she would’ve loved
A teacher and haiku leader in Japan today, Yoko Sugawa, suggests that in order to say ten things a writer of haiku might write only two. This brings to mind what Matsuo Basho reportedly said to a disciple: “Is there any good in saying everything?” If you’ll pardon my imperfect analogy, some haiku may be likened to icebergs. In the here and now of Darrell Lindsey’s haiku (seen above the surface), are the graveyard and a hummingbird.
As they dart about, hummingbirds can fly forwards or backwards and are able to stop in place. Flower shapes and colors attract them. Common throughout the Western Hemisphere, most are tiny, beautiful birds with shimmery iridescent colors. A country graveyard? Certainly trees and shrubs are there among the gravestones and markers. Probably not present are closely spaced monuments, statuary, and mausoleums of a city cemetery. From its “country” setting, I feel a sense of quiet in Lindsey’s poem. Unmentioned by the poet are the flowers that I find at this grave. They might be planted there in a pot, the poet may have brought a fresh-cut bouquet, or there may even be permanent, plastic blooms. In any case, a reader may see the hummingbird come to the flowers to investigate at the very least, and to hover and drink nectar if it is present.
The opening line has a choppiness that complements the darting nature of the bird’s search. The contraction “would’ve” and the long sound at the end enhance the third line’s smooth flow. The last line’s content reveals the mind of the writer, his thinking. It is subtly done. Lindsey uses a conditional past tense to wistfully show the situation: this is a grave of someone special to him. He ends the line, and the haiku, with “loved.”
A reader may fill in the blank as to just what the relationship of the deceased was to the poet. My first inclination is that the “she” refers to a wife. It certainly could be a mother, a sister, a grandmother, or even a lover.
We feel the reverence of the moment as poet and a hummingbird meet at this particular grave. Darrell Lindsey remembers his loved one, the bird enlarges that memory, and we readers may also be stimulated to our own special remembrances.