on the shore alone
as the ebbing tide
takes the moon with it
L. A. Davidson (1917-2007). From "Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku", edited by Bruce Ross. Tuttle Publishing (1997)
In this haiku the poet is presented first to just be physically alone, with no one standing or sitting nearby. The poet is on the shore, so we feel the imminence of a vast unknown presence and possibly a journey. In the second line, we see the water pulling away from the poet as the tide goes out. There is a feeling of being left high and dry, stranded. Then in the third line we realize that it is evening and the poet has been watching the moon. As we progress through the haiku, the loneliness goes from being a mere physical phenomenon to being a mental state. Since the tides are caused by the moon's gravity we even feel a hint of self-destruction. It is hard to imagine being more alone than this!
Selected and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay