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The Heron’s Nest


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Volume VIII, Number 2: June, 2006.
Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved by the respective authors.

Editors’ Choices • Commentary • Index of Poets • 
Haiku Pages:  1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  13,  14,  15
In Memoriam:  Tombo (Lorraine Ellis Harr),  Kaji Aso


Heron’s Nest Award


    spring breeze —
    I catch the tune
    she leaves behind
                                       Kala Ramesh


The breeze carries a tune, but with it comes much more. What does the poet catch?

a. a melody
b. the spirit of the singer
c. spring
d. all of the above

There is nothing like a marked change from winter to spring to put bounce in one’s step. Well yes, there’s a budding romance, seeing your grandchild for the first time, or winning the lotto, but they aren’t infectious the way changing seasons are. The former examples, though they do produce ripples, are experiences of individuals. Seasonal changes influence the multitudes living in a given region, all at about the same time.

Imagine a countryside about 100 miles southeast of Bombay, India, where this poem was probably written. Or just envision spring where you live. A warm floral-scented breeze kicks up. Gladdened by the proliferation of flowers and new foliage, a passerby is compelled to respond. Perhaps you’ll fancy her humming or whistling. I like to imagine that she begins to sing. By the time this person has passed beyond sight, the poet identifies the tune, or at the least attunes to the melody. Even when she can no longer hear the voice, it continues to resonate.

Implication is at the heart of haiku craft. A gifted writer gives us enough information to find our way directly into an experience, but not so much that we feel manipulated. Writers who expect, or insist that we perceive things as they do, draw attention to themselves and away from what it was that inspired them. A skillful use of suggestion permits us readers to come to the poet’s experience in our own, unique ways. Allowed to enter a poem without distraction, our involvement is therefore more immediate, more intense. What we are likely to find is common ground: emotions and moods that belong to no one, yet to all of us.

The amount of information required for a haiku to be effective is not determined solely by the poet. The reading of haiku is as much an art as the writing of them. Although readers unfamiliar with haiku can still find much to enjoy, some understanding of the craft is helpful. Familiarity with the imagery in a poem is also important. Some haiku, like this one by Kala Ramesh, are made up of widely recognized images and therefore have the capacity to touch a great number of readers. Who on this planet has not felt the wind? Who has not heard music (or if deaf, does not at least know of it)?

Spring causes a woman’s spirits to soar and she is compelled to give voice to her feelings. Upon hearing the tune, another woman is captivated by its vivacity. Inspired, she writes a haiku and sends it to a magazine. The editors are moved by the spirit of spring in the tune in the poem. They publish it. People everywhere read the poem and in turn catch the spirit of spring. No matter where you live, no matter what time of year it is in your part of the world, Kala Ramesh offers you an emotion that transcends the season that produced it.

Just think, there is a woman somewhere in India right now who hasn’t the slightest idea that she has played a pivotal role in broadcasting the emotional essence of a season. The tune she gave voice to one day is now amplified by a haiku. How far her joy has rippled! Our thanks to Kala Ramesh for so beautifully playing her part in the ritual of sharing.



Christopher Herold
June 2006


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