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Elizabeth Searle Lamb’s White Chrysanthemums

#Haiku Happenings #9: Nicholas Klacsanzky‘s Commentary on a classic by Elizabeth Seattle Lamb!

Haiku Commentary

halfway up the stair—
white chrysanthemums

© Elizabeth Searle Lamb (1917-2005) (USA)

The first thing that caught my eye about this haiku is how the juxtaposition between the two parts of the poem can create different meanings. For instance, we don’t know if the white chrysanthemums are pausing, or the narrator pausing. In any case, the dash is used to make the reader feel the pause. It is also interesting to note that the word “pausing” is a single line to allow for more of an interval for the reader.

Another aspect of this haiku that drew me in is the state of meditation it could be possibly pointing to. The narrator could be so entranced with the white chrysanthemums that she has got into a state of meditation where no thought is disturbing her mind. She is simply admiring the beauty of the flowers. Though the chrysanthemum is…

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