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Haiku Classic: April 4, 2021

In the poppy field

    a black butterfly separates

    from its shadow


    Anna Holley. From Haiku Moment: An anthology of contemporary North American haiku (1993), edited by Bruce Ross (Charles E. Tuttle Co., Tokyo).

    Poppy flowers cause the reader to think, on some level, of the red poppies of Flanders Fields and the many souls who have lost their lives in war. Poppies also could cause one to think of opium. Since this poem is a haiku, the black butterfly does actually exist in the present world in this concrete and vividly colored poem. I imagine that the poppies must be red! The separation of the butterfly from its shadow invokes images both of the state of one's consciousness not being completely linked to one's body, as might happen under the effects of an opiate, but also of a soul leaving its mortal frame (its shadow).

    Selected and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay

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