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The Heron’s Nest

a haikai journal ...


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Volume VI, Number 9: October, 2004.
Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved by the respective authors.

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


Heron’s Nest Award


    hot afternoon
    the squeak of my hands
    on my daughter’s coffin
                                       Lenard D. Moore

    eyes closed
    while listening to her poem
    the summer wind
                                       Lenard D. Moore

Two summer poems share this month’s Heron’s Nest Award. Infused with raw sorrow, they exemplify compression and restraint. Each is pure and true. Each moves the editors to profound respect for poet Lenard D. Moore and expanded appreciation of the power of literal images to communicate deep feeling and significant human experience.

The first haiku focuses on a thin, high-pitched sound like no other. Produced by the friction of sweaty hands over the smooth, hard surface of the coffin, it hurts the ears and pierces the heart. The father’s hands continue to provide and protect, but they cannot alter the terrible fact of his daughter's death. The seasonal reference is familiar and authentic. In context, it underscores the clear truth that this death is out of season and out of sequence. The squeak reaches beyond words to become a primal cry of pain and smallness.

No reader can go the full distance into this experience with the poet. The intense sadness is uniquely his. The haiku lets us see it and hear it and leaves us with awed admiration for his endurance and his consummate mastery of haiku expression. I believe “hot afternoon” stands well with the finest poetry of loss in all literature, and I encourage teachers and scholars to test that judgment.

The second award-winner is as lyrical as the first is discordant. Though less experienced and accomplished than her father, the late Maiisha Moore was a poet, too, and I believe it is her poem Lenard is listening to. I can easily imagine doing that with him. We concentrate on her words and feelings, closing our eyes to shut out distractions. The summer wind touches us, and this time the physical sensation is a blessing consonant with what we hear and feel. One poet participates in the spirit of another, and all are linked to the on-going phenomena of the physical world.

The haiku poet’s work is exacting. He must participate fully in human experience and capture deeply felt moments of that experience in simple words, without comment or interpretation. Lenard D. Moore’s “hot afternoon” and “eyes closed” are superb products of haiku discipline. We are grateful for first rights to publish them.



Peggy Willis Lyles
October 2004


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