Last week the American Scholar continued its Next Line, Please contest with an invitation to readers to submit their best haiku. Here's what David Lehman has to say about this week's winning haiku and the rules for next week's tanka contest. Remember, if you want to enter, please do so at the American Scholar's page:
Wow. I love writing haiku and am not surprised that others find the form appealing. Still, I didn’t expect to see 236 entries, some of them containing as many as five haiku, not to mention others that came in over the transom. And the quality was so high that any of 20 could take the laurels. After much hemming and hawing, I picked Paul Breslin’s haiku:
The sickle, asleep
In its shed all year, begins
To dream of ripe grain.
Farm implements—W. C. Williams’s red wheelbarrow, for instance—have a distinguished history in American poetry. I like the personification of the sickle in Breslin’s “August” and the way the poem captures the fleeting instant between summer and fall. The sickle is still asleep, but day is about to break, and during this period of intense rapid eye movement, when dreams are at their most vivid, what else would the sickle dream of (and wish for) but “ripe grain”? The alliteration (“sickle, asleep,” “ripe grain”) and the line-breaks are deft.