white with snow
This is a delightful moment and connects beautifully to the painting. The association between grandpa’s belly and the snowman is wonderful, and we are filled with a feeling of family and good times. Like any good haiga there’s a strong interplay between the image and the haiku and we can see many connections here. The love and warmth of a grandpa, and the much-loved figure of a snowman, leaves us with a smile and a feeling of playfulness. In a few short lines the writer has given us so much to feel, and the memories of childhood, and sometimes-adult games, come flooding back.
looking both ways first
i eat the snowmans nose
What fun! What a devious but totally delightful moment. We have this very funny situation with a clever juxtaposition to the winter doldrums. What could be more life-fulfilling, than to bust out with humour to bring us out of the winter blues? The poet is mischievous and don’t we love him for it – the spirit of the snowman might have something to say about losing his juicy carrot nose, but we are all the richer for the fun of it all.
her blackened stick joins the dots
on the snowman’s smile
This is another joyous moment. There is nothing like a snowman to bring out the fun in us all. The poet has crafted a fine haiku using the simple but many-layered action of joining the dots with a blackened stick. Perhaps that’s all we need to make us all grin. The heat of the fire is over, but from the ash and coal we have new life and a reason to smile.
finally a place
for grandad’s hat…
Yes indeed! A place for grandad’s hat is all we need, and the snowman will be thankful for such a snappy look. There’s a powerful juxtaposition with a withered garden, and the feeling of growing old. Also, as with us eventually, there’s the impermanence of the snowman that will soon be melted away. The haiku and painting work very well together here and the poet has achieved an unforced mixture of contrasts and associations.
on a white piece of paper
my first Ensō
The shapes and circles of the painting are beautifully reflected in the poet’s mention of drawing an Ensō, which is a traditional Zen expression of infinity or enlightenment. Always done with one stroke; if the circle is left open it allows a movement towards perfection, and if closed we have the perfection of all things as they are. A spiritual practice that is called hitsuzendō or the way of the brush.
Judging and Comments by Ron Moss