the criss-cross shadow
of mating birds
Comment: a fresh, animated haiku. The first line frames the temporal context of the second ku, producing a pleasant poetic harmonization (torihayashi 取はやし) between the two parts, while the double ‘s’ sound –placed into a reduplicated word like ‘criss-cross’ and linked to the opening syllable of the next one (‘sha[dow]’)– emphasizes the frenetic movements of the two mating birds. The ‘late evening’ in line 1 seems to anticipate the arrival of a silent, quiet night, but this reconstruction is then broken by the vitality of the final scene, since the birds keep the viewer’s attention alive through their love (which is replicated in their own shadows).