skip to Main Content

Cherie Hunter Day — Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Winner 2017

Cherie Hunter Day is a recipient of a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems for 2017 for her poem

nightfall —
moths the color
of the dying pine

It first appeared in Modern Haiku 48.2, having placed 2nd in the Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Contest 2017.

Commentary from the Panel:

“Fabulous haiku, that both captures the pulse of the haiku moment in nature that it describes, transporting us there, while simultaneously eliciting our deep grief. The pine, dying from disease, drought, or pollution, evokes our realization that earth may be experiencing its own ‘nightfall’, along with its human inhabitants. This universal theme resonates and deepens on each re-reading.”

“This is a very evocative haiku that resonates with a dark moodiness, which has been skillfully crafted in three short lines. The short life of a moth is focussed with the coming of nightfall and we are shown a stunning juxtaposition with colours of a dying pine. On one level this is a snapshot of nature but like all great haiku it can suggests a deeper meaning for us to discover for ourselves.”

See the complete list of past winners of both Individual Poem Awards and Distinguished Books Awards in the Touchstone Archives.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. .
    . nightfall —
    moths the color
    of the dying pine
    .
    Cherie Hunter Day
    .
    .
    Nightfall is the curtain, for good or for bad, when day finally gives out, via twilight, and we enter another zone. It’s also when moths (of the night) take over from butterflies (of the day) and can appear like floating or resting pieces of bark.
    .
    Here is one such moth:
    https://bugguide.net/node/view/180617/bgpage
    .
    It’s as if we are being shown that the author (and Cherie trained as a biologist and worked both in field research and in the laboratory) appreciates these creatures of the night as much as she might of creatures of the day.
    .
    Judging by the photograph in the link above, there is the scientific aspect of camouflage, and then there is the poetic side, where the moths, in great number, could conceal the pine from danger, or illness, but this has failed. And so the moths have come out of sympathy via their camouflage markings.
    .
    High fancy perhaps, but if certain creatures live closely with trees, the largest form of plants, then there must be some kind of empathy?
    .
    Or the double sadness is that the moths are instinctively camouflage makers and so unknowingly they are mimicking the dying pine, unaware of its illness, just that the colour has changed.
    .
    If haiku can accidentally become metaphor by default then I feel this is a metaphor for humans to continue to make the planet into a dying one, and mimic its effects via pollution.
    .
    .
    Cherie Hunter Day’s haiku proves again, that a short poem (eight words) can give rewards for a reader willing to go beyond looking at a haiku but nestling into it, at least for a while, with or without protective camouflage.
    .
    warm regards,
    Alan
    .
    co-founder, Call of the Page
    President, United Haiku and Tanka Society
    Haibun Editor, Blithe Spirit (British Haiku Society)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back To Top