The immediate effect of the poem on me was confusion and irritation. I felt it was deceptive. It looked so simple, and was so short, yet I could see no meaning behind it. It frustrated me that even after several re-readings all I could think was a bird in a tree.
Upon re-visiting the poem, I concentrated on how it made me feel –melancholy, wistful, yet also peaceful. I found I liked it despite the sadness it seemed to evoke.
I think the subject matter is a bird in a bare tree, at dusk.
Techniques used in this poem are:
“bare branch” (Line 1)
“rook roosts” (Line 2)
“autumn dusk” (Line 3)
“Kigo” – a word stating or suggesting a season
“autumn” (Line 3)
The alliteration of “b” creates a cold, lonely sound.
The assonance of “roo” and “u” evokes the cry of a bird, deepening the melancholic and sad effect.
The “kigo”, or season reference, of autumn has the effect of a suggesting things coming to an end because of the season’s place in the year, and again adds to the melancholic effect.
My interpretation of the meaning of the poem is that individuals can find peace and rest, living with only the bare essentials. While this may seem an austere life, simple living can allow individuals to find the beauty, greatness and richness that exist all around them in nature – as in an autumn dusk. Even in moments of sadness and despair, nature has the power to uplift us.
My interpretation of the poem is based on the context in which haiku exists, my knowledge of the work and principles of the poet himself, and the effects of the techniques used in the poem, on me.
The evolution of haiku was greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism which is “focused on meditation, a simple life and living close to nature” (Baugh et al, 2006, p. 62). This haiku alludes to all three things – a bare branch signifying a simple life,...
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