As noted in a previous item here on ‘HaikuOz’, the following one-liner by Australian haiku poet Lorin Ford has been posted for comment in the ‘re: Virals’ segment of The Haiku Foundation website:
their wings like cellophane remember cellophane
— Lorin Ford, ‘Roadrunner’ IX:2 (2009)
Lorin’s monostich had been selected by another Australian haiku poet, Jo McInerney, as a result of Jo’s own response to a preceding haiku having been chosen by The Haiku Foundation as the weekly winner in its ‘re: Virals’ feature.
From five responses to Lorin’s one-liner selected – in turn – for inclusion on The Haiku Foundation website, two of those newly posted comments have been written by Australian haiku poets: Jo McInerney herself once again, accompanied by Cynthia Rowe.
Responses by Jo and Cynthia to Lorin Ford’s haiku can be read below, with all five comments about her ‘cellophane’ one-liner able to be accessed through the following link:
The pair of comments by Jo McInerney and Cynthia Rowe regarding Lorin Ford’s haiku are reproduced here in full, in sequence, as found on The Haiku Foundation website:
“Jo McInerney explains the technique, and then grounds it in the real:
Lorin Ford’s one-liner opens by reaching for a simile. ‘[T]heir wings like’ and there it is, the comparison — cellophane. We realize we are probably being shown a dragon- or a damselfly.
‘Cellophane’ at first seems a slightly jarring comparison, one without the obviously beautiful connotations of gossamer. However, the image-maker is not looking for poetic effect. Cellophane has a shine and transparency that is just about right because without the winged creatures being named we know what they are.
Yet the poem is focused as much on this substance as on what is being described. Perhaps the writer has been taken back to childhood memories of gifts and lollies, cellophane-wrapped. There is a lovely spoken quality here — ‘remember cellophane’, a gentle wonder in the call to remember, as well a longing for confirmation. Thus the one-liner creates a sense of transience, a wistful recall of what once was and we are brought back to the ephemeral creatures with which it begins.
And Cynthia Rowe unpacks the variety implicit in the exotic word choice:
Lorin’s haiku provokes the reader, stirring the imagination. The simile ‘like’ is overt and yet we don’t know which insect’s wings are ‘like’ cellophane. Our thoughts are drawn to dragonflies and their whirring. Then again Lorin could be referring to cicadas whose wings vibrate and crackle in the way that cellophane does. She asks us to remember the ubiquitous product cellophane, which of course we do, particularly every Christmas when we wrap presents to place under the tree. The haiku could also refer to Christmas beetles. The kigo could be implied by the word ‘cellophane’; the speculation of the insect that the poet might be referring to is endless . . .”