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Sharon Pretti — Touchstone Award for Individual Poems Winner 2017

Sharon Pretti is a recipient of a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems for 2017 for her poem

poppies
as if they know
they won’t last

It first appeared in Frogpond 40.2.

Commentary from the Panel:

“This haiku intimately brings to mind the brilliant orange of the poppy, blooming in either the desert, along a freeway, in a green meadow, or our own backyards. With or without rain, it shines brightly and waves like a flag, reminding us of the earth’s beauty and transience. Its short-lived nature, and the way it closes tightly in a bud each evening, is the perfect haiku moment to remind us of our own short time on this planet.”

“A haiku that pinches. A sad reminder that we know and they don’t.”

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

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Thank you!
    .
    That’s another powerful haiku, with the sound of the foghorns both resonant in themselves, and also connecting with so many movie scenes, where suspense is ramped up.

  2. I think the worst comment is the one from the judging panel.
    To ‘explain’ a poem is to yank it roughly out of the ground, pull off and discard its petals, pull apart its stamen and pistil, and say “There you are, that’s what it is.”
    The best appreciation would have been…..
    silence and non-interference.

  3. https://interestingliterature.com/2015/10/26/five-fascinating-facts-about-war-poetry/
    The link between poppies and war remembrance dates from the Napoleonic wars, when a writer noted that they flourished over soldiers’ graves. As The History Press website notes: ‘there are several anonymous documents written during the Napoleonic wars which noted that following battle, poppies became abundant on battlefields where soldiers had fallen. These same sources drew the first documented comparison between the blood-red colour of the poppies and the blood spilt during conflict.’ The association would be popularised during the First World War, especially by John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields‘ in 1915.

  4. Poppies have cultural and political connotations as well. In this part of the world – the geographical (but not political) British Isles – poppies are worn eleven days before Remembrance Day by those who wish to remember the war dead. For others, those who see war as an abomination, the very sight of a poppy (through symbiosis) is abominable! So, this simple haiku resonates in unexpected ways.

      1. Thank you for this additional poem from Sharon Pretti. These two are wildly thought provoking.

        In frogpond 41:1, on p. 111 she has another deep one in the re:readings section:
        .
        foghorns
        the night spent
        in separate rooms
        .

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