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Haiku Classic: Sept. 17, 2017

pregnant again ...

    the fluttering of moths

    against the window


    Janice Bostok (1942-2011). From "The Haiku Anthology" (revised edition), edited by Cor van den Heuvel, Touchstone 1991.

    The relationship between the two main entities in this haiku (i.e. the pregnant poet and the fluttering moths) is apparent through the movements of the moths and the movements of the baby within her womb. I imagine the baby to already be grown to a size where its movements are visible to someone watching the swollen belly of its mother through the use of the word "against" in the poem, rather than "at." Although haiku usually do not contain outright metaphors, it is common practice to include a metaphor in the poem through the juxtaposition of the two major entities, such as in the above haiku. The fluttering feeling in the mother could alternatively be in the state of mind of finding out that she was pregnant -- a heart flutter for example -- and in this case the inclusion of the word "against" might imply that she was not quite ready for the pregnancy. I prefer the former interpretation. One must always be careful when composing haiku to imagine all possible interpretations of the words one pens on the page. Friends and family are often good sounding boards and it is not rare to discover interpretations that one could never dream about when crafting the words and their order within your poems!

    Selected and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay

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