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Haiku Classic: June 3, 2018

Millipede

    lost in my hand

    the feel of starlight

    --

    vincent tripi (1941-) From "Haiku World. An International Poetry Almanac" (1996) by William J. Higginson.

    The many-legged millipedes are amongst the oldest known land animals, with their first fossils dating from the Silurian Era. When scared, they roll themselves up into a ball. The longer species roll themselves up into a spiral -- the same shape as our galaxy. The light from even the closest star was produced over four years ago, while that from the "average" star was produced billions of years ago. At least some of this starlight was produced back in the Silurian Era. Here the poet is not so much looking at the starlight but rather feeling it. How does starlight feel? It seems to wrap itself around you as it bathes you in its light. A millipede spends most of its life under rocks and leaves, far from the light of stars. Here again it is away from the light, within the poet's hand. Is it crawling around inside the crevices of his hand and does the feeling of that resemble the feeling of starlight on one's body? Or is it curled up and "lost" only to the world outside?

    Selected and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay

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