on a child’s grave
Comment: a moving and mournful haiku based on a bright juxtaposition that links an artificial element (the ‘plastic flowers’ in line 1) and a natural one (the ‘piercing winds’ or kogarashi 木枯らし) in the last verse. The fake flowers give a sense of timelessness (cf. also the ‘child’s grave’) – contrasting with the fragility and impermanence of human beings (mujō 無常) – while the ‘piercing wind’ substantiates a subtle but authentic emotional participation (kokoro ni kaku 心にかく). A poem with many possible interpretations, as haiku custom dictates.
Side note: this haiku was sent on January 13, but was accidentally stored in the spam folder until last Wednesday, when I finally found it. Rachel Marie Sutcliffe passed away on January 23, 10 days after this submission. She was just 41. It’s as if Rachel is still speaking to us today, being an active part in the International haiku community. She’ll be forever young, just like the child in this poem. Ciao, Rachel.