Monday, May 21, 2018

Haiku Commentary


Pravat Kumar Padhy’s Thick Clouds

thick clouds—
a gap takes me
to the ocean
Modern Haiku, Issue 46:2, 2015
© Pravat Kumar Padhy (India)
Since the first reading of this ku, I’ve felt it carries an extraordinary sense of liberation. I can read it again and again and feel each time the movement, as if I’m being pulled by an invisible wind, not mentioned, but there for sure, to the blue of the ocean, breaking through the blue gap of the sky…!
It seams it creates in the mind of the reader a virtual flight, surfing on air currents and seeking the sun. Also, at a deeper level of reading it, the kireji lets us imagine and clearly perceive the recovery of the soul of the author, as if he could have turned his wounds into blessings….
The first line contains bitter sounds — ck, cl, ds — which suggest an imminent storm, or a difficult life-moment. But soon, in the second line, the rhythm of consonants separated by the sounds of long-short-long vowels empowers the dynamic in the ku and brings the openness of the long and open vowels in the last line, of the word ocean, as a natural mantra for all.
This ku has a strong Zen feeling, showing a meditative journey from full to empty (thick clouds/gap) and it is a reminder to us to not be afraid of emptiness, since we ourselves are nothing else but little fluctuations of matter around this vacuum.
– Lucia Fontana (Italy)
thick clouds: clouds resemble something that prevents us to see through or think clearly. At first, I didn’t connect with this verse, so I read it a couple times. In my imagination, the writer was lost in a deep forest at night. Why I said at night? I’ll explain later.
a gap takes me: This gave me bright scenery in my mind. The writer was lost in the forest at night, he looked upward and saw only thick clouds. But fortunately, there was an opening to let the writer see the stars. Since long ago, people have used stars for navigation.
to the ocean: by the guidance of the stars, the writer finally reached the shore. Thank goodness.
– Fei Zhan (Indonesia)
I’m living next to the ocean, so I can really relate to this haiku. In this haiku, line one sets the entire mood. Thick clouds so often can be seen on the horizon. They are also very symbolic. It seems that even the weather feels the mood of the poet. Something is about to come—good or bad, we don’t know. The future is hidden from us.
Next we move to line two. It is very clever. It brings hope for the better. Its not just clouds, but we see an opening, and line three gives us more. Now we know we are on the beach and we see an ocean. Overall, I really enjoyed this haiku. Its inspiring. Here’s a tanka written in inspiration:
a dark horizon—
heavy clouds
chasing each other
we fall in warm sand
and laugh
– Laughing Waters (Italy)
This is really simple to interpret, as it is all about the thought process. Thick clouds may indicate a lack of awareness or oblivion or unconsciousness. A gap is a sort of reflection of those thoughts that go through the filtration process. Awareness of our own thoughts (mindfulness), in other words, crystallized thoughts. I see the meditative element here as well where the person is having some deep experiences that facilitate him to think deeply and have concrete thinking. It may also be related to problem solving by reaching the truth after passing through some trial and error process.
The ocean may also indicate the imagination-an escape from reality that doesn’t look pleasant in this situation.
– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)
What I see here is the subject taking a different perspective. Perhaps, the subject could be a bird soaring up high above a field of clouds; and seeing a gap in the vast realm of thick clouds suddenly saw a glimpse of yet another vast realm, this time of blue waters.
Here, again, we see the impermanence of moments we experience, but we also see the continuity of events as we see them unfold.
– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)
For the second line and third line ”a gap takes me / to the ocean” I feel that it suggests that a river goes down to its source. In the first line “thick clouds” bounces off the reader’s view. Besides, the first line’s ending has cutting by “-.” I felt the “distance” from its cutting. I imagine about this distant place, and it looks like the Himalayan Mountains. Maybe sometimes it is covered by “thick clouds.” And it separates the realm of gods from where human beings live. From this mountain’s gap, there is the source. The river goes down to the ocean. I feel that it is like a human being’s life.
– Norie Umeda (Japan)

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