the first leaf fall

Gary De Piazzi


The first word introduces a restful tranquility which continues into the next line with the gentle motion of a falling leaf . . . a haiku to be read meditatively.

It is a wonderful art form that invites us to pause before something so ordinary, so apparently uneventful as the fall of a leaf. But such things do catch the attention of the sensitive mind and it is a pity that such miniscule beauties are missed by so many so often. Haiku presumes the aesthetic value of such details and we are greatly enriched because of it.

The second line also conveys a sense of ‘significance’ because of the metaphorical associations we might have for ‘leaf fall’ and further by virtue of this being ‘the first’ leaf fall. Meanings here are symbolic rather than explicit, better whispered than said aloud, and something we intuit rather than rationalise.

The last line, morning, not only gives us a temporal context but adds elements of all that we associate with that time of the day; newness, a beginning, hope . . .  The poet tells us that he originally wrote this last line as mourning – “It was one of those mornings, sitting under the verandah with a cup of coffee, there was a slight mist in the air and the birds were quiet. It was not long after a death in the family and I was watching a leaf spiral to the ground and the conundrum of life and death caught in my mind. I initially wrote the haiku using the word mourning in the last line but later changed it to morning to create the flip that is aspired to in haiku.”

First published: Creatrix, issue # 15, December 2011

Selection and comments by Simon Hanson

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