by Dhugal J. Lindsay
Commentary first published 3 January 2021 on the Mainichi website (Japan). See also “Haiku Classic 1,” “Haiku Classic 2.” and “Haiku Classic 4.”
first snow . . .
the children's hangers
clatter in the closet
Michael Dylan Welch (1962– )
From The Haiku Anthology (third edition, 1999), edited by Cor van den Heuvel
At the first snow, the children rush to put on their coats and dash outside. Perhaps they will make snowballs for a snowball fight, or perhaps they will make a snowman. Concretely adding what the children are rushing to do in this haiku would make it report “facts,” while leaving the specifics to the reader’s imagination helps it to report a “truth.” Honing in on the concrete image and the added sound of the hangers rattling up against each other in the closet after the coats have been torn from them brings immediacy. Exactly what the children are rushing to do is superfluous information.