Haiku review – the last poem

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-
falling star

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Gautam

 

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.

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Geetanjali

 

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).
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Shreelatha

 

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.
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Rohini

 

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.
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Raamesh

 

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.
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Sandra

 

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.
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Brijesh

 

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
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Vidya

 

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?
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A second cup of cutting chai

cutting chai –
finally the rejection letter
off my mind

Arvinder Kaur

 

the Taj cafe—-
the steward’s smirk as I order
cutting chai

full cutting chai…
the waiter asks me once more
if I’m sure

Gautam Nadkarni

 

cutting chai –
the cup that helps me
brave the monsoons

chilly morning-
road-side vendors serving
cutting chai

finally
the sights and feel of home –
mugs of cutting chai

Sandra Martyres

 

some things
are inevitable…
ordering
cutting chai
at the hospital canteen

cutting chai
the flutter of divorce papers
between sips

Sanjuktaa Asopa

 

cutting chai
the rain falls
in both the glasses

Alaka Yeravadekar

 

cutting chai —
mother snaps the last biscuit
into perfect halves

Kala Ramesh

Cutting chai

The following haiku were written on the spot at our last meeting.

pelting rain-
the thought of cutting chai
drives me home

for frayed tempers-
the perfect antidote
cutting chai

SANDRA

 

hanging low
in the winter breeze
her breath
and the taste
of ginger on my lips

PARESH

 

cutting chai
again the waiter interrupts
my proposal

GAUTAM

 

cutting chai
the vegan
at a loss

cutting chais
the poets
make them count

winter’s eve
the urchin
begs for ‘cutting’

nursing a ‘cutting’
the world
through misted glasses

spring cool
the lovers share
a ‘cutting’

BRIJESH

 

the price of wi fi
cutting chai

the argument
more cutting than
the chai

ROHINI

 

behind the Taj…
I catch the chef sipping
cutting chai

at the tapri
the chaiwala from
across the street

scanning the menu
I wonder what they mean
by chai latte

cutting chai…
I watch my last pennies
jingle away

cutting chai…
still looking for
a smart kireji

RAAMESH

 

Would you like to submit something on cutting chai? Do send your haiku, tanka, haibun or senryu to inhaikumumbai AT gmail DOT com.

New Beginnings

We put out a call for haiku on the subject ‘New Beginnings’, and then life got on, same old, same old. Here’s our compilation at last, after a delay of many weeks:

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strong winds…
a wilted flower
breaks away

~ Mahrukh Balsara

verdigris
wrinkled hands scrub off
past Diwalis

yet another dump
grubbing
for a fresh stake

one last lick
before nodding off
latest litter

new menu
the fresh lime soda
exactly the same

new home
mismatched cups
and staff

~ Brijesh Raj

new walls…
how long till this one
feels like home

~ Paresh Tiwari

new skin
the cut that wasn’t
deep after all

~ Kasturi Jadhav

grief counselling
my old lover is
my new friend

~ Deepa

new year
the resolutions fade
faster than the snow

kittens again
the same
old cat

~ Rohini Gupta

new year’s dawn
still trying to recall
last night’s resolves

memories
rising from the mist
a full moon

~ Gautam Nadkarni

forgetting
and forgiving the past memories
springs of fresh tenderness

~ Purushotham Rao Ravela

from his village dwelling
to life in the city
1BHK

new beginnings –
the drunk buries
his whiskey bottle

melting snow –
from the garden bed
a rose bud peeps out

~ Sandra Martyres

new manuscript…
In the heat of the flames
of the old one

windowsill…
a new summer day
unspools

euthanasia
the dawn’s glow washed out
by the streetlights

~ Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

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Would you like to add your haiku on this topic? Please add them in the comments.

Old love

Entries received for our January 2017 prompt – Unrequited Love

1.
old love at the bazaar
flower-sellers drown out
my voice

Kasturi Jadhav

2.
weeping willows –
he marries
his new love

Deepa Shankar

3.
Leftovers
This evening we walked over the mountain to meet the sun that has burnt itself down to a cinder and yet failed to thaw the cold between us . . .

beginning again
from the beginning
you and I
** *

Traces of you

Today I fell in love with the shadow under the lamp. Yesterday it was the flame that went off in a sliver of spiral smoke. And the day before that, the petrichor of its clay shell.

trying to figure
the colour of loss . . .
wetness
***
The man . . .

. . . moved with deliberate slowness. Only his shadow dogging his heels, leaving in its wake the woman who would pack his lunch in a steel tiffin-box, a toddler still tasting the sweetness of his first syllables and a dog gnawing an age-old wound.

divorce papers . . .
we end up deleting
the ampersand
***
Unfinished

The typewriter has a mind and a story of its own and even though the keys go clickety-clack, the darn thing just isn’t ready to type the words I want it to.

coffee rings
somewhere our lives
did touch
***

Lovers

There were those who left the shape of their absence in the evening breeze and those who stayed behind like an odd pairing of words in a verse.

six degrees
a raindrop ripples
into another
***

Will you too leave?

What if I take a chisel and a hammer to this paperweight and release the flower and the delicate leaves within.

chalk lines . . .
the squares we skip and
those that skip us

Paresh Tiwari

4.
dry red roses still stand
in front of the closed door
unrequited love

Tahera Mannan
Nagpur, Maharashtra

5.
heartbreak
the rose in the vase untouched
by the storm

noon torpor…
the suddenness with which
she leaves my life

gone away—
now only the swirling mist
to embrace

Gautam Nadkarni

6.
Gamble

Walking through the neon city of the world, I imagined, could bring back the zing into our relationship. She is dazzled by the casinos and bright lights. And I see in her eyes, for the first time in years, the same warmth that I had seen when we first started dating. Then turning to me she says – “I’m in love with Vegas”

flight back home
the one vacant seat
to my left

Sandra Martyres

7.

winter’s grip
your fingers clasp
another’s

flotsam
into the twilight
the soul you chose not

Dr. Brijesh Raj

8.
faraway look…
on the horizon
a single bird

Mahrukh Jal Bulsara

9.
rose day
my haul of yellows
unmatched

shehnai sounds…
they brick up the window
opposite me

old rose petals
her forty year old no
browning slowly

hatsuyuki
watching your footsteps
vanish slowly

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

Haiku review: New Year dawn

In this post we review this haiku by Susumu Takiguchi:

winter rain…
wetting the sound
of the bugle
 

(Excerpted from The Works of Susumu Takiguchi, World Haiku Review, Jan 2014)

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Brijesh Raj

For me winter, rain and the bugle combine to bring up the Last Post, a farewell/remembrance piece dedicated to the brave military personnel martyred on the battle field.

They also evoke an image of their loved ones in black, standing tall… proud and teary eyed. Perhaps L2 is meant to convey the choked feeling they are bound to feel on such an occasion. L2 ensures a beautiful deepening of emotion and is a truly special juxtaposition in the context.

All in all a wonderful ku.

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Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

At first, this haiku appears as a very ‘so what’ shasei ku, simply a bugle sounding in the rain, purely a description. But as with all good haiku, the insight is always below the surface.

Look at the fragment: winter rain. What is so special about sounding a bugle in the winter? But think again: is it the literal winter (which it is on one level), or is there a metaphorical meaning that arises in the space between ‘winter’ and ‘bugle’?

In the phrase: the bugle sounding reminds one immediately of the last post (a haunting tune if one has ever heard it), an army sounding the passing of a veteran. Thus the bugle loops back to winter, and Death raises his ghastly cowl. So is it rain anymore, or is it now tears, the bugler tearfully bidding a fallen comrade farewell? Susumu leaves it unsaid, leaving the reader to complete the semi-circle.

In terms of phonic structure too,  this haiku is euphonous. The first line (win-ter rāīn, 2 short syllables and 1 long) resonates with the third (of-the-bu-gle, 4 short syllables) in a uniform beat, or taal as we say in Indian music theory. The middle is visually longer, but just four English syllables (wet-ting the sound), but applying my Indic music sensibility, the stress wet-ting and the sonorous so-und give me five beats, a nice contraposition to the lines 1 & 3.

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Paresh Tiwari

I have always been a fan of synesthesia and melancholy in poetry. As far as synesthesia goes, how can one be a poet and not really taste the scent of a rose or be able to touch the warmth of the colour yellow. There is something exceedingly romantic about it. And melancholy, well let’s just say, it stays by your bed like a trusted old friend. This haiku manages to get both bang on.

The one thing, this haiku doesn’t manage to get right however, is a clear distance between two images. Reading and re-reading the haiku, makes me wonder if there even are two images in this haiku. May be not. Then what are those ellipses doing at the end of the first line? Are they simply meant to allow the reader for a longer pause in a bid to provide him the much needed mindspace that would eventually lead the sense of hearing and touch blend together seamlessly.

I would like to believe so.

Do I think, a different fragment would have done more justice to the phrase? I doubt that. I believe despite of not having two clear cut images, this haiku could not really be bettered in a tangible manner.

Or should I wait, is the poet trying to tell us something else entirely with the ellipses. Is the deep chill of loss, brought to fore by that evocative winter rain meant to lead us into the pain (and may be the tears) of the bugler, and by extension the poet and the reader too?

A satisfying if a bit mystifying haiku. A verse that I would always like to come back to for it presents me with a delicious ambiguity.

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Sandra Martyres

a very evocative write. there is a certain finality associated with the sound of the bugle. It seems as if even nature aware of the solemnity of the situation is sending rain showers..

Brijesh this is a wonderful choice of haiku…

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