Ernest J. Berry
Picton, New Zealand
Judges’ Comments: The judges were mesmerized by the loneliness of this poem. The soft melody of a lover’s morning ritual – muffled yawns, percolating coffee, hissing bacon – replaced by the grinding, reverberating drone of cicadas. What a cruel way to wake up… We thought of those moments in bed, when we are shocked back into consciousness, wondering what is real and what is a dream. Is my lover still here? Are we together again, relaxing in bed? The harsh, sawing buzz of so many lonely males tears us from the comfort of our dreams and screams, “No, you’re alone, like the rest of us.” And yet, without their dissonant, irritating voices, would we have remembered the dream at all? And is that moment of pleasure caught in a memory worth the inevitable realization that we are truly alone?
Through active voice and a vivid auditory image this poem reminds us that loneliness is more than just a state; it’s a real place, replete with unwelcome thoughts and sounds. The last line is a masterful surprise that catalyzes the haiku’s delivery and leaves us wishing to read more from this writer.