Next Page
Previous Page



Favorites from 2002

The Heron’s Nest

a haikai journal ...


Home • Volume Contents • About • Connections

Volume V, Number 10: October, 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


       summer garden
       the full stretch
       of the hose

                                              Connie Donleycott

Haiku poets open themselves to the significant flashes of insight available through direct realization of everyday experiences. A sound, smell, or taste can awaken them to the profound suchness of a moment in time. Disparate images converge to convey resonant intuitions that link nature and human spirit. Haiku becomes a way of life, and the poet who lives in quiet harmony with that way trusts the sparest presentation of essential details to engage the sensory involvement of readers and make them participants and co-creators.

Connie Donleycott’s “summer garden” is a splendid case in point. She names the season and setting, knowing readers will supply tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and beans, sunflowers, dahlias, marigolds, onions, and melons — whatever colorful images of lush abundance the context brings to mind. Each reader can easily stand in the garden he or she imagines, ready to become part of the poem.

This time it is a kinesthetic response that provides the tug into haiku awareness. The garden hose reaches its limit and signals resistance with a backward pull. Gardener, poet, and reader register “the full stretch” and instinctively appreciate the expansiveness of summer's bounty just as they recognize its demands. They sense the unstated likeness of the summer garden to full adulthood, that season of greatest human productivity and of challenges that test and stretch individual capacity. Perhaps the instant of heightened understanding includes consciousness, too, of states of being that require the full measure of human energy, physical, spiritual, and emotional. Because the poem is lean, simple, and imbued with karumi (lightness), we are left with a smile and a comfortable sense of adequacy. Just beyond the margins, though, lies recognition that when plenty becomes excess the equation shifts. Strain replaces tautness, and enough is suddenly too much. The pull of the hose is a gentle reality check.

The poet knows about heat and effort. She appreciates the rewards of planning and nurturing. At an instant’s signal from a hollow rubber tube, she recognizes limitations as well. We can imagine, if we want to, just how far an adjustment of the nozzle might extend the reach of life-giving water or what other methods a gardener might use to care for plants that have grown beyond ordinary reach. Haiku, after all, are open-ended and allow the reader to move back and forth in time on the pivot of the present moment. Past and future merge. So do small and large, local and universal. A sensation that quivers briefly through the body informs the mind and spirit.

Connie Donleycott writes clearly and honestly about real things in the real world, especially the ordinary activities of daily life. With characteristic freshness, she shares this moment of heightened awareness in her summer garden so effectively that her readers are blessed with a richer understanding of their world and themselves.



Peggy Willis Lyles
October 2003


Previous Page  •  Top  •  Next Page