A Haiku: Understanding Its Meaning

Grey shrouds disallow.
Perseid, wherefore art thou?
My wish bound by clouds. by Tony @TonyPictureBook

I didn’t catch the meaning of this Haiku until I looked up the word Perseid. Before reading further, stop and look it up if you need to.

Once I read the definition, I instantly understood, and a burst of conflicting emotions rolled over me. If you love star gazing, then you will instantly understand. If you watch action movies, then you know where the names of heroes and villains come from.


A once a year event was disallowed. The grey shrouds that streak brightly across the sky when entering our atmosphere were hidden behind the clouds. But there was a double meaning in this Haiku for me.

It was early August in the 90s on a clear night. My two children each had a friend spend the night. Dad and I set up reclining lawn chairs for the best view. I got them up at 4:00 am. Still wearing PJ’s, wrapped in thin blankets, sipping hot chocolate, we watched the Perseid Meteor shower. It was fantastic. We stayed out till the sun rose, then went to McD’s for breakfast.

My children have families of their own and live very far away. I ask my husband if he wanted to drive out in the middle of the night to watch the meteor shower this past week. His response was that he would be asleep. I was a little sad. I wondered if my kids took the time to watch. I thought of how much fun we had. Then, I laughed.

Yes, we did have fun. It was a spectacular meteor show that night, and I have a precious memory.

A Haiku is a 17 syllable verse that captures an image, or a moment that when the reader grasps the meaning, touches the heart.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Joel Weatherly in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, captured this photo of Perseus and surrounding constellations on August 14, 2019. He wrote: “This illustration of the Perseids radiant point was made using an actual image of the night sky near Edmonton. A faint Perseid meteor can
be seen to the upper left.
The location of the Whirlpool Galaxy. Stellarium.https://astrobackyard.com/m51-whirlpool-galaxy/
The Whirlpool Galaxy taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the Hubble Space Telescope.

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