This is the haiku review for the haiku, the last poem, by Sanjuktaa Asopa. The review is by members of In Haiku Mumbai and Chennai.
the last poem
signed with a flourish-
This poem leaves so much open to interpretation that it has all the hallmarks of a super haiku.
I say haiku with some reservations because “falling star” appears to be a kigo. Yet the sensibility seems to point to the senryu. After all, writing poetry does not belong to the purely natural world and appears to be more man-made.
Apart from categorizing the poem, there is more than one level that opens up to the perceptive reader.
Who was this poet? Did he/she know the poem would be the last one at the time of writing? Or did the chronicler interpret it this way much later?
The flourish mentioned, may be an interpretation rather than intended by the poet.
Falling star, is suggestive of decline, but who noticed it, the poet of the last poem or the chronicler?
All these questions have a myriad possible answers, and as a well known critic once said, rhe more interpretations possible, the better the poem.
This haiku by Sanjuktaa Asopa starts with an end by referring to a last poem. The stage is set for a sad haiku defined by a sense of loss in the first line itself. The second line introduces the poet (without any pronouns) and shows the flourish with which the poem has been signed. The image of a poet who is on the verge of a literal or metaphorical death is what comes to mind. This could be the last time the poet will ever write and sign a creation.
Then, Sanjuktaa juxtaposes the flourish of the pen very deftly, with a falling star. Suddenly, the poem takes on a very different depth because to me, the image of a falling star is one that lights the sky and one that many yearn to see and perhaps, wish upon for their own future. The poet has perhaps lit up the world around her with her own creations and now, knows that she has to move on. And hence, the flourish of the last signature. The clever play on the words ‘falling star’, which could refer to leonids and perseids or to the falling star which is the state that the poet herself could be at, leaves the haiku at a semicircle with plenty of scope for the reader to step in and interpret.
From a sad haiku, this turned into a poem about quiet acceptance, dignity, ends, and perhaps, even trailblazing. The endless possibilities are definitely what made this haiku a winner. (It won a prize in 2011 at the Calico Cat international bilingual haiku contest held by Origa in memory of Hortensia Anderson).
the last poem—anything that suggests “a last” is so sad; and here it says-a poem. how sad! When does one say its a last poem .when the poet is no more. A death ku?
signed with a flourish— wow that gives me hope but with a tinge of sadness that its all coming to an end. but not before that one last performance.
falling star- bright and beautiful journey of a star before it gets lost
As I finish reading this poem, one image flashes on my mind. Sachin Tendulkar.
A rather sad haiku is brightened with ‘a flourish’. The last line sounds final. Did she give up writing? Or is it a death haiku?
Falling star suggests the process has been going on for a while. The decline may be due to old age or the declining fortunes of a famous person. But it is rescued by ‘signing with a flourish’ which shows a certain awareness of the decline and a defiance of it by signing with a flourish even right at the end.
So it’s really a hopeful haiku. I like the flourish put in the middle line so it can cushion the bleakness of falling star which might have been too much of a downer on its own.
The context of the phrase gives a second meaning to the fragment: of the poet on the decline. This reading then reanimates the phrase, in my mind there’s the image of the poet/ess struggling to accept that s/he’s no longer as popular as s/he was, and like all declining stars, the flourishes becoming more pronounced. The first line nevertheless indicates an end to this struggle; the acceptance, perhaps even surrender, that there will be no more poems. So why not sign it off with a flourish?
Analysis is of course, not without context. Though Sanjukta might not have intended it, her ku makes me re-examine the publishing phenomenon that is Rupi Kaur, now on the upswing even as her popularity leaves the current price establishment in tatters, and I wonder how prepared she is for the inevitable eclipse. In the same way that one sees writers, sportsmen and ageing movie stars.
Is it a death ku? I do not think so, but there is the inevitability of it, but an artistic rather than literal death. A signal for our times.
There is a certain pathos to this ku. The last poem of the poet signed with a flourish… gives the impression that the poet’s best days are over and that his talent is on the decline. Recognising this sad fact, the poet gives significant importance to what he thinks is his last work of art.
Perhaps a death ku, L1 sets a poignant tone. The word ‘flourish’ in L2 though suggests an almost impish satisfaction at a writing life well spent. After all, even a falling star draws gasps of delight.
I wonder if it could also allude to the creator’s pen using the skies for a page and a falling star as a signal for us to sit up and take notice, now that his/her work is done
She is an aging diva, a doyen of yesteryears. And now she has given her final performance. She knows she will not be performing again. And hence gives her best.
This piece is also reminicent of O.Henry’s last leaf. The masterpiece that the artist dreams is his/her final performance.
Does she like the artist in the O.Henry’ s story die a physical death? Or is it an artistic death?