In this poem, the mirror becomes a powerful symbol of introspection and self-discovery, revealing not only physical similarities but also the inheritance of traits and characteristics passed down through generations.
First autumn morning Murakami KijoFirst autumn morning:the mirror I stare intoshows my father's face.
Explore First autumn morning
‘First autumn morning’ by Murakami Kijo reflects on the arrival of autumn and the impact it has on their perception of themselves.
The poem begins with the speaker describing the setting as a “first autumn morning,” implying the transition from summer to fall. This change in season serves as a metaphorical backdrop for the central theme of self-reflection and personal identity.
As the speaker gazes into a mirror, they are confronted with an unexpected image: their own reflection resembles their father’s face. This realization carries a deep emotional weight, suggesting a profound connection between the speaker and their father.
Structure and Form
‘First autumn morning’ by Murakami Kijo is a three-line haiku that was originally written in Japanese. The poem was later translated into English (which is the version analyzed below).
The classic haiku form has five syllables in the first and third lines and seven in the second line. But, these elements have disappeared in this English version of the poem due to the translation.
In this poem, the poet makes use of a few different literary devices. For example:
- Imagery: can be seen in lines like “First autumn morning” that evoke a specific series of senses in the reader.
- Enjambment: can be seen in the transition between lines two and three. The poet intentionally cut off line two in order to
- Allusion: while not mentioned directly, this poem is about the ways in which the speaker has aged. They’re no longer the child or young man that he used to be. Now, he resembles his father more than he would’ve ever imagined.
First autumn morning:
In the first line of this poem, the poet begins by setting the scene, something that readers of haiku are going to be very familiar with. Haiku poets generally like to make it clear what time of year it is or to generally describe, in one way or another, where the haiku is taking place.
Autumn is a common setting for haiku due to its deep symbolism. It usually signifies change, transition, aging, and the end of prosperity. In this case, the poet uses autumn to symbolize aging (something that’s revealed in the third line).
The choice of “first” emphasizes the significance of this particular autumn morning, suggesting that it holds a special meaning or significance. It could imply that this is the first time the speaker has experienced autumn in such a profound way, or it could represent a milestone or turning point in their life.
the mirror I stare into
The second line of the poem, “the mirror I stare into,” shifts the focus from the external environment to the speaker’s introspective act of gazing into a mirror. This line introduces a reflective and contemplative element to the poem that’s continued into the next one. It suggests that the speaker is engaging in self-examination or self-observation.
The speaker is staring deeply into the mirror and is entirely consumed by this action. This line uses enjambment, meaning that it cuts off before its natural stopping point, and readers have to go to the third line in order to figure out what exactly is going on in the poem.
shows my father’s face.
The third line of the poem, “shows my father’s face,” reveals a surprising and significant revelation in the speaker’s self-reflection. It indicates that the image they see in the mirror strongly resembles that of their father.
The mention of “my father’s face” introduces the theme of familial connection and inheritance. It suggests a strong resemblance between the speaker and their father, not only in physical appearance but potentially also in character traits, mannerisms, or other qualities.
The revelation of the father’s face can carry various symbolic implications. It may symbolize a sense of lineage, highlighting the speaker’s place within a generational continuum. It can also represent a realization of the influence and impact that parents have on shaping one’s identity.
The line also emphasizes the fact that the speaker has reached an age where they feel as though they’re starting to look like their father.
The significance of autumn in the haiku poem ‘First autumn morning’ lies in its symbolic associations and emotions. Autumn is often regarded as a season of transition, change, and the passage of time. It carries profound symbolic weight and, in this poem, represents the passage of time from one’s youth to an older age.
The theme of the poem ‘First autumn morning’ is change and aging. The speaker confronts their own reflection in a mirror on an autumn morning. This act of self-observation leads to a significant realization that their own face bears a strong resemblance to that of their father.
The purpose is to highlight the way that time progresses onward, eventually leading to children aging and eventually resembling their parents.
Readers who enjoyed this poem should also consider reading some other
- ‘Autumn moonlight’ by Matsuo Bashō – is a traditional haiku that’s beautiful written about the seasons.
- ‘Over the wintry’ by Natsume Sōseki – is a short, evocative poem that captures the desolate beauty of a winter landscape.
- ‘On Aging’ by Maya Angelou – explores what it means to get old. The speaker is honest and direct, confronting the reader with the truth about age.