Due to the brevity of this particular poem, it’s unclear exactly how he got there or who he’s with. This makes it possible for the reader to add in any details they want to finish the scene or even imagine themselves experiencing the same thing.
Explore Meteor Shower
‘Meteor Shower’ by Michael Dylan Welch is a thoughtful, nontraditional haiku that describes an evening on the beach.
The three lines of the poem describe a meteor shower, waves, and wet sandals. There are very few details in this piece, but that doesn’t mean that readers can’t put together a thoughtful depiction of what it was like to be there and experience the moment. A meteor shower is a fairly rare event, and it’s likely that this was an important, if not simply, memorable moment for the speaker.
Throughout ‘Meteor Shower,’ the poet engages with themes of nature and experience. Throughout this short poem, the speaker spends the three lines exploring an experience in the natural world. Specifically, they’re by the sea, standing in the gentle waves and watching a meteor shower, perhaps with someone they love. It’s clear from the language, words like “gentle,” that this is a pleasant experience.
Structure and Form
‘Meteor Shower’ by Michael Dylan Welch is a three-line non-traditional haiku. The lines follow a syllabic pattern of five, four, four rather than five, seven, five. The lines are still quite short and visually look like the structure a traditional haiku takes. Besides the similarity in the number of syllables, this poem is without structure. It’s written in free verse. This means there is no rhyme scheme nor metrical pattern that unites the lines.
Despite its brevity, Welch makes use of several literary devices in ‘Meteor Shower.’ These include but are not limited to:
- Imagery: can be seen when the poet uses especially effective descriptions. These are incredibly important in haiku. For example, “gentle wave” and “wets our sandals” These simple lines evoke an experience that most readers have probably had.
- Enjambment: occurs when the poet cuts off a line before its natural stopping point—for example, the transition between lines two and three. Often, haiku uses enjambment between all their lines, creating what feels like one sentence.
- Allusion: with this literary device, the author is able to allude to events outside the text’s bounds. In this case, the “our” in the final line and the fact that the poem starts in the middle of a scene are suggestive of a relationship between the speaker and someone else and a trip that the reader only receives a few details about.
meteor shower . . .
In the first line of ‘Meteor Shower,’ the speaker begins by noting that he’s observing a meteor shower. This line tapers off with the use of an ellipse. This evokes a feeling that the meteor shower is an ongoing phenomenon. As the speaker is describing the next lines, the meteor shower is continuing overhead. It’s important to keep this in mind as it adds to the overall atmosphere of the poem. It should also be considered how relatively uncommon meteor showers are. They don’t happen every day, and it’s likely that this moment is an important or at least a vaguely memorable one for the speaker. This is emphasized by the realization that he’s not alone in the final line.
In the second line, the speaker adds in an important detail. He’s on the beach watching the meteor shower. This means that readers can imagine the sound of the water, the feeling of the sand, and perhaps a breeze as well. There is a “gentle wave,” the speaker says. The use of the word “gentle” keeps the mood of the poem calm and peaceful. If he’d used a word like “determined” or “vengeful,” it would change the poem entirely.
wets our sandals
The final line adds in the last detail, one that completes the series of images. The gentle wave “wets our sandals.” This is a great example of imagery, one that many readers are likely going to be able to connect to. With wet sandals and all the sounds of the beach around them, the speaker and his companion watch a meteor shower. This haiku is a memory of a brief moment that isn’t going to come again.
The tone is nostalgic and appreciative. The speaker is expiring a moment and considering the most important elements within it. This is likely something they’re enjoying, but it may also bring up feelings of nostalgia once the time has passed.
The mood is peaceful and calm. The reader should walk away from this poem feeling refreshed by the clarity of Welch’s language and the beautiful image he depicts. It might make one long for a similar experience or even have feelings of nostalgia for one they had in the past.
The speaker is someone who has an appreciation for nature and wants to remember a moment they spent on the beach. It could be the poet himself, or it could be an experience that he’s imagined for the sake of writing a poem.
The purpose is to share a memory and an experience of a time and place. The simple language in this poem makes it easy to read and accessible for a wide variety of readers. Anyone can read or hear these words and be transported to this place.
Readers who enjoyed ‘Meteor Shower’ should also consider reading some other related poems. For example:
- ‘The Rainbow’ by Charles Lamb – a simple poem that speaks with joy about the colors of the rainbow and their importance in life.
- ‘Fluctuations’ by Anne Brontë – explores the ever-changing aspect of emotion and feeling in her own uniquely meaningful way.
- ‘On the Beach’ by Anne Ranasinghe – a dark and disturbing poem in which the poet explores sadism through the narrative of a dog’s fate at the beach.