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Rachel Sutcliffe’s Leafless Sky

#Haiku Happenings #5: Nicholas Klacsanzky presents commentary on a haiku by the late Rachel Sutcliffe!

Haiku Commentary

autumn sunset
the last swallow splits
a leafless sky

© Rachel Sutcliffe (1977 – 2019) (UK)
Chanokeburi blog, Selected Poems, November 15th, 2017

This haiku brings about a feeling of wabi-sabi to me. The sky is clear to view through a leafless vantage point. However, there is one swallow—a swift, small bird, seemingly splitting the sky with the sharp edges of its structure. The word “last” is interesting here, as it could refer to an autumn migration, and this being a swallow that lagged behind. It could also mean that there were a bunch of swallows in the sky, yet now there is only one, and as its final act, it splits the sky (metaphorically, but seemingly real in the poet’s perception).

At first, I thought “leafless” was not necessary, as “autumn” was mentioned. However, without “leafless” we could not know if it was deep or late autumn and could…

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