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Volume XIII, Number 2: June, 2011.
Copyright © 2011. 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,  11,  13,  14


Heron’s Nest Award



    a deceased friend
    taps me on the shoulder —
    plum blossoms falling

               Chen-ou Liu


Some haiku please us from the first reading. Some beckon us to move beyond limits we’ve assigned to what constitutes “proper” English-language haiku. Some explode into our consciousness with all the stunning beauty of the first blooms of spring. And some do all these things and more. Chen-ou Liu’s is one of those.

At first reading, I loved it. Then I questioned my response, asking, “Doesn’t this break a whole bunch of Haiku Rules? Isn’t this metaphor? Is it gendai? Am I supposed to like this as much as I do?” It seemed daringly outside my comfort zone. Then I simply let it take me into a world that was at once surreal — and so real.

Whether a moment such as this triggers the memory of a loved one (a metaphorical tap) — or, for just a split second, we forget and turn, expecting to see them there — I trust many of us have experienced this. It is a moment as filled with poignancy as this poem. We are literally touched at the deepest level — with inexpressible longing — and with a jolt of such joy mixed into our sorrow we can only feel blessed.



Billie Wilson
June 2011




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