orange sunset
our long shadows
collecting firewood

 Simon Hanson


Haiku selection, comments and haiga image by Ron C. Moss

This is a splendid haiku that evokes for me the shape and colour of the world seen by the poet. We start with orange and the visual ‘o’ shape that continues throughout the haiku with no less than seven of them. The sunset’s colour makes a lovely juxtaposition with the long shadows. They are active with the collection of firewood, which makes them timeless and ancient, a shadow-play of untold stories. There are all sorts of light and dark working in this haiku; a theme we often find in Simon’s haiku and we are richer for seeing the world as he does. I also enjoyed the use of ‘our long shadows’ which gives us the feeling of family and the unity we have always needed to survive.

The last line with its evocative ‘collecting’ brings us a strong feeling of comfort with the provision of fuel for the fire, something that is deep within our DNA and evolution. Fire brings both life and death, and the people of Australia have had a long history of using fire as a tool and also at times being overwhelmed by the devastation and suffering that comes from uncontrolled wildfires.

As a young child in NSW I remember the surrounding night time hills glowing with orange as fire bore down on our small southern coastal town. So for me this strong colour to describe a sunset can evoke memories that go way beyond a pretty sunset.

Simon has crafted a haiku that does what great haiku do, he takes you on a journey of your own experience and memories, coupled with natural elements that resonate with us all.

First published: A Hundred Gourds 2:4 September 2013


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