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The Heron’s Nest

a haikai journal ...


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Volume V, Number 9: September, 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


       creak of the swing . . .
       my feet still reach
       the sky

                                              Connie Donleycott

It’s my turn to write commentary on the poem we editors unanimously voted our favorite for September. I begin as I normally do, sitting quietly for a few minutes, letting go of thoughts, letting myself settle . . . Now, for the poem. I read it several times, both silently and aloud. Research is always the next step for me. I try to learn more about a plant or animal named, the history of a location, the climate in that region, or anything else in the poem with which I’m unfamiliar. I read Connie’s poem again. Wonderful! But there’s nothing in it that I don’t already understand.

Wait a minute! When was the last time I plopped myself down on a swing? Why, so long ago I don’t remember. Jumping up, I grab my keys and hurry down to the car, eager to get started on my research. Ha! What fun this is going to be! I start the car . . . Wait a minute! I’m already short-changing myself! Off goes the engine. My bike is in the garden shed. Down it comes from the rafter hooks. So much dust! Off to the kitchen for some rags. Shoot! The tires need air! Now, where did I store that pump? Not in the holder on the bike, not on the shelves, not in the footlocker . . . I’m getting impatient. How childish of me! Wait a minute! Of course! Even this impatience is part of the experience! Ha! My research is going well. Anyway, here’s the pump, sticking out of an old planter box. At last! Tires inflated (but not nearly as much as I am), I climb on and coast down the driveway.

No one else at the playground this morning and, yes! Just the right sort of equipment here too. Three canvas swings hang motionless between heavy chains. I settle into the middle one and walk backward a couple of steps. Leaning even further back, I kick my legs out and feel the first rush of air. Ahhhhhhh! Point those toes! Pull on the chains! Now, tuck and lean forward! The swing swings back. A little higher with the next arc, and the next. What d’ya know! It’s got a squeak! The rush of air gets stronger, a tickly sensation developing in my stomach as I sweep forward. The sand pit and shrubs vanish behind me as I reach toward the top of an arc . . . then back they come, rushing into view. Higher! Higher! Some free-fall now at the highest point as the chains slacken for a moment . . . a jerk as my slung weight slams them taut again. Back I go . . . then forward again, faster yet! Now the tall maples across the sidewalk vanish and . . . yes, here it is in all its blue glory! The sky! The whole sky! Nothing but the sky!

Boy what fun that was! That was yesterday. I decided to put off writing until today so I could hang out longer at the playground. The monkey bars were kinda neat, but I barked a shin. A couple of kids showed up and one agreed to help me play on the see-saw. What an oddity I must have seemed to them! Well . . . yeah! And man, you shoulda seen me whack the tether ball! (Both kids enjoyed beating me at that game.) The slides were way cool too! There’s so much I’d forgotten!

And now I see that I’ve forgotten to write about Connie’s poem. Heck! Well, what can I say that she hasn’t said better and in far fewer words? For a more thorough commentary, I recommend that y’all get on out to your local playgrounds!



Christopher Herold
September 2003


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