The Scorpion Prize for Best Haiku/Senryu of ISSUE V:3
Naomi Y. Brown
he died in battle
between pages of Manyoshu
The "Manyoshu" is the ancient repository of Japanese poetic feeling and revered as the centerpiece of the Japanese poetic tradition. I have been recently rereading some of its tanka on love gained and love lost, on erotic ecstasy and desperate hopelessness, particularly impressed by the emotional honesty of Lady Kass. Who died in battle in Naomi's haiku? One of the long dead poets or their lovers in "Manyoshu"? Someone personally closer to Naomi, perhaps a relative, friend, or more in the dreadful pageantry of battle in the last and this century? Whichever or otherwise, the feeling of loss, from "Manyoshu" times centuries long past to the current conflicts worldwide, takes us into the heart of perennial military dissolution. At first in this haiku there is an almost standard refrain of feeling, such as in "Once I Was" or "Remember Me" from popular North American music. But the aged flowers echo with the centuries old "Manyoshu" to help us define and share the human issues of loss and remembrance. But further, more than a keepsake of remembrance, the dried flowers echo a certain "Manyo" sensibility of tenderness that wins the reader over for this haiku. Simple, true, tender. A fine little poem to carry such emotion and feeling.
the dog's bark
runs away from it
A metaphor, yes. But with underlying humor. Dogs continually run away, for the moment, from their masters. I had it happen to me and could swear that the corgi was playing with me. But line one underscores the seriousness of the cold where the poor dog might have no energy left to complain (bark). Or enough energy to just not stop.
her face when she pulls off
Yes, perhaps the face is revealing good or bad news. It's a go! We need to talk. Yet (bearing in mind Halloween is near) this haiku also highlights the difference of the professional masked (a child masked as a well-known figure or character) and the human face (and emotions?) below.
on the windowsill
An elegant painterly feel here. The bottles are blue like the sky often is and perhaps transparent like clouds often are. A perfect still life of feeling.
afternoon rain . . .
again the simple sound
of Frogger . . .
So contemporary, if I have it right. The rain dripping on, the video game droning on. A resonance between the two. Comfort taken from a wonder of the technological age.
an orange from the bowl
Almost a study for an abstract painting. Form reduced to its essence. Yet, of course, humor too. The orange becomes the moon. Perhaps the orange harvest moon. What a fairy tale!
Stanford M. Forrester
the toddler's flashlight
left on . . .
Another moon correspondence. Here the presumably sleeping child's flashlight glowing in the dark echoing the moon glowing in the dark. Perhaps the lens of the flashlight and the moon are round. In all a haiku of tenderness and resonance.
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