals 5

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

here other
than wind’s lamentation
nothing is
          — Clare McCotter, Nest Feathers: Selected Haiku from the First 15 Years of The Heron’s Nest (The Heron’s Nest Press 2015)

Marion Clarke is this week’s winner. She writes:

As soon as I read this haiku it conjured up a windswept heath, much like a scene from Brontë’s Wuthering Heights or a Thomas Hardy novel. Although no time of day is stated, the “lamentation of the wind” created an image of a cold, grey afternoon and I could imagine a woman standing in this desolate location, her hair whipping her face, as she mourns her departed lover.

When I realised this was written by Clare McCotter who is also from Northern Ireland, I was immediately transported from the land to the sea. This is a small island, so we are never very far from water and I’d like to think that it was written somewhere here on the north coast, perhaps not far from Clare’s native Derry.

The syntax is highly interesting and it felt like I was reading it backwards. When I got to “nothing is”, I was instantly drawn back to line 1 and read “here other” so the haiku begins all over again — never ending, just like the person’s loneliness. Very clever!


As this week’s winner, Marion gets to choose next week’s poem, which you’ll find below. She offers it in honor of the late H. Gene Murtha. 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:Viral 5:

     it's all
     I ever wanted . . .
          — H. Gene Murtha, The Heron's Nest XIV:4 (xxx)

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. At some point, it would be enjoyable to put all these re-virals together with the commentaries like Poetry East has done with poems and how they came about.

    I know I would cherish a book of these.

    Thank you.


    1. Hi Jo:

      Thanks for the good thought. Of course you can find them all by going to “Categories” at the bottom of this and every page of the website and selecting “Virals” (you will also access the first iteration of this project as a bonus), but gathering them together as their own entity is something we have thought about and are likely to do, once enough of them have been compiled. Thanks for your interest and great suggestion!

      Jim Kacian

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