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Haiku Classic: June 4, 2023 -- Stop! Stop!

the melon splits

    ahead of my knife --

    midsummer heat


    Jim Kacian (1953- ). From "the loose thread: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2001," edited by Jim Kacian and the Red Moon editorial staff, Red Moon Press 2001.

    Such a keen observation, firmly grounded in reality! Even a thin knife can act as a wedge and cause the melon to split during the act of cutting it. We can almost imagine it screaming, as if it were human, "I can't take it anymore. Stop! Stop!" As the knife penetrates further, the melon can no longer take the stress and pressure, its resistance suddenly disappearing as it splits in two. When the midsummer heat is really oppressive I know I can also feel that way, that I cannot take any more heat: "Stop! Stop!" The resonance between these two elements, the contrast between the coolness of the melon and the heat of the atmosphere, the "just-so" brevity and lack of excess artifice in the prose and the keenness of the observation all combine to make this haiku a classic.

    Selected and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay



    Pique your poetic interest with more Haiku in English here.

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