The following poem first appeared in Geppo XLVI:2 February–April 2021, page 3, and was selected for commentary in the following issue, XLVI:3 May–July 2021, page 19.
the plum tree’s blossom
wet to my touch
I am looking up at the overcast sky, then stretching out my hand to touch one of the plum blossoms. The blossom feels wet although the rain hasn’t started yet. I like softly touching these blossoms, especially of plum and cherry. I adore their cool, moist touch, the fragile yet resilient texture. Here the author finds the blossom wet, assuring us of the spring atmosphere, which is quite humid in Japan. Or it can be simply a remnant of raindrops. I like the simplicity of this haiku and the way it makes us feel a tickle on our palm.
Few haiku explore the sense of touch―and fewer still as nicely as this one. The blossom is within our grasp; we can know it in our hands. Some of that tactility transfers to the juxtaposed image, to what cannot be known in quite the same way yet imagined so. Part of me wants to press the dove-gray sky between my fingers, too, and squeeze out its essence.
The plum blossom is one of the first signs that spring is coming. After a long winter the poet’s eagerness to feel spring is expressed in the impulsive gesture of reaching for and touching that first blossom and finding in its dewy wetness the fresh promise of spring.
—Patricia J. Machmiller