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re:Virals 50

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

     The many notes
     of the falling rain,
     all in tune.
          Don Wentworth, Tinywords 12.1 (November 2012)

Marion Clarke parses this poem nicely:

It’s unusual to see upper case letters and punctuation in haiku and I see this one of Don’s was written in 2012, so perhaps that explains it.

When read aloud, this haiku naturally drops at the end of each line, mirroring the action of falling rain. The repetition of sound in ‘falling’ and ‘all in’ also has great musicality and rhythm which is vocalised in L3 and comes to rest on the word ‘tune’. Here in Ireland where it rains a lot, it’s easy to imagine a whole symphony of different sounds as raindrops land on a watering can, patio table, old bucket, etc. I could see the narrator rejoicing at the falling rain, perhaps in an arid area where it has been long awaited. In any case, it is a real celebration of nature – even if he is getting wet!

Ellen Grace Olinger adds:

Wonderful and wise poem by Don Wentworth. My mother’s passing was in 2004, and the songs that remain are ones of gratitude, beauty and unconditional love. Each new grief or challenge seems to require its own time.


As this week’s winner, Marion 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 50:

     moving into the sun
     the pony takes with him
     some mountain shadow
          Jane Reichhold, American Haiku in Four Seasons, Yilin Press, Nanjing, China (1991)

This Post Has One Comment

  1. After the fact Paul MacNeil added: “In the study of perception and in musicology there is the notion of a fundamental tone. A refrigerator, a foghorn, the wind, and even the sounds of rain have a base sound upon which overtones are built. Think of arpeggios. One can hear it; one can hum it.

    In Wentworth’s haiku there is this musical reference — each drop makes sound, makes music. Yet, there is another expansive meaning that can be found here. The poet is also “in tune,” attuned, to the rhythms of sounds in nature.

    In her previous haiku, Peggy Willis Lyles writes of: summer night/ we turn out all the lights/ to hear the rain — This, too is an awareness of the sound, the music, of the rain. Rain on the roof is presumed in Peggy’s observance. For the Wentworth poem, the rain and the poet can be anywhere. I get a strong feeling that all is right with the world. The poet is in consonance with HIS world.”

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