a mind filled
The first line immediately creates a sense of space, and my initial impression was that of an empty blue sky. I enjoyed this image juxtaposed with a mind filled with possibilities – the association of the mind and a cloudless sky suggested to me the Buddhist ideal of striving to empty the mind of clutter; emptiness understood in a positive sense of freedom from trivial concerns and of a mind open to creative possibility.
On a later reading it occurred to me that my presumption of the blue sky of day is not actually stated in the haiku and the possibility that it might equally refer to a night sky is just as valid; ah yes, a cloudless night sky filled with all that makes such a sky wonderful. Now this all reminds me of an insight shared with me by my adult son. He has deliberately chosen not to learn the constellations of the night sky as this might then limit the way he sees the stars, and he would rather, as he put it, look into the night sky and see the stars as they are without the fanciful pictures imposed by others. I do so enjoy learning from my children.
The poet informs me that this haiku did indeed arise in the context of the bright blue sky of day and the possibilities referred to here relate to a sense of freedom she felt to accompany this particular day in terms of potential activities and outings. The wording of the haiku however does not impose any such specifics on the reader and the skillful manner in which it is framed gives the reader ample space to wonder what they will.
First published: A Hundred Gourds 4:1 December 2014
Selection and comments by Simon Hanson