passing traffic –
the flicker of bees
among the grevillea
……….. Maureen Sexton
The first line here is of special interest in that it can be read to refer to different kinds of traffic, none of which are stated explicitly but each non-the-less gently present as a possibly for the reader to discover. The passing traffic might well be motor traffic passing a suburban garden perhaps, or it might refer to the bees foraging among the grevillia passing from flower to flower and tree to tree as they tend to do, or perhaps we might envisage other kinds of traffic, such as birds feeding on these nectar laden blooms. Nor are these different interpretations mutually exclusive; the juxtaposition and dash so placed invite a pause to consider such things.
There is a lively sense of motion in this haiku; the words passing and flicker both conjure different kinds of motion and the bees themselves also invoke images of the characteristic movements of bees as they forage among the flowers as well as of the rapid beat of their wings. In my mind’s eye I associated the passing (motor) traffic with the flicker of sunlight reflected from car windscreens seen through the foliage of the grevillia; images that seem intuitively suggestive of the busy and buzzing behaviour of bees. Flicker is such a well-chosen word here.
The passing traffic – reminded me also of the hum-drum world of so much human activity and the way in which we are sometimes swept along by worldly concerns while in lines two and three we are able to slow down with the poet to enjoy one of nature’s myriad little beauties – the flicker of bees in the grevillia. How refreshing it is to find moments to connect with such realities all too often and so easily missed in our busy lives.
Published: Haiku in Australia: collated by Lyn Reeves & Beverley George
Selection & comments by Simon Hanson