Monday, April 7, 2014

Poetic Musings: After Dusk, A Haiku Sequence by Raymond Roseliep

After Dusk

the firefly
is fueling

however small
light lovers

our bodies
to light

Listen to Light, 1980

Raymond Roseliep.

... a three-stanza poem that brings nature, lovers, and God together in one creative spark of life and light and love...

In “After Dusk” Roseliep invites us to see that love is a divine spark, a natural spiritual bonding, that “however small” those first sparks, the resulting light fills our bodies with the light of love. We should listen to this light that fills our bodies and let it grow into a lifetime of love.

-- excerpted from Randy Brooks' essay, titled "The Love Haiku of Raymond Roseliep," Modern Haiku, 40:3, Autumn 2009

First of all, the title is effectively utilized as the first line in the poem, establishing a thematically and emotionally contrasting relationship with the thematic motif -- light -- of the poem, especially with the last lines.

Secondly, the thematic motif, light, is well explored through different images of a firefly, sparks, and daylight that are infused with rich connotations.

Thirdly, all these three haiku are written in a minimalist style; however, technically speaking, the first one is a composition poem while the other two are Ichibutsu Shitate (one-scene/theme/image poems).

Finally, from the perspective of a textual analysis, this sequence has nothing to do with God. It's simply because there is no mention/implication, direct or indirect, of God, or no employment of religious allusion or imagery. However, the multifaceted images of light (manifest in different forms as mentioned above), especially the one in the last haiku, do carry  spiritual significance.

Note: Below is excerpted from "To the Lighthouse: Re-examining the Concept and Practice of Cutting :" ... so-called Ichibutsu Shitate (one-scene/image/theme/object haiku), a "single-object poem, which [focuses] on a single topic and in which the [haiku flows] smoothly from start to finish, without leap or gap found in the "composition poem" (that reads a poem with two juxtaposed images/topics...; Traces of Dreams, p. 111)

1 comment:

  1. The poet is an animal with the sun in his belly. He is one breed of the species cited by Luke the Physician as “a whole body … filled with light” (11:36).… He is essentially a maker — in their word for “poet” the Greeks embodied that concept, and the Scandinavians named him “word-smith.” The poet is himself made to the image and likeness of God, and on the highest level of his operation he imitates the Creator. With language he puts flesh on ideas and feelings; to airy nothing he gives local habitation and name.

    -- Raymond Roseliep