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Haiku Classic: Sept. 2, 2018

the dumproad pond

    tadpoles exit

    a birdhouse


    LeRoy Gorman (1949-). From "HAIKU sans frontieres" (1998), edited by Andre Duhaime.

    Haiku often challenge our perceptions, as the above poem illustrates well. What would one imagine exiting a birdhouse? Birds would leave, maybe a snake, or insects, perhaps? Surely tadpoles would be about the last thing one would imagine leaving a birdhouse! Yet this birdhouse exists in a setting that our preconceptions find surprising -- sunken beneath the surface of a pond by the side of the road to the rubbish dump. This haiku is successful because it is not minnows or frogs that exit the submerged birdhouse but rather the not-yet metamorphosed progeny of frogs and toads: tadpoles. I imagine them to not yet even have hind legs! Though they are not yet ready as birds to leave the nest, so to speak, nevertheless they swim out of the birdhouse into the wide world beyond.

    Selected and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay

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