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open sky :: SAMVAAD | 31st March

hosts : Sanjuktaa Asopa & Aparna Pathak


night jasmine

the fault

in a memory



- Elisa Theriana

( The Heron's Nest, Vol XXV.1, 2023 )



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8 Comments


The poet says:


One night when I took my dog for a walk,  I was stunned by the strong fragrance coming from some strange-looking blossoms. I later learned it was night jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum). The fragrance, while lovely, is different than another jasmine (Jasminum sambac) that I used to know as a child at my grandmother's house.


I always try to write poems that everybody can relate to, but at the same time have enough space for them to create their own story. I hope you find your story in this haiku. 

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The night jasmine blooms, needless to say, at night. The sweet fragrance with the blooming is significant. However, there's just that one memory that the speaker either doesn't remember well enough or remembers differently or doesn't remember at all. May be it was an unpleasant incident for the poet but others insist it was not as unpleasant as she thinks.

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Perhaps you are closest to Elisa's own explanation. Thanks Amoolya.

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night jasmine

the fault

in a memory


This feels just beyond my grasp, but the connection of scent to memory-recall comes to mind, as well as the unexpectedness of the white flower and its scent in the night - like a sudden fault in the earth. And our memories aren't entirely to be trusted - we can cling to memories that we in fact fabricated, and they can reach up and grab us when we least expect them. Elisa's verse somehow reminds me of Buson's:


around the small house

struck by lightning,

melon-flowers.


(trans. Robert Hass)


It seems right to me that I can't quite pin this one down. I like it very much.

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Beautiful analysis, Shawn! I too love ones that i almost understand, but not fully. Some things are meant to stay just beyond the reach.

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I am waiting for the poet's explanation. :))

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Beautiful, thank you for sharing this gem.

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