across her ashes
Jerry Kilbride (1930-2005) From "Haiku World," by William J. Higginson, Kodansha 1996.
During the high tide, the cremated ashes of a loved one were scattered into the ocean's waves. The poet has sat there on the beach as the waters have receded, unable to leave, his mind playing back over the life that was. Drawn back into the present and looking up, he sees sandpipers busily running to and fro across the wet sand and imagines her ashes now mixed with and indeed part of the sand. The use of the word "ebb" rather than "low" gives a sense of movement and changing, stressing the cycle of the tide, and, through that, the cycle of life itself. Alliteration in the final two lines heightens the poesy of the piece.
Selected and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay