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The Heron’s Nest

a haikai journal ...


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Volume V, Number 5: May, 2003.
Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved by the respective authors.

Editors’ Choices • Commentary • Haiku Pages:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 • Index of Poets


Heron’s Nest Award


      spring morning
      the raven goes
      where the wind went

                                       Elizabeth Searle Lamb

The life force surges through each line of this vibrant haiku. Season, time of day, raven’s flight, and vanished wind fuse to celebrate the pure joy of being. I love the spontaneity and movement. My spirits are caught in soaring exuberance and drawn to the grand expanse of sky.

Edgar Allen Poe’s raven is a creature of “bleak December,” compressing loss and negation into its dreary “Nevermore.” Elizabeth Searle Lamb’s seems quite the opposite. The last two lines of the haiku are like an incantation, evoking thoughts of Native American shamanism and tales of the raven as creator, trickster, navigator, bringer of light and fire. Above all, the raven of the haiku is a real songbird, a lover of high places, acquainted with wind and space. Its wild and powerful flight provides the energy of the moment within the context of rebirth and renewal. If its darkness encompasses deeper, harsher aspects of nature and reality, the contrast only accentuates the strength and lifefulness of its grand wing beats. This particular “spring morning” embraces creature, poet, and readers in a heightened moment of experience and awareness.

Here are two other haiku by Elizabeth Searle Lamb that rival “spring morning” in the expression of élan:

      field of wild iris —
      the pinto pony
      kicks up his heels1

      the meadowlark
      holding down the fencepost
      with song1

Each in its own way, pony, meadowlark, and raven engage us in the thrill of being.

A founding member of The Haiku Society of America, Elizabeth Searle Lamb was editor of Frogpond from 1988-1991 and again in 1994. Many poets who are now submitting to The Heron’s Nest sent their work to Elizabeth during those years, and treasured her personal responses. She often signed her notes, “May haiku bring you joy!” “Spring morning” is imbued with precisely that joy and shares it generously with receptive readers. I believe Elizabeth would be glad for those of us who love reading, writing, and experiencing haiku to adopt her benediction as we communicate with each other. Whatever the season, wherever you are, may haiku bring you joy!



Peggy Willis Lyles
May 2003
1 Lamb, Elizabeth Searle, Across the Windharp: Collected and New Haiku (New Mexico: La Alameda Press, 1999) 55 and 51.


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