I have been thinking about Kolodji's poem all day. And it has had an interesting effect on me. It keeps playing in my mind, as if looking for completion. Like a song you start to hear on the radio, but which is cut off before you get to the end. It seems to me there is something about the structure and composition of this poem which seems not quite finished.
I think it is the break between the first line and second, which starts with the word "where". Sentences in English don't usually start with "where" unless they are questions, and in this poem that is not how Kolodji has used the word. So instead I keep reading the first two lines as a single line, a single thought, which locates the poet. Then the third line provides a beautiful epiphany which is intensely sensual. But still my mind seems to want some sort of intellectual contact with the poet. It seems to me she has set a scene, but failed to give us her response to it. So instead my brain keeps producing varieties of response that would give me a satisfying completion:
the creek where she was baptized
sun after rain
sun after rain
Of course given Kolodji's experience as a haiku poet, I assume this is indeed a final version, and that she has deliberately chosen the words and structure precisely for this effect. To force us to complete the poem. Which makes this a profoundly spiritual haiku. By leaving to the reader to complete the poem, she is almost forcing us to live a spiritual journey like the protagonist (the unnamed "she" who was baptized in the creek). We are confronted here with the mystery of grace, or salvation. Finding the holy in the ordinary. Encountering the hand of God in our life, gently guiding us toward a meeting.
Some people like to assert haiku is intrinsically connected to Zen and Buddhism. I have elsewhere written extensively why that is not so. But here is an even more eloquent rejoinder. An extraordinary and specifically Christian haiku!
It’s too bad there’s not a pamphlet stating this. I had this same question when my husband’s grandmother had a heart attack earlier this year. We have had to come to the acceptance that the doctor knew best, but it always has been stuck in the back of our minds. Thank you for giving us the peace of mind we were searching for.
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