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Volume XII, Number 1: March, 2010.
Copyright © 2010. 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



 

Heron’s Nest Award

 

 

    fishing village
    a rumor of blues running
    through the café

                Jim Kacian

 

In the close-knit economy of a fishing village, news of bluefish running would generate a welcome rush of activity. Blues are important commercially and for sport. They migrate in sizable schools following baitfish and are likely to cause a stir wherever they show up along the world’s coastlines. Their appearance brings the promise of good fishing for those who know how to outfight them, good eating for those who enjoy bold flavor, and prosperity for knowledgeable fishermen and the businesses that support them.

Through its rhythm and diction Jim Kacian’s haiku communicates the electricity such news would set loose, while poetically suggesting significant undercurrents. The rumor of blues running is one village folk would want to confirm quickly. As readers we are momentarily surprised by the third line. We were ready to hear the run located north of the pier, or along the coast in the next county, or a mile or so out to sea. As we pause to accept the perfectly credible information that the rumor is running “through the café,” we recognize “running” as a word that does double duty, referring simultaneously to the fish and the unverified report of their appearance. The poet has skillfully merged the characteristics of rumor and the nature of bluefish, and, by extension, he draws our thoughts to ways schools of fish and groups of human beings are alike and different.

Suddenly shadow poems swirl below the surface. The “blues” of depression, personal and economic, might spread through a fishing community as readily as good news. Rumors can convey beneficial information or falsehoods as sharp-toothed and vicious as the bluefish that may or may not be running nearby at the moment of the poem. And the haiku’s musicality invites consideration of blues music, celebrating sadness and often based on the inhumane treatment of human beings by other human beings. Bluefish, after all, are ravenous predators and even cannibals.

Such shadows emphasize the positive energy buzzing through the café. Vitality, conviviality, and interdependence are all the more striking against the contrast of their opposites. For readers, “a rumor of blues” becomes a phrase to remember and run with.

 

 

Peggy Willis Lyles
March 2010

 


 

 

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