Poetry is by nature soul-stirring. Within the realm of poetry, Haiku has been a revered form for its alluring simplicity and profoundness. In 101 Haiku, Dinesh Raheja, author, journalist, screenplay writer and poet explores this timeless genre.
The book, as the name suggests, has 101 Haiku verses, carefully curated by the poet from his works. This is Raheja’s first attempt at Haiku, but his mastery over the form is quite apparent. Most of his poetry comes to him like a spontaneous burst of thought; flashes at unexpected times of the day and night, which can be lost if he does not record it at that moment. This explains why the words sound so natural and strike a chord in the reader’s heart.
Nature is undoubtedly one of the important themes around which he weaves his words. It is not only the beauty of nature that comes through, but also an innate wisdom that emanates through the lines. Mountains, seasons, fauna, animals, water bodies, islands, celestial bodies and hills and valleys- all these varied parts of nature find place in the Haiku.
Two of my favourite examples from the book…
A tree drops a leaf
Silently in a forest-
Trees don’t grieve lost leaves
Another Haiku I found particularly poignant…
Clouds empty themselves
Into seas pregnant with hope
One empties one fills
While the theme of nature is definitely important, Raheja uses the Haiku as a vehicle to comment on the current times, drawing upon themes that we all can identify with.
Take for example, the following:
Goldfish in a bowl
Opened a Facebook account
She loves the spotlight
These simple lines show so much- how social media platforms act as equalisers for expression irrespective of whether you are shy or outgoing in real life.
Some of the themes also deal with the journey of life.
take the road and find yourself….
it leads nowhere
and the following lines that echo a much-felt feeling…
I realised this
wasn’t where I wanted to be
when the road ended
Haiku exemplifies minimalism. The book has stuck to the inherent ethos of the form. 101 Haiku gently entices and draws the reader into a deep and reflective world. There is a sense of peace and relaxation, as one reads and ponders over a Haiku in the book. It will make you contemplative, make you think, make you appreciate the beauty and power of words and much more.
Words which appear simple to understand are actually quite full of insight and meaning. The beautiful words have equally lovely illustrations to go with them. It is a book that you must read and re-read.
If you’re new to Haiku, it is a very accessible way of being introduced to this wonderful form of poetry. If you’re already an admirer, you’ll have one more Haiku collection to rave about!
101 Haiku by Dinesh Raheja
Published by Om Books International